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Why the Swedish SEO is so competitive

Sweden is a small country with about nine million swedes. When comparing SEO competitiveness with the US we’ve found that the US market has 7-9 times tougher competitors. However, compared to the more than 30 times bigger market, Sweden is a lot more competitive.

Why did Swedish SEO become such a tough industry? What is it with the cold country in the north of Europe that breeds companies and individuals to fight so hard for the top positions in the search results? The answer is Poker, or was poker at least.

The European poker boom had it’s focal points in two countries, Sweden and Malta. Malta because it was one of few places in Europe that would give a license for arranging games online. Sweden because so many of the bigger poker companies first saw daylight in the land of the midnight sun. Poker rooms and affiliates alike started out in Sweden early and at a high pace and there was no other way to do marketing than via the organic search.

Being barred from almost all marketing channels the poker rooms turned to SEO to reach new players. Soon affiliates started doing the same and the whole affiliate marketing scene started growing at unseen velocities. There was a constant need for skilled SEO specialists. The handful of us or so that was around when SEO for igaming started taking off in Sweden, and that managed to get good results, should thank our lucky stars. A bright career for everyone was the result, from the mediocre to the really skilled SEO’s, everyone was treated like Gods gift to online gambling.

Going international was a natural path for the poker businesses, and SEO had to be part of it. The US before the crackdown, Germany, France and Latin America were all full of Swedish founded companies competing for the top spots. When it came to SEO it was just a matter of getting good or getting out of the market, nobody cares about the 11th best when that means second page.

Of course all of these SEO agencies and individuals still had this knowledge when turning to the home market. Skills does not disappear just because you chose to help your friends market their laundry business, it just pushes the laundry business to being tougher online. This resulting in some of the worlds best competing for the crumbs that is the Swedish market.

Magnus Bråth


Magnus is one of the world's most prominent search marketing specialists and primarily works with management and strategy at his agency Brath AB.

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