HomeSEOSEO for Event Planners: Attracting Attendees and Clients

SEO for Event Planners: Attracting Attendees and Clients

SEO is a method of driving traffic to one’s website. By employing SEO service, event planners can increase their website traffic, thus increasing their probability of securing more clients. Increased traffic and higher search engine rankings are directly related. Research shows that the majority of search engine users only click on results from the first page. Most users seldom proceed to the second page. So where a site ranks in a search is essential for directing more traffic toward the site. High traffic results in higher visibility and increased exposure. These directly link to higher sales. SEO strategies help event planners to accomplish the following: attract more clients, increase brand awareness, attract more attendees for events, and increase chances of gaining feedback on events.

Event planners are immersed in a volatile global business. The survival and prosperity of their business depends on staying ahead of the competition. A difficult task considering the industry is highly competitive – there are often twenty or more event planners in any given area. Additionally, the global nature of the event planning business provides direct competition abroad. There are several tools and strategies event planners can employ to secure a competitive advantage. One such tool is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Optimizing Event Websites

When speaking about SEO, your website is the cornerstone of your strategy. It is of paramount importance to ensure that your website is optimized for the search engines in all aspects ranging from the structure and design to the content. Building upon the earlier fundamentals of how search engines operate, this section of the book will explain the best practices of on-page optimization. On-page optimization is concerned with changes you can physically make to your website to make it more search engine friendly. This is not to be confused with off-page optimization, something which I will be covering in the next section of the book. Successful on-page optimization will create a website which both users and the search engines will find relevant. The relevance of course is a key factor in the ranking algorithm. Aim to have a website with relevant content on a specific topic, this will give you the best chance of achieving better rankings for that topic. A common mistake here is to spread information and keywords over too many topics and subtopics, try to keep focused on a specific topic, it’s easier for you to plan and it’s easier for the search engines to identify what your site is about. This in turn will give you a better chance at achieving good rankings. In order to identify the most relevant topic and hence the most relevant keywords for each page of your site I would recommend using the Google Keyword Tool. This free tool is a great way to find out how many people are searching for a specific keyword and it also gives suggestions for related keywords that you may not have thought about. When using this tool, go for the keywords with the highest search volume, the higher the volume, the more potential traffic. Once you have determined your keywords, the next step is to assign them to specific pages on your site. Each page should be focusing on a different keyword, again to keep relevance in mind. A simple way to do this is to make a list of the keywords and ensure that no keyword has more than 2-3 other closely related keywords, this should make it simpler to assign them to specific pages.

Keyword Research

Keywords are the foundational element of search engine optimization, and without thorough understanding and implementation of related phrases for your industry, your chances of achieving significant organic site traffic are slim. The first step in growing a keywords list is to pick the right phrases. One high-quality way to achieve this is to actually brainstorm a list of every possible keyword and phrase that would be applicable to your business and the phrases that a potential client may type into a search engine to find your services. Once you have a comprehensive list of potential search phrases, the next step is to determine how popular each is by considering what people are likely to search for when looking for your type of services. This can be done by checking what are the most often searched terms used by your current visitors with internet analytics software, direct input from clients whether they are past or present to see which terms they would use to find your services, and there are also numerous keyword research tools available such as Foundrelate in which may provide data on estimated search volume. When narrowing down keywords, you should also consider the competitiveness of each word and how well your website can compete on SERPs for each keyword. It is better to prioritize less competitive phrases where it is easier to achieve a higher organic search ranking. This is typically done by targeting specific long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is a more specific search phrase that generally contains at least three to five words and therefore is more specific. Tailoring your website to include content specifically based on these long-tail keywords can help move your site to the top of SERPs for those specific terms, ultimately resulting in a higher rate of conversion from visitor to customer. For example, a photography business looking to reach wedding customers may want to target a specific long-tail keyword such as “other half photography package”, which will be entered by people specifically searching for that service. Once a list of final keywords has been selected, the final step is to obtain user buy-in. This is because it is important that staff are in alignment on the terminology that is being used on the site. If multiple variations of a keyword are used throughout a website, this can lead to keyword cannibalization in the on-site SEO where multiple pages are competing for the same keyword. This will make it difficult for users to navigate to a specific service and confuses search engine crawlers in terms of which page to index for that keyword. A single page should be focused with a main keyword and variations of that keyword.

