By improving your event SEO, you can make your events, calendars and listings easier for people to find on Google and other search engines. Alternatively, you can make them completely unsearchable. See all the steps in this user guide post.
A Tutorial to Higher Rankings for Events
1. What is Event SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of optimizing your content so that it is easily found and indexed by search engines, such as Google, Bing and Baidu.
As a result, your website and web pages will rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP) for the relevant keywords, making it easier for people searching for these keywords to find your content.
People can find any type of content through web searches, including events. If you have an event related business, Event SEO can be a powerful tool to increase your online presence, brand awareness and reach. However, it does take a lot of work to prove to search engines that your calendar and events are worth ranking.
If you are serious about search engine optimization, probably you already have a SEO strategy for your website. Since your calendar and events provide fresh content to your site, the same way your blog posts do, we strongly recommend you give them the same first-class SEO treatment you give to other parts of your site.
Want to improve your Events SEO? Check all our tips below and try to implement them on your Timely account. And if you need any assistance setting any Timely Event SEO feature, do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, you can open a support ticket from your Timely account’s dashboard.
2. Make your Events, Calendar and Listing Searchable
By default, when you publish your Timely events calendar or event listing, the public view of your calendar is searchable, which means:
- Search engines will find, read and index your calendar (that is, the Timely calendar embedded on your site), as well as your Timely hosted calendar (which is the standalone calendar hosted on a Timely subdomain);
- Your calendar and events may appear on the SERP depending on your SEO ranking for specific queries; and
- Your calendar and events will be listed on Timely’s events calendars network, and be searchable by other Timely users.
To confirm that your event listing is searchable, in your Timely account dashboard go to Settings<General<SEO. Make sure the appropriate box is unchecked. If you make changes, click on the “Save” button to save your new settings.
In contrast, if you do not want your events calendar to be searchable by search engines, you can make it not indexable by checking that same box. Don’t forget to click on the “Save” button to save your new settings.
3. SEO for Event Calendars and Listings
If you want people to find your events calendar online, they need to show up higher on the SERP. You can do that by improving your events SEO, as follows:
- Research and add your targeted keywords to your calendar or listing;
- Customize the URL of the webpage where you will embed your calendar by including the main targeted keyword.
- Give your calendar a compelling name and provide a useful calendar description, including the targeted keywords.
- Make sure your Timely’s hosted standalone calendar redirects to your embed calendar webpage.
- Use customized server side embedding.
3.1 Calendar Keywords
Keywords are not only crucial for search engine rankings, but also important to understand your audience’s search intent behind a given query.
For event related businesses, keywords include words people would use to search for the type of events you promote in your event listing. For instance, if you are a museum or an art gallery, keywords might be types of events, art forms, or even physical location.
Before deciding on your targeted keywords, it is a good idea to do some SEO keyword research. If you are not familiar with it, check our keyword research tips first.
Next, add the selected Calendar Keywords to your Timely account so they appear in the source code of your Timely’s hosted calendar and your custom domain, if you have one. See an example below:
To add keywords to the source code of your calendar, go to Settings<General<Seo Options<Calendar keywords. Then, type your SEO keywords separating them by commas. Don’t forget to click on the Save button.
SEO Tip: The Calendar keywords field is limited to 255 characters. However, we recommend using only 10 SEO keyphrases to avoid keyword stuffing.
3.2 Custom Domain or Subdomain
Using a custom domain or subdomain to display your events calendar (in addition to the webpage where your calendar is embedded) is a great way to add SEO value to your website. It is also a good way to receive credited site traffic from your events back to your domains.
You can include your main targeted keyword in the URL or just the words “events calendar”, "event listing", or just “events”. For example:
Check this user guide post to learn How to Add a Custom Domain or Subdomain to your Calendar.
3.3 Calendar Name / Page Title Tag
The name you pick for your Calendar Name will be the Title Tag of your calendar’s page. Title tags are the blue clickable headlines you see in the SERP. It is critical for SEO because it gives users and search engines a quick insight into the content of a page.
Choose a Calendar Name that provides specific information about your organization and events, and includes your main keyword. You can also add your city or location if you offer local events only.
We recommend approximately 50 to 60 characters because that is what Google shows in the SERPs. See some examples below:
Royal BC Museum and Archives Event Calendar | Victoria, BC
Vancouver Musical Society Performance Listing | VMS
Online Software Development Training Calendar | BCIT
To customize your Calendar Name / Title Tag, go to Settings<General<Calendar Name, type your calendar name, and then press the Save button at the bottom of the page.
3.4 Calendar Description / Meta Description Tag
The description you give to your events calendar will be the calendar’s meta description tag, which is the paragraph text you see just below the title tag in the SERP. The meta description tag provides a brief summary about a page to aid users and search engines understand a webpage.
