When you think about SEO for a fitness center, it’s easy to think about keywords, headers, and virality. What you might not think about is Search Engine Optimization for voice search. As times change and people search for information differently, voice assistants like Alexa and Siri are having a lot of influence on how people make decisions.
Even for fitness centers, which aren’t usually an impulse buy, you might be surprised at how much consumers rely on voice search when they’re looking for a place to work out. When it comes to which businesses are promoted, around 75% of all voice search results rank in the top three positions for a standard desktop search. Despite this, only 4% of businesses are optimized for voice search. We’ll look at the voice SEO tips for fitness centers that you can use to bring people to your facility.
Voice Search Trends
The latest trends are based on layers of convenience. It’s easier to ask Siri a question and get one answer, rather than Googling a question and getting endless pages of results. People are inundated with choices these days, and they’ve come to rely on voice assistants to give them accurate information about where to go.
Not only is it faster (and more likely to eliminate second guessing), it can often be the only way that someone with a disability finds their information. Unfortunately, local businesses may get buried in this process. If owners optimize their business for voice search, they have a far better chance at scoring the coveted top position.
How People Search
According to a Brightlocal survey, the following were the most popular devices:
- Smartphone: Coming in at number one (56%), it’s unsurprising that people are asking their phone questions. It goes where they go, and it works from practically anywhere.
- Desktop/laptop: At 28%, desktops and laptops still ranked fairly high. For all the time we spend on them at work or home, people aren’t always typing when they use these devices.
- Tablet: Tablets scored nearly the same as the desktop at 26%. Ensure that you’re optimizing for voice search across the board (Samsung, Apple, etc.) for the best results.
- Smart Speaker: While not quite as popular at 18%, you don’t want to forget about all home speakers.
At Surefire Local, we recommend focusing on the big players for fitness centers. According to a Microsoft study, these are Google Assistant (36%), Siri (36%), Alexa (25%), and Cortana (19%).
How to Optimize Your Online Presence
Thankfully, voice SEO tips for fitness centers share many similarities with standard SEO strategies.
- Google Assistant: Implement a similar approach as for Google search. Claim your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing and ensure it’s up to date. Add additional information so people can easily find accurate facts about your business, and create content that will resonate with your target demographics. Ask for new Google reviews so your listing stays fresh.
- Siri: Make sure you have an Apple ID and then use Apple Maps to claim your listing. Business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation all need to be listed to ensure you show up in a voice search. Get reviews on Yelp and upload photos of everything from equipment to happy clientele.
- Alexa: Alexa largely zeroes in on your Yelp page, so make sure your business has been claimed. Update information about your business, including hours, contact information, address, etc. Consistently get reviews and upload high-resolution images of your business (preferably every month).
- Cortana: Claim your business on Bing and then import your GMB listing into Bing Places for instant verification.
The basics of voice search come down to accuracy. If a person is wondering what the best fitness center in their area is, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa will only be used if they provide the right answer. You can use everything from photos to reviews as evidence that your business is the place to be.
How to Grow Your Voice SEO
Now that you know how to optimize for different players, it’s time to look at how you can perfect your strategies to reach the top.
Claimed and Optimized Business Listings
This is a relatively easy one for business owners to do that many still don’t. When your hours change, whether it’s forever or for a season, your website listings need to reflect this. If there’s construction going on and people will need to park in a different lot, you need to make this information available. Luckily, platforms make it easier than ever before to change information on the go.
Consistent Information Across All Platforms
Every piece of brand data (name, images, wording, etc.) should be 100% accurate for best SEO results. All of the services, amenities, and products that you advertise need to be available to people if they reach out to you. If you claim that you have pilates classes when you really only have yoga classes, it will likely end with poor reviews. This will ultimately push you further down the search rankings.
Your reviews play a huge role in who is promoted online. Some business owners are entirely checked out when it comes to what people are saying online. They ignore upset customers or dismiss their criticisms outright. (Even your base clientele might be turned off if this is how their favorite place handles dissatisfied customers). This is why you want to engage with customers after they leave a review. For positive reviews, you can thank them for their kind words. For negative reviews, you can share your side of the story.
There is no such thing as a fitness center that can please everyone, but there is such a thing as a small business owner who takes the time to work with people. When you respond to reviews quickly and with respect, it shows that you care about what customers think of your facilities. Even for those inconsolable customers, prospective customers will usually appreciate that you at least made the effort with them.
Update your Business Directories
We recommend doing a new promotion every month, as this keeps your business directories fresh and it gives people a reason to come back and see what’s new. It creates a sense of urgency, which can boost your voice search SEO. New packages, a 10% discount for referrals, premium classes: whatever it is, try and mix it up.
Share New Content
As with standard SEO, you want your content to be as current as possible. The photos should reflect what your fitness center is like now, not what it was like 3 years ago (or even 3 months ago). Update your FAQs, respond to customers who ask you direct questions, and build your brand’s reputation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Simple: Write for the comprehension level of a 14-year-old. Provide trends, how-tos, and any other useful information you can think of. Your digital presence should educate them about how you can help them fulfill their fitness goals. It’s worth noting that 41% of voice search answers are from the featured snippets of a business.
- Trustworthy: Talk about how many years you’ve been in business, how you’ve impacted the local community, what kind of awards you’ve received, what kinds of partnerships and charities you’re involved in.
- Concise: Piggy-backing off the simplistic writing style tip, you should also be exceptionally concise. Very few voice search results have the exact keyword in the title. Being ranked comes down to how well you can answer the question in as few words as possible. Voice SEO tips for fitness centers come down to quality over quantity.
- Photos and video: High-quality images should be used anywhere your business appears online including GBP, Instagram, Yelp, etc. The more authentic they are, the more likely you’ll rank higher in voice search (as it increases the overall reputation of your facilities).
Manage Voice SEO with Surefire Local’s Business Intelligence Marketing Software
Surefire Local makes it possible to manage your reputation online by putting all of the tools you need in one place. Publish content, update directories, and ask for reviews with our business intelligence software, and then use the dashboard metrics and insights to see whether your strategies are working. Fitness centers have an undeniable opportunity to become community establishments, a place for friends to gather and cheer each other on to better health.
If you’re looking for voice SEO tips for fitness centers, you’ll need to perfect your strategy. With our marketing software, you get to-do lists and insights that can take you from the bottom of the page to the top. As with most marketing strategies, it will take time and effort to get going, but once you’ve built your momentum, you should start to see the pay-off — whether people are talking or typing. Schedule a demo with our software to see what it can do and how it can help you optimize your digital presence.