Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are constantly changing, but it’s worth the effort to optimize your event website for search engines. Think of it this way – how do you find products, services, and even events? Most likely, you open up your internet browser, visit your preferred search engine, and type in some keywords to find what you’re looking for.
Guess what? That’s exactly what people do when they’re looking for a specific event or just something to do this weekend! Bottom-line, to boost ticket sales for your event, you need people to visit your event website, and to do that, you need to make sure people can find your event when they do a Google search.
The majority of traffic to most websites comes from Google search results pages (particularly the first page of results). Getting your event website to the top of Google search results isn’t easy, but with a bit of time and focused effort, you can do it. Following are five SEO hacks to boost traffic to your event website so you can sell more tickets.
Keywords are the words people type into search engines to find web pages. If someone is looking for an air show in Melbourne, Florida, they might type a specific air show’s name into the Google search box, or they might type in something more generic like “air show Melbourne” or “air show Florida”. The trick is to determine the keyword phrases people who might like to attend your event would use, and then, use those keywords strategically in your event website.
First, you need to pick the keywords you’re going to target. You can do that using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. Just create a free Google AdWords account, sign in, and you can use the tool. Begin by adding some keywords and keyword phrases into the text box inside the tool, and select the targeting location, which would be the city or region where your event will be held.
You’ll get a list of keyword and keyword phrase suggestions based on the keywords you entered. You can sort these results by the number of average monthly searches to see which get the most searches. The goal is to choose keyword phrases that have a large search volume and low competition for advertising bids.
Once you select your keywords and keyword phrases, target a page on your event website to each keyword. For example, if one of the air show keywords in your results list is “air show Melbourne”, then a page on your website should be optimized for that keyword phrase. To do this, you need to write quality content (see #2 below) and use the keyword in specific places on the page in order to send signals to Google. Use the phrase in the following places:
- In the page’s title tag
- In the page’s meta description
- In one or more header tags on the page (e.g., H1 and H2)
- In image Alt-tag text on the page
- In the page’s URL
All of these keyword placements help search engines understand what your page is about. Just be careful not to over-stuff a page with a keyword or you could do more harm than good. Google views keyword stuffing as a spam tactic and will penalize your site for it or ban your site from search results entirely. Also, don’t try to hide keywords in very small text or a color that matches the background. Google considers hidden text to be spam and will penalize your site for it.
2. Quality, Originality and Freshness
Getting more search traffic to your event website requires that you build an authoritative and trustworthy website. One of the ways Google and other search engines evaluate your site in their ranking algorithms is by analyzing the number of incoming links from other websites to your site. The logic is simple. No one would link to a page that is useless, so if a lot of other sites are linking to pages in your website, then the search algorithm assumes it must be good. This is where quality and originality matter – a lot.
First, the content on your website must be very good. Each page should be written to rank well for a specific keyword or keyword phrase. Make sure the content on that page is laser-focused, uses the keyword phrase multiple times, and includes enough text for Google to actually be able to evaluate. A page with a hundred words doesn’t give Google enough text to analyze in order to determine what the page is truly about. If you want a page to rank in Google, it must be comprehensive.
Second, never publish duplicate content on your event website. Google penalizes sites that publish duplicate content and might even ban your site from its search results if you’re caught doing it. Instead, always make sure your content is original and has not been published anywhere else online.
Third, Google likes fresh content. With that in mind, add a blog to your website, so you can consistently publish new, high quality, and original content. If you can’t add a blog (and I highly recommend that you do), update the pages on your website when you have new, useful information to add.
The majority of search traffic comes from mobile devices in 2017, so it’s imperative that your event website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, Google will give it a lower ranking in search results. Therefore, you should check the following things at a minimum to ensure your site is mobile-optimized:
- It uses a responsive or other mobile-optimized design.
- The pages load quickly (page load speed matters for non-mobile, too).
- The site doesn’t use Flash or pop-ups.
- The site doesn’t block images, Java, or CSS.
Review your event website and test it on multiple mobile devices to ensure it displays correctly and loads quickly before you start selling tickets!
When using an SSL certificate, which encrypts and secures a website, a site is shown with “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP” in the URL within the browser search box. There was a time when only sites that collected private, sensitive data from visitors, such as credit card information, needed to use SSL certificates to ensure their sites were secure. Today, it has some importance for SEO as well. In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS was a search ranking signal – albeit a small one.
If you sell tickets through your event website but your site doesn’t use an SSL certificate and does not display HTTPS, you need to change that immediately. Adding security to your event website protects it from third parties, encrypts data and communications, and authenticates communications between the website and server. It can also help your Google search rankings.
5. Off-Page Signals
Google also uses signals off of your website to rank your site’s pages in searches. Most importantly, these off-page signals tell Google how authoritative and trustworthy your site is, and Google gives authoritative, trustworthy sites higher rankings in search results. The two most important ways to build off-page SEO signals is by generating backlinks and social shares.
Backlinks are incoming links from other sites. When another website links to yours within its content, your event website gets a backlink. The more backlinks, the better because Google’s algorithm sees the content everyone wants to link to as more authoritative than other pages with similar information that no one links to. Also, the more authoritative the site that links to you, the better for your rankings. Another way to generate backlinks is by writing guest blog posts for other sites and contacting other websites asking to be featured on their sites as part of your public relations efforts.
Social media also plays an important part in boosting your website’s authority. The more people who share the content from your event website, the more chances there are for other sites to write about it and link to your site. It also boosts the overall traffic to your website. Together, all of these activities help to boost your authority, search rankings, traffic, and ticket sales.
Some Words of Caution about SEO Hacks
Keep in mind, SEO isn’t a quick activity, nor is it a once-and-done activity. It takes weeks (and sometimes months) to rank on the first page for a keyword phrase, and for highly competitive keyword phrases, you might never be able to rank where you’d like. Therefore, be sure to start your efforts using the SEO hacks described above at least a month before you’ll start promoting and selling tickets to your event. And remember, don’t spam!