SEO for Gyms: A 3-Step Guide to New Membership Sign-ups

Looking to grow your gym? Join the club! Unless it’s the month of January, there’s only so many new gym users to go around, and plenty of other gyms are looking for new membership sign-ups – just like you.

The good news is, you can use SEO (search engine optimisation) to get in front of aspiring gym goers online. The bad news is, so can your competitors! We’re talking about large gyms like Virgin Active, David Lloyd, and Pure Gym.

What’s more, organic SEO for gyms is only getting more competitive – and that’s because a gym that ranks in the top 3 positions for relevant keywords will get a flurry of traffic on a consistent basis. Who doesn’t want that?

To compete in the fitness industry online, you’ll have to bring your gym SEO A-game. Here’s our step-by-step guide for getting new gym membership sign-ups!

Step 1: Research Relevant Keywords

For a boost to your gym’s membership applications and sign-ups, it’s important to think like your typical customer. Do you have a buyer persona and a sense of the typical user journey for your audience?

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is looking to join a gym near where they live. Is this person switching from a competing gym, or is it the first gym they’ve joined? What is the typical age range, gender, and income level of your members?

More than many businesses, location is a huge part of the search criteria for gyms, because it will be part of the customer’s routine – but as long as your location is close enough, it then becomes more about whether you can really speak to your ideal customers.

Now, what does all of this have to do with SEO for gyms? It’s about brainstorming keyword topic clusters that are most likely to appeal to the people who you want to sign up. For example, if your gym caters to older women, your pilates and barre classes will be a better set of keywords to target – and if you’re focused on extreme fitness like CrossFit for athletes, that’s a whole different set of keywords.

In addition to topic areas that resonate with your typical customer, you’ll want to map out content for each stage of the marketing funnel. This includes more informational content like “how to do a deadlift” and “P90X vs the gym” at the top of the funnel, along with more buyer-focused content like “best gym in Oxford” at the decision stage.

SEO for gyms - p90x vs the gym search

Your SEO campaign will only be successful if you choose the right keywords and meet your potential members where they are in the user journey. You’ll have to decide if it’s better for your gym to cater to many different audiences, or narrow in on just one or two specific niches.

Step 2: Optimise Your Gym’s Local SEO

If you’re familiar with SEO in general, then you can think of local SEO as a subset that takes a searcher’s location into account when offering search results.

It’s important to understand that much of local SEO isn’t just about content creation – it’s about doing tasks that encourage Google to share you in the search results on a local search results page.

Here are a few activities for local SEO for gyms:

  • Establish and optimise your Google My Business page
  • Claim citations and listings in local directories
  • Manage and solicit customer reviews for your gym
  • Target local search terms

You may not realise it, but the results in that feature box and map at the top a local search page are pulled from listings with Google My Business. This is important, because it represents a separate source of potential exposure for your gym than what you get with organic search rankings.

SEO for Gyms

Remember, even compared to other local businesses, gyms depend greatly on local search to attract new members. In order to improve your local SEO, start by verifying and optimising your Google My Business listing. You’ll want to make sure that your address, and phone number (NAP) are identical between your listing and your website, as well as other online accounts your gym may have, like a Facebook business page.

In order to make the most of your Google My Business listing, you should also upload a number of quality images, focusing on shots of your equipment, your gym facility, and your trainers. You should also encourage customer reviews – ideally, you should try to get more reviews on your listing than any other gym has in your area.

Quality local SEO for gyms will make a huge difference. Make sure you’re getting as much exposure as possible by investing in your local SEO.

Step 3: Create Great Fitness Content

There’s nothing Google appreciates more than truly useful and original content. Aim to post new blogs at least twice per week, as long as you can keep up quality in conjunction with your keyword strategy.

Fortunately, because you’re targeting consumers, you don’t have to worry about creating dry content for a formal audience. Instead, let your creativity run wild!

Focus on crafting engaging, flashy pages and posts that will capture people’s attention. Write posts to inspire, posts to educate, and posts to entertain. Don’t be afraid to produce in-house video, images, and infographics as well – all of this is shareable on social media for a wider reach.

In terms of content ideas, much of what you create will be for SEO purposes, as we described earlier. But don’t be afraid to create content that also appeals to your existing customers. Share a testimonial from a proud gym member on your Instagram, an interview with a trainer, or a graphic on new equipment you’ve purchased to improve the experience for your loyal members.

All of this quality fitness content has the potential to get you traction on social media and reach customers – and when it comes to SEO, social signals also tell Google that your gym’s website is worth trusting.

Once you’ve created website content and it’s ready to publish, don’t forget to perform onsite optimisation for things like:

  • Page titles and meta descriptions
  • Permalinks with your target keyword
  • Optimised title tags
  • Internal links between posts

Another consideration is to synergise your SEO campaign with pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Paid ads are a great way to get some initial momentum, but ultimately you’ll get longer-term, more sustainable growth with an emphasis on SEO for gyms.

SEO for Gyms Wrap-up

When you want to approach SEO for gyms, you should be thinking about your site’s future potential. There’s usually a fairly lengthy lag time between the work you do and the results you find in Google, sometimes 90 days or more.

This isn’t a bad thing – if you achieve hard-won results with an SEO campaign, that means it’s just as hard for your competitors to take those rankings away. This is the best way to build your gym’s marketing on a strong foundation.

And what an incredible foundation it is! Imagine how successful your gym will be with a website that ranks in the top 10 for hundreds of pertinent keywords on the Google SERPs. That could equate to dozens of enquiries and new member sign-ups per month!

If you want to make this happen, Common Ground is an SEO agency with the experience to help. We have a team of experts who know how to execute a premium SEO campaign, from keyword strategy and technical SEO to content creation and link building. We’re here to grow your gym and realise its potential.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

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