George Freitag swooped in to the Brown Paper Tickets community space to teach event planners search engine optimization. He wasn’t wearing a cape, but we’re pretty sure he’s some type of SEO superhero.
Exhibit A: he has a wealth of experience listed on his website. B: He works for Portent, Inc. an 18-year-old digital marketing firm based in Seattle. C: He gave free advice and tools event planners and promoters can use to achieve higher rankings, sell out shows, kick butt online. In short, he knocked our socks off. Then just as quickly as he appeared, he vanished into the gray Seattle sky, not even helping himself to a doughnut.
SEO Basics for Your Events
1. Be online
Be findable. It may seem obvious, but nonetheless, it is a good place to start. Your event needs to live on a permanent website or page, so fans and prospective attendees can find you. Create a website or page or at minimum, fill out all the fields when you create your event page.
You’re not done yet. Make sure your website or page has text, as search engines like Google cannot read text on an image file, so simply uploading your band’s flier to a website won’t do much to improve organic traffic.
Freitag’s test: see if you can copy and paste the text. If you cannot, search engines won’t be able to read it.
2. Be useful
Details, details, details. Add the event name, date and time, location and other need-to-know information. But don’t copy and paste the description from one site to the next – search engines see this as spammy, useless duplicate content. Craft new event descriptions for every page and site listing your event.
Add a call to action (CTA). Visitors to your event page need to know where to buy tickets, so make sure you have a nice bright button or text link. Buy Now. Register Today. Sign Up for This Crazy Awesome Event. Brown Paper Tickets lets you embed a CTA button or text link right onto your webpage.
When setting up your event, you can put one of these buttons right on your site:
You can contact us 24/7 if you need help setting up your event on our site.
3. Be relevant
Say you just got back from Paris where you learned to soufflé with the best of the best and you now you want to teach a French cooking class.
How will prospective attendees find your class? You have to talk the talk. Use words in your descriptions people will use to search for classes. In the SEO-sphere, these are called keywords.
How do you find keywords? Search on Google for “French cooking course” and scroll to the bottom to see suggested search terms. Or use Ubersuggest to see popular searched-on terms. Look for terms that get a lot of traffic, but aren’t too competitive. Find out whether it’s better to use the term “course” or “class” or other words in your event title and description.
Don’t overuse keywords though. Use them naturally – sprinkle them in.
Don’t do this: Want to come to my French cooking class? Please come to my French cooking class. My French cooking class is January 3.
Freitag recommends Google Webmaster Tools so that you can check in on your SEO efforts, conduct keyword research and understand how others are finding your site.
4. Be popular
After the workshop, we practiced “being popular.” Follow us on Twitter and join in on the fun.
Search engines favor popular sites that have a lot of high-quality links, mentions, shares. A few marketing and social media efforts can help you become naturally popular online.
Link your event page on our site to your web page. Have a good PR plan in place to attract media attentions and mentions from journalists. Submit your event to calendar listings. Freitag said to “get as niche or regional as you can.” He also advises to include display buttons, so your friends, fans, and others can share your Zombie flash dance, punk poetry slam or whatever you have going on.
5. Be pretty
Freitag said, “Yes, we mean be pretty in the most superficial way possible.” Make sure you have clean event titles that use 50-65 characters. Title tags have a direct impact on your rankings (how high you are on the page), so pick a title carefully. Your meta description does not have an impact on your ranking, so you don’t need to worry so much about keywords, but make sure it’s grammatically clean and includes all the important details because it will be pulled in when people search for your event.
Use the Portent SERP Preview Tool to preview what your event listing will look like in search results.
And remember, the more “popular” you are, the better. So make sure when people share your content, it’s looking sharp. Freitag recommends Twitter Card to beautify your content when it is shared.
Freitag gave event planners so much useful advice, we couldn’t possibly list it all. View his whole presentation and comment with your own thoughts on SEO.