Organizing Events to Earn Backlinks
During a Q&A in March 2016, Google seemingly confirmed its top ranking factors: Onsite content, RankBrain, and backlinks. Backlinks in the modern sense, are generally earned by writing unique onsite content that other websites are going to want to link to. Therefore, if a site views your content as beneficial to their viewers, there may be an opportunity.
Needless to say, unique content comes in many forms – whether it’s a long-form article, resource guide, tutorial, or infographic. Generating that content, however, doesn’t necessarily ensure you’ll achieve backlinks that will result in your site ranking better. Even sharing across multiple social media channels isn’t always enough. Simply said, you’re going to need to do some outreach (For info on outreach, read Link Power: A Guide to a Determining Factor in Google’s Ranking Algorithm).
Going the events route…
One of the most foolproof ways to achieve solid, natural backlinks is to host events related to whatever industry your business pertains to. Organizing an event and properly promoting it on your business’s website is, in its own right, a way of providing unique onsite content. Here’s how you’ll want to go about doing it:
Step 1: Create an events section on your website
Perhaps you’re new to event participation, or perhaps you’ve already been hosting events, but have just been promoting them by word of mouth and not digitally. Whatever the case, you’ll need to create a webpage on your business website where you can list them. Preferably the webpage you create will be listed in your primary navigation, or as a menu dropdown. Make it look simple – almost as if it’s a blog. Each event listing should have the date clearly displayed, a brief description, and an option to “read more” for further information (A good example I found is this WordPress-based event section for a blog titled A Lap for Every Dog).
Step 2: Organize your event
No matter what industry you’re from, there’s an event you can host. These can be any number of things: Industry-specific networking events, seminars, holiday parties, training courses, etc. (whether at your place of business or offsite). Whatever kind of event you choose, plan to at some point present your unique perspective on your industry and network with those attending.
Step 3: Post the event information to your website
You’re going to want to be specific. Provide times, dates, and locations, as well as a thorough and in-depth description of the event you’ll be hosting. Make sure to tell those who are possibly interested in attending what they’ll need to bring, whether the event is free or paid, and how long it’ll last. Even include pictures, if possible.
Step 4: Search where to post
Generally speaking, there are two types of websites where you can potentially post your event:
- Websites that are locally relevant – These can include websites for local community magazines, local newspapers, local news stations, or even the local government/visitors bureaus. For example, let’s say you live in Chicago; the best way to find these kinds of sites through Google is by using the following 2 search queries: “Chicago events submit” and “Chicago events add.” Adding your event to these kinds of websites can emphasize local relevancy in SERPs.
- Websites that are specific to your industry – Outside of local relevancy, you’ll likely find a lot of industry-specific online publications that cover your area of expertise. Many of them also list events, no matter what geographic area they’re hosted in. For example, let’s say your business manufactures equipment for HVAC, you may be able to find a website for an HVAC-based heating and cooling magazine that has an events calendar. To find such sites, use the following 2 search queries: “HVAC event submit” and “HVAC add.” Instead of emphasizing local relevancy, listings such as these deliver on subject matter relevancy that’s specific to what your business does.
Step 5: Gather your information and submit
In order to get your event listed on most of these websites, you’ll need to fill out some kind of onsite submission form. Other sites, meanwhile, may require you to submit your event by filling out a contact form or actually contacting someone via an email address. Whatever the case, you’ll want to provide all the necessary information. A “submit event” form will usually ask for the following things:
- Event title
- Event location
- Event time
- Event cost
- Event description
- Contact details
- Event URL
Fill out everything, but pay most attention to the event description. You won’t want to copy and paste the event description that’s on your website; instead, rewrite it (this will avoid any duplicate content issues and will help personalize your message). Make sure to provide as much information as possible. When it comes time to enter your webpage into the URL field, you can enter your website’s main event webpage address (www.example.com/events). That way, you’re allowing PageRank/link juice to flow directly to this page, rather than a subdomain you may later remove once your event expires (i.e. www.example.com/events/particularevent). Submit and let the site’s moderators do the rest.
Something I’ve noticed…
There are still a lot of unknowns regarding exactly how webpages pass PageRank. There are some who’ve speculated that once your site has passed PageRank/link juice from another, it always retains that link juice…even in the event that the backlink is removed. While event listings expire, I’ve noticed that most of the websites that post events never delete the listings, even after said event has passed.
**Note about PageRank: PageRank is a metric Google stopped externally updating in 2014, yet is still a key factor in its larger algorithm.
What does all this mean?
Real world connections matter, even in terms of ranking better. Not only do events deliver on the probability of getting your business’s information posted across the web before an event occurs, but they also deliver networking opportunities that arise when you actually host the event. The result can be even more backlink/citation opportunities, whether it’s in the form of media publicity (an event attendee may want to write about you), or business partnerships. Simply stated, hosting events can increase SEO opportunities in ways you’ve perhaps never imagined.