As a brick-and-mortar business, you can’t afford to ignore local SEO when it comes to marketing your gym.
Local SEO is part of any strong SEO strategy. It doesn’t mean that you abandon general SEO, but more that you need to also focus on being found in local search and optimizing everything you can to achieve that. If Local SEO isn’t currently on your list, then it’s time to add it to your marketing strategy and start bringing in more traffic and new potential members.
In this article, we’re going to look at what Local SEO is, and why you need to pay attention to it. We’re also going to give you our top tips on organic search best practices for gyms.
What is Organic Search / Local SEO?
Local SEO means following Google’s best practices to improve search engine rankings for local businesses. The idea is to make your gym, as a brick-and-mortar business, more visible in the organic search results and, hopefully, in the Google Map Pack, too, bringing you more visitors and potential leads.
What you’ll see on Google when you search for local results is Google Maps with three or four Map Pack listings underneath. These listings are what Google considers to be the top three best and most relevant answers to your search query.
However, in addition, your gym can also appear in the main organic listings as Google uses different algorithms for the two listings.
If your business is also listed in the most popular business directory listings, it’s quite possible for your gym to be listed three times on the front page of Google, as business directories often come up near the top of the search results because of their age and authority. Imagine what that does for your visibility and for building your online reputation.
What factors determine your visibility in local organic search results?
1) Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP) is owned by Google. It’s a free business listing that you can claim and manage yourself. And it’s extremely important that you claim your GBP if you haven’t already, and ensure it is as optimized as it’s possible to get.
We’ve talked about getting your business listed in the top three listings in Google’s Map Pack and your GBP is a big part of how you can get one of those listings. In fact, without a GBP, it’s literally impossible to be listed in the Map Pack.
2) Business Directories
In order to gain visibility, you need to increase the number of citations you have online. Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number on any website that you don’t own.
Reputable business directories are excellent for gaining citations. Sign up for the major directories and any local directories too. The more mentions you have on the internet of your basic contact information, the more Google can verify that you are a genuine business, and the more they’ll feel comfortable lifting your website in the rankings.
3) Social media profiles
Every social media platform you have is another opportunity to list your contact details, what your gym does, the services you provide, and more. Again, you can increase the number of citations, but it’s also a great idea to regularly post and provide quality content that delights your audience.
Great content and excellent answers to audience questions will help you gain visibility too, especially if you remember to include your main keywords and local keywords too.
4) Website design
Your website is basically your home on the internet and it should reflect your gym beautifully and show visitors exactly what you’re about. You should also provide a quality customer experience, allowing your visitors to find exactly what they need, and to book or contact you and take the next step.
You need a modern up-to-date website that’s easily navigated, where it’s clear how visitors can find information and clear what their next steps should be.
Benefits of appearing in organic search results
It can be quite a bit of work to get your gym listed in local organic search and the local pack, but it really is worth the effort. Here are just some of the benefits of spending your time on this:
1) Greater online visibility
Even if you have a small, local gym, you can still make an impact online and build your online reputation and visibility with local SEO.
Follow the steps that we list in the next section, and you really will gain greater online visibility.
More visibility brings you more traffic, more leads, and more chances to convert leads into enthusiastic members.
2) Outrank your competitors
The more you optimize your online presence, the more you can build your online reputation and gain visibility. This is an ongoing process, but it has results that you can’t afford to ignore. Who doesn’t want to be way ahead of the competition and rank higher in the search engines? Who doesn’t want to be one of only three gyms listed in the Map Pack, while your competition isn’t managing that?
Getting ahead of the competition isn’t just a nice exercise that feels good. It also has the practical and useful benefit of making your gym look like *the* place to be.
3) Drive more traffic to your website
We’ve pretty much spelled this out already, but it really does bear repeating. Without traffic, you don’t have any leads. Without leads, you don’t have a business.
Driving traffic is vital to your gym, and the more places you can be found online, the more chances you have of bringing traffic to your website, where you can bring people into your sales funnel and convert more leads into members.
4) Educate your customers so they are more likely to buy from you
With the right content, you can build a community of interested fans who follow you on social media, visit your website, and start thinking about what it would be like to join your gym.
Great content can educate your potential members and show them you really do know what you’re talking about and you can help them. It takes time to build up a collection of excellent content, and you do need to spend your fair share of time on social platforms answering questions and responding to posts and comments, but the reward is a community of like-minded people who love what you do and want to learn more.
