SEO: that thing that you know you’re supposed to care about but…it always seems to drop on your priority list when compared to your PR strategy and building an Instagram following. The thing is, SEO is important and the good news is we can help.
Below we’ve written the first ever SEO marketing guide focused specifically on you – the event pro. Maybe we’ll even convince you that there’s something to it, and that The Vendry can help you out. Let’s begin!
What is SEO
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. As you might be aware, Google is a search engine that shows a list of results (mostly websites, but also stuff like videos and local business listings) based on what the user searched for.
Google wants to give their users the best search experience possible, which means returning websites that are both relevant to their query AND that provide the user with a good browsing experience. Google can determine relevance by “reading” through the content on your site to see what’s there and also looking at how often users historically clicked through to your site when it appears in search results. To determine whether your website would give their users a good browsing experience, they look at things like how long users remained on the site once they got there.
You also have the ability to pay Google to advertise your website at the top of their results. This is called Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEO on the other hand means optimizing your website so you can show up high in search results…for free!
Having a solid SEO strategy for your company means that:
- You have a good understanding of what sorts of searches you want to show up for
- Your website is full of rich, relevant content for users making those searches
- Your website is written in a way that Google can “read” it and decide where to rank it in the results compared to what other sites have to offer
- Your website provides users with a good browsing experience across all devices
Why You Should Care
Turns out a lot of people (including prospective clients of yours) use Google
Sure, a lot of business in the events space happens through word of mouth. But as companies spend more on events, the pressure to throw experiences that are new and differentiated grows and that means that they are constantly looking for new and innovative event pros to partner with. Also, companies tend to throw events all over the place, not just in their local market, so the internal team that is trying to organize the event often doesn’t have anywhere to go for advice on what pros to hire other than the big G.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if SEO is relevant for your business, taking an example of being an event production company in NYC:
- Local Search: When someone searches for “event production NYC” do you show up? Do your competitors? Does that make you jealous?
- Previous Work: You have full pages on your site dedicated to those conferences, holiday parties, galas, brand activations etc that you spent months planning. When someone searches for “disco themed holiday party ideas” or “sneaker pop up” is your work (it’s so relevant!) showing up? Wouldn’t it be nice if it did and they knew who to call?
- Venue Expertise: You’ve done 15 events at the same venue, you know everything about it down to where the electrical plugs are. But when someone Googles that venue, do you show up? You could, you know…you deserve to.
If any of the above seems like something that might help your business, read on.
How to Master SEO
Eight basic tenets
- Build out your website with as much information as possible about the services that you offer. Make sure to keep all your content high quality and don’t stuff it with lots of keywords that don’t read naturally.
- Update your website regularly with photo and video galleries of the event work you’ve done…Google values websites that have fresh content for their users. Add a description of your work that includes any relevant keywords that might apply.
- Get as many sites as possible to link to you. Links are another important signal to Google on how relevant your website is.
- Create business profiles on sites that let you link back to your website (like The Vendry)
- Love some of your venue or vendor partners? Offer to write a testimonial for them to put on their site, in exchange for a link back to your site!
- Optimize your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions so that people are enticed to click to your site when it appears in Google results
- Make sure your page loads quickly, Google cares and so do your users. Use Google’s tool here to check page load speed and see what they suggest to make it better.
- Make sure your website is mobile-optimized, you can do a quick check by using Google’s tool here. More than 50% of Google searches happen on mobile devices.
- Create or claim your listings on major search sites:
- Make sure your website is protected with SSL encryption (you can use Hubspot’s tool here). If you don’t, contact your hosting provider to see about purchasing a standard SSL certificate.
Pro Tip: You can do a free scan of the web to see how all your business listings look on yext.com here and either pay for their service to manage all your listings from one spot, or go to each site manually and update your info.
How The Vendry Can Help
When you win, we win – let us explain
As a general philosophy, the more places you appear online the higher the likelihood that your business will – via your own website or your profile on another site – show up when users are looking for your services. So go on…get out there…build those free profiles. Who knows which one will get you that next big gig.
As it happens, we see SEO as our bread and butter. The better your profile ranks, the better we can help brands when they turn to Google to look for help with their next event.
We tried to keep it simple above so you can get the basics in place for your own site, but SEO can get pretty technical (page load times? data schemas? https?) and we see it as our duty to have the pros on our site covered.
Over time, we will be rolling out features that help the pros on our site show up in Google search results for any query that might relate to the services they offer or previous work they’ve done. We’re really excited to unveil our offerings…. so stay tuned!
In the meantime, we are growing our community of experiential agencies, vendors, venues, and freelancers for brands to hire for their next event. If you’re interested you can apply for a free profile on The Vendry by clicking here!
Appendix: Local Directories for Event Businesses
Missing any? Tell us via email! [email protected]
For venues and service businesses:
Just for venues: