Looking for more ways to increase the number of registrations or ticket sales for your events? Or are you an event planner looking to improve attendee engagement in your next event?
SEO, or search engine optimization, can be a great way for event marketers to drive more traffic to your event website so you can achieve all these goals above.
The idea behind using SEO to promote events is simple: people nowadays often turn to Google (or other search engines) to look for information on everything, including when they are looking for an event to attend.
With that being said, by optimizing your event website and landing pages to rank higher on Google and other search engines, you can attract these searchers and drive them to your website. The hope is that some of them will register for your event and buy your tickets.
However, especially for event planners not familiar with SEO or digital marketing, SEO can be very complex to plan and execute. If that’s where you are struggling, this is where this guide can help you.
In this ultimate guide to SEO for event marketing, we will discuss all you need to know about how to plan and run an SEO strategy to promote your event.
By the end of this guide, you’d have learned about the following:
- Understanding SEO as event planners
- How to do keyword research for SEO
- How to optimize your content and your website’s technical factors
- Local SEO for event planners
- Link-building and off-page SEO
- Leveraging your event management software to optimize event pages and websites for SEO
- Measuring SEO performance and adjusting your strategy accordingly
Without further ado, let us begin this guide with the basics: what is SEO, and how it affects event marketing?
Understanding SEO for Event Marketing
To effectively use SEO to promote event marketing, it’s important to first understand what SEO is.
In layman’s terms, SEO is a series of optimizations made to your website and its content so that the website can rank higher on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs.)
In practice, Google (and other search engines) uses a specific algorithm—the search algorithm—to determine which websites to rank for different search queries based on hundreds of factors. However, all of these measured factors are based on the same objective:
Providing the best, most relevant search result for the searcher
So, if you want your event website to rank high, you basically need to ensure only two things:
- That Google or other search engines can access, crawl, and index your site. And to ensure they understood all elements of your website accurately.
- Optimizing your website for a better user experience and ensuring your content meets your target audience’s needs and preferences
Of course, achieving these two can be easier said than done, but once we understand that SEO is essentially about ensuring only these two things: user experience and indexability, then we can have a clearer insight into how we should plan the SEO strategy for event marketing.
Debunking Common SEO Myths and Misconceptions
It’s also a good time to debunk some common SEO myths and misconceptions that event planners should avoid:
Myth: More keywords equals better ranking
Reality: while targeting relevant keywords is definitely important for any SEO campaign, overloading content with too many keywords can be counterproductive. In fact, this practice—called keyword stuffing— is considered unethical by Google and may result in a penalty.
When optimizing content for keywords, it’s important to do so not at the expense of content quality and especially readability. Include your keywords naturally and sparingly so it won’t harm your SEO efforts.
Myth: SEO is a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it effort
Reality: SEO is a long-term game, and it requires ongoing effort, attention, and continuous optimization.
Both user/searcher behavior and search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, so it’s important to continually monitor your rankings, search traffic, engagement metrics, and other relevant metrics so you can make informed decisions to adjust your SEO strategies accordingly.
Myth: SEO is all about link building
Reality: While it’s true that link building—the efforts to get backlinks to the website is indeed important, it is not the only important thing.
You do need to get more backlinks from high-quality, relevant sources, but creating high-quality content, optimizing your website’s technical factors, and proper optimization for keywords are all also critical for achieving SEO success.
Myth: SEO is all about tricking the search algorithm
Reality: While it’s true that there are unethical black-hat (or grey-hat) SEO practices like keyword stuffing, paid links, etc., successful and sustainable SEO is about creating high-quality, valuable, and relevant content that meets the target audience’s search intent and needs.
Real SEO shouldn’t focus on tricks and gaming the system, but focus on creating great content and optimizing the website so that it is as user-friendly as possible. This is the only way to achieve long-term success in SEO.
SEO for Event Planners: Step-by-Step
Now that we’ve debunked the common SEO myths and misconceptions, we can start the main section of the guide. Below, we will discuss how to plan and execute SEO for your event page and website in a step-by-step guide.
