Did you know that 34.35% of users choose the first link that is not an advertisement when they do a Google search? And that fewer than 10% of people will go to the second page of a Google search result?
Considering these statistics, it is easy to see why search engine optimization (SEO) has become crucial for businesses of all sizes over the last few years.
In that time, however, the cost of hiring an SEO firm has increased from around $750 per month to anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000 per month.
If you're a new fitness business, you probably don't have the cash flow to bankroll hiring an SEO agency just yet.
Read on to learn about SEO tricks you can implement for your fitness business without spending a dime.
What Exactly Is SEO?
Let's take a moment to clarify our understanding of what SEO is. Search engine optimization is the process of helping search engines find, index and rank your personal trainer website.
Currently, Google holds just over 90% of the search engine market which is why you'll want to base your SEO tricks on how they're ranking pages.
Keep in mind that SEO is different from SEM. SEM or Search engine marketing is when companies pay for a position at the top of a Google search engine through PPC advertising or display ads.
How Do Search Engines Determine Your SEO Rank?
SEO has gotten progressively more difficult over time. While you could once improve your on-page SEO by simply stuffing pages with keywords or having a lot of links, people took advantage of this to get their sites ranking higher and Google noticed.
Google and other search engines responded by changing their algorithms so that users weren't getting tricked into going to websites that didn't really match what they were looking for. These changes are great for users, but frustrating for website owners.
While Google doesn't share the exact details of its algorithm, the following are some of the metrics that search engines use to determine your rank on a search engine results page.
1. The Amount of Time Visitors Stay On Your Site
When users spend more time on your fitness website, Google takes this as a sign that you have good quality content. This makes it difficult for new sites to compete with more established ones, but don't give up hope!
2. The Keywords You're Targeting
When a search engine crawls your web pages, it looks at your content to see what your website is about. By including keywords that your ideal clients are searching for, you can make your website more obvious to search engines.
Do keyword research when planning your blog articles and site pages so that you can use the best keywords for your niche in your blogs and meta descriptions.
3. Incoming and Outgoing Links
For outgoing links, link to sites with a higher domain authority than yours. As a general rule, these will be sites that are commercial websites, well-established blogs and renowned research portals.
Conversely, having other articles link to you boosts your credibility in Google's eyes as long as the websites linking to yours are good quality. Stay away from link farms or other artificial link building techniques as these can actually harm your SEO.
4. Your Mobile Site
Last year Google announced that they would be switching to mobile-first indexing, and sure enough, they've started rolling it out on some websites.
This means that Google will prioritize websites that are mobile-friendly.
DIY SEO Tricks That Really Work
Now that you know what Google is looking for you're ready to get started with your DIY SEO settings.
As a personal trainer, you know that seeing results from your workouts takes time. The same is true with SEO. As you make changes to your website, keep in mind that it will take some time before you start seeing progress, sometimes up to 3-6 months.
Here are 14 efficient tricks to make your fitness website visible to those who are already looking for your services.
1. Create a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a marketing tool that helps you see your target market as more than an age range, gender and income bracket.
By creating a buyer persona, it becomes easier to visualize your ideal client as a real person. This will give you a better understanding of how to create content that will resonate with them at different phases of their buyer journey and, hopefully, how to convert them into leads, then clients.
Let's use Sarah, a fitness instructor and personal trainer looking to gain new clients, as an example of someone looking for new clients.
Her ideal client is someone who is looking to improve her health, can afford a personal trainer and can be either male or female.
She creates a buyer persona named Linda. Linda is an HR executive in her mid-forties with three kids. Linda's primary goal is to lose weight but she also wants to improve her and her family's eating habits.
Armed with this knowledge, Sarah creates a premium package for Linda and other working parents that features classes that can be booked within two hours and family meal plans designed by an accredited nutritionist.
Figure out what your clients want and how they want it to be delivered and you have a solution to a problem.
2. Create Amazing Content
Based on what we said above about what Google considers when determining your rank, you now know how important great content is.
High-quality, high-value and informative articles that answer your target market's problem will attract the right audience and encourage them to learn more.
Using the example of Sarah and Linda again, based on the established buyer persona, Sarah can create blog posts about topics that discuss problems and challenges Linda is facing. Using the right keywords, setting up the SEO metadata and promoting the articles on social media will attract the right prospects to the website.
3. Do Keyword Research
There's no point in putting a ton of effort into your content strategy if no one can find your website in the first place. By doing content research, you will see what people are searching for in your industry.
The key here is to find keywords and phrases that have a high monthly search volume but with low competition. These are the keywords that will be easiest to rank for.
4. Turn on Your Web Analytics
If you haven't already, connect Google Analytics right now. Seriously, go do it now. I'll wait.
Web analytics is data about who is visiting your website, where they're coming from, how long they stay, what pages they click on and where do they leave.
By analyzing this data, you can get a better understanding of how different elements on your website are performing in keeping your visitors engaged.