Draft your Calendar Description considering your targeted keywords but having your audience in mind. Write rich information about your organization and events to convince website visitors to click on your link.
It's best to keep meta descriptions long enough that they're sufficiently descriptive, so we recommend descriptions between 120-160 characters. Check some examples below:
Explore the Royal BC Museum and Archives Events Calendar, learn about our exhibitions, tours, camps, and galleries, and buy your tickets. Victoria, BC Canada
Vancouver Musical Society promotes a variety of performances by young and aspiring musicians. Check out our Performance Listing and buy your ticket now!
Check BCIT Training Calendar to see our online software development courses. Complete them at your own pace, anytime and anywhere. Get certified fast!
To customize your Calendar Description / Meta Description Tag go to Settings<General<SEO Options<Calendar Description, and type the description for your calendar of events. Do not forget to press the “Save” button on the bottom of the page.
3.5 Primary Calendar URL
The feature Primary Calendar URL creates a redirect from Timely’s standalone hosted calendar to the URL where your online calendar is embedded. Thus, when people find your Timely’s hosted calendar or events on Google and click on the link, they will be redirected to your website.
We recommend adding your events calendar webpage as your Primary Calendar URL. For example:
To include your Primary Calendar URL go to Settings<General<SEO Options<Primary calendar URL, and type your calendar URL. Then, press the “Save” button on the bottom of the page.
3.6 Customized Server Side Embedding
Websites that are serious about SEO should use Customized Server Side Embedding (SSE), embedding their events calendars directly on their servers. As a result, their events are more discoverable by search engines.
This is an advanced feature offered only on specific premium plans. To learn more, please read our user guide post What is Customized Server Side Embedding?
4. SEO for Events
Events are content that Google (and other search engines) treat no differently than any other content on your site. Therefore, they deserve the same amount of SEO attention as the rest of your content.
When you create an event on your Timely dashboard, keep in mind the following SEO best practices and tips:
- Conduct a keyword research and add your targeted keywords to your event post;
- Customize the URL of your event page, including your main targeted keywords.
- Give your event an interesting name and provide a comprehensive event description, including among other things the date, time, and location of your event.
- Create content rich events, adding captivating images and videos to your event page.
4.1 Events SEO Keywords
As explained before, creating content based on targeted keywords helps not only your rankings in the SERP, but also your audience know what your events are about. You can follow our keyword research tips to select the targeted SEO keywords for each of your events.
After selecting the keywords, you should add them to your event pages. In particular, you should add them to your event name, description, url, and image alt texts. Continue reading this post to learn how to do it.
4.2 Event Page Slug URL
The slug is the part of the URL that identifies a particular page from the rest of the website, and explains the page content in an easy to read form. Writing a good slug for your event pages can positively affect your SEO. Therefore, the slug should always contain the focus keyphrase.
By default, all publish events’ URLs contain the event id number, date and start time. Nevertheless, you can replace the id number with your event title (which, if you have done your homework, will include your targeted keywords).
To do so, go to Settings<General<SEO Options<Event URL format, and select “Event Title” instead of “Default”. Then, press “Save” at the bottom of the page to save your settings.
When the “Event URL format” feature is set to “Event Title”, you will also be able to manually customize the slug URL for each of your events pages. By default, the system will always suggest a slug based on the title of the event.
If you want to change the default setting, just go to Events<Add Event<Custom URL. It is just below the Event Title. Type the desired slug URL for the particular event. Don’t forget to press the Publish or Save as Draft buttons at the bottom of the page.
If you decide to manually customize the URL of your event pages, please follow Custom URL Best Practices.
4.3 Event Name / Page Title Tag
The name you pick for your Event Name will be the Title Tag of your event page. As mentioned before, Title tags are the blue clickable headlines you see in the SERP, and should be approximately 50 to 60 characters long.
Choose a unique and attractive name for your event. This will help you stand out from other events out there. According to Event SEO Best Practices, the title tag should be descriptive of the event and include your targeted keywords, preferably in the beginning of the sentence. Some examples:
Remembrance Day Event: Avalon Jazz Band Performance
Arts & Animals Forest Plaster Painting Kids Workshop Series
Orcas: Our Shared Future Exhibition and Guided Virtual Tour
Event Title is a mandatory field when creating an event on all Timely event management software solutions. Simply go to Events<Add Event<Event Title, and type the name of your event. After finishing creating your event, press the Publish or Save as Draft buttons at the bottom of the page.
4.4 Event Description / Meta Description Tag
As mentioned before, the meta description tag is the paragraph text below the title tag in the SERP. This tag should be between 120-160 characters, otherwise Google truncates the text, as seen in the image below:
Timely application uses the first paragraph of your event description as your event meta description. Therefore, draft the first paragraph of your event description wisely. Best practice is to keep the copy short, compelling, and include your event targeted keywords. For example:
This Remembrance Day we are promoting a special event featuring the Avalon Jazz Band to honour and remember those who served in times of war.
