Table of Contents
25 Venue Website SEO Audits: Why?​​----------------------------------------------​​3
Today’s Challenges ...
25 Venue Website SEO Audits: Why?
People who manage marketing for live entertainment venues​know that search engines are
a...
Today’s Challenges for Venue SEO
Going into this challenge, we knew we were unleashing the ghosts of SEO’s past by uncorki...
What We Learned
By the end of week one, we had analyzed enough data to develop a solid foundation of
recommendations for c...
What You Can Do To Improve Results TODAY
Two words: Schema Markup
By telling Google what the data on your site ​means​with...
Must-Have SEO Tools You Can Use
SEMRush
One of our favorite tools for keyword research, ​SEMRush​,
allows you to see which...
About the Author
Erika Folkl​is Rockhouse Partners’ in-house Lead SEO Specialist and
Marketing Coordinator. A 2015 graduat...
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SEO 101 for Venues: Key Learnings from 25 Website Audits in 4 Weeks

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When our in-house Lead SEO Specialist, Erika, pitched the idea of completing an SEO Audit Marathon, the first reaction from the rest of the team was obviously “challenge accepted.”

Rockhouse’s SEO Specialists got to work, and by the 4 week mark, all 25 participating clients received beautifully packaged and actionable SEO Audits in their inboxes. As we reflected on our key findings, we realized that we had developed best practices that could drive impact on ticket sales for anyone in the entertainment industry .

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SEO 101 for Venues: Key Learnings from 25 Website Audits in 4 Weeks