On-Page Optimization

Finally, the most challenging task may be integrating the keywords into the on-page content. It is recommended that you assign 2-3 hours per page to brainstorm a strategy to integrate keywords into the content in a readable and organic method. The worst thing you can do is implement spam tactics with keywords, as this will definitely result in a lower search engine rank. A fantastic new tool to ensure the integrity of keyword content is AlchemyAPI.

The next step is to take these keywords and integrate them into the website. This can be done through meta tags, title pages, or on-page content. For meta tags, assign each page with 5-8 keywords, ensuring that these are the most relevant to the page subject. Title pages must be concise and attractive, providing the user with an idea of what they can expect from the page. Title pages are very valuable in terms of search engines and their ability to assign rank to the pages.

To optimize the event planner’s website, select the keywords that your potential clients are typing into the search engines to find your services. You can use tools from Google, Yahoo, and Bing to do this research, such as Google Adwords tool. The recommendation is that you focus on 2-5 keywords per page to ensure optimization for each. Select keywords that have a high search volume and low competition to ensure maximum exposure.

User Experience Enhancement

One of the most important factors in getting a user to read your site is the headline and the snippet. By ensuring that the page’s meta tags are being used to generate the best possible snippet, you can improve the quality and quantity of the traffic that is being driven to your event pages. Although it may not be possible to get a high ranking event page to be indexed with a rich snippet, a carefully planned snippet with the right event keywords can still bring in good traffic from the free listings on local events.

The first step to enhancing user experience is to identify who the users are, what they are looking for, and what keywords they are using to find what they are looking for. This means going beyond the keywords that attract clients and also targeting relevant keywords for the events. Once you’ve identified who your users are and what they are looking for, the next step is to give them what they are looking for, in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

The goal of a search engine is not only to find a site, but to find a site that is relevant and good for the user. Most search engines judge a site based partially on how long a user stays on the site, and if the user goes deeper into the pages of the site. An event planner that optimizes their site for search engines must also optimize their site for the users. If the site for a planner’s services ranks highly on search engines, but does not satisfy the user, it will not bring in new customers.

Leveraging Social Media for SEO

Social media, if used correctly, can act as a magnet for targeted traffic, along with providing a public relations function. If you update content often and interact with users, your social media pages can amass large numbers of followers. Each follower is a potential attendee or client within your target market, and as followers recommend the page to friends, this increases the likelihood that they will find your site when searching for similar events. You may cater to several different segments or demographics with your event, and social media can provide a way to engage each unique group. Measures such as Facebook fan page advertising cater to specific criteria, often at a low cost, than traditional advertising would. Finally, social media, more than any other form of online promotion, can foster brand loyalty and repeat customers with continued interaction and incentives.

Social media can be a very powerful tool for enhancing both your event and your website in the very crowded internet marketplace. The creation of more and more Web 2.0 type sites means that it’s possible to not only promote your event, but potentially improve your website’s search engine ranking position (SERP) so long as you integrate certain key elements. Creating accounts on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube can act as a type of “secondary” search engine results page, one that can dominate the first page of Google results for your event and provide event and even providing an event microsite with additional exposure.

Creating Engaging Content

You want to create the kind of content that you see those clickbait “You won’t believe what happened next!” headlines about. You want content that stands out and makes people wanting and willing to click and find out more. Creating this media is easier said than done but it starts by asking the right questions. What are your clients interested in? What information do they need to know about your product or service, and how can you make that information entertaining and interesting? Imagine you are talking to a close friend or family member about your service or product, how would you explain it to them? This will help you understand the tone of voice your content will take. Next, you have to know your audience. Understanding the traits of your current customers will help you reach more like-minded people. What educational and professional backgrounds do they have? What are their interests? What age group do they fall into? By understanding the traits of your audience you can better relate to them with the language you use, the type of humor you may incorporate, and the general attitude and message of the content. Finally, you have to understand what separates your brand from the competition and make that message clear in everything that you do. Vague and cliché marketing will not make a lasting impression on your audience and it certainly will not pique the interest of said audience. What is it that makes your product or brand superior and how can you explain that in an entertaining, interesting, and relatable manner? By following these three steps and applying them no matter what type of content you are creating, you will be well on your way to creating engaging content that will successfully drive traffic towards your brand or product.

