We’re thinking that if you run a gym, you might just have a competitive streak and want to beat the competition in your local area. Naturally, you want to build your business and have a continuous flow of high-quality leads coming through your marketing funnel, and you want to be able to convert a good number of those leads into new members.
There can be a lot of work involved in marketing a gym, but one thing that can make a huge difference— and potentially leave your competitors in your dust—is to get yourself listed in Google’s Map Pack. This will give you higher visibility and a listing that pretty much gives potential members everything they need to know right there, without having to visit your website.
But there’s a problem with that. You can’t just buy an ad and get yourself listed. In fact, you can’t buy your way into the Map Pack at all.
So, what do you do?
In this article, we’re going to look at where you can find the Map Pack and what it is. We’re also going to give you our best Google Map Pack strategies for gyms and show you what you need to do to give your gym the best chance of being listed.
Understanding the Google Map Pack
If you use Google Search to search for gyms in your area, you’ll first see a Google map with red-colored tags indicating the locations of those gyms.
Then right underneath the map, or sometimes next to it, you’ll see the Google Map Pack showing just three highly detailed listings for what Google thinks are the top three gyms in your area. Below that, you’ll see the organic search results.
As you can see, the Map Pack comes above the standard search listings, giving you a prime position, if you can get listed.
Obviously, this puts you above even the top organically listed gym in the search engines and, with such high visibility, you’re likely to get more leads and more chances to convert them.
But there’s more to the Map Pack than just having the top position. When you look at the three included listings, there’s a lot of information provided. So much, in fact, that a potential member could look at your gym listing and see your review ratings, a featured image, your contact details, your opening hours, and sometimes excerpts from your reviews too. Potential members could read that information and they’d know enough to give you a call there and then, without having to click anywhere else. And if they want more, the listing links straight to the gym’s Google Business Profile.
It really couldn’t be better, could it? Google is doing pretty much everything for you except walking people in your front door personally.
So, back to the question: If you can’t buy one of these listings, what do you have to do to get one?
Well, we can’t tell you it’ll be easy, but we can tell you that it’s more than possible. You just need to follow our Google Map Pack strategies for gyms below and you’ll have the best chance of claiming your spot in the Map Pack.
How do you improve your ranking in Google’s Map Pack?
To give your gym the best chance of appearing in the Map Pack listings, you need to improve and optimize your online presence. That’s not a quick fix, but it is effective and doing the work will help you gain more visibility and more leads, even if you don’t make it into the Map Pack straightaway.
1. Optimized Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is another free listing provided by Google themselves. This is something they want local businesses to make use of because it helps Google gain the right information to provide quality search results. If someone searches for a gym in your area, your GBP may even be listed in the search results above your own website, as long as your profile is fully optimized and complete.
That’s not a bad thing at all, though. Having your own Google Business Profile is almost like having another version of your website online for people to find.
Back to the Map Pack, and you must have a fully optimized and completed GBP to have any chance of appearing in those precious three listings. There’s no way around that. And really, why look for one, when your profile increases your online presence and provides another way for your audience to interact with you and review you?
So, how do you optimize your profile?
Start by filling in every possible space on your profile. Ensure you’ve chosen the right categories for your gym, you’ve filled in your contact details in full, provided opening hours, and given details of your gym, your services, and frequently asked questions.
If there’s a gap anywhere on that profile, fill it with quality copy, written in your brand voice, that’s fully keyworded, including using local keywords. Don’t forget your SEO best practices just because you’re not working on your website or your blog.
Include quality images of the inside and outside of your building. The outside is handy for people to use if they’ve never visited your gym before and the inside shots show them what they can expect when they arrive. Don’t skimp on the images, and don’t skimp on the quality either. These images represent your business.
2. Gain reviews on your Google Business Profile
Hopefully, you’ve been collecting reviews on your website, social media platforms, and other business directory listings, such as Yelp. But you also need to ensure you get reviews on your GBP too. In fact, the number of reviews on your GBP is definitely a factor in which businesses get listed in the Map Pack, so the more you have, the better.
