Does your business host events, gatherings, or other special occasions on a regular basis? Do you wish more people knew about these events, so you could increase attendance and improve your return on them?

Most marketers in this position resort to direct advertising to spread word about the event, promoting it to existing clients or interested demographics online. But you may not realize that there are some key ways you can take advantage of search, specifically for your upcoming calendar events.

The Aesthetics of a Calendar Event

Calendar events are perfect opportunities for promotion, so long as you understand how to design and increase the visibility of those events. According to Printing Center USA, using pre-formatted calendar templates and custom creations from graphic designers are some of the best ways to make your events stand out--the first obstacle to overcome in event promotion. With thousands of businesses like yours promoting events like yours, you need to find a way to make yours seem unique.

You also need to format your calendar event in a way that makes people want to RSVP, schedule, or otherwise take action. For example, Facebook events are instantly recognizable in users' newsfeeds and present those users with RSVP options that are immediately interactive. With a bit of effort, you can offer that same eye-catching visibility and interactivity by optimizing your events for search--and you have a handful of options to do it.

Option One: Onsite Schema Markups

Schema.org is the leading authority on structured markup formatting, providing free templates and tutorials so you can mark up your site's back end in a way that helps Google understand and translate the data in it. In other words, it makes it easier for Google to comprehend your material. They offer a free template you can use to structure events you have listed on your site, which increases the likelihood that they'll show up, properly formatted in calendar listings on the SERPs, for an event-related search.

Option Two: Target Internal Page

If your event is further in the future, and you're trying to drum up ticket purchases, signups, or other RSVPs, you could also create a page of your website specifically designated to house the details of that event. From there, you could optimize the page for keywords you want to target and start building links to that page so you increase its page authority. If you go this route, you'll need to structure specific event data if you want it to be neatly formatted in the Events section of Google search results, but you can still pull significant organic traffic from the optimized page by itself.

Option Three: Google My Business

If you haven't already started using Google My Business, now's the time to get into the game. It's a free service Google offers to local businesses; with an account, you can customize your entry on Google Search and Google Maps, correcting small inaccuracies (such as open hours) and more to the point, creating and promoting events at your business. Because you're optimizing with Google directly, you can rest assured that your formatting will be correct, and you might have a higher chance of ranking organically as well. One of the biggest advantages here is the potential for recurring events; for example, you could list "happy hour" times or weekly specials as recurring events and avoid having to schedule them manually week in and week out.

Option Four: Third-Party Entries

As reported by TechCrunch, Google's Event Search no longer exclusively considers content it finds on root websites; it also crawls third-party event sites, such as Eventbrite, Meetup, LiveNation, and StubHub. If you want to maximize your chances of getting seen (and post your event to new channels at the same time), consider listing your event with as many of these high-authority third-parties as possible, optimizing for keywords relevant to your event and your target demographics.

You can use one, some, or all these strategies to promote your event. If you're keeping the information on the event accurate, and manage to increase its visibility in search engines, you'll end up ahead of the game. If your business relies on events at regular intervals, you can use the power of your increasing domain authority and recurring audiences to further support your strategies; as with all search-related campaigns, the more you're willing to invest, the more you'll get out of it.




Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.



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Search Engine Guide > Jayson DeMers > How to Make the Most of Calendars and Upcoming Events in Search