Building a Strong Social Media Presence

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest internet marketing trends, then I don’t need to tell you that social media is huge. If you haven’t – well, take my word for it. I know that “get on Facebook!” is not something you would expect to hear in a guide to SEO for event planners, but social media and SEO are in fact becoming increasingly intertwined; social media profiles are now commonly amongst the top results in search engine listings. Twitter’s recent partnership with Google and Bing to include tweets in search results is just one example of the growing connection between social media and SEO. So in order to improve your search engine ranking, it is imperative that you have a dynamic social media presence. Start with the basic (and obvious) stuff; if you don’t already have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc, then create them. Make sure they are all uniform with your brand or company name and fill them out fully with address, contact information, pictures etc. This is an important step, as fully completed social profiles are often amongst the first results for brand names in search engines. After you’ve completed your profiles, it’s time to start posting and building a fan base. The first rule here is still following the foundational rule of SEO – namely do not sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s better to post one truly attention grabbing or funny post or tweet than it is to spam banal updates. Post your own content, whether it be event details, blog posts, or information about the services you offer. Entice people with contests, or special offers for people who share or retweet your posts. Captivate your audience with video or picture posts; infographics are particularly shareable bits of content, and sharing is what you want. Remember that the more people that share or like your content, the more it will show up in search results. Building an active fan base and having your content shared is the key to social media SEO. It’s a constantly changing landscape in which you need to adapt to new trends and learn quickly. Do some research on your own, or maybe even hire a social media consultant if it is in your budget. Just be sure that you don’t get left behind.

Local SEO for Event Planners

A tactic for local SEO is to ensure that your business is found on Google maps. According to comScore, searches on Google Maps drive more than 150 million searches per month. However, many local business listings are only basic information and many are not claimed by business owners. So to maximize the impact of this tactic, you should ensure that your business is listed with the correct information and then claim the listing. If you are targeting multiple areas for your events or have an office or store, you should list this too.

First and foremost, local search drives event business. In fact, a recent TMP/comScore study found that there are 3.5 billion annual searches on Google that have local intent. These include people searching for products and services in their own cities or neighborhoods. According to the Kelsey Group, 74% of Internet users perform local searches. Of these, 61% then go on to make a purchase. If you are an event planner who can obtain visibility in the search engines when prospects are looking for your service in your area, you can increase foot traffic at your events. So, the name of the game is to associate your service with given location.

When you are marketing your events, local search engine optimization can be an ingredient of your marketing efforts. Let’s elaborate.

Claiming Local Business Listings

To claim your business listing, first do a search for your business name and location with Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Some businesses might have listings already but are not actually claimed by the business owner, so you will need to contact the website to claim a listing that is already there. If you do not have a listing, then it will be a matter of creating one. In doing so, you will certainly be asked to fill in information such as the services your business provides, the hours of operation, business contact information, and a brief description. The depth of information you can provide in a business listing is quite a lot, so if you have the time, it is a good idea to spend time providing as much information as possible. Work on creating listings with websites that give you a quality link as well as potentially bringing in more traffic. For example, a well-filled-out listing with Yelp can result in a quality link. This is also a time to search for niche directories tailored to your industry and input a listing there. Moving forward, new business owners or businesses moving location or changing information should always remember to update their listings for the best, accurate results.

The first step in optimizing your local search engine results actually has nothing to do with your website. This method is available to any business and just requires an investment of your time. This is claiming your local business listings. A local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and other details. There are thousands of websites and directories where local business owners are allowed to create free business listings. Some you may already have heard of such as Google+ Local, Yelp, Bing Places, Internet yellow pages, and Yahoo! Local. There are many more that are worth your time to ensure your business is listed. This is because many of the sites rank highly and having a business listed with them can ensure better visibility on the search engine.

Obtaining Positive Reviews

Planners often assume that obtaining positive reviews is solely dependent on the level of service they provide. While this is a substantial factor, it is not the only way to ensure happy clients spread the good word. Having satisfied customers is very important, but those who are most satisfied often will not go out of their way to leave a review. Planners need to make it as easy and convenient as possible for clients to leave positive feedback. recommends adding a feedback form onto the end of the event website, making it available through email, or even mailing a hard copy. They also suggest a more direct approach, asking clients at the end of an event “how did we do?”. This allows clients to discuss any complaints privately before going public and also offers a chance for the planner to fix any issues. A simple satisfied or dissatisfied check box with a comments section allows for both positive and negative feedback in which the happy customer will likely spread the word to others and the dissatisfied will have given the planner a chance to try and win them back. Offering incentives can also help wary clients to take the time to review. Qtech Software suggests a small gift, discount, or entry into a prize drawing in exchange for a review.

latest articles

explore more