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Gym SEO: Local SEO Guide for Gyms

Gym SEO: Local SEO Guide for Gyms

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on March 30, 2021 — Updated on October 28, 2023

This gym SEO guide will walk you through the process of improving your gym’s local SEO, helping you to increase online visibility, attract more local members, and ultimately, grow your gym business. Whether you’re a newcomer to SEO or seeking to refine your existing strategy, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the tools and knowledge to make your gym more discoverable online.

Fitness Income Ideas

Get the Basics…

  • Even though it seems overwhelming, you can begin to implement many local gym SEO strategies today.
  • It is important to create a consistent schedule when posting online to create credibility.
  • Google My Business is of no-charge and can help propel your gym online.
  • Voice and mobile optimization are necessities.
  • Beyond your website, become involved in your community to create a local presence.
  • Choose the best social media platform based on your target market and clientele.
  • Hashtags offer an excellent way for non-clients to find you and your gym; post often and tag often.

There’s a lot of info online about attracting more members to your gym or fitness studio. One large piece of the puzzle is search engine optimization or “SEO.” Gym SEO can be broken down into two distinctive categories: local gym SEO and global gym SEO.

While global gym SEO focuses on larger scale keywords meant to drive traffic to a site, local gym SEO is designed to drive traffic from a certain area to a site – and that is the kind of search engine optimization a brick-and-mortar gym owner needs to prioritize when producing content online.

And to use the best personal training software, best gym management software, and best software for fitness influencers who want to grow and scale a fitness business, book a demo now!

Core Online Mobile Fitness App
“My custom-branded apps have made my life easier and helped streamline my online training, which in turn has transformed into a pretty awesome additional revenue stream for me and my family.”
Tony Gentilcore
Founder, Core Online

Speaking of your website, did you know that Exercise.com provides custom branded gym and fitness studio apps? See one in action by booking a demo with us today.

Learning more about local gym SEO can only improve your fitness business and bottom line; so we reached out to experts in the fitness industry to see what local gym SEO strategies they use to drive clients to their facilities.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

Gym SEO: Website Optimization for Gyms

What is website optimization exactly? The main goal of website optimization is to drive traffic to your site in order to convert leads into paying customers. In order to bring people to your site, you optimize things like website content through SEO, you use paid search and paid social ads, and you lean on organic search and social media. Converting those people comes down to how well you market your products or services once they’re on your website.

So, how do you market your products or services after you’ve optimized your website? Good website optimization should be paired with a good content strategy. The two go hand-in-hand.

Below, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about the two – from tips to expert advice to tools.

Tip #1 – Add a Map to Your Gym’s Website

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes the simplest ideas slip through the cracks. We highly recommend adding a map to show where your gym is located on your website. The map should be easily accessible and stand out among the rest of your content.

Simon Ensor, SEO Agency managing director and writer for outlets like Search Engine Watch, BBC, and TRT World, says, “You can also include clear directions on your website or if you want to get more techie you can write schema markup to include your location.” (We cover schema markup below.)

Tip #2 – Don’t Bundle Multiple Gym Locations

Susanna Williams, a Content Specialist at Online Optimism, states:

“Build location pages if you have several branches. Sometimes gyms and other fitness businesses that have different locations tend to put them all on the same page of their website. Instead, look into building separate pages optimized for each gym location. This gives you the advantage of dominating more of Google’s search, while also allowing your gym to receive more hits for each location, instead of just being mapped under one.”

Tip #3 – Have Multiple Landing Pages

Joe Goldstein, Director of SEO & Operations at Contractor Calls, says:

“Many gyms and fitness centers lump several of their services onto a single page, along with only the most basic facts. They might say we have a swimming pool, the pool is open between this and that time; or, we have a yoga instructor, here are the class hours, and leave it at that.

