When you want your gym to make more money and get more customers, there’s one marketing tactic that you might not know about. It’s called search engine optimization (SEO). Gym SEO will help your website rank at the top of Google’s results and lead more people to your company.
In this guide, you’ll learn the heavy-lifting secrets of SEO for your gym including what it is, how to use it, and how it works.
Ready to find more customers and get expert fitness marketing advice, all in one place?
Editor’s note: While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way many of us are doing business, especially in the health and fitness industry, the basic principles of online marketing remain the same and the advice below holds true. If you’re looking for guidance specific to marketing during this time, check out our Small Business Action Plan for Health Clubs and Fitness.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and the search engine being mentioned here is typically Google. By optimizing your content for Google, your business will perform better on SERPs — search engine results pages.
The way that gym SEO works isn’t too difficult to understand. By putting the right content in the right places, your website will start moving towards the top of Google’s search results. This works by targeting keywords, including links, making your content readable, and checking for plagiarism.
Your keywords are the bread and butter of your gym SEO program. Keywords are the phrases or words that you want to target. When someone Googles these words, you want your website to rank highly — to pop up at the top of the list.
Some examples of keywords for your gym would be “best gym near me”, “best CrossFit in Dallas”, or “cheap gym in my area.”
As a business owner, you’ll use these keywords across your internet content. When Google determines you’re a legitimate business with real merit, you’ll start populating on people’s searches.
The other way to boost your SEO is through links, also known as anchor text. A link is text included in an article with an embedded URL that automatically takes a user to another site when clicked.
When you link to websites that Google trusts, Google starts trusting you more. Keep in mind — these linked websites must have something in common with what you’re talking about.
You might link to other gyms, health blogs, or nutrition sites. While adding links to your website is a good thing, don’t overdo it, try to space them out.
Believe it or not, Google also judges your content based on how readable it is. If your written content doesn’t make sense when it’s read aloud, Google will drop your ranking to the back of the line.
This is to prevent people from spamming a ton of random keywords in order to trick Google’s ranking algorithm. Google has one of the strongest algorithms when it comes to screening content and determining what to put at the top.
Beyond Google’s algorithm, if your content isn’t pleasant to read, your members and clients won’t want to read it either and may turn them away from your gym. So, don’t “keyword stuff.” Instead, keywords and phrases should flow naturally into and through your content. For example, the SEO keyphrase for this article is “Gym SEO” — could you tell?
If you’re not a great writer, that’s okay, a lot of people will hire a writer to create content on their website. This helps to ensure the content is highly readable and checks all of the other SEO boxes.
The final criterion to determine where your Gym’s website ranks is whether or not your content contains plagiarism. This is one of the worst things that you can do on your website. If you plagiarize, Google will simply blacklist your site.
This also applies to copying and pasting your own content from one tab to another on your website.
All of your content needs to be completely unique.
Why is SEO beneficial for your gym?
Gym SEO has a lot of benefits. Here are some of the greatest benefits of SEO for your gym:
The bottom line is that SEO will help push your gym to the top of Google’s results. The vast majority of people look for new companies and products via a Google search. Your gym’s branding won’t do you any good if people can’t find your site.
This could include people in your area looking for a new gym membership. When they stumble across your site, they’ll be hooked. However, if you don’t show up on the first page of Google’s results, they’ll likely never find you.
Think about it this way: would you rather put a billboard in the middle of a forest, or on a busy highway?
A well-run SEO campaign will rank your site front-and-center. You’ll get more clicks, interactions, and customers. All of which should translate to more money in your pocket.
It’s free to do
An SEO website works almost like a Google Ad at the top of the page. The only difference is that you don’t have to pay for SEO. SEO works according to some basic principles that are free to know and easy to implement.
You don’t have to pay for this method, which is a huge benefit. It’s why so many professionals recommend SEO for gym owners.
It’s not hard to do once you understand gym SEO
You don’t have to go to a four-year college to get a degree in SEO to learn how. It’s something you can learn in your free time to start seeing massive results.
After some trial and error, you’ll get the hang of it, and you won’t think twice when you use SEO best practices — it will be second nature to you.
Where does SEO go?
The most important place for SEO is on your website, but SEO can go anywhere that you write content about your gym online.
On your gym’s website
Since you want to direct people to your website, you want to focus your SEO attention on your gym’s website. Don’t have a website? Learn how to quickly build a strong gym website.
The reason that your website works so well is because the content will stick around forever and it’s completely under your control. You can upload as much SEO optimized content as you want.
On your blog
If you want the best SEO results, you should focus on running a blog. This blog should be hosted directly on your website and contain plenty of links to other pages on your site.
Since blogs are open-ended, you can fit a lot of different SEO techniques into one.
As you keep adding more content, don’t forget your SEO tactics. Your blog can revolve around anything in the world of fitness. It can be workouts, diets, the benefits of going to a gym, or basic informational pieces about health.
You want to attract an audience to your blog who will also be interested in your gym.
Use SEO on your social media accounts
Another place that people like to use SEO is on their fitness social media accounts. This requires another step for the customer before they make it to your website, but it still works.
This is a little trickier than using SEO on your website. On your social media accounts, you’ll want to include keywords or phrases that people might search for on social media. You’ll also want to include a link to your site in your posts as well as your bio — make it easy for people to find your site.
How to perform keyword research
You keep hearing about keywords, but how are you supposed to find them? It’s not as hard as you think. It just takes a little research.
Put yourself in the mindset of your customers. What types of phrases or words will they use to find a gym like yours? Jot them all down.
Use Google’s autocomplete
When you start typing in Google’s search box, it will suggest a phrase that you might be trying to find. Google’s algorithm comes up with these autocomplete options based on who’s searching for what on Google.
In other words, these autocomplete options are the most-searched-for phrases. Start off by typing “best gym” and see what Google suggests. You can do this with a number of different starting words.
Find related searches on Google
After searching for a phrase, scroll down a little on Google. There should be a section of search phrases titled “People also ask.”
These are similar searches that you can also turn into keywords.
Use a keyword planner
The final option is to use Google’s keyword planner.
This unlocks the door and shows you data from the business side of things. It’s part of the Google Ads platform — a nearly bottomless barrel of data that can help with your gym SEO. Google Ads can show you the top-searched-for terms, terms to target, and unique terms that can help.
Optimizing the content
Since SEO can be used on any of your online content, you need to know where to focus specifically.
Your URL, or domain name, is an oft-overlooked place for SEO. Your website URL should include your business name, be easy to remember, and navigate to your site. If that domain is taken, you can add the word “gym” or your location to specify.
Whenever you put a new page on your site, the URL should correspond directly to what the page is. For example, the URL for your Contact Us page should end with “contact” or “contact-us.” The same is true for your About Us, Services, and Location pages.
Google will look at your URL before determining your SEO score. A random combination of numbers and letters will hurt your Google ranking.
Your goal is to use keywords and phrases in the title of every page on your site. This is especially true when you have a blog post.
You might have to get creative with the title to include the SEO phrase, but it’s really important that you do.
Using headers not only breaks up your posts, but it also helps with your SEO. Use primary and secondary keywords in your headers to help your page rank highly on Google.
Google specifically looks at your headers and title to make sure that your keywords are used before ranking you.
Being knowledgeable about gym SEO will help your page rise to the top of Google. These simple tips and secrets about SEO should help put more eyes on your gym’s website and make you more money.
For more information, download this free gym and fitness marketing guide.
Read more: blogs.constantcontact.com