All kids are welcome in this fun workshop series combining arts and knowledge about native animals of BC. All courses led by experienced arts educators.
Dive deep into the stories and science around the magnificent Orca, spirit of BC’s wild coast. Exhibition on now until March 31, 2022. Buy your Tickets Online!
Event description is also a mandatory field when creating an event on Timely software applications. Go to Events<Add Event<Description, and start typing your event description. When done, press the Publish or Save as Draft buttons at the bottom of the page.
4.5 Event Page Content, Description and Headings
The content of a page is what makes it worthy of a search result position. It is what the user came to see, thus it is extremely important to the search engines.
Event pages created with Timely event management platform include various elements that add to your content, such as event name, date, time, event location, categories, tags and organizers. With our software, you can certainly build the perfect event landing page.
A SEO friendly event page should include a very detailed description of the event. The text should be easy to read, and, preferably, contain more than 300 words (including the target keywords). Depending on the length of your content, you can separate it with Headings tags.
Heading tags are used to structure the pages for both the reader and the search engines. For readers they are reading aids since they split the text into sections. For search engines, they form the core of the content and help crawlers understand what the page is about.
Search engines see the first heading (H1) as the page title, so there should be only one H1 per page. All events created on the Timely software will have this heading automatically set up as the Event Name. Second headings (H2) are used for sections, and third headings (H3), for subsections. There’s rarely a need to go beyond H3.
To add headings to your event description, go to Events<Add Event<Description. Then use the “Formats'' command to add Headings to your content and separate it into sections.
SEO Tip: Do not use Heading 1. As mentioned above, this heading is used for your Event title. If your content has only sections, use Heading 2 for all headings. See below an example of a good event description using headings:
4.7 Event Images’ Alt Text
Image alt text tags are used for both web accessibility and SEO image indexing. They help users understand the image when it cannot be viewed, say, by a visitor who is vision impaired. Thus, the alt text tag is used to describe what is in an image.
To add or edit the alternative text of your event images, go to Events<Edit Event<Featured Image. Then, click on the blue “edit” button below the image.
A box will pop-up on the screen, where you can add your image alt text. Do not forget to press “Publish” or “Save as Draft” buttons at the bottom of the page.
SEO Tip: Ideally, all your media should have a unique alt text that somehow includes your focus keyphrases without being repetitive. The recommendation is to use less than 125 words in your image alt texts.
4.8 Event Pages' Internal Links
An internal link is a hyperlink between two pages from the same domain. It helps search engines find, index and understand the content of your website.
By providing links to follow along with descriptive anchor text, you tell search engines and users which pages are important on your site and help them navigate through your content. Therefore, good internal links are crucial for SEO.
Event pages created with Timely event management software already come with good internal linking structure. You just need to do your part by adding as your content, as explained in Section 4.5 (Event Page Content) above. For instance, adding tags, categories and organizers to your event page creates internal links to other events with the same filters.
In spite of that, you can always add more internal links to your event page in the Event Description section. An example would be adding the link to your homepage or contact page at the bottom of all your event pages. These internal links will definitely help improve your Event SEO.
4.8 Event Pages' External Links / Outbound Links
External links, also called outbound links, are the opposite of internal links. They are links on your web pages that point to a website with a different domain.
They are important to build trust and relationships, as well as to credit contributors and sources in your content. Linking to high-quality external sources is good for SEO because these links strengthen the topic signal to Google.
Timely’s software has few external links as part of the code. For instance, when you add the physical location of your event venue, the system generates an external link to the exact location on Google Maps under the “Get Directions” CTA on the event page.
You can always add more outbound links in your Event Description section, such as additional information about the topic of your event from reliable sources.
SEO Tips: Search engines might see a site with too many outbound links as spammy. If you use outbound links, we recommend you:
- Use proper anchor text;
- Double check them to make sure there are no broken links;
- Make sure they open on a new tab so your page doesn’t close; and
- Add a nofollow attribute directly into the source code where required so you do not pass your link juice to the target webpages.
4.10 Event Schema
Schema.org hosts a collection of tags developed jointly by Google and other search engines. They are used as a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content.
Event websites should apply event schema to their HTML code, so that search engines can read and properly categorize event pages. As a result, events show up in the SERP snippets with rich snippet features, making it easier for people to discover and attend events.
Timely Event Management Software has event schema markups applied to the code. However, for your event to show up on the SERP as an event snipped, you will need to add as much information to your event post as possible so that Google includes your post there.
For more user guidance, please go to our Help Center. If you have any questions or need additional assistance to configure your Timely Events SEO features, do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, you can open a support ticket from your Timely account’s dashboard.