Instead, take just a little bit of time to create a separate page for each of these services, and then include some real details about each. Include your swimming pool’s dimensions and depth, all the aquatic classes you offer, who coaches them, how to sign up, and more. You can even talk about the general benefits of exercising in pools, such as the role of low-impact aerobic work or what experts say about resistance training in pools.

Creating separate pages for each of these programs and services means you’ll have extremely relevant pages for each related search. If someone searches for “aquatic Zumba near me”, and you have a page specifically for that, it will be much more relevant than the next gym’s classes and sessions page. That means you can earn the click from searches, even if your page ranks a little lower.”

Read More:

Tip #4 – Get Your Title and Description in Order

This tip came up again and again when we spoke with SEO Experts — ensure your title tags and descriptions are hyper-specified for each location.

Gwen Montoya, Marketing Strategist & CMO of MOB Nation, says, “I’d suggest updating their title tags and SERP descriptions to reflect their location and services.”

Jeffrey Michael, local business manager, says, “The other thing I recommend for their websites specifically, is they include the city that they are located in within every title tag on their website. This improves their chances of ranking in Google or other search engines for people who search that city and the services/products they provide.”

Billy Polson, entrepreneur, founder, and owner of DIAKADI and The Business Movement recommends: “Make sure each page has a title that previews clearly and concisely what the page content is about. Search engines look at this first, so every page needs its own unique and relevant title.”

Tip #5 – Get More “Time on Site”

Increasing time on site can be tricky but there are several core best-practices you can immediately implement to see solid results (check out the video above for even more info).

First, engage your readers with relevant multimedia. This may include gifs, videos, infographics, or other similar elements. The key is they must add value and be relevant.

Second, (we’ll get into this more under the content strategy), make sure you have a logical and easily navigated website. This is critical for engaging customers and keeping them on your site. Think of Amazon:

Amazon Site Architecture

Notice how their site is designed clearly where you know where to navigate to find what you need? Think of clear top-level categories and work down from there.

Billy Polson recommends these two things:

  • Organize your menu pages in a way that is easily navigated.
  • If you don’t have one already, create a sitemap on Google Search Console which lets you lay out the hierarchy of your site and tell search engines how you want the user to navigate through your website. A logical organization will decrease the bounce rate and allow your customers to flow through your pages for an ideal experience.

Third, incorporate proven copywriter techniques like engaging readers with real-life scenarios and answering questions (more on this later).

Tip #6 – Add a Virtual Tour

Sean Kolina, co-founder of ignite360.com shares this bit of data: “Upload a 360 Virtual Tour. Locations that have this see an increase of 85% in bookings because people can see what your location looks like before visiting.”

Google has a virtual tour creator that’s easy to use. Check it out here.

Tip #7 – Make Sure Your Site Looks Great on Mobile

Mobile is an important part of web traffic. Think of how much browsing you do on your smartphone. Conservative estimates put mobile traffic up to 60% in some niches. Know what the percent is for your niche and compare that against your traffic.

Low numbers could indicate your site is hard to use on mobile. And one of the key things on mobile is how fast your site loads (which we touch on below). Use Google Chrome Inspect to run a site audit specifically for mobile and make the recommended changes. See below:

Billy Polson says:

  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. With almost constant access to a cell phone or iPad, this is frequently how customers will view your site.
  • Take a look at your site on your mobile device, ensuring your data is scan-able, easily navigable, sorted, and has tap-able photos, as this will impact the success of your site in regards to SEO as well as customer experience.
  • Visit PageSpeed Insights where you can plug in your website’s URL and see how you are performing on desktop AND mobile. This tool also presents to you areas of your site that need improvement and how to fix them to boost search rankings.

Tip #8 – Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly

According to CrazyEgg.com, “A one-second delay in page load time yields: 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.” Furthermore, “47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less and 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds.”

That tidbit of information shows that a slow-to-load page could have a dramatic impact on your ability to engage visitors and get them to show up to your gym. (Thankfully, CrazyEgg.com has 20 tips that will help improve your site speed.)

