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Archives for : Ticket Brokers

Tickifieds Site Changes and Blog Update

At Tickifieds we strive to provide a safe and friendly place where buyers and sellers of event tickets can connect.  Since we opened our doors (as FreeTicketClassifieds.com) all the way back in 2008, we have tried our best to manually review all ads posted on the site and remove the spam and the scams.  We think we have done a pretty good job over the years but as the site continues to grow, it has become more popular with the spammers. As such, it has become increasingly time consuming keeping up with the spam and has starting restricting our ability to focus on what we all care about…more eyeballs on our ads.

So, in order to cut down on the amount of spam we get, we have decided to charge a nominal fee to post ticket listings at Tickifieds.  Previously, users were allowed to post up to 10 ads at no charge.  Starting on August 21st, we will begin charging $1 for those same 10 listing.  We hope that this small fee will prevent a large proportion of the spammers from impacting the service we provide to both ticket buyers and sellers.  This charge is also considerably less than similar services like Craigslist (now $5 per ad) and Backpage ($1 per ad).  We certainly think a mere 10 cents per ad is a bargain.  For our Premium Members, we will continue to offer unlimited posting packages for as low as $25 per month.

Our last announcement is that we have decided to start another Tickifieds Blog (Tickifieds Daily Ticket Trends) that will focus on the most popular events and on sale updates.  Now that we no longer have to continuously check for spam, we have more time to focus on our marketing efforts and provide additional services for our members.  Since the majority of our paying members are ticket brokers, this information has proven to be very useful for event ticket marketing.  After http://freeonsalelist.com/ stopped posting on sale updates, many ticket brokers were left in the dark.  At our new blog we will featuring daily updates on what tickets went on sale and what tickets are currently hot.  If you haven’t already, please check out our new blog here.  If you have any feature requests or suggestions please let us know in the comments!

Stubhub Buying Links From ESPN?

While doing some research on college football for a blog post, I visited ESPN’s College Football Scoreboard to see what games were scheduled for week 1 (see here).  While there I noticed the page absolutely loaded with links to Stubhub.  Not only does each game have “Ticket” link directing you to the appropriate page to purchase tickets for that game, but there is also a “Stubhub Ticket Center” with dynamically generated football links on the right sidebar.

I have visited ESPN hundreds of times over the years and never thought anything of this.  I figured big deal, Stubhub probably has an enormous advertising budget and can afford to slather ESPN with advertising – something us small business owners could only dream of.  However, I decided to take a closer look as I have been paying a lot more attention to search engine optimization after Google’s latest algorithm change (dubbed “Penguin“) put Tickifieds.com on life alert.  What I noticed was rather shocking….none of the Stubhub links I examined were designated as purchased advertising links (typically noted by the rel=”nofollow” tag).  Here is just one  example of the HTML code used to link to Stubhub:

Stubhub Buys Links

Here is an example of a game specific ticket link.

HTML CODE:

<a href=”http://www.stubhub.com/vanderbilt-football-tickets/” onclick=”this.href=this.href+’?gcid=C12289x459&amp;keyword=Vanderbilt+Commodores+Football'” title=”Vanderbilt Commodores Football Tickets”>Tickets</a>

Notice that no where in the code does ESPN denote that this link is a paid advertisement.  There is just the “onclick” tag that allows them to track clicked links.  Google has made it extremely clear over the years that paid links that affect search results (i.e. followed links that pass PageRank) are a direct violation of their Webmaster Guidelines.

Anyone that has attempted to optimize their website for search engines to increase this online visibility knows that the name of the game is getting backlinks from trusted sources.   Getting legitimate backlinks pointing to a commerical site from trusted sources is extremely difficult.  That is, unless you have a massive budget and can buy links while the search engines like Google turn a blind eye.

So Google, and in particular Matt Cutts, my question to you is why are mega corporations like ESPN and Stubhub seemingly allowed to violate these Webmaster Guidelines on such a massive scale yet still dominated the organic results?  Call it sour grapes but I am beginning to lose faith that Google really has any semblance of a level playing field.

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!