However, as always with reviews, they must be recent, so you need a plan to get reviews consistently and regularly for your gym. People do only tend to take notice of the last few months of reviews, and they don’t pay much attention to anything older. Encourage satisfied members to leave them and send reminders to follow up at least once, if they haven’t.
The other factors that are important are your star rating, attributes added, photos uploaded, the description of the review, and how many reviews the reviewer linked to their Google profile.
Gathering reviews can take up time, but as well as giving you the chance at the Map Pack, they are so effective at persuading potential members to give your gym a try.
3. Business Directories
Your Google Business Profile is a business directory listing, but you can also list your business on other sites, such as Yelp, Angi, TrustPilot, and more. Adding your gym description and profile to Facebook also counts as a directory listing.
Each one of these listings of your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) gives you what’s known as a citation and another place your gym can be found to build your online presence. The more citations you have, the stronger your online presence will be, and the more chance you have of appearing in the Map Pack.
However, please be careful when inputting your NAP into multiple directories. Every time you type in that information, it must be exactly the same. You can’t use, for example, “Avenue” in one listing and “Ave” in another. Even such a small difference can potentially cause confusion for leads and Google alike and you definitely don’t want that as Google may lower your ranking in the search results.
Luckily, Surefire Local has a solution to this. Instead of individually typing each listing, use our local all-in-one marketing dashboard and you can update over 80 business directories, including your GBP, all at once.
Next, just as you did with your GBP, you need to optimize your directory listings and ensure you fill in every part of your profile on each directory, along with providing quality images. Again, you can do this via Surefire’s dashboard so that you update all directories in one go.
4. Website SEO
Your website needs to be modern, clean, and easy to navigate. It must be clear what you want potential members to do, and your contact details (NAP) should be prominent on every page. It should be easy to contact you and take the next step, whether that’s signing up to your mailing list or calling to book a first session.
We’ve talked about optimization and SEO for your Google Business Profile and your business directories, but this is your website. It must be fully optimized for SEO, including with local keywords to ensure you show up in local search, and hopefully, in the Map Pack.
Do your keyword research, including finding local keywords, related keywords, and long-tail keywords. Then make sure you include relevant keywords in your marketing copy, and in your blog posts.
Put your keywords in your meta titles and meta descriptions on each page. Include your main keyword in the title and at least in one sub heading. Make sure your main keyword is present in the first paragraph and that you use keywords naturally, without stuffing them, throughout your copy.
You can also add a description to each image on your site and include keywords there too.
Spend time on your website and your Google Business Profile. These pages really are your home on the internet and they need to be as good as you can make them.
5. Community Engagement
It’s not enough to simply fill in your GBP, your directories, and your website. You need to keep them all regularly updated and fresh, with new content, including images and videos, great offers, and the kind of content that your current and potential members keep coming back for.
You also need engagement from your community on your Google Business Profile. Encourage people to ask you questions, upload their own photos, and write reviews.
However, you also need to respond to this engagement. You need to answer those questions, comment on posts people make, and respond to every review you get, including the negative ones.
You need a thriving, vibrant page that reflects your gym and your brand, where people feel they can get to know you, where they can ask questions and get help, where they are a part of something, and where they are understood.
Build a profile like that and not only will it increase your chances of appearing in the Map Pack, but you’ll create something special that impresses any potential members.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Taking these steps to optimize your brand presence for the Google Maps Pack search results is one of the most effective ways to attract nearby customers in your area. We did mention that it’s a lot of work to build your online presence and gain a place in the Map Pack, but we are on hand to help.
Surefire Local provides quality business intelligence marketing software that can take you through everything you need to do to build your online presence and give you the best chance to appear in those precious Map Pack listings.
You can manage your GBP and your directories from our platform, including updating content and replying to engaged audience members, and you can manage, request, and respond to reviews right from your dashboard. Why do things the hard way when you don’t have to?
Not only that, but at a fraction of the cost of other tools or agencies, we can also help you manage your most important online marketing activities within our platform. You can manage your content marketing, email marketing, paid ads, and other major aspects of your marketing from our easy-to-use dashboard and keep an eye on how things are going with our top-quality analytics.
Why not request a demo and see how we can help?