The answer to whether linking to a casino or gambling site is capable of destroying your site’s SEO and rankings is a little bit more complicated than you’d think.
The most important factor to note here is relevance. If you are running a gambling or sports betting blog with a lot of gambling content, then linking to casino or gambling site will not hurt your site’s SEO and might actually improve it.
On the other hand, if you are a mom blog or you write about recipes, linking to a casino site will instantly create suspicion. Search engines like Google are rumoured to have a subtle bias against betting, casino or gambling content and links, so having them where they are not supposed to be will even create more trouble.
There are also reports that such links will over time increase a website’s “Spam Score”.
Selling Casino Links
There are stories of site owners being approached by “link buyers” who offer money to get backlinks for their casino sites. You must know that these kinds of deals fall under what Google calls Link Schemes which is a clear violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
These kinds of deals will obviously hurt your site’s SEO especially when it becomes common practice. One or two casino links in relevant content might not cause site-wide harm (if at all, the exact pages they are on will suffer and not the entire site) but a sprinkle or more of these kinds of links or content that are way off your niche will not just hurt SEO but also your site’s authority.
There is general advice to avoid casino and gambling links at all costs if you are not in the niche. But if you must, ensure you mark the links as “No-Follow”.
There are some bloggers who aspire to maintain a clean website and will never link to a casino site no matter the persuasion. Others may be more adventurous.
If you ask me – will you ever link to a casino site on your blog? – the answer is NO. This is because we don’t write gambling content and have never felt any need to. This might seem like a personal bias but over time we have learned to focus only on content that will interest our readers. If we ever will, the content must be totally relevant and the link absolutely necessary.