Tip #9 – Optimize for Voice Search

The way people search for information online is changing. Increasingly, people are using voice search on their smartphones, tablets, or voice assistants (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices) to search for information on the internet.

According to Hitwise, nearly 60 percent of searches are performed on a mobile device. With more and more people using mobile devices to search, people often find it easier to use their voice instead of typing on tiny screens.

To optimize voice searches, ensure that the content you are producing is more conversational and natural in tone (rather than just keyword phrases). Also, since so many voice searches tend to be local, make certain your Google My Business listing is claimed and up-to-date.

Instead of anticipating searches like “best gym in town”, hyperspecific searches are becoming more popular.
Example: “Alexa, where can I find a local gym that is open 24 hours a day?”

Tip #10 – Don’t Forget the Tags

With almost 90 percent of online experiences beginning with a search engine, it is essential for websites to organically generate more traffic. To generate traffic to your website, you must invest some time in producing the appropriate tags. Unfortunately, a great website means nothing if no one ever visits it. These tags are the “language of SEO.”

We could do an entire article based on HTML tags; however, instead, we will link you to an article composed by Neil Patel that will go over some essential pointers when it comes to everything related to tags: 7 Essential HTML Tags that Separate SEO Pros from the Rookies.

Tip #11 – Use Schema Markup

Schema markup is a series of codes that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users. For an outsider looking in, this can seem overwhelming, confusing, and tedious; however, it’s easier to apply than it seems and it’s a best practice that you need to incorporate into your webpages. Ranking Academy has an excellent and helpful video (posted above) that will help to make sense of this new “language.”

Website Optimization Tools

A good tool will direct you towards site improvements and will provide actionable insight to allow you to implement those improvements. Here are a few we recommend:

  • Google Search Console – “Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results” (GSC).
  • Yoast SEO – This little WordPress plugin packs a punch and will provide you with actionable insights as you are writing content in WordPress. Give it a look.
  • MOZ – MOZ provides traffic details, site optimization tips, and competitor rankings.
  • Ahrefs – Ahrefs provides site auditing tools, backlinks, and keyword research. This is a personal favorite for its ease of use.
  • Ubersuggest – Ubersuggest provides domain rankings and keyword insights.
  • ScreamingFrog – Our team regularly uses Screaming Frog to find thin content to update and to get a list of our posts that might need rehabbing.
  • MarketMuse – MarketMuse is a beast of a tool. It’ll cost you to use, but it provides in-depth, live analysis on Google SERPs and makes topic research and site architecture a breeze.
  • SEMrush – SEMrush also provides site auditing, keyword ranking, competitor analysis.
  • Google Chrome Inspect – The best part about Google Chrome inspect is that it’s free and will provide actionable insight for any page or post that you want to inspect.

Local Gym SEO and Content Marketing

Content marketing for the health and wellness industry is essential. The right kind of storytelling has the potential to inspire and motivate, drive people to perform their best, and most importantly, build close-knit communities of like-minded enthusiasts.

Not only is the content important, but the way you showcase that content is equally as important. We’ve outlined some ways that will help you put together a solid content marketing plan to bring more people into your gym:

Tip #1 – Figure Out Your “Why?”

To get ahead in the fitness industry, you have to stand out among the crowd. Often, gym owners get into a rut of using the same descriptive text as the gym down the street to explain their offerings.

When people read the same things, their attention is never sparked; therefore, stepping out of the box and creating a content strategy plan will ensure that you get a prospective client to stay a little longer on your page and possibly schedule a consultation. After all, getting people in the front door is always the hardest part!

Developing a content strategy plan is essentially figuring out your “why.” You should want to answer these questions:

  • Why are you creating content?
  • Who are you helping?
  • How can you help them in a way that no one else can?

Beyond answering those questions above, your content strategy plan also refers to formats you’ll focus on (Infographics? Video? Photos? A mixture of all three?), what channels you’ll use to showcase these formats, and finally, how you’ll manage the creation and publication of it all. These questions can only be answered after you’ve tackled your “why.”

