HomeIn-depthAndrej Masaryk: “While AI is evolving, human professionals continue to possess an edge in proficiency and authenticity.”

Andrej Masaryk: “While AI is evolving, human professionals continue to possess an edge in proficiency and authenticity.”

11 min. read
Casino Guru Insider's Andrej Masaryk

Meet Andrej Masaryk, the SEO Lead at Casino Guru. Leading a team of SEO specialists, Andrej's daily mission revolves around enhancing both on-site and off-site SEO strategies for Casino Guru. His journey into the world of SEO began during his college years, and it has taken him across the globe. Beyond his role at Casino Guru, Andrej is also a co-founder of an online SEO agency.

In this interview, Andrej shares his unique insights into crafting SEO strategies. He goes into detail about the experience of working for a responsible and professional online gambling platform within the industry. He not only shares his humble beginnings but also provides a glimpse into the future of SEO development, all while shedding light on what it's really like to be part of the Casino Guru team.

So, what is SEO, and how does it work? How do Google and other browsers wield their influence over the SEO landscape? What are the driving forces behind the constantly evolving SEO sphere, and could artificial intelligence be signaling the potential decline of this industry? Let's find out!

Q: Could you outline your experience as an SEO professional in the gambling industry and your path to entering this field?

I've dedicated 15 years to SEO, a journey that started during my university days, which I might admit, extended due to a thriving social scene. [laughter] My academic background was in environmental management, but in my free time, I managed a cluster of websites for extra income. This unexpected detour brought me in contact with a gambling industry company that sought to advertise on my sites.

As their interest grew, so did my online portfolio. Our collaboration lasted around six months before I moved on, distancing myself from the gambling sphere. For the time being, anyway. I explored the world of professional online advertising, venturing beyond traditional banners and text ads.

Driven by curiosity, I got myself into the SEO industry. Subsequently, I established an internationally focused SEO company, roping in friends who shared my interest. This focus on growth and innovation persisted until 2021, with me diligently nurturing and expanding my SEO venture.

Q: What happened in 2021?

An offer from Casino Guru. [laughter] They reached out, seeking a capable individual for an intriguing role. I was interested, despite not actively pursuing traditional employment, I considered it might be a brief collaborative endeavor. Unexpectedly, it turned into a conventional in-house position – an entirely novel experience for me.

The company I co-founded continues to run, but the demands of Casino Guru, coupled with its immense potential, led me to redirect my full attention. I chose to experience the dynamics of a corporate team rather than remain a freelancer navigating international waters. Embarking on my second year here, I find myself surprisingly content and genuinely pleased with the decision.

I've entrusted my previous company to a colleague, only occasionally overseeing matters.

Q: To start with your role at Casino Guru, how would you define SEO for our readers?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It's a process that involves optimizing a webpage, its content, and operations to be both comprehensible to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., and user-friendly for visitors seeking specific information. The primary goal of SEO is to drive organic traffic to a website, meaning visits that originate from search results.

This is primarily achieved by enhancing rankings for specific keywords. Keywords are the terms individuals type into search engines, and rankings determine their search result placement. Given that most users tend to click on the top result, the challenge is securing that coveted first position.

Google's intricate algorithm governs the ranking order. Other search engines like Bing or Yahoo employ distinct algorithms, resulting in variations in search outcomes across different browsers. My responsibility entails ensuring that Casino Guru's content is not only technically and contextually compatible with search engines but also optimally positioned to stand out among competitors.

However, achieving this objective involves navigating numerous aspects, technical details, and complex attributes – it's a real-life alchemy.

Q: How does SEO in the gambling industry differ from other sectors?

The differences mainly reside in nuanced technical aspects. Artificial intelligence's emergence is reshaping specific SEO and gambling processes, necessitating adaptation. SEO operates at a rapid, ever-changing pace, and though AI's impact began only recently, it's catalyzed significant transformations. However, it's not the apocalyptic scenario initially foreseen for SEO experts and content creators.

Quite the contrary, actually. AI appears to be ushering in new job prospects, fueling demand for AI-savvy professionals across industries. This AI concept also spread throughout our website strategy, requiring its integration into content creation.

In the gambling sector, SEO carries the added burden of legal compliance, which varies across countries. Moreover, the gambling industry faces heightened scrutiny and skepticism from online platforms and publishers, amplifying its challenges on the digital frontier.

Q: Were you hesitant about joining Casino Guru because of the challenges and prevailing perceptions about gambling?

To be honest, had the company's philosophy not been thoroughly explained during the interview, I might have declined a role in the gambling sector. However, witnessing our responsible approach, aimed at avoiding enticing newcomers to gambling, I've found alignment with our mission. We work hard to give our users thorough knowledge to ensure safe and responsible play. Our aim is to empower individuals with awareness of potential risks and informed decisions.

Ironically, our unique approach can be a drawback within the industry. While others might pursue more straightforward paths, we are committed to our principle of providing information rather than promoting gambling. In strategic discussions, we've encountered scenarios where taking the conventional route would contradict our core values and founding principles.

Q: How do you craft an impactful SEO strategy? What informs your approach and expertise?

Our approach to crafting a robust SEO strategy is essentially rooted in the fundamentals – we meticulously integrate Google's Guidelines into our processes for optimal efficiency.

