The internet landscape continues to make drastic changes as new technologies are developed, artificial intelligence (AI) is implemented and social media expands beyond its existing boundaries. For event organizers, these changes may be as worrisome as a thunderstorm in Australia (unless, of course, you’re actually in Australia). My point is that your event’s sponsors and attendees are using the internet to search for events to sponsor and attend. How will they find yours?
Google’s algorithm is the main reason marketing on social media is exploding right now. Google’s algorithm is making it impossible for new websites to reach page one, which means no free organic traffic. So, after learning that gaining free organic traffic from Google search is not really an option, how do you plan on getting customers to your website?”
In the above quote from Austin Lawson, it’s clear that Google controls the vast majority of your customers’ search results. It is the 800-pound gorilla. Maybe you don’t worry about search engine results for your events, using email marketing instead. But if you’re like us, the majority of your customers are using Gmail accounts, which are still controlled by Google. In other words: Comply or die.
RELATED STORY: Event website and SEO best practices for meeting pros
What is search engine optimization (SEO) and why should you care?
To think about SEO for events in 2019, start by appreciating that the amount of content being created on the world wide web every day is greater than 2.5 quintillion bytes. Google processes over 40,000 searches a second. Yes, a second. In a vast sea of information, how will your conference website be found? And how will it make a great impression so your members, customers and sponsors want to open their wallets and pay for your live content rather than another conference?
Here are a few tips to make sure your event is displayed by search engines:
- Use the same domain name (in other words, the website address before the .com or .org) for your event every year. You’ll earn domain authority because Google weighs domains that have been in existence for a period of time. If you make up new domains for every new event, you’ll be at the bottom of the search pile when a potential attendee runs a search.
- Describe your event at the very top of the event home page and use meta tags on your event pages if you have more than one page. Why? Because if you aren’t writing your own meta tags and telling Google what content is important, the search engines will scan all of your copy on the pages and determine what they think the purpose of the page is.
Search Engine Watch says, “…meta tags offer more details about your site to search engines and website visitors who encounter your site in the [search engine results]. They can be optimized to highlight the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in search results.”
RELATED STORY: Event marketing strategies for tough economic times
How could this go wrong?
Imagine a situation where a capital markets conference is confused with a conference for grocers. The search engine could see “market” and just assume it’s a retail store when in reality the capital markets refer to inter-bank lending and such. The grocery conferences will be intermixed with finance conferences because the word “market” was ill-appropriated.
- Thirdly, you may want to consider listing your conference or trade show on an event listing site. You see, backlinks are another way Google and other search engines decide whether a website is reputable. Over time, they’ve come to determine that sites that are referred to have clout and authority. If your event is listed on Convention Nation, for example, you’ll earn a free backlink back to your site. And by re-linking back to us (for example, “proudly listed on Convention Nation”), you’ll share the referral authority.
Staying up to date on modern search engine tactics is time-consuming and frustrating, but it’s the best way to attract your customers, your attendees and your sponsors who are using search engines to see what other people are doing.
RELATED STORY: Twitter event marketing 101
If you’d like to discuss ways your event can be matched with Convention Nation attendee members, feel free to set up a call. We’ll discuss how your event is best marketed to our audience and make some suggestions. The goal is to increase your attendee satisfaction score so you can win more sponsorships.