Tip #2 – Create Topic Clusters/Pillar Pages

Topic clusters and pillar pages may seem like foreign concepts, however, it’s pretty important to implement them. Without going too in-depth, a topic cluster is a method that uses a single “pillar page” as the main hub of content for a given topic.

The two main reasons to implement topic clusters are:

  • They are nice, clean ways of organizing content
  • They keep Google happy

Content Marketing Guru, Sophia Bernazzani, summarizes what pillar pages are:

“A pillar page is a basis on which a topic cluster is built. A pillar page covers all aspects of the topic on a single page, with room for more in-depth reporting in more detailed cluster blog posts that hyperlink back to the pillar page. Pillar pages broadly cover a particular topic, and cluster content should address a specific keyword related to that topic in-depth.”

In a nutshell, topic clusters and pillar pages will offer greater search engine authority because they tell Google that you have dedicated quite a bit to a particular topic. This translates to an increased likelihood that Google will list your page as a reliable answer to users’ questions when they search.

Tip #3 – Utilize Local Link Building

Local links are done to build relevance for a website towards its locality. Nifty Marketing explains that link building is one of the few tactics that can help you rank higher organically and in maps.

A local link should serve the following criteria:

  • Link back to your website
  • Provide the opportunity to speak to your local audience

Search Engine Journal (SEJ) encourages you to:

  • Start with citation building – use services like Yext and Moz Local
  • Be creative with seeking opportunities – use local newspapers/media outlets
  • Use a link tool and start finding prospects

Tip #4 – Create a Complete Content Experience

As a gym owner, your goal is to educate your clients and demonstrate your understanding of their key issues and concerns. To showcase this online, it is essential that you offer a differentiated buying experience you create and own.

ArtplusMarketing gathered four types of content that every business must create to develop a complete content experience:

  1. Suspect Content – Build trust among everyone in your target market through blogs, testimonials, customer reviews, and articles. There’s a large gap between someone being aware of you and someone trusting you (enough to invest or buy from you).
  2. Prospect Content – Possible target market candidates that have a problem that you can assist them with are always an opportunity in the making. Once you can show your unique process, your solution, your message, and/or approach – you have differentiated yourself from the crowd. You can do this through special reports, information-packed guides, marketing kits, and/or seminars.
  3. Customer Content – Persons that have bought products or services for you will continue to do so if you show them how to get the most out of what they just purchased. You can do this through how-to info sessions, new customer guides, workshops, and/or Q&A sessions. This is essential to keep customers and create repeat sales.
  4.  Advocate Content – A person or organization that advocates on your behalf is invaluable. These “fans” spread the word, increase awareness, generate leads, and help you to convert prospects. In the gym world, this crew is gold! You can do this through referral certificates, access to “behind the scenes” content, customer appreciation events, and/or referable emails.

Tip #5 – Don’t Neglect Local Content

The rise of mobile search has led to many changes in SEO, but none more dramatic than the area of local content search. In general, you want to focus content on local keywords and intent, which will effectively narrow the competition and your reach to your target audience.

Localized content is a great way to capture a niche not many people are tackling. Once you’ve established your target audience, you can then begin to produce localized content for your area. Local content marketing incorporates several different strategies, including sharing user-generated content, optimizing landing pages with local images and descriptions, and optimizing online reviews (which we will touch on later).

SearchEngineLand recommends the following local content ideas:

  • Local event write-up
  • Piggybacking local news stories
  • Content centered on your business
  • Content centered on your industry and that is unique to your area
  • Answering local questions such as, “Where are the healthiest places to shop in Austin, TX?”
  • Generating local media coverage

Beyond the content creation ideas, you could become active in your community to help generate local content by actively participating in charity events, local events, guest lectures, and beyond.

