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How to Link your Tickifieds Ads to a Google+ profile

If you are a ticket broker or own a ticket related website you know first hand getting visibility on the major search engines is no easy task.  Every year, many ticket websites spend thousands of dollars optimizing their websites for the search engines with hopes of getting more traffic.   Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a multi-billion dollar industry.  However, is such a competitive industry such as ours it can be difficult to get and maintain search engine visibility when the rules are constantly changing.   From Pandas to Penguins, it can be really hard to keep up with all the latest algorithm tweaks.

While we certainly do not have any magic formula to help you increase the visibility of your ticket website, we do have a way to increase the visibility of your ticket ads listed at Tickifieds.com.  If you have been paying attention to Google lately, they have been on a mission to build up their social network aptly named Google+.  Many SEO experts have hypothesized that Google’s dip into the social network arena is not only an attempt to attract more users to their products but to also improve their search results.  One of the ways they are attempting to tie their social platform to the search engine results is by employing the rel=”author” tag.  Unlike other social platforms, Google+ allows you to connect your social profile across the internet, and in a sense, validate your identify.  This is done by identifying a Google+ profile id as an author of any type of content across the web.

One of the big advantages of tagging your content with your Google+ profile is that, over time, if you become a trusted source of valuable content, Google may show preference for your content when it displays search results.  Although the above sentence is largely speculation, there is no doubt that Google is encouraging users to link their content to their Google+ profile.  As a reward for people who employ the authorship markup, Google will display your Google+ profile picture next to the associated search engine result.  These images have shown to drastically increase clicks-throughs so even if authorship doesn’t provide a boost in the search engines, people will be more likely to land on your page or ad.

Here is an example of a Tickifieds Ad as it is displayed in the search results with Authorship verified.

Here are a few examples of a how a Tickifieds Ad looks when displayed in the Google search results with verified authorship markup.

So, now that we know its probably a good idea to start using the author markup on all your web content, how does one add this markup?  Well, at Tickifieds.com we made it really easy!  Just follow these steps below.

1).  If you haven’t already, sign up for a Google+ profile at https://plus.google.com and be sure to include a profile picture with a “recognizable headshot”.

2).  Find your Google+ Profile url.  It should look something like mine :  https://plus.google.com/u/0/114868684757175395718.  To find yours, just log into Google+ and look for your profile picture in the upper right hand corner and select “View Profile”.

3).  Log into your Tickifieds account and select “Edit My Profile”.  Look for the field titled, “Google+ Author Profile” and paste in your Google+ profile url from step 2.  Click submit to save your profile.  We automatically add your Google+ profile with the rel=”author” tag to each of your ads.

4).  The next step of the verification process is to add a reciprocal link back from your profile to Tickifieds.com.  To do this, Click Edit profile, then click the Contributor To section on the right (depending on how many photos you have, you may need to scroll to see this section), and then click Add custom link.  Enter Tickifieds.com, then click save.

5) Test your markup and see what author data Google can extract.  Go to the Google structure data testing tool at:  http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.  Go back to Tickifieds and find the url for one of your ads and copy it.  Paste the copied url to the Structured Data Testing Tool and click “Preview”.  If it is all setup correctly, you will see your profile image appear next to the preview search result listing.

6). That’s it….you’re all done!

If you have any trouble setting this up feel free to let me know and we’ll get you setup!

 

Ticket SEO Post Panda and Penguin

Optimizing Ticket SEO with the Latest Google UpdatesIt’s been a while since we touched on search engine optimization for event tickets and boy has a lot changed.  In case you haven’t heard or haven’t noticed, Google has released a series of updates to their search algorithm over the past year which was dubbed the “Panda” update.  The Panda update was Google’s attempt to remove poor quality content from it’s search results.  While there is debate on what Google deems poor quality content, the result was that out-dated, poorly written, and largely plagiarized content were penalized or filtered in the search results.  For the most part, if website owners were good about using high-quality original content they probably didn’t notice much of a change in traffic from search engines.  Tickifieds was lucky enough to avoid any appreciable impact of the Panda update.

