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EU referendum and brexit betting: who’s winning in organic search?

With the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU coming up this week, there has obviously been a lot of debate online. 

It has also become a major online gambling event, with the value of bets set to exceed the previous biggest political event, the 2012 US election, according to a recent press release from online betting exchange Betfair.

In fact, it has now exceeded that mark, with more than £43 million in bets matched on the exchange. There’s also plenty of betting on the financial markets too, but we’ll stick to the bookmakers for this article.

betfair brexit

While the polls predict a close outcome, the bookies are more certain that a brexit vote is unlikely. Odds of 4/1 for a leave vote seem very generous when some opinion polls put the two sides neck and neck.


One interesting aspect with a relatively unique betting event like this is the opportunity for new customer acquisition. It’s likely to attract customers who wouldn’t normally bet, and should be seen as an opportunity for the betting sites.

So which betting sites are ranking for brexit betting?

Here’s the data from Google Trends, showing the spike in search interest for terms around EU referendum betting.

We can see the spike in interest, which obviously presents an opportunity for traffic and customer acquisition for the betting sites.

Unlike seasonal SEO events like Christmas or major sports championships, this referendum is a one-off (hopefully) so strategy has to be geared towards this single event.

brexit betting

In the case of the EU referendum, the betting sites have had around a year to prepare for the event, though we can see that interest in betting has only really taken in the last two to three months.

According to PI Datametics, the term ‘EU referendum odds’ was searched on average 1,000 times in November 2015 and is now being searched 40,500 times a month.

We don’t have the data for June yet, but I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll be in six figures, as the spike on the chart above suggests.

Top organic search performers

The top performers (from the gambling sector) are:

  1. Odds Checker
  2. Paddy Power
  3. Ladbrokes


All three sites rank highly for the term, and consistently too. Just compare their performance to that of their rivals:


This points to a lack of a coherent strategy around EU referendum betting. For example, Betfair has has 10 separate pages performing for this term, hindering its ability to hit a high search position.

Again, so much of this is about effective internal linking and creation of single landing pages for high value and high traffic search terms.

Clearly, with £43m matched on the exchange alone, Betfair has done well, but could it have done better with the right SEO strategy?

A missed PPC opportunity?

One final side point here – have the betting sites missed a PPC opportunity around referendum betting?

There is just one site buying ads today on the term. Given the spike we can see from Google Trends, and the high cost of customer acquisition for online betting, it seems strange that more sites aren’t using PPC to gain instant visibility here.

ppc eu

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global.

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