In May 2017 Google unveiled Event Search for the U.S. market. It is the search giant’s latest product which aims to shorten the path between clicking the “search” button and setting eyes on the desired information.
Google Event Search puts every event company on notice. The shorter search sequence means more convenience for the user, but it also comes with additional work for event marketing professionals. Under the new regime, they have to implement additional mark-up on their event pages and follow a clear set of best practices in order to make it on the coveted Google Event Search list. Read on to find out how to maximize the potential of this powerful new tool!
What is Google Event Search?
Google Event Search is to event marketing what Knowledge Graph was to content marketing: the user searches puts in a query and, alongside the usual page-ranked results, a panel with readily digestible, actionable information in the form of “smart cards” appears. Each smart card presents an event with a meaningful headline, location, date and time, and other relevant details like tickets or pictures. Clicking on a smart card takes the user to the source page.
Needless to say, making your way into the Google Event Search panel can do wonders for your online event promotion. It is not rocket science, but there are some details and tricks to it. Here is the breakdown.
Google Event markup
In order to get your event to show up in relevant Google Search and Google Maps queries, you need to apply the appropriate markup to your event page (click here for an example on how to do this manually). If you have a number of different events already listed on your website, you might want to resort to Google’s Data Highlighter instead. It will crawl the designated event pages and introduce the appropriate markup for a stellar Event Search appearance.
To ensure there are no technical obstacles to your event turning into an attractive smart card on Google Event Search, your event page must consist of structured data items–refer to this guide on event types. There are some required properties to include like location, name or starting date as well as a host of recommended properties, such as a description, an image and ticketing information. (Go here for full details direct from Google.)
The other requirement is for each of your events to have a unique URL and the corresponding event markup associated to that URL.
Once your markup is in place, you should optimise your content as well. First and foremost, make sure you have described the event accurately; give it a meaningful title and a succinct, catchy synopsis. Make the location, date, and time explicit, and add a booking link.
It may be tempting to present non-events as events to gain additional exposure. Limited-time offers or discounts on certain services, however, are not true events, and Google will not list them as a rich card in Event Search. They will still appear in the regular search results; however, we would never recommend such erroneous labelling.
If you are hosting a multi-day event, make sure to add both the start and end dates. Separate sub-events with individual ticketing, on the other hand, require unique URLs.
Follow the recommendations above and take your event promotion to the next level!