Tip #6 – Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner

If you are having difficulties establishing adequate keywords for your site, implementing Google AdWords Keyword Planner is invaluable. The video above walks you through getting set up and dives directly into six hacks that will propel you with keyword creation. Because the fitness industry is saturated, this will allow you to stand out and showcase your services.

Read More: 100+ Best Gym and Fitness Keywords for SEO

Tip #7 – Link to Inner Pages

Perhaps you figured out how to have your homepage ranked on Google for any number of desired keywords; now it’s time to implement “deep linking.” Essentially deep linking is making a hyperlink that points to a specific page or image on a website, instead of that website’s main or home page.

Using the deep linking technique will set you ahead of your competition! Implement this technique on new posts, as well as editing older related posts (linking them to new posts); and make sure you ping the old posts!

Tip #8 – Add Case Studies

You’ll drive people to your website single-handedly with inspirational case studies. These case studies are a testimonial mixed in with how this particular person reached their results. These case studies provide prospective clients with direct examples of how your fitness business yields results.

To put together a successful case study, you’ll want to make sure to answer the following questions:

  • What was the customer’s situation when they came to you?
  • What was the customer’s goal?
  • What result did you achieve for them?
  • How did you get to that result, or what kinds of services did you provide?

The goal is to answer the questions briefly so that a prospective client can read through the case study quickly and be able to react accordingly. You’d be smart to add in a direct call-to-action (CTA) link as well, so that prospective clients, having just read through the testimonial, will act upon the impulse of wanting those same results.

Tip #9 – Optimize to Answer Questions That Users Ask

Since you’ve already gone to the trouble of establishing keywords and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques regarding Google AdWords, you can further your success by implementing question research. 

Seeing which questions people tend to put in the search box lets you understand natural language better (for example, the way people would search using speech-to-search technology). Like we mentioned above, voice search is the way of the future so this will only help you to get ahead in the ever-changing and evolving SEO best practices.

To seek some guidance in finding industry-specific questions, be sure to check out Answer the Public.

Tip #10 – Use Analytic Tools

After you’ve been putting in the added effort to ensuring that your content is being seen by as many people as possible, you may want to take advantage of analytic tools to see what’s working and what’s not. Cardinal Marketing put together a step-by-step guide on the six best SEO analysis tools that you could use. For each analysis tool, there is a breakdown of the pros and cons depending upon your company and your goals.

Tip #11 – Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media is essential and learning how to sell your services on various social media platforms is imperative.

When it comes to a brick-and-mortar location, create social media platforms for the specific location (if you have more than one location, you should have a profile for each location). Often, people will go to a company’s Facebook to check for business updates before they head to the company’s website.

Use your social media accounts for announcements, business updates, sales and specials, challenges, and promotions. Give tours, introduce your staff members, add testimonials, progress photos, recipes, and expert advice.

For example, if you’re a powerlifting gym, show a video of a member hitting a squat PR. Announce powerlifting meets. Share tips from your strength and conditioning coaches. And, make sure you’re tagging your location. Create location-specific hashtags (e.g. #losangelesgyms) and add your location to every post.

Business Review Sites for Gyms

As a gym owner, this is probably one of the most important parts of local exposure: the reviews! Building up a strong presence on multiple online review sites isn’t hard, but it does take effort. It’s important to have a balanced presence across several review sites. Typically, this means targeting the big ones like Google and Facebook, because most consumers are familiar with and use them already.

But don’t stop there – you should identify other sites that consumers in your community use and trust like the ones mentioned below:

Bing Places for Business

Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, while not as popular as Google, is still a favorite tool used by millions of people to search for businesses online. Beyond that, Bing is the default search engine for all the newer computers, tablets, and mobile devices running Windows OS.

Make sure to manage your Bing Places for Business listing by providing detailed information about your gym, including days and hours you are open, payments you accept, parking information if available, and pictures of the business to engage customers.

Google My Business

Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general. When done, your listing will have valuable basic data that will make it easier for potential clients to find more information about your company.

