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We will walk you through our proven 5-step process to move your gym to the top of the list. But first, let’s take a look at why local SEO is critical for gym owners.
3 reasons gyms should invest in local SEO
Google has replaced the Yellow Pages
Gone are the days you could run an ad in the local phone book and wait for prospective members to call. 97% of people search for local businesses online. Google is the juggernaut of online search.
Lower traffic costs and exponential lasting value
Yellow Pages ads might have gone the way of the dinosaurs, but advertising is still a significant cost for many businesses. SEO is an investment, but unlike other ad media, your content doesn’t disappear once you stop paying for ad inventory. With minimal maintenance SEO continues providing lasting value for years to come.
On average, national and international companies must wait 6 to 12 months to see a significant increase in Google rankings. Gyms have a tremendous advantage with local SEO because competition is between other area fitness centers, not those on the other side of the country.
Many of your competitors aren’t yet using local SEO. As a result, depending on your market, it is possible to hit the first page of Google local results in just 4-6 weeks.
Step 1: Determine your keywords
Draw up a list of keywords that reflect the services your gym provides. Examples might include “yoga classes,” “CrossFit,” and “functional fitness.” when you have a reasonably long list, create a free Google AdWords account. If you need keyword help, a great free resource is answerthepublic.com.
You don’t need to develop or pay for an ad campaign. The account allows you to use the Google free keyword planner tool to see how much traffic your listed keywords draw and provides suggestions for additional related keywords.
You are now ready to decide which keywords you will use. All keywords fall into two basic types:
- Buying intent – As the name suggests, buying intent keywords signal that the prospect is ready to buy. For example, someone searching for CrossFit Portland is likely prepared to sign up for CrossFit and decide which local gym to join – buying intent keywords should be the primary focus for your local SEO campaign since they drive the fastest conversions. Place them on your homepage, and create service pages around them.
- Research intent – Used by prospects who are gathering more information. Eventually, they might join a gym but are at the earliest sales funnel stages.
For example, the benefits of joining a gym could indicate a prospect is thinking of a gym membership but wants to know what’s in it for them. Make these keywords lower priority in your campaign, but don’t throw them out. They will not drive quick conversions, but faqs and blog posts based on them can introduce your gym to prospects who might decide to join.
Step 2: Optimize your keywords
When you settle on a final list of keywords, you need to optimize for them in 3 places – your Google My Business page and website. Here’s what to do:
Google My Business
Featured in the map of Google local business listings, your Google My Business page is a mini-website that increases your online presence and gives prospects a quick summary of your gym. It can also provide a fast boost to your Google rankings because it is much easier to get a Google My Business page than a website highly ranked.
Accurately and fill out your Google My Business page entirely.
Verification – check-marked and verify next to your name.
NAP – name, address, and phone number must be correct and consistent across the internet – list local phone number instead of an 800 number.
Categories – focus on services rather than results – in addition to the gym, a customer might choose a sports club or studio – list 3-5 categories.
Description – simply 100 to 200 words – We will help you capitalize on this precious real estate.
House – consistency is critical and if you change, make it a habit to adjust across the house.
Images – get prospects and members excited about your gym, so include a few photos of the equipment or classes, make sure in focus, 10KB-5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720 by 720 of your branded image.
Start with core pages – homepage and services pages and optimize for buying intent keywords – optimize your content pages by researching intent keywords.
Step 3: Build citations and links
Now that the basic framework of your local SEO campaign is in place, building citations and links both that will improve your reach and boost your Google rankings
Citations – provide citations to any online directory that lists your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). Examples include general national directories such as Yellow Pages, Facebook and local public directories like your town’s Chamber of Commerce website. In addition, targeted directories specific to the gym and fitness industry double check your NAP is identical in every listing. Although many citations are free, some directories only offer paid listings. Before investing, use Google Analytics to see if you receive traffic and conversions from that site.
Links – to achieve Google rankings, you must have inbound links from credible, authoritative sites. Build online and offline relationships with competitor businesses such as health food stores and then ask to trade links – learn where your competitor’s links originate.
Step 4: Solicit reviews
Reviewing is essential for two reasons: they reassure Google My Business is legit and convince prospects to try your gym. While all review sites are helpful, Google My Business reviews drive the fastest rankings. Email your satisfied members with a link to your Google My Business profile and ask them directly for a review – make a habit of ongoing steam reviews.
Step 5: Track your results
You can only know how well your local SEO campaign performs and which areas need some work if you track your results. However, a wealth of data focus on the following three core metrics.
Rankings – Google customizes its search results based on past browsing behavior. If you want to know how a particular page ranks, you must use a tool – the free Google search console is an excellent start – ask the webmaster to install and check once or twice per month.
Traffic – Google Analytics displays your traffic overall – learn what percentage comes from Google search and determine which of your pages draws the most traffic. Look at your reports every month and keep an eye out for long-term trends.
Conversions – conversion is a specific action that you want your website visitors to perform – for gyms, a typical conversion is to schedule a free class – Google Analytics lets you track both web and telephone conversions. Examine which services drive the most conversions and which of your pages have the lowest and highest conversion rates.
Let’s Get Started!
Now you can see why a comprehensive local SEO strategy is critical for driving more prospects to your gym. Work your way through the steps in order, and make sure each is complete before starting the next. Here is a recap of the five steps:
- Keyword Research
- Keyword Optimization
- Citations and Links
Want Help with SEO?
Digital Authority Partners specialize in helping gyms attract more local customers through Google. Contact us for a free quote if you’d like help with your SEO.
Click here to request a quote for SEO services
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