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Top 5 SEO Tips for Ticket Broker Websites

With the advent of massive online ticket exchanges (e.g. Ticket Network Direct) it is becoming increasingly difficult to optimize ticket broker and affiliate websites for search engines.   These ticket exchanges have many advantages in that it makes it possible for even the smallest of ticket brokers to supply their customers with tickets to nearly any of the 80,000+ events throughout the U.S.  However, as a result, nearly all of the ticket broker websites list the exact same tickets for sale often at the exact same price.  Anyone that knows a thing or two about search engine optimization (SEO) knows that duplicate content is a big no-no.  So what is a ticket broker to do to overcome the duplicate content issue?  In this post we discuss 5 easy things you can do to optimize your website for the search engines and build both traffic and sales.

1.  Create Unique and Useful Content

Anyone that pays attention to the best management practices recommended by the many search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) knows that content is king.  With literally 10,000+ ticket broker websites in the U.S. alone it is not enough to simply list ticketed events on your website.  Everyone already does that.  In order to get premium placement in the search results you must provide additional details for the events you have for sale.  Many ticket broker websites make the mistake of only adding some copy and pasted text (usually from Wikipedia) to the performer or team page.  While this does provide the page with additional keywords, it will not help you as it is not unique nor useful content.  Simply put, don’t bother wasting your time.  If you are not going to take the time to write your own original and unique content that will benefit your users (which is highly recommended) , a more efficient method is to utilize RSS feeds to display relevant content on each performer and/or team page.  There are many websites that can provide syndicated content free of charge.  While original content is best, syndicated content can help your website visitors find relevant information and boost the amount of text on each of your pages.

Some good feeds to use can be found at:

CBS Sports RSS Feeds

ESPN RSS Feeds

Ticket RSS Feeds

You can also build a custom news feeds at Google News.  To make you own feed simply put your search terms where it says “MYSEARCHTERM” in the following URL: http://news.google.com/news?q=MYSEARCHTERM&output=rss

2. Build backlinks

While search engines use complicated algorithms that are constantly evolving to rank the pages that are displayed on the search results, the biggest ranking factor seems to be the quality and number of backlinks.  In the eyes of the search engines, each link to a page is considered a vote for that page.  A vote from a highly respected website is weighted over a vote from a not so respectable website.

Backlinks are not easy to get for a commercial ticket website.  The best way to get free backlinks are to list tickets for sale at various classifieds websites.  However, classifieds websites like Craigslist and Backpage will delete your ads after a short period of time, thus, negating any long terms benefits.  Perhaps the best classifieds site to post ticket ads is at Tickifieds as the ads are permanent and never deleted.

Another way to build backlinks to engaging in discussions on various blogs.  Most blogs commenting systems will allow participants to leave a link to your website.  You will want to find blogs related to the content your are looking to promote and leave a thoughtful comment.  There is an art to this as a generic or unrelated comments can come across as spam and will prevent your comment (and link) from being approved.  Probably one of the best blogs to comment on is the very one you are reading as it is directly related to the ticket industry.  So, feel free to comment on this article and get a free and easy backlink to your website.

3. Encourage Sharing on Social Media Websites

Many search engines are looking towards social media as indicators of quality content.  Webpages shared on social media sites are treated much like backlinks- a virtual vote for your webpage.  Encouraging sharing on social media site is pretty easy and straight forward.  Place buttons to various social networking sites to encourage sharing of your content.  Some of the top services include Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  You can either get a snippet of code from each of those services or you can integrate all of them via a service like AddThis or ShareThis.

To make this even more effective, be sure to created branded pages on each of these services.  For example check out our Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ pages.

