The Case For Structured Data Event Markup
Leveraging the organic search channel to promote anything from a concert to a conference is one of the best ways to grow awareness, consideration, and sales for your event. One of the ways Google is helping event marketers increase each of these key performance metrics is by offering the opportunity to markup event-related content on their websites in order to qualify for rich results in search that display more information and features beyond the event link – including elements like ticket pricing, availability, imagery, speaker information, and location all on the search results page.
This is the future of SEO for events.
Event markup is incredibly powerful. If you think about any sort of ticket type company in today’s age – movie tickets, music tickets, other show tickets – if they aren’t utilizing this type of markup, they are missing out on a lot of potential organic traffic.Geoff Atkinson, Founder and CEO of Huckabuy
Think about the bottom line benefit of this markup strategy. As target customers are browsing the internet for a type of conference, for example, are they more likely to click on your result with more interactive information on the search results page or are they more inclined to pick on a competitor’s result with just the standard blue link showing? Customers will tend to click on the result displaying more information because it satisfies the query faster, enables them to take action faster, and there is a sense of credibility and trustworthiness conveyed when Google is willing to prominently display this information among the organic results. When Eventbrite – the world’s leading event technology platform – implemented structured data across their website, traffic to event listing pages grew 100% year over year.
Required Event Markup Properties
Listed below are the following properties that need to be included in every piece of content utilizing event markup for SEO. You can read Google’s documentation on event markup here and the schema.org documentation here.
This is simply the title of your event.
Start and End Date
This is an opportunity to clarify the dates and times of the event. Is it happening over the course of a single day? Multiple days?
Here you will need to disclose the purpose of the event.
Do you have a poster for the event that you advertise on billboards, walls, or elsewhere on the internet? Include that here.
Where will the event be hosted?
Recommended Event Markup Properties
Are you selling tickets? A new product? Include those details here if applicable.
Does the event involve a band? A guest speaker? A number of different presentations? Include those details here if applicable.
Structured Data Example – Event Markup
If you have a piece of content that utilizes event schema, you can insert the URL into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to see whether everything is correct. The image below is a screenshot of the event markup on Huckabuy’s structured data product page for our annual “Huckposium” customer success event. You will see that we have included all of the properties necessary to qualify for this schema type, the markup is error-free, and Google has also included recommendations to provide information on offers and performers involved, if applicable.
Penalties For Incorrect Event Markup
The purpose of event markup is to make it easier for people to discover and attend your events through Google search results. In addition to marking up events correctly, you want to make sure you avoid marking up non-events as events. In doing so, Google may penalize your entire website by disqualifying all content from rich results. Examples of non-events marked up as events include the following: short-term discounts or purchasing opportunities, business hours, and coupons or vouchers. See the excerpt from Google’s content guidelines below for more examples of misinformation.
Rich Result Example For Event Markup
LendIt, a prominent FinTech company, relies on Huckabuy’s automated structured data to populate event-based rich results for key elements of its business like the 2019 “LendIt FinTech Europe” Conference. Shown below are the rich results from the event schema populated on their site: the dates, location, ticket information, and map of the conference, among other elements, appear directly on the search results page.
Google’s Developers page for event markup provides recommendations on the best ways to go about marking up your event listing. It also offers content guidelines and specifically warns against marking up non-events like business hours, coupons, and vacation packages.
Schema.org has a page for event markup that lists all of the properties you can use to describe your event listing. It is recommended to be comprehensive and complete as many of the properties as possible so Google can display more features in search.
Event Schema News
In March 2020, Google announced the release of COVID-19 “special announcement” structured data to be utilized by the likes of health-related and government agency websites for the purposes of providing important updates directly in search results – things like stay at home directives and school closures.
In addition, schema.org added coronavirus-related structured data types to their library, including the “special announcement” type, as well as properties such as “COVID testing facility” and “has drive through service” to help government agencies in particular inform their audiences directly in the search results how they are modifying operations as a result of the outbreak.
In late April 2020, Google announced on their Search Console Help page a new “organizer” structured data property type that allows websites to provide the organizer name and domain URL for event items. This is especially critical for online events where there isn’t a physical venue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Event schema is a class of structured data markup that informs Search Bots about all the important details on a webpage for events like concerts, conferences, sports games, and festivals. As a result of this markup type, customers discover and engage with event links in a more user-friendly fashion.
By communicating to Google everything it should know about your event or events, they can embed this important information directly in the search results page. If your business is competing with other events, attempting to drive more attendance, or looking to improve the customer experience for elements such as sign-ups or purchases, this is an excellent markup type to include in your website’s SEO strategy. Imagine yourself as the customer: are you more likely to engage with a standard blue link or one with additional features like location, pricing, and start date that help you satisfy your query or task faster?
Location, address, start date, end date, description, images, price, availability, currency, speaker, and performer are some of the recommended pieces of information you should include in the markup, depending on the event type.
Adding schema markup, also referred to as structured data markup, to your website is a time-consuming and resource-intensive project. If you are looking for a fully-automated solution, check out Huckabuy’s automated structured data software.
There are several options depending on how you post events. If you post events on third-party sites, like ticketing sites or social platforms, make sure your event publisher is integrated with Google. If you post events on your website, make sure you’re using structured data to make your events eligible for the event search experience in Google and give search bots an easy time finding event information on your website.