The Impact of Social Media on Your Event Website SEO

In several years blogging, reading and discussing events, I’ve read lots of garbage as well as excellent tips on social media. This leaves you, dear reader, with nothing but confusion.
I think it is time to get some clarity.
This post has been written by Julius Solaris for Event Manager Blog (?).

SEO, Why should you care?

If your event website plays a pivotal role in selling tickets or increasing registrations, you should care about SEO.

If your website is optimized for search it usually translates in showing up higher on Google. A typical situation may look like this:

John is a marketing professional from New York interested in online marketing. He feels like attending an event to refresh his knowledge.

John heads to Google and searches for “Online Marketing Events New York”

Usually the first 3 results are those that get attention, in a Googleistic phenomenon called the golden triangle.

The research that firstly identified the model suggests:

[…] the vast majority of eye tracking activity during a search happens in a triangle at the top of the search results page indicating that the areas of maximum interest create a “golden triangle.”[…]

If you are out of the golden triangle, you will get much less exposure. Hence you will sell fewer tickets.

How to rank higher than your competitors in Google search results?

There are a number of factors impacting Google ranking. There is also lots of speculation on what impacts the algorithm. Whenever Matt Cutts from Google speaks, hundreds of blog posts invade the Internet with brand new conspiracy theories.

There are proven factors that impact on ranking – website speed is one – but I am here to tell you that it’s been proven that Social Media has an impact on SEO.

What Social Media Impact the most?

If you have a social strategy in place, you are in a good spot. Truth is that remarkably few companies, organizations or individuals have a strategy.

I am seconding Guy Kawasaki when he says:

Because social media is still relatively new territory for most marketers, it makes sense to develop your strategy as you go along. You can’t plan what you don’t know. According to Guy, “I think ’social media planning and strategy’ is an oxymoron. Basically, you try stuff and see what sticks.”

You may have tried stuff and perhaps know by now what sticks in terms of driving traffic, for example.

You may know that if you release an early bird on Facebook you will get far more traffic than writing a post on your blog. You may know that if you tweet latest event news, you will attract an audience with more income that eventually buys tickets.

Great. What is the effect of all of the above on SEO though?

When Google launched a ‘clean-up’ process called Panda, website ranking changed forever. Traditional SEO professionals and content farms owners got scared. This is when Social Media first appeared in SEO talks.

Most of the chats around the real impact of Social on SEO were just that, chats. Very little substance.

When subsequently Google introduced +1 and Google+, the Mountain View company clearly stated: Social will impact SEO.

While doing some research on the impact of +1 on SEO, I stumbled upon one of those oustanding posts that make blogs still the best content hubs on the Internet.

Tom Critchlow explains extremely well the impact of Social on SEO with an amazing piece of research, summed up in this graph.

You will immediately notice the prominence of Facebook Shares over any other form of social interaction.

How to take advantage of Social Media for SEO purposes

How does the research above change your strategy? Here are few tips you may want to take note of:

– Read this article about SEO for event websites

– Make sure your website has all of the main sharing/linking buttons: Facebook Like, Twitter Share, Google +1

– Stimulate your audience to Like, Retweet or +1 an item of your website. As this can be extraordinarily difficult with static areas such as registration forms, think about a content strategy that can get you more interactions.

Usually a blog is an ideal tool to increase social interactions, but you can think of competitions, giveaways and early bird offers as robust alternatives.

This is a brilliant article where to start.

– Think about introducing video. The impact of video is not only strategic to drive more Shares or Retweets but also effective in deviating the user from the golden triangle, giving you a chance to get more eyeballs.

– Measure. Get your analytics right. Know what happens once you start implementing the changes we’ve discussed.

– Cut on everything else. If you are not sure your social strategy is delivering value, just ditch it. Concentrate on the chart above and everything will make more sense.

Any other tips? Please use the comments to share yours.