5. Learn How to Use Google Analytics
Your first look at Google Analytics can be intimidating because there's so much information shown at once.
Understanding the different tabs; Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions, and Real-Time is the first step. This is basically who is visiting your site, how they got there, what they're doing if they're buying anything and what's happening right now.
You can generate reports under any of these tabs to see how your website is performing.
6. Get Inspiration For Your Next Blog Article from Your Website Visitors
In the "Traffic Sources" section of Google Analytics, you can learn what search queries are bringing users to your website. Find terms that are relevant and recurring and use them as a jumping off point when planning your content calendar.
As an example, we helped The Barracks Gym rank for high value keywords that their ideal clients were looking for. We found that their ideal clients, Australian Defence Force applicants, were searching for how to pass the beep test.
So we created custom content and ranked the content high in search for them, massively increasing the size of their audience.
7. Build an Awesome Website
Like most personal training businesses, you will have many competitors who are going after the same clients. One way that you can stand out is having a beautiful website.
Having a well designed fitness website means a few things. For one, your website should look appealing to your ideal clients and broadcast your brand message. You would also like an online presence that is easy to navigate, designed with the user in mind and there are no dead ends.
Check out some of our best personal trainer websites to get a feel for what a site that works might look like.
8. Add a Sitemap to Your Website
A sitemap makes it easier for search engines to see all of the pages of your website and which ones have been changed recently. It makes browsing your website easier to your visitors and boost your SEO ranking.
You can easily create a sitemap for your website here.
9. Optimize Your Page Titles and Meta Description
Optimize your page titles and metadata by using your keywords without sounding like it was written by a robot. On some platforms you can specify an SEO Title that's different from your page title.
The meta description is the text that shows up below the title in the search results on Google. Keep it short, sharp and relevant but include keywords where possible. Your SEO settings might look like this.
For example, if your keyword phrase is "improve your SEO" then your Title can be "Improve Your SEO With These 10 Proven Strategies" and your meta description can be "Improve your SEO with these strategies and increase your organic traffic".
10. Edit Your Image ALT Tags
These are the tags that describe the images you upload to your website. Search engines cannot see images, so these tags are necessary in order for them to know what the image is. Use keyword phrases in your ALT tags to help your website show up in image searches.
11. Contact Other Websites About Guest Posts
You can build links to your personal trainer website through guest posts. A guest post is when you write an original post for another website and then include links back to your own website.
This can be a good strategy for improving your credibility in the eye's of Google, but it can also be a double-edged sword. Only submit guest posts to websites with a high domain authority or who are leaders in a different field within the fitness industry.
A great way to find them is with a simple Google search using quotation marks like this:
The quotation marks tell Google to search for a site that has the words personal trainer in it but specifically mention the words "guest post".
This will help you maintain good quality links to your website. And never, NEVER buy links. Google considers this an illegal tactic and will severely punish your website.
12. Join Google My Business
If you're like many people, you signed up for Google+ when it was launched in 2010 and then promptly forgot about it. At the time, it was positioned as a competitor to Facebook and that competition never really materialized.
Go back to Google+ and set up a business account on the Google My Business app. This is especially important for targeting local customers if you have an offline business.
Input your fitness business listing including what you do, address, opening hours and even some photos. Now when someone searches for your business, all of this information will appear at the top of the search engine results page.
Then all you need to do is to get your clients to leae reviews on your profile so future prospects know what to expect and whether your services is for them.
13. Build Your Social Media Presence
Claim your company's handle on all the major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) but choose one or two to focus your efforts on.
To decide which social networks are the best use of your time and energy, think about your buyer persona. Based on the demographics you wrote out earlier, you should be able to quickly determine the social network your target demographic is most active on.
You can build your social media reach quickly by contacting influencers or running a contest. It's a common misconception that all influencers need to be paid.
14. Reach Out to Influencers in Your Community
Remember our personal trainer Sarah and buyer persona Linda the HR executive and busy mom from earlier?
Another way Sarah can reach this demographic is by contacting mom bloggers in her city. She can then ask those bloggers if they would be willing to trade a review for her product, for example, one hour with a Personal Trainer or a week-long family meal plan.
Most bloggers love this kind of opportunity, as long as it's suitable for their audience. They get to try new products and services for free and then they tell their audience about their experience. It's a win-win situation for bloggers and companies alike.
Most important, these reviews include high-quality links back to your website which helps improve your overall SEO. Just do your homework and check the fitness influencer you ae about to grant goodies for have a good track record in delivering on their promises.
Now It's Time To Get Started!
There's a lot to digest here so we recommend bookmarking this page in case you need to come back to it later.
Of course, doing all of these things is time-consuming. Once you've secured a few clients, wouldn't it be better if you can focus on the thing you do best?
You probably want to spend your time running your business and training your clients, not worrying about marketing trends or tech issues.
Feel free to get in touch to find out more about how we can help you with your personal trainer website, fitness marketing or SEO ranking.
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