How do you optimize your Google My Business page? Here are a few GMB optimization tips:

Claim Your Business Listings

Moz explains that if you’re building and managing your local business listings manually, you’ll need to go through a claiming process for most of them. Claiming a listing online verifies that you’re the owner of a valid business and are authorized to maintain its presence on the web.

Update All Things Google My Business

To be able to fully use Google My Business (GMB), you must continually update your listing. GMB can improve your business’s visibility through local SEO, give you opportunities to connect with new audiences, and help you understand online customer behavior surrounding your business.

Images on Your GMB Page

Strong visuals are crucial for good first impressions – and they’re key to a more well-clicked business listing. GMB allows you to upload your best photos and videos to entice customers to visit you. Here are some tips for images on your GMB page:

  • Upload a variety of images to GMB, including exterior shots, interior photos, snaps of staff, and pictures of any products (if you sell them).
  • Avoid overly professional photos as this can make your business seem untrustworthy. People want a real feel for your business.
  • Do not use stock photography in your GMB listing as Google will find and delete any/all stock photos.

Select a Descriptive GMB Category

The correct set-up of your GMB listing is imperative to ensure your listing is correctly displayed to your future customers. Many business owners overlook the vital importance of categorization when setting up a GMB profile. Here are some tips brought to you by Insignia SEO:

  • Proper categorization could make or break your listing.
  • Your primary category fuels your overall rank – make sure it’s as descriptive of your main service offering as possible.
  • Use your secondary category option wisely – even though this won’t be viewable, it will help Google better understand your business.
  • Google can add or remove categories at any time – this is another reason to update your listings from time to time: new categories may appear and your currently used ones may be removed.
  • You can view a list of the categories your competitors are using without them knowing it by using a technique presented by Joy Hawkins:
    • Step 1: Go to your competitor’s map listing.
    • Step 2: Right-click and select “View Source.”
    • Step 3: Press ctrl + F and search for the primary category as displayed on their GMB listing. You will then see their primary category followed by a list of all additional categories.

Ensure Facebook and Yelp Reviews Appear on Google My Business

Two popular review sites are Facebook and Yelp. These are well-known sites that many people utilize to give a good (or bad) review after visiting a business. However, you will want to ensure that these review sites appear on GMB. There are some steps you need to take to set everything up; so be sure to visit this page by Text Request. They will walk you through setting up your profiles step-by-step so that they appear across all channels.

Make Proper Use of Citations

While this particular task can be a bit tedious, it is so important for your gym to adequately be displayed across all citations (which are mentions of your NAP on other websites). NAP stands for name of business, address, and phone number.

This includes (but is not limited to) ensuring your business name is spelled correctly, your address and phone number are displayed, and listing out your business hours and services you provide. Each site must be filled in with information. If a few sites are missing information, it confuses Google, and a confused Google does not bode well for your ranking numbers.

Also, the more mentions you have, the better (as long as everything is filled out!). To place your business on additional sites, look for the most popular citations in your area here: Local Citation Finder.

NAP on Your Website Matches the NAP on GMB

Following the NAP is sometimes a W. The W stands for the website, and the information supplied on your website must match the information you have filled out on the GMB landing page. If it’s not there, or the information is different from other citation sources, it may work against your gym SEO efforts.

You have already put forth so much work to make your business recognizable; therefore, ensuring all information is up-to-date, filled out in its entirety, and is consistent across all platforms, will be significantly valuable.

Local SEO Strategies for Gyms

Gyms are highly localized businesses meaning that your target audience will only travel so far to get to you. You can offer all of the best services, attend all of the best conferences, and have the most affordable rates, however, people will still want to know where your gym is before they sign up; so make sure this information is easy to find.

Google ranks local website results based on three key factors: relevance, distance, and prominence.

