Local SEO Solutions: Pro-Tips for Fitness Businesses

Monday, January 16, 2023
Attract & Retain Customers

Fitness businesses are positioned to reap great rewards from implementing smart, local SEO solutions.

The key is to focus on the tactics that will give your business the most boost for the effort.

This is the third post in our recent series focused on local SEO tips and tools for fitness studio owners.  

If you’re new to SEO, otherwise known as “search engine optimization” you may want to start by reading Why local SEO is Important for Fitness Studios -- Frequently Asked Questions, and Local SEO Checklist for Fitness Studios and Businesses, which give you an overview of why local SEO is so critical to fitness studio’s and gym’s success and how to get started with a local SEO solution. 


This post dives deeper into how to create an online presence that drives new customers through your doors. 

We’ll show you how to perform a website audit to identify key areas of opportunity for improving your online search engine visibility and performance, SEO keyword research, blogging for SEO and Google My Business Listing power moves. 

When creating your most effective local SEO strategy, remember, not all of the tools we include will apply to your fitness business and some may take longer than others. You ultimately know what’s best for your business and where to prioritize. 

Take an Inventory of Your Fitness Business Offerings

It’s always a good idea to get clear – or update – your fitness studio’s core offerings, especially in light of recent changes in the fitness industry.

  • What’s the heart of your business’s success?
  • What makes your fitness classes or studio environment different from the competition?
  • What draws customers in and keeps them coming back? 
  • Does the name of your gym or your group fitness classes describe exactly what type of workout customers will get? 

We’re working towards identifying keywords to include in your local SEO strategy so that your business will have the best chance of appearing when potential new customers search online.

A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the place of your customer.

What query would they be most likely to type into Google when looking for fitness classes, a personal trainer or gym in your area? 

For example, if you teach yoga, is your class called “Go with the Flow” or “Vinyasa Flow Yoga”? The latter is much more likely to return a result in a Google search to someone looking for what you offer. 

If you offer 1:1 private lessons or training sessions, are you explaining that in detail on your website or Google My Business Listing and using keywords that describe the workouts? For example: “kickboxing private training sessions” or “HIIT workout private or group training.”

Be sure to clearly list the prices and schedule for your offerings on your website and online profiles. This includes any introductory offers you may have. 

Audit Your Website

One of the fastest ways to start implementing local SEO solutions that will boost your numbers quickly, is to perform a website audit.

We know...

What is a website audit and HOW on earth do I do this?!

The good news it's not as challenging as it seems. AND, you'll be way ahead of competitors who decide they don't want to time to learn this step.

To audit your site, you'll want to start with a quick performance review.

There are a number of free, online tools that will quickly show you the strengths and weaknesses of your site. When you’ve got a few clear bullet points showing you why your website is slow to load or isn’t ranking for important keywords you’ll be super efficient in targeting your local SEO strategy to address these, giving you a quick boost. 

A website SEO audit will typically address the following, all of which contribute to your businesses ability to rank in search results:
  • Technical SEO issues
  • Website structure issues
  • On-page SEO issues
  • Potential off-site problems
  • User experience issues
  • Content gaps and opportunities
  • Competitive marketplace insights

There are a number of free, online SEO auditing tools as well as paid options that give you even more information about the effectiveness of your local SEO strategy and the SEO health of your website. These include Moz, Semrush and Ahrefs.

What is Optimal Website Architecture?

Let's talk about website architecture.

What is website architecture and why is it an important local SEO solution?

Your website architecture is how your website content – titles, text, links, videos, etc. – is organized.

It’s kind of like a well thought out kitchen where utensils and supplies are placed intuitively in the drawers and cabinets where a person involved in cooking a meal would naturally reach. 

Websites that are built with the user in mind clearly present information, make it easy and fast for users to click through to find relevant information and have an obvious menu-ing and navigational structure. These sites are intuitive and help users find what they’re looking for without thinking about it.

Search engine algorithms recognize this and rank optimized sites higher. 

Create a website architecture that has:

  • A clear menu structure on your home page with the most important information your target audience is seeking. For a fitness studio, this is things like “pricing and membership,” “our fitness method,” “class schedule, “instructors,” and “contact us (including location information.”
  • Group similar topics and categories of information together as you build out pages from your main menu. For example, place descriptions of your group fitness classes and information about what level practitioner your classes are for – or links to this information – on the page where you post your schedule. 
  • Consider your sales funnel when choosing how pages relate to each other and what links to place on pages. For example, make sure there are links to your pricing and memberships page on your class schedule our about us pages to make it easy for users who are checking out your fitness business for the first time to buy once they’ve gotten the information they need to know that your studio is a good fit. Put links to your introductory offer on every page. 
  • Make sure that your businesses location and contact information are easy to find throughout your website. You can put links in the header and footer of your site in addition to creating a contact us page. 

Don't Skip Keyword Research

This may seem like a daunting task.

But consider this:

According to Google, 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within one day.

Even more surprising is that 28% of those searches result in a purchase

So a bit of research can boost your opportunities to connect with customers.

Local keyword research is done by using an online tool to find out:

  • What keywords your target audience is searching for,
  • How many people are searching for those keywords,
  • And how difficult it is to rank for various keywords and phrases.

Once you identify the keywords your potential customers use most, you can use these in the content on your website to make sure they find you first. The ultimate goal is to drive more, qualified leads to your website – and into your classes or gym. 