Let’s start with the first step:
Step 1. Identifying target audience and keyword research
A great SEO website and content is one that caters to its target audience’s needs and search intent. So, it’s simply impossible to have a winning SEO strategy if you don’t know who your target audience is.
With that being said, how can you identify the SEO target audience? You can follow these tips:
✅ Identify your event goals
What are the purpose and goals/objectives of hosting this event? What do you hope to achieve from the event?
Also, consider the type of event you should host that will be the most effective and appropriate in achieving these goals.
After you’ve answered all these questions, you should have at least a rough idea of who your event is most likely to appeal to.
For example, if you are planning a fundraising event to support a certain cause, the target audience will be donors or community members who care about this specific cause.
✅ Leverage analytics tools
Provided you already have a working website and social media profiles with a substantial amount of followers, you can use tools like Google Analytics or the built-in analytics of social media platforms to gather data about your website visitors and/or social media followers.
Identify trends and patterns in this data. For example, in gender, age, location, interests, or other demographic factors. This can provide you with valuable insights into who is most likely to be interested in your events.
✅ Surveys, interviews, focus group discussions
If possible, conduct surveys (offline/online) to, or invite attendees of your previous events for interviews. Alternatively, you can invite multiple past attendees for a focus group discussion.
You can ask them questions like what they liked most about the event they’ve attended and anything they disliked. You can use tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey to easily conduct online surveys in a cost-effective manner.
✅ Competitive analysis
Another effective approach to identifying your event’s target audience is to analyze your competitors.
Start by identifying other events that are similar to yours (in size, type, location, etc.), then identify this event’s target audience. You can look at their social media accounts, websites, or other marketing materials to see who they are targeting.
Also, look at reviews and feedback for your competitors’ past events. Identify the demographics of the reviewers, and look for common concerns and complaints to help you make informed decisions on planning your own event.
✅ Create buyer personas
A buyer persona is a detailed, fictional profile of your ideal audience (in this case, the ideal attendee for your event.) Use the other techniques discussed above to create a detailed buyer persona that includes at least the following information:
- Demographics: gender, age, education level, occupation/income level, etc.
- Motivations/goals: what are their motivations for attending your event? Network with others? Learning new skills? Entertainment?
- Pain points/challenges: what challenges are the individual facing, and how can your events help solve them? For example, are they looking to advance their career or expand their network? Or are they trying to acquire a new skill?
- Interests and hobbies: their hobbies and interests outside of work. This information can help you design a more engaging event experience.
- Purchase behavior: how does this individual make their purchase decision? For example, are they budget-conscious? Will they be okay with spending more for more convenience or a memorable experience?
✅ Conduct proper keyword research
Once you have identified who your event’s ideal audience is, we can move on to the next step: keyword research.
Keyword research is, simply put, an effort to identify the words and phrases this target audience will use when they search for information related to events.
Although there are various keyword research techniques and methods available, here are the basic steps you can use:
- Step 1: brainstorm a list of potential keywords. Start by brainstorming a list of generic keywords (or seed keywords) related to your event’s niche or industry. For example, you can list keywords related to your event’s theme, type, location, name (if it’s already a prominent brand), relevant topics, speakers, and so on.
- Step 2: leverage keyword research tools. You can use various keyword research tools, from the free Google Keyword Planner to paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or others, to help with your keyword research purpose. Type in the seed keywords you’ve identified above to the keyword research tool, and they will come up with suggestions for more keywords, complete with important metrics like search volume and competition difficulty.
- Step 3: competitive analysis. Search your identified target keywords on Google or other search engines, and take notes of the website ranking on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). These are your competitors. Using the keyword research tool, you can analyze their websites and see which keywords they are ranking for. This can help you identify any gaps in your own keyword strategy and opportunities.