  • Relevance refers to how closely a local listing fits what a user is looking for
  • Distance is how far the local listing is from either the location in the search (“gym in Florida”) or the searcher
  • Prominence is how well-known a business is; for example, famous landmarks or well-known store brands are more likely to show up than a smaller, newer, less-known local business

Tip #1 – Have a Local Address

Google wants to show search engine users accurate information about the proximity of local businesses in relation to where a user is located. The only way to get GMB local pack results without a physical address is by breaking Google’s guidelines. Having a physical location adds credibility and allows for the creation of local business profile links.

Here are some portions of Google’s guidelines in terms of local address:

  • To qualify for a GMB listing, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.
  • The GMB page must be your actual, real-world location
  • If your business rents a temporary “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours.
  • For service businesses that serve customers at their locations (in-home personal trainers, etc.), one page should be created for the central office or location, and designate a service area from that point.

Tip #2 – Ask for Reviews

In the fitness industry, your fitness expertise is important, but client/customer reviews are powerful. This was also highlighted previously but needs to be mentioned again. Some gym owners will ask directly for reviews after a client has attended five or more sessions, while some will offer a coupon in exchange for a good review. There are many ways to go about asking for testimonials and shoutouts; however, it is highly encouraged to do so often.

Unfortunately, people don’t usually go home after a workout and log onto the computer to review your gym; therefore, make it a habit to actively ask them to do so. Each review provides additional credibility to your business and helps your ranking factor on Google.

Tip #3 – Put Your Gym on Review Sites

These are some well-known review sites that will benefit your overall gym SEO plan by adding your business to them (and making sure everything is filled out accordingly once added!):

  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • White Pages
  • Foursquare
  • Google+ Local
  • TripAdvisor
  • Angie’s List
  • Urbanspoon
  • Yahoo Local

Tip #4 – Get Local Coverage

To be valued as a local expert within the fitness industry, it is essential to network. There are many organizations that you could join to meet other business professionals and entrepreneurs in your local area. The more that you network and organically build these relationships, the more your name will be passed around (in a good way) which directly helps with your credibility.

As a gym owner, use every outlet you can to showcase your expertise; whether it’s hosting free seminars or posting videos on social media.

In regards to news media in your area, many shows have a “small business” segment that showcases a local business with a film crew and news anchor. Create a solid pitch about why they should come to check out your gym (the video above gives some tips on creating beneficial pitches). Be creative and always focus on what makes you different from local competitors.

Tip #5 – Provide Outstanding Customer Service

This should be at the forefront of every gym owner’s mantra – customer service. After all, you are providing a service to a customer that will reap many benefits in their lives; from health to aesthetics to performance. You have worked diligently to bring clients into your business. However, if you want to keep gym members around, you must always provide outstanding customer service. Here are some easy tips that a gym owner can implement right away:

  • Learn your client’s names
  • Be genuine when conversing
  • Punctuality is a big deal
  • Smile, high five, give good praises
  • Check-in post-workout from time to time to see how they are doing

Check out our article, “27 Tips to Increase Gym Member Retention” to learn more about retaining gym members.

Tip #6 – Sponsor Local Meetups

Having a gym location (whether big or small) is a great way to sponsor or host local meet-ups. The goal is to bring people to your gym. Therefore, hosting charity events or meet-ups like a gym open house will bring non-clients into your gym which will help to build relationships that could eventually turn into new members of your gym later on.

In addition to actually hosting an event at your brick and mortar, you could also sponsor events outside of the gym – whether it’s providing a gift basket for an auction, providing gear for “swag bags” or donating money to have your gym logo placed on a sign or shirt.

Tip #7 – Write About Local Events

Take part in your local community and events often. Then, write about your experiences. People may not have heard of your gym location, but they will be interested to see how a paddleboarding adventure went and may start to tune in to other things you have done (and will eventually see that you own a gym).

Encourage other people to join you at these local events. For example: if there’s a sailboat parade, encourage people to join along with you, and host a free thirty-minute no-weight workout in the park right before the parade. Everyone who attends will leave with a smile having just worked out while also experiencing a fun parade.

