Google search is a portal between event planners and potential clients. It’s pretty much a fact of modern marketing life so I analyzed real search results so you’ll understand how to reach the first page.
Let’s discuss it from the very first result to the bottom. It’ll be fun.
Google leverages a ton of data points to present you with the most relevant search results. Your browsing history, device type and location, and other elements will influence what Google puts in front of you. So, if you were to try your own search, you’d likely come up with something quite similar but not entirely the same.
By the way, Google just released an update to Schema that is wildly important to event organizers, planners, and clients. If your event is open to the public or indexed on Google, then take note, and act fast.
- Google Analytics for Event Planners
- 4 Steps To Great On-Page SEO for Event Planners
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- SEO For Wedding Planners In 2020 (Updated for 2021)
Let’s Go On A Search Safari
I decided to keep things relatively simple. I searched “event planner Chicago.” My intent is to find someone who can help me organize an event for about one hundred and fifty people. You can see the first page results below:
A searcher might try some of these variations too:
event planners near me
hire event planner Chicago
how much does an event planner cost in Chicago
find event planner
Chicago event planner jobs
free eVent plNnr (probably)
And despite the differences, Google does its best to discern the intent of the searcher – your potential customer. And so we can assume the results will still be close to the above.
You can also see some other commonly-searched related keywords here:
The exact search term we tried is searched about 720 times per month, that’s a lot of potential clients.
It’s Noisy Out There for Event Planners
For each of the 720 searches each month for event planners in Chicago, Google has to choose the top results from over 34 million possible options. And it does so in half a second. That’s insanely fast.
Much of that speed is down to computing power, but Google already has a pretty good idea of what a “good” result is thanks to years of analyzing and indexing websites.
Pay to Play Gets the First Spot in Google Search
CSI DMC win the top spot because they paid for it. At least, they will pay for it if anyone clicks on their ad.
According to SEMrush, they’ll be paying somewhere between $2 to about $10 per click on that ad. It’s calculated based on the amount they bid, the relevance to the keyword, their website quality, and more.
If you’re interested in learning more about Google Ads, let me know. I’d love to do a deep dive into paid search marketing for the event planning space.
Anyway, CSI DMC is a corporate event planning company, and so, as far as things go, it’s not a bad top result. Unless you’re looking for a wedding planner, but then, well, that’s where negative keywords come in. I’ll save that for another post.
Notice the two mini-search results? Those are there because CSI DMC added ad extensions to their Google Ads campaign. Extensions are a neat way of enhancing an ad to get an advantage over other advertisers. Smart.
The second ad is a company called PartySlate. They’re a listings site where vendors, and planners, pay to be listed. While they’re based in Chicago, they’re not event planners themselves. They’re a site where you, as an event planner, sign up to show off.
So, all things considered, still a relevant result for a customer looking to find an event planner.
The 3rd result is Cvent – an event management software company with over 4000 employees and a focus on Enterprise events like conferences. They’re a breathtakingly complex app for planners who put on large events.
I’ll be a bit snippy here and state this is a lame result. I don’t consider this relevant for our search query. Cvent is probably advertising on any search term with the word event planner in it.
The lesson here is that if you’re advertising your event planning business, be fussy about your keywords. You’ll be setting your cash on fire unless you’ve thought through the search results you’ll rank for.
Maps, Maps, Maps
The map is where we finally get to some genuinely relevant results, especially considering my intent, which was to find an event planner in Chicago for a small to mid-sized event. Here we see a broad range of event planners and, in my opinion, a higher degree of pertinence to my intended search.
The way to get on the map is by signing up for a Google My Business account. Then, add some photographs of past events, get a few reviews from past clients, and add your business contact details.
You absolutely need to be on Google My Business. It’s like a shortcut to the first page in Google search results. And if your GMB profile rocks, then you’ll gain an advantage.
Your Typical Organic Search Results
At seven results down, we finally reach the “organic” search results and look, it’s PartySlate again with two results back-to-back. Impressive. It speaks to their excellent search engine optimization. Their website and content are optimized to “teach” Google that they’re relevant to anyone searching for an event planner in the Windy City.
Then there is the dinosaur of listings, Yelp. You’ll find them on the front page of most searches involving local businesses.
Listings websites, like Yelp, PartySlate, Wedding Wire, Carats and Cake, etc. are worth setting up, especially if there’s a free option. They’ve already done the legwork on your behalf.
List your business everywhere. You can do so for free or at a minimal cost and let those sites chase the potential clients down for you.
Bad Results Will Still Show Up in Google Search
I’ll gloss over the next three positions in the line-up. They’re job postings and totally not applicable to us.
Poor results will always happen.
10th Place For The Win
Finally, in the tenth position, we get Lola Event Productions. An actual local Chicago event planning business that can handle a wedding or corporate event. This is what I had in mind when I typed in the search result.
So, why them, and not another planner’s site? Well, as far as I can tell after a quick browse of their website, it’s because they get a lot of things right. Their on-site search engine optimization is good, they’re active bloggers, and their site is mobile friendly.
I use WooRank to check my on-page search engine optimization, and I’d recommend you check ’em out. Their free trial is worthwhile and lists everything you could do to improve your website’s SEO. Google’s mobile-friendly test is useful, too. Google search prioritize mobile-friendly websites in search results.
In a teensy nutshell, Google likes websites that load fast, look good, and give them a lot of positive signals. This leads to higher rankings.
Now We’re Getting Meta in Google Search
I found the Eventbrite result quite interesting because it’s actually EventBrite’s search results for “event planners” in “Chicago.” Pretty cool, right? It’s a whole bunch of events, many geared toward event professionals, and others off-base.
This search result is genius if you’re an event planner looking to network, but weird if you’re looking to hire an event planner. I couldn’t think of any insights here other than if you’re hosting events for event professionals, EventBrite might draw in some people.
Zooming Past the Last Two Google Search Results
HMR Designs is a design and production company that looks like they put on some gorgeous events, but certainly not for the faint of budget. Still, they’re a legit result – the second truly legit organic result we’ve seen so far and quite far down in the rankings.
They have a great website with a ton of content and internal landing pages about the venues they work with. So it makes sense why they rank highly. They, too, have an active blog, and an optimized website.
The Bash is yet another listings site, like Yelp and PartySlate above. Let’s review something. If you’d listed your event planning business everywhere possible, including Google My Business. And even if you had absolutely no search engine clout, you’d have given yourself a chance on at six first page results. The map through Google My Business, Three PartySlate results, Yelp, and The Bash.
The Good, The Bad & The Maybe
Then we have three more ads as our last search results on page one. In case you ever plan on running Google Ads, I’ll keep my analysis going.
Little Rock Events makes absolutely no sense. This is poor targeting and could be easily fixed in their Google Ads account by setting the location setting to only show for people in Arkansas. I mean, what’re the odds of one of those 720 searchers flying to Little Rock tomorrow?
Funktastic Productions looks like an awesome event band, and they’re peripherally related to my search results. Still, in my opinion, they’re taking a costly chance. At $2 per click and up, it feels expensive to advertise on the event planner keyword.
DJB Group is totally relevant, and they’re using Google Ads to ensure they get to the first page. They’re event planners, they’re in Chicago, and they might get a click from someone looking to hire them. Fair enough.
The End of The Page
The first page is where it’s at when getting decent web traffic. If you’re not able to rank organically, and I think we’ve seen what you’re up against, the trick is to use some tricks!
Get listed everywhere, get your business on Google My Business, and, maybe, just maybe, run a Google Ads campaign. But before you pay for clicks, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
And while ThymeBase can’t help with your SEO, it’s reliable, easy-to-use event planning software.