Organic search engine traffic accounts for 50% of all traffic to websites in the hospitality industry, so as you promote your next event, it's a good idea to prioritize SEO (search engine optimization). Use this event SEO checklist to make sure you maximize your audience from search engines — a major source of potential attendees.
Add Event Content to Your Website
Create a page on your website of 500 words or more describing your event. Be sure to include keywords that describe your event but make sure that these keywords are also terms users would be searching online to find an event like yours. It is important to think about your key audience and think about what they are looking for when formulating your keyword list.
Where to Place Your Keywords
Once you have put together a list of keywords that best describe your event and what your audience is looking for, it is essential to add these terms to relevant spots within the content you created for your event. Below we have listed some key locations where you should include your keywords.
Keep your URL (or domain name) simple and clear, including the name of your event. If someone sees it in an email, it should be clear where they're headed before they click it.
Make sure your page title is clear and descriptive.
Headers and subheads
When scanning your page, search engines look for headings to understand your content. Make sure the main heading on your page is tagged properly with an <H1> tag, and that it is descriptive of what's on the page. Then, sub headings should be tagged <H2>, <H3> etc.
The meta description is the short sentence or two you see under the page titles on a search results page. This is a key element of SEO, both for search engines to understand your page, and for people scanning search results, trying to understand what's on a page before they click. If you don't write a meta description, Google will pull in text from elsewhere on your page, which can leave you looking unpolished at best, or totally unclear at worst. Write a unique and descriptive meta description for each page, and keep them under 155 characters.
Alt image text
Without alt text, search crawlers have no way to understand your images and photos. For every image you feature on your page, take a moment and write alt text, a brief descriptive phrase that describes the image.
Optimize your videos
Youtube is the #2 search engine in the world. If you embed videos, or post them to Youtube, make sure your titles and descriptions are clear and include your targeted keywords.
Optimize your site for mobile
Search engines prefer sites that load quickly on mobile devices. Make sure your page or website is responsive, and test it on mobile devices to make sure it works well on all devices and screen sizes. You can use Google’s PageSpeed tool to test out your site.
Facebook event page
It might be tempting to simply set up a Facebook event page, and host all of your registrations there. We recommend setting up your own page if possible. That way, you can rank your own content and build your own SEO value, which will help you drive traffic to your website, blog or other content.
Social media promotion
Google values your page in part based on how many other websites and people link to it. If popular and reputable websites and social media accounts link to your page, it does wonders for SEO. Reach out to influencers about your event, and make sure your page has social sharing buttons to make the sharing process as easy as possible. This is where your SEO strategy meets your social and marketing strategy, and each helps to boost the others.
Communities and forums
Aside from influencers, it's good to post quality content regularly on social media in the lead up to your event. Also, do a little research and find groups and communities online that might be interested in your event, whether on Reddit, LinkedIn, Quora or elsewhere. You never know who might see it and share it with their networks.
If your event is press-worthy (and most events are), media outreach can help with SEO. Most news and media outlets are valued in Google's eyes, so if you can place a story and earn a link back to your site, your page will gain traction. Do a little outreach to journalists and bloggers in the area, and send along all of the valuable info and interesting tidbits they need to know.
For certain event (larger events, festivals, etc), you'll want to think about optimization in the App Store. Think of the App Store as a search engine, too — and optimize your page so people can find your event app (you have a great custom event app, right? If not, let’s talk). Make sure you have descriptive keywords in your app name, subtitle, promotional text and description.
*Again, this is only for certain event types. Talk to your event tech provider about whether this is right for you.
Always remember to create content that serves your audience, first and foremost. SEO should supplement your overall web strategy, not define it. Content created only for search engines is easy to spot and it won't be popular with your audience or search engines! And if you’re looking for more event marketing tips and tricks, we have 17 more ideas on the MeetingPlay blog!