Universities redesign their websites for any number of reasons–mobile optimization, CMS upgrades, sculpting and reframing the campus story, etc. Website redesigns are a huge lift for a higher ed marketing team. Luckily, you can make recruitment and retention marketing easier on yourself and your team by prioritizing an online event calendar in your redesign.

How can a calendar help you with your marketing goals?

Online event calendars are no longer just a static resource for event details. They’re multi-functional marketing tools that can boost SEO and foster a community around your school and its campus.

For starters, the right online event calendar will help improve SEO, by merit of being filled with rich event content across a variety of pages and elements. Content means much more than just the time, date, and location of an event– elements like event images, reviews, and metadata all factor into search engine rankings.

In addition, the individual event landing and place pages of an event calendar allow for numerous pages to be indexed, as well as an increase in keywords and page views. All of these factors play a role in boosting the search engine presence of schools with robust online event calendars versus those that don’t have them.

The content included on all of these event pages gives more information for attendees looking to learn more about an event. From detailed event descriptions to attendee and venue reviews, all of this content results in extended information for visitors and, subsequently, extended time that they will spend on each page. This means more engaged visitors and an SEO boost based on time-on-page ranking factors–a win-win situation!

Online event calendars have numerous benefits outside of the obvious SEO elements, as well. They help to create a sense of community around your school, bonding prospective and current students and alumni over shared events. Audience filters help calendar visitors understand which events are geared towards their interests.

For prospective students, this means keeping an eye on campus events even when they can’t be there themselves–building excitement for a future when they’ll get to participate. For current students, a calendar will help them keep all campus events organized and on their radar. For alumni, access to a healthy event calendar may bring them back to campus or to local events, bringing in valuable time and financial donations.

Plus, calendar feature upgrades, like trending events and social media sharing capabilities, spark student engagement and make a university’s marketing and IT teams’ jobs easier when it comes to the promotion of these events.

In fact, 75 percent of people judge the credibility of a company (yes, this includes your school!) based on the design of its website. Make sure you’re putting your best face forward with a web design and calendar that attracts prospective students, retains existing ones, and sparks alumni engagement. You’ll be glad you did.

Krystal Putman-Garcia is the vice president of marketing at Localist, an event marketing technology company that offers interactive calendars that help companies publish, manage, and promote events. She is responsible for Localist’s marketing and partnership efforts, to ultimately help businesses make the most out of their events.