Gym SEO: Organic Search Strategies For Fitness Clubs
The fitness industry continues to grow at an alarming rate. The last few years caused the home gym market to explode while gyms struggled to hold on to their businesses, but the tide is turning. Now, with restrictions lifted and people returning to the gym, gyms are scrambling to become the best and most seen option for potential members.
During the pandemic, we saw a change in digital marketing. Instagram, the primary driver of leads for many fitness businesses, adjusted its algorithms requiring more of a pay to play approach. Gyms and personal training studios are no longer getting the reach and social engagement they once did.
Now, gym owners and marketing directors must replace what previously worked. Some ask, “do we return to the ways of print ads and mailers?” Others ask, “do we run social media ads along with a Google Ad campaign?”
Those may be good options, but the bigger opportunity is creating a strong Gym SEO strategy.
Why Gyms Should Consider SEO
Almost every fitness club has a community feel. Even if not by design, members become friends who use the gym as a meeting place for social engagement, education, and networking.
No form of digital marketing resembles this type of activity more than a local SEO strategy. Other forms of social media marketing and search engine marketing are helpful amenities, but organic search engine optimization is the foundation from which you build your marketing empire.
Gym SEO: How You Should Start
There are several levers to pull when optimizing for the highest position in the search result. Without a fitness SEO strategy, you will waste money to find out what is most important. Attack everything at one time and the ROI will take longer than you would like.
The first step to Gym SEO is understanding how much potential exists. Through keyword research, a SEO expert understands how frequently people are searching for terms such as “gym near me”, “gym in Ventura, Ca”, or “gyms with a day pass”.
But keyword research isn’t the end all be all. It shocks even us to hear that 85% of all Google searches are brand new. People may look for more random terms such as gyms in Paso Robles with a smoothie bar.
This is where Gym SEO experts use strategies and forward thinking as a part of your organic search plan.
SEO Website Analysis
A full SEO website analysis is required whether your gym website is brand new or has been around for sometime. Most times, your gym’s SEO service work begins by looking backwards before driving forward.
Your fitness website may have technical SEO issues causing it to be devalued in Google search. While not glamorous, our Gym SEO service gets down and dirty by correcting all website mistakes, hurting your performance.
SEO Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is the third aspect of your SEO strategy. This analysis of backlinks, reviews, listings, and keywords ensures you don’t spend more than needed on search engine optimization.
It also ensures you do not assume a small budget will get the job done on an enormous project. The job of an SEO scope of work is to give you a realistic understanding of what it takes for you to land you in position one. A digital marketing agency wants to be sure that their local SEO services meet your expectations and without a competitive analysis, results are like rolling the dice.
Now that your gym is ready for SEO, your existing or new website needs to be optimized. We must prep your home page, about us page, and the gym membership service page for success.
Technical SEO for Gyms
Make sure that Google will see your site as structurally sound before driving traffic to your website. This means correcting URL structures, images, pages, redirects, SSL, and more.
Don’t worry about the technical terminology here. Think of it this way. With your SEO service, an agency will make sure there are no cracks in the foundation, plumbing leaks, framing issues and dangerous electrical issues for your business’s digital home.
After dialing in your website, it’s time to add in those high volume fitness keywords that your community searches for. Some will have direct relation to your gym, such as “24-hour gym in Santa Barbara” whereas others are from local search intent such as “gym workout for beach season.”
Google Business Profile
Succeeding at local SEO is more than having an optimized website. There are three principal places where your gym business receives online traffic. In most local businesses, it is the Google Map Pack that receives the most visits. The Map Pack is the box of businesses that Google recommends.
Formally known as Google My Business, your Google Business Profile is a triad of part social media, part email marketing, and part search engine.
From your keyword research, you can create a GBP page helping potential customers find your business. Taking the time to fill out your Google Business Profile puts you ahead of the pack, in the Map Pack.
It pains us to see gyms with poor reviews. Equally painful is seeing a gym with a lack of reviews. Reputation management is a critical component of your gym’s success (or failure) in the Google Map Pack.
A Google Business Profile is where you can monitor and respond to reviews left by previous and existing members. These reviews include SEO keywords that Google considers an important ranking factor for your business.
Do you want your business to rank for “Best gym in San Luis Obispo” Or “Worst gym in San Luis Obispo.” How you request and respond to Google Reviews can make or break local SEO success.
Gyms have a visual stimulus that is unmatched by almost every indoor business. With Google’s machine learning ability, they scan your images, figuring out exactly what is going on. With Google Lens and other machine learning methods, a group of people working out with an instructor is relevant for searches such as group personal training, workout classes near me, and several other search terms.