4. Start a Blog

Blogs are a great way to accomplish many of the other items on the list.  A blog can be used to create unique content, build backlinks, and encourage visitors to engage with you via social media.  You can either create a blog on a subdomain of your ticket website or simply use a free hosted solution like WordPress or Blogger.  While creating a blog is free and easy to do, remember not to underestimate the time and dedication need to reap the immense benefits of blogging.  If you are going to start a blog you will need to frequently write fresh content (at minimum 2-3 articles a week).

5. List your Tickets at Tickifieds.com

While we have already mentioned the benefits or using Tickifieds.com to enhance the visibility of your ticket website in the search engines, we thought we would expand upon that statement a bit further.  Tickifieds is really a unique service in that it provide as highly visible platform to promote your service and/or tickets.  The volume of ticket listing we receive everyday ensure that the search engine spiders frequently crawl our website.  When they do so they note any links to outside websites.  By making a listing you get a quick, easy, and free “vote” for your webpage from a highly respected website.  Tickifieds is one of the top websites in the world (see our Alexa rank) and consistently appears at the top of the search results for many event ticket terms.  So even if you are failing at SEO for you own website you can easily get search engine visibility through Tickifieds.

You can even further the benefits of using Tickifieds by checking out some of our ticket classifieds tips.  Of particular interest is our article on using your personalized RSS feed.  Your personal RSS feed contains only ads you posted and is a tool to build viral backlinks to your ads and website.  To learn more about this be sure to check out “Promoting Ticket Sales With RSS Feeds“.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback so please leave a comment!

 

 

 

SEO For Your Ticket Ads

Many Tickifieds users are surprised to learn that roughly 85% of our traffic comes from the search engines (primarily Google).  As such, it is extremely important to optimize your ticket ads for these search engines while maintaining usefulness to the prospective ticket buyer.   In this article we will fill you in on how we do SEO for Free Ticket Classifieds and provide some tips on how to best take advantage of the work we already do for you.

One of the main reasons for our high rankings in the search engines is how we promote each ticket ad placed on our site.  When a user submits a ticket ad, the ad is syndicated to various blogs and social media outlets via our RSS Feeds.  The syndication of these ads ensures that the search engines notice and quickly index these ads and include them in their respective search results.  The individual ranking of each ad in the search engines depends on many things (e.g. the competitiveness of the keywords, when the ad is posted, etc.).  However, the ranking of each ad is largely dictated by the uniqueness of the ad.  The more unique the ad is, the more likely it is to be syndicated by other sources- search engines recognize this and rank ads higher that have more backlinks and have generated more buzz.

Now that you have an idea on why our ads rank so well in the search engines, what can you do to maximize the power of Tickifieds?  Well, it’s very simple- create unique ads!  The 3 most important areas to focus your creative juices on are the Ad Title, Description, and Keywords.  Ad Title is probably the most difficult to be unique with as there are only so many ways to creatively list, “Duke vs Michigan State Basketball Tickets”.  If the particular event is not extremely popular or you only plan on listing 1 ad for the event, you probably do not need to worry much about it.  However, if the event is popular and you plan on listing multiple sets of tickets for this event, then you want to ensure each ad you post has a unique title.  So, for the above example, try some of the following:

  • Duke vs Michigan State Basketball Tickets
  • Duke vs Michigan State Basketball Tickets 12/1
  • Duke Basketball Tickets 12/1
  • Michigan State @ Duke Basketball Tickets
  • Michigan State @ Duke Basketball Tickets 12/1
  • Cheap Duke vs Michigan State Tickets
  • Discount Duke vs Michigan State Tickets
  • For Sale: Duke vs Michigan State Tickets
  • Buy Cheap Duke – Michigan State Tickets 12/1

Hopefully, by now, you see the point.  You can easily create unique titles by including or excluding additional information and also by rearranging them.  Remember, duplicate title are not only bad SEO but also against our Terms of Use.

