If you have never thought about how to best optimize your event name for search you are leaving money on the table.
It makes sense, right? If folks can't find your event, they can't sign up. Optimizing your event name is a pretty straightfoward process. You don't have to hire some fancy schmancy search specailist to see results (though you certain can if you like).
Let's start with that it means to search. One of the simplest definitions of the word search is “To look in (a place) for something”. In order to understand search behavior better, you'll need to think about where your athletes are looking for your online race registration page (the place) and what words they’re typing in to the search box (the something).
Your athletes will likely be searching for your event in one of a few places:
You’ll want to make sure your event name is optimized across all the channels your athletes are using to look for your event.
What exactly are people typing when they search for your event? Is there a colloquial or unofficial name for your it? Common abbreviation? Former name? Optimizing the name of your event listing might seem like a no-brainer, but people have a long standing tendency to make words and names and titles their own. McDonalds becomes MickeyDs, refrigerator becomes fridge, gymnasium becomes gym, etc. The same goes for event names, so it pays to know what your athletes are searching for.
For example, let’s say you host The Best National Bank 50th Annual Ride to Cure Diabetes in Sunny Beach, California every year, but your athletes know you as the Sunny Beach Ride.
Do you see the problem?
Nobody who searches for “Sunny Beach Ride” is going to be able to find your event unless you’ve got some rockin’ SEO happening for your own event website.
Here’s where that optimize word comes in:
Talk to them, monitor the chatter on social media, and use a service like Google Search Console to find the most common search terms to bring people to your website.
Using the example above, just appending the location of the event to the end of your event name will help alleviate the search-pain. The Best National Bank 50th Annual Ride to Cure Diabetes becomes The Best National Bank 50th Annual Ride to Cure Diabetes at Sunny Beach
Your website, social media pages, event emails, text messages, and smoke signals all need to consistently use the same event name you want folks to remember and use forever and ever.
There are some not so obvious side benefits (like new athletes knowing they’re in the right place and folks who somehow happen upon a link to last year’s registration page easily being able to find the correct year), but at the end of the day, optimizing your event name for search just makes everyone’s life better. Your athlete have a seamless registration experience and get to register for your event, and you don’t have to take care of the support that comes from the associated confusion.