Recently however I realised that there’d be a great opportunity for someone to be a site review sponsor too, who’d get all the usual perks (listed below) and – if they’re an SEO software/tool provider – a really good added extra…
What is a site review? How do they work?
Our site reviews are essentially live SEO audits, where we quickly audit a volunteered website in 20-30 minutes, running it through a few different SEO tools and trying to give the website volunteer as much ‘quick win’ info as possible – whether that be related to keyword research, technical SEO, inbound link building, Google Maps optimisation, ecommerce SEO or whatever else is applicable to them/their business/their site. The volunteered site is announced privately to the Meetup group a few days before the event, giving them time to do some homework (if they want to) and come to the event prepared. We take suggestions from the audience on what might be wrong with the site and what they could be doing to get the most out of SEO.
Wanna learn more? I wrote about site reviews in more detail over on State of Digital.
We’ve run site reviews since the 2nd event, so we’ve done 6 in total so far. Only one has been filmed, which I’ve embedded below if you want to get an idea of how they go…
Notes on the video: a) you’ll have to forgive the filmed-on-an-iPhone quality; b) the first one we did was a bit clunky and we ended up veering away from SEO-specific topics in parts – they’ve run a lot more smoothly since then; c) it starts about 3 minutes and 25 seconds in…
— Cardiff SEO Meet (@CardiffSEOMeet) August 18, 2016
What do you mean “demoed to a room”…?
Well usually we jump into a variety of tools: so I might run Screaming Frog, take a look at the site’s links using Majestic, etc. etc… and even get some random suggestions from the audience (the best one we’ve had to date is Keyword Shitter – LOL). There’s no particular reason why I choose these tools – I just go with what I already use and know.
But then it hit me: with the site review sponsor, we could showcase an SEO software tool for 5-10 minutes of the site review, giving it extra attention and focus during the audit. So if a technical SEO tool takes the slot then we spend longer looking at technical SEO; if a link analysis tool takes the slot then we spend longer looking at link analysis; you get the picture. And if someone takes the slot, I’ll make sure that we don’t use any of the sponsor’s direct competitors – so if it’s a link analysis tool, we won’t use any other link analysis tools – just the sponsor’s.
How many people usually attend?
We’ve always had at least 30, and our record so far is 45-50. These days though we’re in a bigger venue (Cardiff Bierkeller) and their Shooter’s Bar room has a capacity of 100-150! So I’m going to be pushing for 100 (at least) from now on.
We also get a healthy mix of attendees: dedicated SEO practitioners (whether in-house, freelance or agency); digital marketers who want to learn a bit more about SEO to supplement their core efforts; other people who work in Web (e.g. web designers); and even small business owner themselves! We have a strong group of ‘regulars,’ but new faces appear all the time.
What other perks would we get?
You’d get what all the other sponsors get, so…
- A link to your site from the Meetup group, from the Sponsors section and also each individual event page that you’re a sponsor of (example). Now if you’re an SEO then I don’t need to tell you the value of this, hehe… As I type this, meetup.com has a Domain Authority of 92, and the Sponsors page and some of the individuals event pages have decent Page Authority stats in their own right. Also, *coughdofollowcough* – oof, this cough, it’s nasty… 😉
- Shout-outs from the @CardiffSEOMeet Twitter before and after the event (individual example; group example).
- A shout-out in the mailout that announces the site review sponsor, which goes to all Meetup group members, not just those who are attending (which is currently nearly 500 strong)!
- Your logo on Bierkeller’s hilariously enormous screen – before and after the event it cycles through all the logos (example showing a company logo).
- A shout-out/thank you at the event itself, to the audience.
- Probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten to mention. Hugs, high-fives, my infinite love and appreciation, etc.
Do I have to be an SEO software/tool provider to take the slot?
Not at all, but I do think an SEO software provider would get the most benefit out of it, because of the main perk mentioned above.
How much would it cost?
In my opinion (but of course I’d say this!), I think the sponsorship fee per event is a steal. The site review sponsorship slot would cost a little bit more, which I think is only fair as you get an extra (big) perk out of it.
At the moment, I’m making a small loss running each event – but I don’t mind because I enjoy doing it, plus it helps with my own business. I’m not doing it to make masses of profit from it – I just want to break-even and for everyone to have a good time. So I really don’t think the cost is that significant.
[Image credit – Natasha J Gordon of HaGG.LA (thanks Natasha!)]