- Step 4: Identify long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords and longer, more specific keywords that you can target. They typically have lower search volume but are easier to rank for besides better matching the target audience’s specific intent. Try to identify potential long-tail keywords you can target. For example, instead of targeting “networking event,” you could target “networking event in [city] in December 2023”
- Step 5: Prioritize. Now that you’ve had the final list of keywords, you can prioritize keywords based on relevance to your event, potential impact, search volume, competition (keyword difficulty), or other criteria. In general, prioritize keywords with high search volume but low difficulty.
Step 2. On-page and off-page optimization
Once you’ve identified your target keywords, you can start optimizing your website and its content.
We can divide SEO optimizations into two: on-page and off-page optimizations. Below, we will explore them one by one.
✅ On-page optimization
On-page optimization refers to any efforts made on the website to improve its SEO performance. There is a wide variety of optimizations across many different aspects, but all of them have two main objectives:
- Making sure your website is crawlable by the search engine crawler bots and that they can understand your content properly (including what keywords you are targeting).
- Making sure your website offers an optimal user experience, and the content included is valuable and relevant for your target audience.
To achieve these two objectives, we can further divide on-page optimization into two: content optimization and technical optimization:
✅ On-page content optimization
To optimize your event website (or event page) for search engines, a key practice is to incorporate your target keywords naturally into your content and metadata.
Here are some best practices for optimizing content on your event websites:
- Make sure your content is relevant, high-quality, informative, and engaging
- Naturally include your target keywords in the following areas, but don’t sacrifice readability. Focus on making your content compelling, engaging, and informative for human readers:
- Meta description
- Heading tags (H1, H2, H3,…). Also, properly use heading tags to structure your content and make it more readable for both search engines and users
- Content body
- Alt tags of non-text content like images and videos
- Use multimedia elements such as images, videos, and infographics to enhance engagement
- Compress large files (images, videos) and eliminate unnecessary codes to improve page speed
- Link to relevant pages on your websites (internal links) and to relevant, reputable websites (external links)
- Monitor and update your content regularly to ensure it remains relevant and fresh
✅ On-page technical optimization
In addition to content optimization, optimizing the technical aspects of your website is critical for success.
Here are some tips for optimizing the technical factors of your event website:
- Use a mobile-responsive theme, template, or design to make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Optimize your page speed. Use Google PageSpeed Insights to assess your website’s speed performance and optimize accordingly by compressing images/videos, reducing server response time, minifying codes, etc.
- Use descriptive URLs. Include your target keywords when you can, but focus on being descriptive.
- Maintain a clear and organized structure so the search engines can easily crawl, navigate, and index your website.
✅ Off-page optimization
Contrary to on-page SEO, off-page SEO refers to any efforts made outside the event website to improve its search performance.
The main objective of off-page SEO is to build authority. The more credible and trustworthy the website is in front of search engine algorithms and users, the higher it will rank.
Here are some key aspects of off-page SEO:
- Link-building: getting other reputable and high-quality websites to link back to the event website. Search engine algorithms view backlinks as votes of confidence or endorsements. When a website links to another, this website is saying that the linked website is credible, trustworthy, and recommended, so it will improve the search ranking.
- Social media marketing: social signals (shares, likes, etc.) are not a direct ranking factor, but can help drive traffic to the website, increase its visibility, and build brand awareness.
- Online directories: listing your event on event directories and online business directories can help improve your local search rankings (i.e., on Google Maps.) We’ll discuss more of this in the next sections.
The key to a successful off-page SEO is creating valuable, linkable, and shareable content that naturally attracts mentions and links from other websites and social media profiles. In short, as long as your website meets your target audience’s expectations,
Step 3. Leveraging event management software
In this step, we will discuss leveraging event management software to improve your website’s user experience and reliability, which is essential for SEO success. Eventtia is an event management solution that offers website builder tools that can be a game-changer. Here are some ways Eventtia can help with SEO optimization:
- SEO-friendly website builder: Eventtia provides an SEO-friendly website builder that allows you to easily optimize your URLs, meta tags, and meta descriptions to make them more search-friendly.