  1. 1.    
  2. 2. Table of Contents 25 Venue Website SEO Audits: Why?​​----------------------------------------------​​3 Today’s Challenges for Venue SEO​​​-------------------------------------------------- 4 1. Digging through the data 2. Creating an actionable strategy and achievable SEO strategy 3. Keeping up with Google What We Learned​​----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 1. Organic is the new black 2. Want a pretty Knowledge Graph? Learn to love Structured Data 3. One step at a time What You Can Do To Improve Results TODAY​----------------------​​6 1. Two words: Schema Markup 2. Verify and maintain your Google My Business page 3. Know your target keywords Must- Have SEO Tools You Can Use​​-------------------------------------------------​​7 1. SEMRush 2. Screaming Frog 3. Google Developers PageSpeed Insights About the Author & For Further Reading ​-------------------------------------​ ​8   2
  3. 3. 25 Venue Website SEO Audits: Why? People who manage marketing for live entertainment venues​know that search engines are an important ingredient in a digital ecosystem that sells an abundance of tickets. But the term ‘SEO’ is a still a bit scary for many of our venue clients. The Big Question is: “How do I do it right?” Fact #1: Search has changed tremendously​, ​even over the past year.​We educate our clients and take steps to ensure that their venue site: ● Appears at the top of search results. ● Has the “Mobile-friendly” tag. ● Venue and performances appear everywhere they should. Fact #2: 60% of website traffic to our client websites originates on search engines like Google. ​All of our Account Managers are Google Analytics Qualified, so we’re well aware of where traffic originates. When building websites from the ground up, our SEO best practices are baked into the site structure. There was a huge disparity between these websites and other clients who already had a website from another agency. Not all sites were optimized to their full potential. Fact #3: Mobile matters. ​As of April 2015, mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor. With ​44%​of our venues ticket sales occurring on mobile, it’s more important than ever that all of our venues have responsive, user-friendly mobile sites. The plan of action: ​Seeing how this discrepancy across desktop and mobile was impacting ticket sales for our roster of top 25 venues, we decided it was time to get everybody on the same page. We commissioned an SEO analysis spree, and the mission was simple: ​4 weeks, 25 client websites, and actionable, well-executed SEO Audits for each​. Rockhouse’s SEO Specialists got to work, and by the 4-week mark, all 25 participating clients received beautifully packaged and actionable SEO Audits. As we reflected on our key findings, we realized that we had developed best practices that could drive impact on ticket sales for anyone in the entertainment industry .   3
  4. 4. Today’s Challenges for Venue SEO Going into this challenge, we knew we were unleashing the ghosts of SEO’s past by uncorking older sites who hadn’t seen a design update in 10 years. Here were the biggest hurdles we faced once we dug in: Digging through the data When analyzing a multitude of data with a tool like ​Screaming Frog​, it’s all about perspective. What separates SEO pros from amateurs is how this overwhelming data is perceived: We see it as an opportunity to creatively identify trends, strengths, and of course, opportunities. By constantly crossing metrics in Google Analytics to uncover the ​how ​and ​why​behind website visits, we were able to nail down a method to the data madness to draw meaningful conclusions in our Audits. Sure, it’s challenging to interpret this much information, but some of our best recommendations are pulled from a cluster of seemingly unrelated data. Which brings us to our next challenge… Creating an actionable and achievable SEO strategy It’s not our favorite thing to tell a newly onboarded client that their current site has major structural issues, broken links and duplicate meta descriptions. But we do love presenting this to them with a step-by-step guide on how to resolve these issues effectively and efficiently, and then pitching in to help. Our goal is always to keep delivered recommendations actionable ​and ​straightforward​. The advantage of working with venues who sell tickets every day is that we've been able to pre-package refined solutions for the issues we see most often and integrate them into the foundation of our Rhino website platform. Keeping up with Google Don’t let the cuddly animal names mislead you. If you recall the Panda, Penguin or Hummingbird update, you know that Google’s ​algorithm updates​are sprints. They happen all at once and everybody’s left catching their breath, urgently trying to figure out how they placed and where they’re ranked. That said, our SEO Audits examine where your website stands against Google’s long-game. We’ve done our homework, and have over a decade of experience working with search engines. Building a steady foundation of best practices means that when Google takes off in a mad dash and turns its algorithm into a new beast, we’re able to keep pace, and help our venue clients do the same.      4
  5. 5. What We Learned By the end of week one, we had analyzed enough data to develop a solid foundation of recommendations for clients. Here’s what every venue owner should know: Organic is the new black Traffic drivers like referral, email and social are valuable, but they’re guaranteed to ebb and flow. It’s a balancing act: Don’t hinge your success on these factors as a steady organic SEO strategy will get you to the top, but don’t neglect these traffic sources either. Monitor which strategies perform exceedingly well across sources, conduct A/B testing, and leverage those channels as much as possible. Want a pretty Knowledge Graph? Learn to love Structured Data One of the top questions we field is related to the coveted Knowledge Graph: Why don’t I have one and where do I get one? It’s simple: Implement ​Schema.org​Structured Data​, which tells search engines the meaning of your content. ​Our venue websites have seen a 25% boost in organic search traffic since implementing Schema​. One step at a time SEO can be a bit intimidating, but here’s a big secret that no SEO will ever tell you: ​You don’t need to be a coding/data science wizard to rock the SEO game. The scary SEO monster is, in truth, a culmination of dozens of basic steps; basic steps that are much less scary when approached one at a time.   5
  6. 6. What You Can Do To Improve Results TODAY Two words: Schema Markup By telling Google what the data on your site ​means​with ​Schema Markup​, you’re setting yourself up for improved search performance and that gorgeous Knowledge Graph. When it comes to selling tickets, a Knowledge Graph is a tremendous way to pull people into the purchase funnel and drive conversions. Verify and maintain your Google My Business page Schema Markup isn’t the only thing giving life to your Knowledge Graph. It’s time to get reacquainted with that ​Google Plus page​you set up in 2012 and haven’t touched since. Google recently announced that they’re beginning the process of deleting unverified Google My Business pages, and it’s unknown how much this will impact Knowledge Graphs. Avoid the risk: Make sure your information is accurate and up to date, ​verify your page​and post content regularly. Know your target keywords Use SEMRush & ​Google AdWords Keyword Planner​to identify the keywords you should focus on. Keep these words at the forefront when you're structuring your headers, meta descriptions and other key fields. Not sure how to get your keywords where they belong on each page of your website? A WordPress plugin we highly recommend is ​Yoast SEO​. It’s a user-friendly tool that offers a snippet preview, shows you where you need to place your target keyword, whether or not it’s already there and more.   6
  7. 7. Must-Have SEO Tools You Can Use SEMRush One of our favorite tools for keyword research, ​SEMRush​, allows you to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for organically and the CPC (cost per click) for those keywords. Screaming Frog This website crawler churns out reports about every URL on a website, from just about every angle you could imagine. As we mentioned earlier, Screaming Frog​presents a lot of information, but it leaves room to explore and see how you can relate data to draw meaningful conclusions. Google Developers PageSpeed Insights PageSpeed Insights​allows you to plug in a URL and see a full report on site speed, user experience and more against standard best practices. If something isn’t quite up to par, they show you how to fix it. The best part? It analyzes your mobile site too. If your mobile site has fallen to the bottom of your to-do list, we’ll be the first to tell you that ​79% of people use smartphones to look up live event information​. Google now defines mobile friendliness as a critical ranking factor, so excellent mobile performance is a key component of all Rockhouse Partners websites.   7
  8. 8. About the Author Erika Folkl​is Rockhouse Partners’ in-house Lead SEO Specialist and Marketing Coordinator. A 2015 graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, she fell down the SEO rabbit hole in 2013. >> Read blog posts by Erika >> Connect with Erika About Rockhouse Partners Rockhouse Partners​is a technology-based marketing agency in Nashville, TN that advances the way entertainment properties engage fans through strategic digital and live event marketing, data analysis, ROI measurement, sponsorship and e-commerce solutions. Our team of marketing and ticketing experts is data-focused and results-driven. Most importantly, we get things done. We are proud to have worked with a select group of world-class entertainment properties, such as ​NASCAR​and ​Formula 1 tracks​, Churchill Downs, ​X Games​, Minnesota State Fair, Koka Booth Amphitheatre​, Ryman Auditorium, ​Summer Camp Music Festival​, Nashville Predators, JAM Productions, and ​Music City Bowl​. Want to learn more? Talk to us: ​hello@rockhousepartners.com   For Further Reading Lifting the Curtain on Live Events Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile Moz Schema.org Structured Data Guide   8

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