What is SEO
SEO, that magical keyword. Most of us know that it stands for Search Engine Optimization, but actually what is it, and why might a meeting and event planner need it?
To optimize SEO (which is one of those acronym redundancies, like “ATM machine”) is to make it easier for search engines to find your website or page, which allows your average user to land on your site and interact with your content. The base equation is simple:
Google looks for things via keyword +
Your site uses the keyword =
Google finds your site.
So if people use Google (or other search engines, but we’ll focus on Google here) to search for that keyword, people will also be able to find your site. We call this organic traffic because, algorithms notwithstanding, the visitor came to your site without unnatural influences (like paid ads or someone sending them there with a link).
Once Google has checked out your webpage, it starts putting them in the search results. The order of those results is called rank and refers when your webpage shows up: on what page of results, and how close to the top of the page.
And that’s it.
Why SEO is So Hard
OK so not really. There are a lot more factors at play, but we’ll only look at a few of them—the most interesting and also the ones that might affect a meeting and event planner.
1. Other People
If no one else made websites that would be the end of this SEO blog. Sadly, other people also make websites, and that means they’re oftentimes competing with you for the same keywords. This can make it difficult if there’s high competition for one of your crucial keywords.
Google isn’t interested in the report on jellyfish that you posted to MySpace in 8th grade—it wants authoritative, reputable sources because that’s what their users want. So in addition to using keywords cleverly throughout the website or page, a meeting and event planner (see what I did there?) will also have to demonstrate to Google that their website is the most relevant for the keyword. One of the ways Google does this is by peer review, aka it looks at what articles are being linked by other reputable sources, and how frequently, and works it out from there.
Of course, Google is also interested in popular resources, so if your page or site is very high in traffic, you’ll find that you pop upwards on the search rankings for a particular keyword.
This is essentially Google structured data, which is to say it’s a way of organizing data for Google to look at more easily. And the easier it is for Google to look at something, the more quickly it will do so.
Schema are part of your web page’s coding, and in a nutshell, requires the details of an event (location, address, time, name) to be coded in a particular way. We have a primer on Google Event Search, and you can get an intro to schema here.
A meeting and event planner might find schema more interesting now that Google Event Search has been released. It’s essentially a mini-listing of local events, but a meeting and event planner can also take advantage of the way it uses structured data to optimize SEO for events pages. Basically what this means is that you can check off two tasks in one stroke: helping your page rank better, and letting it show up in Google Event.
How You Can Use SEO
For a meeting and event planner doing corporate or enterprise events, ranking on different search engines isn’t a major factor. A good practice is to make sure that your webpage is accessible to Google—aka, that it is “indexed”. This ensures that if an interested party is trying to find your events page to buy a ticket, they will be able to find the page. There are services you can use, including Google Search Console, to make sure that everything is working well.
Generally speaking, this is a non-issue, but if something gives you cause for concern, you might want to check in with your developer or marketing team.
If you have to do SEO on the webpage yourself, check out this guide to the basics of SEO web copy. Otherwise, the best way you can support your marketing team and your event is by doing some event marketing outreach, so that news sites or other webpages share links to your events page. This is called ‘link building’, and is an integral part of SEO.
For Event Planning Agencies
Eventprofs generally are a very digitally savvy group of professionals, which means, unfortunately, that a meeting and event planner hoping to improve SEO for their planning agency is coming up against a lot of competition (see the previous point about Other People).
A great way to get around global competition for a keyword is local ranking. Even if there are some real heavy hitters in your country for an important keyword, a meeting and event planner can eek their way to higher-ranked webpages by focusing on where the agency is located. For example, if your agency is in Atlanta, you can try to optimize your webpages for local ranking to make sure that the pages show up with more often, and with higher ranks, when local users use search.
Start by making sure that you have a business listing on Google, and that the information is correct. This listing shows up whenever anyone looks up the name of your business and is usually the first impression they get of your business. Google will weigh this information pretty strongly, so GMB (Google My Business) is a good way to start local SEO. You can access your listing here.
Another way you can help with your local search ranking is to connect with other local organizations over social media. SEO isn’t a single-player game, so a meeting and event planner can really make a difference just doing regular event marketing outreach—and that applies to event agencies as well.