Gym SEO: 6 Proven Tips to Drive New Memberships
Attracting new members is crucial to success for gym owners. Competition is often high in the gym industry. When potential members search for gyms in your area, what do they see?
Gym SEO (search engine optimization) is a valuable tool for bringing awareness to your gym and attracting new memberships. If you have an online presence and can gain organic traffic to your gym website, you’ll stand out among competitors online.
This post will walk you through six proven gym SEO tips to improve your local SEO strategy and drive more new memberships to your gym.
How Can SEO Drive New Memberships?
The internet now dominates when it comes to how people search for local businesses. An overwhelming majority of potential new members search for local gyms online before deciding where to sign up. But merely having a website is not enough if it’s not visible to these potential new members.
Indeed, local small business owners don’t have to compete as hard as worldwide businesses, but, for example, a simple search for “gyms in Atwood, Colorado” shows a whopping 1.78 million results. Over 90% of web pages go unseen on Google. How do you get to the top of the search engine rankings and make sure you don’t get buried under all those results?
A solid gym SEO strategy can get you to the top of the first page of search engine results, so potential members can find you. Also, aim to optimize your site for the precise results you’re seeking – in this case, new membership sign-ups. Increased website traffic means more memberships. We’ll show you how to do it.
1. Find the Right Keywords
To get started with your SEO and digital marketing strategy, make a list of relevant keywords that reflect what you offer at your gym. Consider your location and the services you provide. An excellent place to start would be with “gym in [location]” or “[location] gym.”
Tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, can help you do your keyword research. Once you have a list to work with, decide which of these categories they fit into – buyer keywords or research keywords.
Prospects use buyer keywords, like “gyms in [location],” when they’re ready to take the next step. When people search for this keyword, they’re probably eager to sign-up for a membership and are just deciding on where.
Research keywords, such as “are gyms expensive,” mean that a prospect is likely still deciding whether they’ll sign-up for a membership as opposed to where.
Understanding the difference will help you plan which keywords you’ll focus on for different parts of your site.
Potential Keywords for Gyms
- Personal Trainer/Personal Training
- Fitness Center/Fitness Club
- Weight Loss
- Strength Training
- Spin Classes
2. On-Page SEO
Using your keywords, you’ll now optimize your web pages in six key areas. To gain new memberships, you’ll focus primarily on your buyer keywords.
Keep your URLs short, focused, and keyword-rich. Customize your URLs rather than dynamically generating them so that they’re clear and easy to read. Use lower case letters and separate words using dashes.
Make sure your URLs also correctly represent the hierarchy of your site. For instance, you may have a page dedicated to CrossFit, and, from there, you have a link to personal training in CrossFit. Your URL for your page on personal training should accurately represent this:
Your title tag provides an accurate description of your pages to Google and search engine users. Your title tag should be between 50 to 60 characters long to ensure it’s displayed correctly in the search engine results.
Your title tag should comprise of:
[Primary Keyword] – [Secondary Keyword] | [Business Name]
Based on this format, a good title tag for a gym homepage could look like this:
Fitness Center – [City] | [Gym Name]
Your meta description shows up under the title tag and URL in the search engine results. It’s your chance to tell search engines and users precisely what your page is all about. You have 160 characters to tell users what they’ll get when they click through to your site.
Make sure your meta description is written with the reader in mind and includes the target keyword for your page. Consider using a call-to-action (CTA) that tells users what their next step should be, such as “Sign up today for only $5!”
Header tags split up content for clarity and organization, and they tell Google about the structure of the content. Your H1 heading is the most important as it tells Google what your entire page is about.
Your H1 heading should generally be shorter than 65 characters and should include your main keywords.
Each piece of content on your website should be high-quality, useful, informative, or entertaining. SEO is about pleasing search engines and providing real value to your visitors.
Include your target keywords for each page of your site, but don’t overstuff just for the sake of SEO. Aim to include your target keyword in the first few sentences of your first paragraph, and sprinkle any secondary keywords throughout the content.
Each page of your site should include a call to action, whether it’s a button to sign up for a membership or to follow you on social media.
Images and Alt Text
People love images, and so do the search engines. Include relevant high-resolution photos of your facility, your equipment, classes in action, etc.
Don’t forget to create alt text for your images. Alt text tells the search engines what your image is about so it can display it on the results page. Visually-impaired users can also use screen-reading tools to “see” your pictures if you create alt text for them.
3. Build Your Link Strategy
Link building is another SEO strategy that can help you rank higher. Google uses links to and from your site to determine your credibility and authority. Your internal links (links to other pages within your website) also helps google and users navigate your site correctly.
Link to your secondary pages from your homepage using a navigational menu. You can also use hyperlinks within the content to link to relevant pages on your site. If you have a blog, hyperlink in blog posts to other related articles on your website. Don’t go crazy with internal links. A good rule of thumb is to make sure users can get to any page on your site with just a few clicks.
When other websites link to your site, it’s called a backlink. When you have many backlinks to your site from credible websites, Google sees that you are trusted and authoritative.
You can acquire these backlinks by building relationships with other businesses in related industries. If you mention other companies or websites in your blog posts, reach out to them and let them know. Also, be sure to claim your listings with your local Better Business Bureau and Chambers of Commerce.
If you have time, consider guest posting on other related blogs. Familiarize yourself with journalist sites that need sources for quotes, like HARO. You can also use tools to analyze the backlinks of your competitors so you can identify potential backlink opportunities.
4. Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the “behind the scenes” work you can do to make sure your website ranks high on Google.
More users than ever are searching on their smartphones, and Google now considers mobile-friendliness to be a top factor for search engine ranking.
It’s crucial to manually go through your pages on your phone to make sure everything displays the way it should be. You can also use a tool like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your site is mobile-friendly.
Test Page Speed
Page speed is another factor that matters for ranking as well as for user experience. You can test your page speed using a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which will give you a score, recommendations to improve your speed, and diagnostics.
5. Your Google My Business Listing
When people do a local search for gyms, they’ll see a list with information about each, including address, phone number, and hours. These profiles are Google My Business listings.
You can claim your Google My Business listing my going through the free verification process on the website.
Once you verify your listing, complete the profile for your gym. Doing so will give you a better chance of being seen when people search for gyms in your area.
6. Track Your Progress
A good SEO strategy doesn’t end once you complete these steps. It’s essential to track your results and stay on top of any changes.
Track your rankings using a tool like the free Google Search Console. You can use Google Analytics to track your website visitors and conversions. These tools will help you figure out what’s working and what could be improved.
Don’t forget to also ask new members how they found you. If they say they found you on Google, then you know you’re doing something right.
SEO can seem mysterious at first, but it’s just a matter of learning the proper techniques and putting them into practice.
Once you do, your optimized gym website will put you above the competition and bring you new membership sign-ups for many years to come.