Local SEO Ranks High for Getting Your Health Club to Rank High
Food near me now? Google it.
Where can I find a good mechanic in Boston? Google it.
What’s the best gym in town? Google it.
“Google it” is often the answer to any question these days. And, it is only the top answers that people will read.
The question is, how do you use Google to help people find your fitness center when they are beginning their search? Well, unfortunately, Googling how to do it won’t give you the best answer alone.
You see, search engine optimization (SEO) is an important step to leading people to you when they are looking for a new place to work out, but mastering it — or even just being competent — is a delicate combination of art and science, mixed with ever-changing algorithms. It is even more so for local SEO.
While national SEO emphasizes ranking in searches across the country — ideal for national or even cyber-based businesses such as Amazon — local SEO prioritizes appearing on search engine results pages in a specific location capturing local leads and potential members.
According to a ReviewTrackers’ study, 35% of all search traffic is local. Without local SEO, your club could be losing out on a lot of traffic from the people that matter the most. So, it is essential that you think about it and optimize your site for it so that you are getting in front of prospects that can actually become members. Even if you are a regional or national health club operation, it is vital to capture the mind space of those looking for a new gym in the towns you operate by thinking locally and having webpages and websites for each location so you can optimize them.
Here are ways to boost your Local SEO, which will result in driving more traffic to your website and more prospects to your sales team.
Make Sure You Utilize “Google My Business”
There is a feeling that Google wants to control the world. Well, they probably don’t, but they certainly want businesses to be part of the “family.” One of the first things you need to do is to claim your business on Google My Business. This simple, free step will establish your presence on the search engine. It will also place your business on Google Maps. This will help you rank with Google when people are searching for health clubs in your town.
To optimize Google My Business, be sure to:
- Verify your listing — they will send you a postcard via snail mail [yes, that is still a thing].
- Make sure your information is updated.
- Include your logo, hours, the various classes, services and amenities you offer, and plenty of images.
Get Regular Reviews From Happy Customers
We all love to hear how great we are. Sadly, most people turn to the Internet to complain far more often than to rave. Getting your customers to give your club support through reviews doesn’t just optimize your Google My Business presence, it also helps drive more potential members to your website and to your front door. In fact, BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey showed that 85% of customers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
While Yelp is not a fan of asking customers for reviews, Google is all for you asking for a review. Here’s how to get some reviews:
- Ask for a review at point of sale.
- When you follow-up with new members with a text or email, be sure to encourage them to write a review.
- Make sure you are monitoring your online reviews. Thank reviewers for taking the time; address complaints in those that aren’t as thrilled — never ignore a review, either good or bad.
Create Content Based on Local People News and Events
To be part of the community, you need to speak to the community. Google loves fresh content on a regular basis. While many health clubs put out blogs and videos that speak to fitness trends, healthy eating around the holidays, etc., if you can tailor that and give it a local flavor, you stand a better chance of outranking a gym locally, even if they have a presence nationally.
Some content creation ideas are:
- Write blogs that tie into local news stories, activities or events that will resonate with potential members.
- Use video to showcase your club and team taking part in local charities and events.
- Write about your members’ successes or your staff’s specialties and how they help the community.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Most often when someone is searching for something local, it is because they are ready to use that product or service now.
A 2017 study from Acquisio showed that web visits from local searches could be especially productive, with an astounding 75% of all mobile searches that exhibit local intent actually producing in-store, offline visits within 24 hours.
Here are some ways to optimize for mobile:
- Quicker is better when it comes to your websites page load times (no more than three seconds).
- Use larger fonts that are easy to read.
- Use images and copy sparingly.
Think Local With Your Keywords
When you’re targeting local traffic, it makes sense to use keywords that will attract local searchers.
Google’s Keyword Planner can filter keyword searches based on location. This allows you to get a glimpse of what people in your region are searching for even if it isn’t sports or fitness related. Now you’ll have a list of local keywords to go along with your fitness and wellness keywords.
Every town has landmarks or other hot spots that are specific to them. Make sure to mention them in your content. If your club is in downtown Boston, include references to “group cycling just steps from the Faneuil Hall” or “workout in the heart of Boston’s Financial District” on your site.
While there are plenty of other ways to help boost your local search ranking (heck, there are whole books and courses dedicated to the topic), even taking these small steps can help you outrank the competition and get in front of local prospects faster.