Attracting an ever increasing number of real users to your website is the key to search engine success in 2012. Expo, conference and convention marketers are fortunate that they cater to a niche market. That’s one SEO challenge surmounted. You can plan your website content around an audience with very well defined demographics, and around an event that has a planned schedule. However, there are some things that you still need to be doing the year round to boost quality traffic to your event website as well as the number of times you show up in the search engine results pages.
- Create quality content and update regularly.
Just building a content-rich website and then letting it site idle for months will is not a smart strategy. To grow organic traffic from search engines and to convert new visitors to returning visitors, you need to keep adding meaningful content to your event website. This requires smart planning before you launch the website, and then the resolve to stick diligently to the planned update schedule.
- Send out press releases.
Press releases is one of the most underrated ingredients of online marketing. Press releases launched to announce new initiatives, event stats or survey results – all can generate traffic from an interested or curious audience. Besides building a News section on the website, promote on leading news websites and share with industry reporters. Include links to the website in the copy along with keywords that your attendees are likely to search with. Also encourage exhibitors and sponsors to publish press releases around their event participation and promotions. And just as important, enable website visitors to subscribe to RSS feeds for event and exhibitor press releases.
- Post major announcements and deadline reminders on social media sites.
Identify the social media sites and channels in which your prospective attendees are active. Create profiles on such select platforms, and use those to make important announcements and deadline reminders. Whether it is a mobile app launch, a celebrity appearance, or important deadlines for call for papers, booth space application, etc. – all of these should be used as opportunities to create a buzz around the event and drive traffic to your website.
- Reward exhibitors for promoting the website.
Companies that are exhibiting at your event share your interest in building a successful event. Work with your exhibitors to promote the event website. Use press releases, interactive widgets or enhanced content such as videos, product and give away listings. They all add to the richness of the online experience for attendees, and improve your ranking with the search engines. Consider offering discounts and incentives to exhibitors for promoting your brand to their website visitors.
- Encourage attendees to share web pages with their friends and coworkers.
Add social media sharing tools on all pages on your website. Encourage visitors to share your web pages, digital media content, session details and exhibitor listings with people in their networks. Invite comments to your blog posts and reply promptly in response to feedback.
- Create a mobile app for your event.
We all know that an ever growing segment of your audience spending more time browsing the web on their mobile devices. However, there is another benefit in launching an event app. It gets you back links from highly ranked websites such as itunes.com or market.android.com, as well as a host of other quality app review websites. Back links that drive traffic to your site from high volume, well recognized websites can boost the SEO of your website in a big way.
- Invite industry writers and personalities to blog about your event.
Every event has its cheerleaders. Be it regular attendees or prominent industry personalities. If they are regular bloggers, it will be worth your time to invite them to blog about some key aspect of your event and include links to your website in their articles. The blog posts could contain interviews with keynote speakers, product reviews or be about a current trending topic. As with everything we are discussing here, the idea is to engage your audience, provide them meaningful content and encourage them to come check out your website.
- Promote at face to face events, meetings and interactions.
Last but not the least, promote your event website every time you engage your audience outside of the virtual world. Word of mouth promotions can be surprisingly effective, even in today’s increasingly digital world.