Top SEO tips for gyms and personal trainers

Want to get your personal training business more clients? Read these essential SEO tips to get your business in front of more customers
September 20, 2017

For all kinds of gyms, fitness classes and personal trainer services, SEO is going to be key to achieving real marketing gains.

What is SEO? This is the work that moves your website up in Google search results. If someone searches “gym near me” then you want to be near the top of the list. People won’t bother scrolling through to page 4. Even moving from position #5 (which should get you around 5% of clicks) up to position #1 (which will get you around 30% of clicks) results in many times more web traffic and potential new clients.

SEO vs Fitness training: A crude comparison

Ok, let’s have a go at trying to explain the different aspects of effective SEO in fitness terms. We’re kind of shoehorning this in a bit here but it might make it (slightly) more interesting than the normal lecture. As with training, SEO is all about how many different things fit together, with no one area being able to fully compensate for weakness in another.

SEO tactic Fitness tactic Comparison
SEO Audit & Analysis Fitness test (one rep max calculation) Before you can even start looking forwards, you need to see where you are at now. Then you can start to think about where you want to get to.
SEO Strategy (what work needs doing) Training programme (planned progression and overload) Next, obviously you need a plan. Otherwise what’s the point? What is the quantifiable goal that you are trying to achieve? And how are you going to get there?
On-page fixes (meta tags) Learning good form (proper squats) If you don’t make sure things are working properly at the start, you’ll pay for it later on. Getting the little things properly tidied up won’t be what causes loads of progress but it will mean you aren’t held back.
Content (blogs) Compound lifts (squats) This is what is at the centre of making progress, if you can do this bit well, it will bring benefits in all other areas. If you aren’t doing the other things well, then maybe you’ll struggle to get the most out of these efforts.
Link Building (citations) Nutrition (balanced macros) What happens in the wider world matters. Fail to fuel (with links or food) your main endeavour and you’ll struggle to make progress. If you’re gunning for that big, lean physique, then getting nutrition right is half the battle, and link building is just as vital for SEO.
Social media (Facebook and IG) Assistance exercises (bicep curls) Doing this by itself is unlikely to bring big results but if you are already doing the rest properly this can help top up those gains and hit other areas super specifically. You don’t want to either skip or rely these completely.
Patience Patience Whether it’s doing a deload week or simply waiting for your SEO to get picked up by Google, proper, legitimate, long term results take time. Sorry guys, there’s no point trying to cut corners.

Ok, now I’ve put that in terms that might make a bit more sense, let’s break it down a bit more. It’s tricky to tell you exactly what you need to do without taking a look at your website but here are some of the key things that you can actually do to get on the road to SEO success.

Google and customers want the same thing: great content on good websites

This ethos is really at the core of all our SEO. It’s why it’s so effective in the long term. Our SEO tactics aren’t trying to game the system, so we don’t see rankings drop offs when Google updates their algorithm to show fewer spammy sites. This does mean there are no quick fixes but it also means you will feel the benefits of proper SEO for a very long time.

Get data or go home

SEO isn’t like having a chat with someone. If you start talking about your new fitness venture and all you get in response is a confused “ok….” then you can tell you’ll need to explain it differently next time. When it comes to digital marketing you don’t have any feedback at all unless you get data.

If you aren’t tracking the progress of your website it’s basically pin the tail on the donkey, you are simply taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best. You wouldn’t lift weights without knowing what the weight is or keeping track of how many times you could lift it.

An example rankings report
Use data to understand where you are currently and how to progress

Admittedly getting hold of and understanding the relevant data can be a bit tricky. Buy that’s why your clients go to you when it comes to weight training (or the specific training you offer). We do the same for our clients. We get all our clients set up with rankings reports, citation tracking, Google analytics a ton of other stats so that we can see what is working and what isn’t. Then you can find the areas that are comparatively weak and build on them.

Remember, there’s no point checking your search engine rankings where you are up to, by just Googling yourself. Google knows which computer you’re searching from, where you are and what your search history is, so the results will be ‘personalised’ to you and biased to show your website higher for you than everyone else.

Even in “incognito” or a private browsing mode Google still recognises your IP address. So keep in mind that what you see in Google will NOT be what your customers will see. How do you know you’re using the sort of keyword search terms that your customer use? There may be loads that get used, or just a couple that get used the vast majority of the time. We can get data on all these things so you don’t have to guess.

Content marketing is king (still)

If you looked into SEO before, this won’t be news to you. You need to frequently create high quality content to hit the heights of top ranking SEO. Whether this is blogs, infographics, giving out free programmes, or putting up instructional videos this is going to be what attracts both Google and customers to your site. You’ll be asserting yourself as a source of credible, relevant content and that is what will get you noticed.

How you do this will naturally depend on your particular expertise, who your customers are and what will be of interest to them. Are you already starting to think about these things? Good. You’re starting to put together a content strategy. Every business is going to have a subtly different strategy, but every business does need a strategy. Work out what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Don’t just sit down at a computer once a week and reel off the first fitness related thought that comes to mind. Make sure there is a common and consistent theme that connects your content, and then interconnect your content with links to other relevant items.

Great content on a great website
Good content is well presented and tailored to its audience

Google Maps Matters

The kinds of fitness business we are talking about, be it a gym, PT or class, are going to be local. This means people will be searching locally. Using maps. The little red pin that pops up on a Google local search, on a desktop computer, tablet or phone is going to be super important. Google knows that searches for a gym depend on information about location so often the links to websites get shuffled down the page of search results to make way for a block of the top 3 or so Google Maps listings. Getting into the top results is going to be essential so that people can find you.

A Google Maps "3 pack" of local results
SEO is the only way to ensure your business can be displayed here

So how do you get to the top of the maps list? It’s a lot like getting your website ranking highly in the generic ‘universal’ search results, but with several extra nuances. Nobody can tell you exactly what to do to get the top rankings but we have a lot of experience testing and trialling what works. Firstly you need to keep it consistent. Make sure your maps listing matches your website, from branding and opening times to contact info and the exact spelling of the business name. Make sure there’s a link to your website in your maps listing too. Once you’ve got the listing fully filled out, go out there and get as many reviews as possible. You can create a link to make it easier to leave reviews, we show you how in to build reviews from customers in this blog post. If you’re looking for longer term help with generating more leads from Google maps and other geolocation websites, our local SEO service for gyms is designed just for your business model to help you earn reviews, monitor them, climb the search rankings and generate new gym clients.

Click here to learn more about our fitness marketing services.

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