SEO for your Trade Show Booth: Optimize and Be Found on the Floor

The internet:  Endless amount of websites, large and small, big brands and little brands.

And what do people do when they go online?  They go directly to a website.  Their email provider.  A favorite sports site.  Facebook.  But the other function of the internet is to find answers to questions.  To search. Our search engines are constantly indexing and crawling the internet to bring you the absolute best answers to your questions.

If you need to know how to change out the lid switch in your washing machine, you type “how do I change out the lid switch of my washing

How would anyone find you in here?

machine” and voila.  There’s a YouTube video that shows you how (actual example: I was amazed that a completely unhandy person like me took apart and fixed a washing machine.).  In just the last decade, a whole industry has emerged to help companies optimize their websites and get more easily found.

The trade show floor seems be a physical representation of the internet in a lot of ways.  Endless trade showbooths to see, large and small, big brands and little brands.

Sometimes, like the internet, a show is so large that it makes more sense to first look for specific booths to visit instead of wandering around aimlessly.  So, if you have a trade show booth, how do you optimize and get more easily found?

Here’s a short glossary of SEO terms that share similar strategies in how you get found on the trade show floor.

Keywords:  the exact words and phrases used to search for something. 

Chances are, you are not trying to sell to every single trade show attendee.  Your product or service, in a lot of cases, is more relevant to some visitors and not others.  That is why people who build websites integrate specific words and phrases in which their desired audience may search.

It may sound obvious, but all of your messaging in relation to your exhibit must speak to your very specific target market.   The show book & website, sponsorships, and marketing collateral should all say the same thing.  More of your desired audience will then find you.

Page Ranka quantity defined by Google that provides a rough estimate of the overall importance of a web page.

Many shows have a system for ranking exhibitors.  This ranking may determine the order in which exhibitors are able to select exhibit space at the next year’s show.  The factors that determine ranking are things such as exhibit space size, number of years exhibiting, or a combination of these.  As with websites, the longer you’ve been around the better standing and ranking you have.

Simply knowing the rules of how exhibitors are ranked can make the difference between getting a corner spot on the main aisles, and being tucked in the back behind a huge column.  Do your homework and ask for advice from your exhibit partner.


Gimme some of that good Link Juice.

Link Juice:  the amount of page rank given to a page from an external link. Link juice may also be measured by the amount of visitors a link produces.

Search engine authority is often determined by how many others find your website content relevant, and thus referencing it with links and sharing it through social media.  The more it’s linked, the more people stumble upon the content, the better.

The same thinking should be applied to a trade show strategy, particularly if you are relatively new exhibitor.  Make yourself a destination with a good pre-show campaign using email marketing and social media.  Build the buzz before the show and you’ll have to rely less on having a great location on the trade show floor, as people will be looking for you.

Meta Description:  a concise explanation of a web page’s content allowing the authors to give a more meaningful description, often displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs).

You may make it to the front page of Google.  But your desired audience won’t click on you if your search result doesn’t tell them who you are and what you do.

The same may be true at the trade show.  Let’s say you have a great spot on the main aisle near the entrance.  The people you want to stop at your booth are not the ones who want the free stress toy.  You want the ones who stop because you are relevant to them.  Do your graphics, videos, and other visuals allow them to quickly make that distinction?

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come.  But there are a lot of strategies to use to ensure they do.  What are some other ways you’ve used to prevent your booth from being the one with crickets and tumbleweeds?

Jonathan Branca is the Director of Client Development at EDE Corporation,
Chicago exhibit company that specializes in the designing, engineering,
building, installing, and managing of high quality trade show exhibits.  Feel free
to start a conversation with Jonathan on TwitterLinkedIn, or in the comments below.

1 Comment

  1. Nice post. I suspect that few, if any, trade show exhibitors are thinking about SEO. It’s a great example of how big picture thinking can impact results. And it’s smart to start with definition of the concepts.

    …and I love the picture of the juice bottle. It makes me think that link juice is packed with vitamins. Vitamin G.


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