- Keyword optimization: Eventtia allows you to identify and track keywords related to your event, and offers suggestions for optimizing your content for those keywords.
- Content creation: Eventtia makes it easy to create and publish high-quality content, such as blog posts and landing pages, that is tailored to your target audience and optimized for search engines.
- Analytics: Eventtia provides detailed analytics and reports on your event website’s traffic and performance.
By leveraging the built-in SEO features and tools available in Eventtia, you can save time in executing your SEO efforts while improving your results. Ultimately, this will enhance your online presence, drive more registrations, and maximize your event attendance.
Step 4. Local SEO for events
If your event is targeting mainly a local audience (which is the case for most events), then you should incorporate local SEO into your marketing strategy.
When you are searching for queries like “event [city],” Google will offer results like this:
Being featured as one of these results can significantly boost your event’s visibility and potential registration. So how can we achieve this?
Here are some tips:
✅ List your event in directories and ticketing sites
List your event in reputable ticketing sites and event directories in your area. For example, TicketMaster or LiveNation, depending on the type of your event. Listing and verifying your event planner business on Google Business will also help.
✅ Use keywords effectively
Include local-related keywords (i.e., event [city] [month], concert [city], etc.) throughout your event page/website and your listing. Use variations of the main keywords throughout the event description and meta description.
✅ Add accurate information
Add accurate event information, such as location, start and end dates, and others. Make sure to be consistent if you are listing your event on multiple sites/platforms.
✅ Use event structured data markup
Use appropriate schema.org markup on your event website. Structured data markups make it easier for search engine bots to understand what your web page is about, so adding event-related markups such as location, event name, start/end dates, event image, performer name, etc., can increase the likelihood of your event being featured in these carousel results and local search results.
✅ Track and optimize your listings
Use Google Search Console or other tools to keep track of your event listing.
However, remember that it may take some time for local SEO results to show up. Therefore, we recommend that you publish your event pages and optimize your event listings as soon as possible.
Step 5. Measuring Success and Adjusting Your Strategy
Since SEO is a long-term game, it’s crucial to continuously keep track of your event website and listing’s SEO performance. By doing so, you can identify potential areas for improvement and ensure long-term success. Here are some ways you can do this:
✅ Monitor organic traffic
Organic traffic refers to the number of visitors that come to the website by clicking on search results on the search engine results pages (SERPs). It is one of the most important metrics to monitor when assessing the success of your SEO strategy. Your organic traffic should climb gradually in proportion to your search ranking increase, and you should monitor whether you are attracting the right audience.
✅ Track search rankings
Search ranking refers to where your website appears in search engine results for specific keywords or phrases. Your search rankings should climb gradually over time. Tracking this metric will allow you to assess whether you are targeting the right keywords and whether your SEO strategy is working.
✅ Monitor click-through rate (CTR)
CTR is the percentage of people who click on your website link in SERPs after seeing it in search results. A high CTR indicates that your website is relevant to the search query and is meeting their search intent. By monitoring your CTR, you can see whether your website’s title and meta description are effectively communicating the value of your content or products.
✅ Measure conversion rate
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your website who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter, or filling out a form. Measuring this can help you identify areas for improvement in your website design, content, or user experience.
You can leverage tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and SEMrush to monitor these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the success of your SEO strategy. Failure to regularly assess your SEO strategy may result in missed opportunities for growth and profitability.
Whether you are a seasoned event planner or a novice, our comprehensive guide on SEO for event marketing will equip you with the necessary knowledge and tools to succeed. It features insights from industry experts and data-driven strategies to help you elevate your SEO efforts. This guide is the ultimate resource for those looking to enhance their skills in this area.
And if you’re looking for a powerful tool to help you implement these SEO strategies, look no further than Eventtia. Our all-in-one event management platform is designed to simplify the event planning process and help you achieve your goals.