What lotteries and SEO have in common: Unpredictability!

What Lotteries and SEO Have In Common - Unpredictability (Title Top)

The US Powerball jackpot has reached $425 million after 12 consecutive rollovers and is guaranteed to be one of the Top 5 Lottery Jackpots in the World! Below you will find an SEO-Lottery analysis that is highly relevant to this enormous American lotto draw and Search Engine Journal readers can buy Powerball tickets online here.


How many times have you heard a phrase such as ‘success in the SEO world is a lottery’? Certainly more often than the idea that ‘success in the lottery world is all about SEO’!

Some would argue the former as the exasperated cry (boo hoo!) of the inexperienced SEO rookie who needs to learn to roll with the Panda and Penguin punches, rather than blame fate for their current SERP ranking. Certainly harsh if perhaps fair. With regards to the latter, I personally would argue that good SEO will absolutely win a few online lottery battles but brand and integrity will triumph to win the lotto war.

Putting these arguments to one side, what no one can deny is that as fast changing industries that revolve around omnicentric stars such as Google and the US Powerball, SEO and lotteries are both at the very least unpredictable!

A Lottery Look at Penguin 2.0

Fill an 80,000 seat football stadium with SEO managers and ask ‘how are you sleeping lately?’ and you’ll barely get a soccer XI from those who answer ‘absolutely fine’. Let’s be honest, who outside of the Mountain View Googleplex saw it coming?

As Jayson DeMers put it here:

“When Penguin 1.0 and 2.0 hit, it caused a more drastic impact upon individuals than did the financial meltdown of 2008.”

Admittedly, online lottery websites were affected like everyone else and even official lottery organisations such as the UK National Lottery have been asking ‘what just happened?’  We will know more in the upcoming months if this is a long term setback or if official sites got caught in the crossfire while Google was tweaking its algorithm.

Penguin 2.0 on UK National Lottery Official Site

A Particularly Green Red Card for USA Lottery

Certain industries do well in an economic downturn and purchases of Gold (low risk) and lottery tickets (high reward) see a significant increase in popularity. Despite the United States (read Wall Street’s) position as a prime cause of financial crises since the turn of the Millennium, there apparently is no shortage of people around the world desperate for their chance at the American Dream. As a result, Google has deemed it fit to raise the status of the United States’ Green Card and Diversity Visa Lotteries, overruling the objective assumption that people searching for ‘USA lottery’ would like to partake in a high jackpot American number draw game.

USA Lottery Visas vs. Number Draw Games

Sites such as online lottery tickets agent theLotter.com have internationally diverse audiences and for a significant percentage of our fan base English is not their first language. theLotter offers 12 (soon to be 14) languages on our site, yet when new players look to buy lotto tickets for the US Powerball or American Mega Millions online, many will use the search term US or USA lottery. Panda and Penguin 2.0 updates have ushered in an era where online lottery agents need to think outside the box to serve the needs of non-English speakers searching for our services.

The Point of News Return

Search for a lottery story online like ‘US Powerball record jackpot winners 2012’ and chances are you will find traditional and modern media channels such as ABC, CNN or the Huffington Post high in your search results. Generic terms such as ‘Mega Millions winning numbers’ or ‘last night’s EuroMillions results’ are more likely to take the reader to the official US lottery site for America’s Mega Millions or a reliable third party lottery site.

When the US Powerball jackpot jumped from $360 million to close to $600 million between its Wednesday and Saturday draws in May 2013, searchers might have expected to find www.powerball.com at number one for ‘US Powerball results’ or ‘estimated Powerball jackpot’. However, the massive public interest in the American lottery’s acceleration towards a new personal best caught the attention of established local and national news outlets and snippets of news reports flooded YouTube channels and news sites. Google elevated the status of these media clips due to the high Domain Authority held by such services, boosting their ranking for US Powerball and lottery-related keywords ahead of official and semi-official websites with far greater lotto passion and expertise.

Location, location, location!

Take a quick look on Wikipedia’s list of Lottery Jackpot Records and it looks like the world’s top jackpots are exclusively awarded by American lottery draws. Dig a little deeper and you will see that the gap between the US and Europe’s top lottery prizes is smaller than it first appears:

  1. Euros (€) and Pounds Sterling (£) are both consistently worth more than one US Dollar ($)
  2. American lotteries put a little more faith in the prudence of winners (read marketing spin on their tallies) and advertise the annuity, pre-tax value of the prize, whereas European lotteries provide a lump sum amount that will often be entirely free of taxes
  3. The number of winning ticket holders needs to be taken into account

As a lump sum, the world record of $656 million set by the US Mega Millions on 30th March 2012 was worth $474 million. It was split across three tickets bought in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, so now we’re down to $158 million apiece. Take an approximate tax burden of 34% away from each winner and the true value of each lottery win was about $104 million.

Obviously this is not a figure to be sniffed at and I am sure that none of the three winning parties are complaining. However, the EuroMillions jackpot cap and record (fixed in January 2012 and won by Gillian and Adrian Bayford in August the same year) is worth €190 million. As UK residents, the Bayfords’ prize was not subject to any taxes and was worth £148 million, or $231 million, which is more than double the prize of US winners of the historic Mega Millions draw.

America vs. Europe Lottery Keyword Mega Draw Tracking

So, why is all of this important?

When you compare keyword trends from the $656 million American Mega Millions record jackpot, the $590.5 million US Powerball personal best (‘C’ in above image) and the recent €188 million EuroMillions draws (‘A’ in above image), you can see the importance of geography and all-round marketing in SEO search results. The American lotteries were more newsworthy, cooler and better advertised, whereas European lottos’ prizes and dignity are reserved, at least on Google, for a more loyal and committed fan base.


Between Penguins and Pandas, Green Cards and red cards, who’s talking about a topic, how something is advertised and where that thing is taking place, the mutual characteristic of SEO and lotteries is their unpredictability – although in my opinion both the online and offline worlds are better off being kept on their toes!

Austin Weaver

Austin Weaver

Article source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/what-lotteries-and-seo-have-in-common-unpredictability/66895/

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