How to Identify Local Keyword Opportunities

There are a host of online tools for researching keywords.

Before you get started, take a moment to map out what your local target audience wants most.

Why would they be searching for a gym or fitness studio like yours?

Here are some deeper dive questions to ask yourself:

  • What kind of fitness clubs or experiences are people searching for in your area?
  • Are people searching for yoga studios, boxing gyms, CrossFit boxes or are they searching for specific types of group fitness classes, like Zumba?
  • Do people in your town search for big box gyms or are they searching for boutique studio experiences?
  • Who is primarily searching? Locals? Tourists? Both?
  • When are people searching for fitness studios or classes? Are there seasonality trends?
  • What keywords or questions do people ask about fitness? Do they mostly search on mobile devices or desktops?
  • Why are people searching for fitness studios in your area?
  • What do people find when searching for fitness clubs like yours? Who ranks highest? Why?
  • How can you provide the most relevant content on your website to get people to click on your website instead of your competition?

When you’ve gotten clear on the answers to these questions, you’re ready to move on to the next local SEO solution: Researching your competition.

The goal here is to find keywords that your desired customers are typing into Google that your competitors don't rank for.

How to Scope Out the Competition

You can use any of the online tools we’ve mentioned – such as Moz, Semrush and Ahrefs – to find out what SEO keywords your competitors are ranking for, and which ones they are not.

First, you'll want to determine who Google thinks is the competition.

You can do a quick Google search, using the keywords you identified from your keyword research.

You'll want to look a few things:

1) Grab the top competitors who come up in the map pack.

2) See which competitors are running ads for your target keywords (this will help give you an idea if anyone is your area is advertising or if there's an opportunity to grab some impressions with search ads).

3) Grab the top 5-7 competitors who come up in regular search results (below the map pack).

Then, you'll use some of the keyword tools we just mentioned to dig into the good stuff about your competitors.

These local SEO research tools can tell you information like:

  • Monthly traffic
  • Traffic sources
  • Highest ranking organic keywords and their difficulty
  • Domain authority
  • Backlink profile

AND much more!

This process can take up multiple blog posts and it's easy to go down the rabbit hole with SEO sleuthing.

By going through this process, you can target the keywords that your fitness business is most likely to rank for, and develop content on your website that will map to your target audiences local queries. It’s as simple as typing your competitor’s website URL into one of the SEO research tools listed above.

If you'd like an even deeper dive into keyword research and competitor analysis, Neil Patel has an excellent post that will walk you through SEO Competitor Analysis.

How to Identify Blog Post Opportunities

There are two primary ways to identify topics that will answer the questions your target audience is “googling for” most often. 

FIRST WAY

You can see from your local SEO keyword research what terms are popular in your area – keywords like “HIIT for weight loss,” or “yoga for stress relief” or “group fitness class schedule” will give you some idea of what people want more information about and can be a good jumping off place for writing blog posts. 

A super easy way to do on-the-fly keyword research like this is to type some keywords (like those above) into Google and see what types of SERP features appear.

Ask yourself...

Does Google show the Local Pack (the map and Google My Business ratings and profiles for your seed keywords?

Does a competitor’s Google Ad appear?

What about a list of bulleted items from someone’s blog or website? 

If Google shows local organic search results for your seed keywords, then your website has a chance of ranking if you optimize specific web pages for those and other related keywords.

SECOND WAY

You can also plug your seed keywords into either a free or paid keyword research tool to view specific data around these keywords (e.g. search volume, keyword difficulty, SERP analysis) as well as other related keywords or questions. 

When you're ready to write a blog post:

Make sure to use your designated keyword frequently to attract search engines. This is called keyword density, and basically means the number of times that a keyword is used in relation to the total words on a page.

Rather than play a guessing game, you can use a too like WordCounter to tell you keyword density.

Once you're done with a post, paste it into WordCounter's box, then look at the information displayed in the right columns. Specifically, the 'word density column.' Select 'x2' or 'x3' (depending on keyword length, to display density.

A good target is 3% keyword density.

It's good practice to use synonyms and variations of your target keyword as well.

If you need help determining what those might be, plug your keyword into Google, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at related searches. Use those as inspiration and add them where they make sense in the article.

Keep in mind that there’s a balance in being user-friendly and practical in conveying relevant information and simply putting so many keywords on a page that it’s annoying and not giving the end-user any benefit.

Not only can this turn off users, but Google's algorithm can penalize sites who are guilty of "keyword stuffing" their pages and blog posts. 

Google My Business Power Moves

As we mentioned in our previous posts about maximizing your local SEO, having a strong Google My Business profile is key to capturing that highly motivated local search traffic. Here are some power moves to get your fitness business to the top of search results within Google’s Local Pack results.

  • Keep all of your photos up to date and relevant to your business. Show customers working out in your facility with your instructors, pics of the outside of your studio, beautiful shots of the spa-like amenities in your locker rooms, you get the picture. Recently Google added a way for users to upload photos to business’s listings, so checking on your photos and managing which ones are presented on your profile is more important than ever.

  • Create and manage links for customer reviews. Google now helps businesses create a special link (URL) that can be shared with customers to encourage them to write reviews. Here’s how. Getting reviews and actively responding to them is business critical. According to Bright Local, More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% 'always' or 'regularly' read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020). And, More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% 'always' or 'regularly' read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020).