Local SEO Tips
Follow our tips below and you’ll be well and truly on your way to ranking well and being found in local search:
1) Improve your Google Business Profile
When you claim your GBP, you really do need to fill in every section available to you. This is part of optimizing your profile and giving your business the best chance of being found and of being featured in the Map Pack.
Choose the right categories for your gym, fill in your contact details consistently, add your opening hours, what classes, services, and products you offer, if any. Answer questions in the Q&A section.
Do everything you can to create a vibrant, interesting, frequently updated profile that draws in your ideal customers. Add quality images that show your building and what it’s like to be a member, almost like giving a virtual tour. In fact, why not do that with a video?
In addition, encourage your current members to leave reviews on your GBP. The more recent reviews you have, the more chances you have of being featured on the Map Pack.
2) Be active on social media and add posts to your Google Business Profile.
It’s not enough to simply have a profile on Google and social media. You need to constantly update and provide new posts and information for your community. You want engaged people who keep coming back for more.
You can use automation to help you post your blog posts onto social media and to auto-post for you, but you do need to be there and be responsive too. People want to see you reply and handle questions and concerns. They want to see how you are on social media so they can get an idea of how your gym is in reality.
Ensure you also post regularly on your GBP and provide updates, news, talk about new classes, introduce your staff members, educate your followers, and more, just as you will on social media.
3) Maintain consistency when it comes to your brand information
Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number (must be consistent everywhere you post it on the internet. That means your social profiles, your GBP, and every business directory listing.
Write your NAP out in the exact same way each time. Use Street in full or St. each time. Don’t switch between the two, and ensure every entry is accurate.
If your information isn’t consistent, it’s possible that Google might not show your gym in the rankings because of the possibility of confusion for potential customers.
4) Claim your business on local business directories and optimize your presence there
We’ve talked about what to do for your GBP and it’s the same on business directories too. You need to fill in every part of your profile, including quality images to draw people in.
Keep posting and updating here too so that you have yet another space to show customers why they should come to you. This also gives you another space for Google to confirm that you are a genuine business that they should rank.
5) Optimize your website
Optimize your site for keywords and local keywords too, including in your headings, meta titles, meta descriptions, alt image text, and where appropriate, throughout your copy.
Think about how you can add internal linking, linking blog posts to each other, where relevant, and linking to other pages to provide more information. This guides Google bot through your site and allows more pages to be discovered and indexed. Obviously, the more pages you have indexed, the more chances you have of people finding you and signing up as a member.
6) Add location pages to your website
If you have more than one gym or you serve multiple markets from your one location, you can add a page on your website for each location. This is extremely helpful for local SEO, as you can create a focused page that’s just about that location, including all the location and local keywords you can.
Don’t forget to add in your usual main keywords too, and to use the location in the URL for the location page.
7) Create local content
You can certainly add local content to your location pages, but you could also include it in your blog posts too.
Write about any local fitness events, such as marathons, for example, in your area, and where they are, how to join in, and all the information people need. You can then promote your gym as the perfect place to train and prepare.
What other fitness or nutrition events, fairs, conferences, and similar events can you promote?
What about sponsoring a local team or a local charity, too?
8) Make your website mobile friendly
You must have a website that works well on mobile. So many people now use their mobiles over desktop PCs and Google does use this as a ranking factor too.
If your site doesn’t work on mobile and allow your visitors to do exactly what they want, get it fixed now!
9) Engage your local community
We talked a little above about writing up local events and community events to add local content. Doing this is great for building relationships in your community and perhaps doing some cross-promotion with other local businesses, but it also lets you get backlinks from other local sites.
This is powerful as you then have real businesses in your area linking to you and confirming that you really do exist and that you can be counted on.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Surefire Local offers business intelligence marketing software that allows you to manage your most important marketing activities all within one platform.
You don’t have to sign in and out of multiple platforms or learn more than one piece of software. Instead, you can manage all of the areas we’ve talked about above right from our easy-to-use dashboard.
Create your content – both general and local, and schedule posts to your social platforms, business directories, and your Google Business Profile. Managed your reviews, including requesting reviews, sending reminders, and responding to each one. Manage your emails, paid ads, and so much more.
You can even update over 80 business directory listings, including your GBP all in one place.
Yes, local SEO can take some effort to see results, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
Let Surefire make it easier. Why not book a demo today?