As the gym owner or marketing director, keeping photos current on your Google Business Profile is important. Up-to-date photos help drive traffic to your website, calls to your phone, or people to your business.
People who work out at a gym are social creatures. Otherwise, it better services them to working out at home. Google Posts gives you the ability to socialize with people who do not yet visit your business. Engaging with a client in this way helps social creatures see you provide the right environment for them.
Use Google posts to let people know about fitness events, educational seminars, or specials that you are having at the club. Also, you can use Google posts to share recently published blog articles helping to add reach to your content marketing strategy.
Set up All Relevant Directory Listings
Getting your gym set up on major directories such as yelp and yellow pages helps drive immediate traffic to your gym. Most agencies will use an SEO keyword strategy, since these large directories are search engines themselves. But you shouldn’t only show up on the major directories.
A local SEO specialist sets you up on local directories and fitness directories where people find information about your business.
Having an accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) reinforces to Google that the hours on their page are correct. They scan other directory websites, making sure that their information is in line with everything else on the web. Using a directory monitoring service is a good idea to prevent technical Google Business profile issues.
There are plenty of benefits to being in online directories and they are worth the money when you consider the minimal amount that they cost.
Natural Backlink Building
Backlink building is one of the most important SEO strategies that companies rarely strategize for. Having links pointing back to your website shows to Google that the internet, industry, and community find you to be a relevant source for information, foods, and services.
A gym can actively develop natural backlinks by looking at offline strategies for online success. Here are three ways:
- Events that Support Nonprofits: Establish press related backlinks from newspapers, local magazines, and online bloggers by hosting events that are good for your community.
- Host Educational Seminars: You are the authority on all things fitness, right? Make that information known by inviting other businesses into the event. Have them share the event on their website, letting people know how their body fat testing truck will be at an informative fat loss workshop.
- Become the Official Sponsor: Spend money on marketing that matters by sponsoring local college, high school, and club sports teams. Often, the Oxnard tennis club has a website where they thank their sponsors and provide a backlink to your website.
Link Building on Steroids
There are ethical link building ways that happen in a faster amount of time. To expedite your climb to the top, SEO services backlinking services help you build backlinks by finding opportunities.
The SEO agency helps to identify guest posting spots where you can showcase your expertise. Our SEO agency does manual outreach to existing articles. These content publishers may find a benefit of using specific anchor text (words on the page that link) along with your website URL.
These services cost money, but when right, they are well worth the investment. Combined with your natural link building efforts, you can outpace the competition in a faster amount of time.
Content Marketing For Fitness Centers
Content marketing is the least competitive method for increasing your gym’s SEO. And there really isn’t an excuse for a Gym business, since there is no shortage of content marketing topics to talk about. Where businesses get stuck is by not understanding the content marketing best practices, how often to post, and what subjects to focus on.
Creating blog articles on your website shows Google that your business is an expert subject matter. These articles help you rank for longer tail keywords that people are searching for in your area. One example might be “How to push a prowler sled in the gym.”
Google considers local content publishers as sources of information that this person might be interested in learning from. This is a great way to increase brand awareness.
For quick research, look at your social media pages and find topics that have the most likes and comments. This is an obvious indicator that your community is interested in these topics. Use this along with local keyword research and you will have plenty of subjects to choose from.
What is crucial to content marketing success is being consistent and executing correctly. Through topic research, an SEO agency helps identify the semantically related terms, and determines how many words it takes to compete. Almost no article should be less than 1000 words but could be as long as 4000 words.
Scaling Your Fitness Center With SEO
We have covered the Gym SEO basics, but I want to leave you with a strategic business concept. Your gyms website can be a testing ground for additional services that you are offering or hope to offer. Maybe your gym is now offering in-house personal trainer services. You can scale your business with SEO by doing keyword research on this topic before adding the service to your business.
Here’s another example. Before spending $20,000.00 on plumbing for your smoothie bar, first find out what level of interest there is for healthy smoothies. First, understand if the product you plan to offer is the right fit for the community you serve.
The point is, you can use SEO for more than online visibility. SEO should become a part of every aspect of business strategy. From paid advertising to service offerings, the knowledge gained through search engine optimization will serve your business well.
Fitness SEO Agency
If you are a gym or fitness studio, we can help you win at SEO. Our Gym SEO services are based on sound optimization principles and personalized SEO strategy. But we have a special place in our heart for fitness businesses since we owned several of our own.
As your local SEO specialist, we set you up with SEO best practices and find opportunities for your gym to stand out and be ahead of the competition. Fill out the form below for a free website analysis and SEO strategy call.