Tip #8 – Join the Local Chamber of Commerce

Many cities and towns have local Chambers of Commerce to directly help small businesses. There are usually fees associated with joining, however, they help to promote your business and you’ll also network with other business owners. Pulse Marketing lists the following advantages of joining your local Chamber:

  • Exposure – visitors and residents seek local Chambers for advice on everything local
  • Support – many Chambers provide small business assistance and workshops to ensure that your business is successful
  • Credibility – American Business Magazine statistics show that 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a business that is a Chamber member
  • Networking – opportunity to increase your reputation and bring professionals together

Tip #9 – Consider a Content Manager

At the end of the day, you are a gym owner, not an SEO guru. If you’re overwhelmed or things don’t seem to be working the way you had hoped through your website and SEO attempts, you may consider hiring a content manager. Make sure that the person you hire can do all of the items listed above adequately so that you begin to see success in membership growth and retention.

However, if hiring a content manager is not within your budget, you can go step-by-step down this list and tackle each task one day a time. You have built your business, and you worked hard to be a qualified and experienced trainer, therefore you owe it to yourself to make sure you’re being seen.

How to implement SEO for a gym business?

To implement SEO for a gym business, start by conducting keyword research to understand what terms your potential members are searching for. Include these keywords in your website content, meta descriptions, and tags. Create quality, relevant content that provides value to your audience. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and fast loading, as these factors can impact search engine rankings. Implement local SEO strategies by listing your gym on Google My Business and other online directories. Utilize a gym management software like Exercise.com to integrate SEO strategies into your website and app.

What is SEO in fitness?

SEO in fitness refers to the strategies and techniques used to improve a fitness business’s visibility in search engine results. This involves optimizing your website and online content with relevant keywords, improving website loading speed and mobile-friendliness, creating valuable content, and using local SEO strategies to attract local members.

What are the most Googled fitness words?

The most Googled fitness words can vary greatly depending on trends, seasons, and regional differences. Popular terms included “home workouts”, “yoga for beginners”, “best fitness apps”, “HIIT workouts”, “how to lose weight”, among others. For up-to-date information, you would need to conduct keyword research using SEO tools like Google Trends or SEMrush. Keep in mind that the most important keywords for your gym will be local keywords related to your gym’s location.

How do you build a strong SEO strategy for a gym?

Building a strong SEO strategy for a gym involves understanding your target audience and the keywords they use when searching for fitness solutions. Regularly update your website with keyword-optimized, valuable content. Optimize your website for mobile use and speed. Implement local SEO strategies by ensuring your gym’s information is accurate and consistent across online directories. Make use of SEO tools integrated into gym management software like Exercise.com to streamline your SEO efforts.

How can I promote my gym business online?

Promote your gym business online by leveraging social media platforms, maintaining an active blog with useful fitness content, offering virtual classes or workouts, and implementing SEO strategies to increase your website’s visibility in search engine results. Running online ads targeted to your local area and using email marketing to engage with potential and existing members can also be effective.

How do I make my fitness website successful?

To make your fitness website successful, ensure it’s user-friendly, mobile-optimized, and fast-loading. Provide valuable, SEO-optimized content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. Showcase success stories and testimonials from your members. Implement online booking and member management features using a gym management software like Exercise.com. Stay engaged with your audience through regular updates, fitness tips, and interactive elements like quizzes or challenges.

The Bottom Line

Just as you get people in shape at your gym, you want to ensure that your SEO is in shape as well. Implementing these solid SEO tips for gyms will put your gym in front of locals searching for classes and memberships you offer, making it so much easier for people to find you online.

Also, it’ll help to turn traffic into leads, and then leads into members. Search engine traffic is “free” and promotes your gym 24-7. When these tips are implemented, you’ll see success from organic SEO marketing without having to pay for advertising.

Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

Finally, if you’re ready to manage your business better, save time, and increase revenue, schedule a demo with the Exercise.com team.


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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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