In addition to mixing up the titles you should also always include a unique description of the tickets listed for sale.  All too often we see people simply copying and pasting the generic ticket listing information with a link to their website at the bottom like the below example.

Michigan State at Duke – Basketball Tickets
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 9:30PM
Buy them at: Discount Duke Basketball Tickets

And much better example is:

Get tickets to the BIG Michigan State Spartan at Duke Blue Devils Basketball Tickets game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina – Wednesday, December 1, 2010 9:30PM. These are nice seats in section 11 row P. See the top 2 teams in the Nation battle it our for that elusive #1 ranking!! This is a game not to be missed!

CLICK BELOW FOR CURRENT PRICE & AVAILABILITY OF DUKE vs MSU BASKETBALL TICKETS


 

In the second example you can clearly see the additional information creates a much more unique ad that adds value not only in the eyes of the search engines but also the customer.

Finally as icing on the cake, you need to make sure your ad keywords are also unique.  Add as many of the details from your unique title and unique description to further make your ad stand out from the rest.  If you included “Cheap” or “Discount” in your title and/or description, add it to your keywords as well.

Last, and certainly not least, it’s important to keep in mind that as unique as you can make each ad following these simple tips, you can never avoid repeating keywords.  That is why we recommend never posting more than a few ads for a particular performance or event consecutively.  Even if you are posting 1 ad for each Duke Blue Devils basketball game you still would be repeating the “Duke Blue Devils” keyword 30+ times.  This only serves to dilute the importance of that keyword and the search engines and syndication sites will begin to think your ads are spam.  Often times this can result in your ads not being indexed and thus not ranking high in the search results.

Promoting Ticket Sales with RSS Feeds

Free Ticket Classifieds RSS Feeds

Free Ticket Classifieds RSS feeds are a great way to further promote your ticket ads.

While many ticket brokers and private sellers have quickly learned that FreeTicketClassifieds.com (FTC) is a powerful tool to both market and sell their tickets, most have not taken advantage of the one of the most unique features – personal RSS feeds. If you are not familar with RSS (Really Simple Sydication) it is a web feed that is commonly used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video. RSS feeds benefit publishers by letting them sydicate their content automatically to other websites (search engines, social media, news aggregators, etc.), as well as readers who can subscribe to the feed through various RSS readers (e.g. Google Reader). The RSS reader checks the user’s subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds. Using RSS feeds is a great way to promote your work and maximize your audience.

What many FTC users do not realize is that we generate a unique RSS feed for each and every user ( see Discount Tickets RSS Feed). Your RSS feed includes key details from each ad you post. What is great about these RSS feeds is that you can submit them to RSS feed directories, social networking sites, your blog, and search engines to bring even more traffic to each ad you post. By sydicating your content you are not only insuring that the search engines will notice and index your ad but you are also getting your ad in front of even more users. The more people who see your ad the more likely you will be to sell your tickets. To find the URL of your ticket feed just click on “My Profile” from the User Menu when logged in. This will take you to the edit profile page. Above the modify user profile section you will see the site navigation in the “Ticket Trail” box. Click on your user name to take you to your profile. Once there, look above the “Featured Ticket Ads” and you will see a RSS icon with “Latest 20 ads of this user”. Click on that and you will be directed to your personal RSS feed. Copy that link and start spreading!

One of the best ways to utilize your personal RSS feed is to use a free tool over at Twitterfeed.com. TwitterFeed can take your RSS feed and automatically submit each item as a Tweet on Twitter or a status update on Facebook and FriendFeed. To see this in action check out FTC on Twiiter and our FTC Facebook Page. There is no quicker way to get your ticket ads indexed quickly and build those all important backlinks.

In addition to these personal RSS feed we also produce a RSS feed for each ticket category and/or team on Free Ticket Classifieds. These feeds are a great way for website publishers to provide relevant and fresh content to their readers and users. To see a full list of our category RSS feeds go to Free Ticket Classifieds RSS feeds.