Google Guidelines are a comprehensive set of best practices recommended by Google to guide website owners. We strategically harness controllable elements of site development in line with Google's recommendations, while avoiding past practices that could jeopardize our objectives.

The core principle of my SEO expertise centers around the mantra "safety first". This principle acts as a foundational cornerstone that guides the direction of our strategy.

Q: Could you elaborate on your current collaborations within the SEO team and how it intersects with other Casino Guru teams?

I maintain close collaboration across all departments, with a focus on developers, content, and PR teams.

Our work thrives on experimentation, often carried out through team efforts. A notable initiative is the "toilet paper" experiment, [laughter] which centers around long-form content strategies. The content team crafts substantial content, and I track its performance in search rankings.

I also oversee the Market Management Team, fortunate to lead seven talented individuals. Their role involves monitoring and directing various markets and offering recommendations for changes, particularly concerning content optimization.

Moreover, synergies extend to the UX team, notably with David. We jointly address technical glitches through our developers. Our multidisciplinary team comprises experts in analysis, content creation, UX, SEO, and data analysis. Naturally, competitive analysis is another crucial facet of our collective efforts.

Q: Your work seems to intersect with EEAT to some extent, is that correct?

Absolutely. EEAT is integral to SEO, a component within a multifaceted landscape. Its essence lies in reinforcing a website's credibility through the pillars of Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

EEAT holds particular significance for Casino Guru, aligning with our core values. Google itself is increasingly emphasizing its importance, propelled by the rise of artificial intelligence. AI-assisted content creation is simplifying webpage content development, underscoring the growing significance of content authorship. The presence of real individuals is gaining importance.

In my view, human-generated content retains higher value and quality, surpassing AI in terms of authenticity and avoiding potential mistakes like data fabrication or generic content creation. While AI is evolving, human content professionals continue to possess an edge in proficiency and authenticity.

Q: Can you explain how SEO success is calculated? Is it realistic to measure?

Measuring SEO success involves grappling with the issue of causality. Ideally, we would compare a page's performance before and after optimization. A key metric for measuring SEO success revolves around the positions I mentioned – they serve as indicators of a site's growth.

SEO's objective is to align with Google's perspective and algorithmic considerations to enhance page performance. The implementation of this concept, however, remains complex and uncertain. The practical execution can be quite intricate.

Q: How do you ensure you stay current with all the latest SEO trends?

My approach involves staying informed about Google Updates, which I frequently reference in my work and discussions with colleagues. These updates encapsulate significant shifts and often provide Google's perspective, for instance, the recent Google Helpful Content Update.

Engaging with international experts is also vital. I actively communicate with prominent figures and follow the insights of distinguished individuals, particularly Google's Developer Advocates. They function as official liaisons between Google and the SEO community.

Participation in this community is essential. I contribute questions when preparing experiments, reaching out to experts like John Mueller who addressed our queries in a podcast. Attending conferences and related events further enriches my perspective.

With all that in mind, I can say that our SEO approach is up to date.

Q: Can you recall a scenario where a Google change directly prompted alterations on our website?

An impactful instance was the Core Web Vitals update, which spotlighted page speed as a metric. Previously, Google didn't factor page speed into ranking assessments, but this was rectified with the update.

Page speed essentially determines how swiftly a website loads to its functional state. Google's tools are now fine-tuned to consider specific page parameters – encompassing not only overall loading speed but also whether elements load without glitches, display correctly, and appear in their designated positions. Deviations result in penalties from Google. Consequently, we've intensified our focus on this facet.

Two of the most renowned Google Updates are The Panda Update and The Penguin Update. These were game-changing for link builders. Google targeted indiscriminate link building and the purchase of backlinks, penalizing sites involved in these practices.

Numerous other Updates have similarly disrupted the SEO landscape, reshaping strategies, and priorities.

Q: Did any of these changes affect us significantly?

Not to a significant extent. Comparatively, I've worked across various companies, and I find that our foundational IT skills and SEO awareness are notably stronger here than in other companies. This solid foundation spared us from major content overhauls on our site, thanks to the prudent approach taken by our leadership from the outset. We're presently adjusting to minor shifts and adhering to fundamental SEO principles.

Q: How do you envision the future of SEO, both generally and within Casino Guru?

Predicting future SEO trends is challenging, given Google's penchant for surprises. However, I anticipate a considerable focus on EEAT. It encapsulates all pivotal site aspects and aligns with Google's direction.

Google is likely to prioritize content crafted by humans for humans, placing expertise at the forefront. This hypothesis finds support in Google's Guidelines themselves. Just peek at the 2022 version, still under development, where EEAT is mentioned 127 times in 176 pages of text. This is quite telling.

For Casino Guru's trajectory, my vision prioritizes security, trustworthiness, and transparency. We'll integrate AI as a versatile tool, avoiding reliance solely on it. Flexibility will be our forte, as we adapt and progress while keeping our core values intact.

This interview is part of Casino Guru Insiders, a series of interviews during which experts from Casino Guru share their unique workflow, reveal insider information, and offer an exclusive overview of experience-packed know-how.

08 Sep 2023
11 min. read
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