Local SEO Guide for Personal Trainers: A 5 Step Process to Boost Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Guide for Personal Trainers: A 5 Step Process to Boost Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Guide for Personal Trainers: A 5 Step Process to Boost Your Google Rankings

For personal trainers, finding new clients can be difficult these days. Word of mouth is extremely important, but increasingly, new prospects just run a Google search and call the first trainer or two on the list. To build your client base, then, you need to find your way to the top of Google search results.

SEO for Personal Trainers

We will walk you through our proven, step by step process to launch your company to the top of Google rankings. First, though, let’s go through why local SEO is vital for personal trainers.

3 Reasons Personal Trainers Must Invest in Local SEO

  1. The Yellow Pages Are Dead, Long Live Google: Until recently, a personal trainer could take out an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Today, though, fully 97% of people search online for local services, and Google is by far the most popular choice. 
  2. Free Traffic: Things are starting to evolve, but advertising remains one of the biggest expenses for small businesses. Boosting your Google ranking gives you a constant flow of free traffic that you simply need to convert to paying clients. 
  3. Speedy Results: National and multinational companies do not see results from a new SEO campaign for an average of 6 to 12 months, but you have a sizeable advantage. You are competing solely with other personal trainers in your local area, not those on the other side of the country. And a lot of your competitors are not utilizing local SEO. This means that a targeted campaign, can propel you to the first page of local Google listings in as little as 30 days!

Step 1: Decide on Your Keywords

The first step is simple. Just generate a quick list of keywords that match your services. For example, you might choose “personal trainer”, “weight loss”, or “fitness coaching”. When your list is reasonably comprehensive, sign up for a free Google AdWords account.

Don’t worry about building or funding an ad campaign. You just need access to the free Google Keyword Planner. This useful tool lets you see how much traffic is generated by each keyword and suggests related keywords that you may not have considered.

Now you can finalize your list of keywords. All keywords can be loosely grouped into 2 general categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords signal that a prospect is ready for your services. For example, “fitness coach in Denver” likely means that the client is ready to start working on her fitness.

Your primary focus should be on your buying intent keywords, as they drive the fastest conversions. Sprinkle them on your homepage and build individual service pages for each one.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords mean that the prospect is “just looking.” He might want a personal trainer in the future, but not yet. For example, someone asking “what does a personal trainer do” might be wondering whether personal training is something she should consider.

These keywords do not drive quick conversions, so they are of lower priority. Don’t toss them, though. They are perfect for blog posts and FAQs, which introduce you to prospects who might remember you when they are ready to sign up.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

With your keywords finalized, you can optimize in 2 places—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s what to do:

Google My Business

Google My Business is basically a tiny website for the “Maps” section of Google. It boosts your online presence and offers a short description of your services. It can also drive up your rankings fast, as it is easier to get a Google My Business page highly ranked than a website.

To optimize, fill out all elements fully and accurately:

  • Verification: Claim your page and submit it to Google for verification. You will know this is complete when a checkmark and the word “Verified” appear next to your business name.
  • NAP: Your NAP, or business name, address, and phone number, must be accurate and identical everywhere it appears online. To tell Google that yours is a local business, use a local phone number instead of an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google categories must focus on services rather than results. Personal Trainer is a valid Google category, as is Weight Loss. Try to list 3 to 5 categories, if you can.
  • Description: This gives a 100 to 200-word overview of your business and ends with a call to action. Try this format: {Your Name or Business Name} is a {personal trainer} in {Your City}. {Give some information about your top services and/or why clients love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first session.
  • Hours: Make sure that your business hours are accurate, and that they are listed correctly across all online sources.
  • Images: Images boost client engagement and help new prospects understand what to expect. Add some photos of your equipment and staff (and even your clients with written permission). Make sure your images are sharply focused, sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. Also consider replacing the default Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Your top priority is your “core” pages, such as your homepage and service pages. Optimize them for buying intent keywords. Later, you can optimize your “content” pages, such as blog posts and FAQs, for your research intent keywords. Here’s how:

  • Homepage: The title tag is the most crucial element on your page. It is similar to a chapter title in a book, describing your business in just 50 to 65 characters. Try this format: Personal Trainer in {Your City} | {Your Name or Business Name}.

The meta description explains your core services in just 100 to 150-characters, ending with a call to action. Format it something like this: {Your Name or Business Name} offers professional {fitness coaching, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first session!

The visible headline, or H1, must highlight your primary category. Format it similarly to: {Personal Trainer} in {City, State}.

Your 500 to 1000-word page copy comes last. Make sure it is strongly written and tightly edited, that it explains your business and core services, and that it ends with a strong call to action. Use your primary keyword as it naturally fits, but avoid “keyword stuffing,” or shoving it in unnaturally.

  • Service Pages: Each core service needs its own service page. Optimize it the same way as the homepage, focusing on the appropriate keyword.

Step 3: Develop Citations and Links

The skeleton of your local SEO campaign is now in place, so you can move on to developing citations and links. Both enhance your Google rankings by improving your online reach.

  • Citations: A citation is simply a listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) in an online directory. You can utilize general national directories such as Facebook and yellowpages.com, general local directories such as your Chamber of Commerce website, and directories that are specific to the fitness industry. Double check that your NAP is identical across all citations.

Free listings are readily available, but some directories charge a fee. Before making payment, look at Google Analytics. Never pay for a listing that will not drive traffic and conversions.

  • Links: To reach the highest level of Google rankings, you must have inbound links from credible and authoritative websites. Develop relationships with those who provide complementary services to yours, such as spas and salons, and then ask to trade links. You can use a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer to find out where your competitors’ links come from.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

There are two key reasons to include customer reviews in your local SEO campaign. First, they help convince prospects to give you a chance. Second, they confirm to Google that your business is legitimate. All reviews can help, but those posted on Google My Business provide the fastest boost to your rankings. Send your satisfied clients a direct link to your Google My Business page via email, and ask them to write a review. If you do this frequently, you will soon have a steady stream of recent reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

You can only know what parts of your campaign are working and which elements need tweaking if you track your results. You can analyze your data in many ways, but these are the most vital metrics:

  • Rankings: Google rankings are displayed in a customized way based on previous browsing activity. To see your actual rankings, then, you need a tool. Have your webmaster install the free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), and check your rankings at least once per month.

To dig deeper into your rankings, consider moving to a paid tool such as RankRanger.com. This extremely useful tool tracks both your Google My Business page and your individual webpages, and it automatically updates ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Your website visitors are also known as your traffic. Arguably the best way to track your traffic is Google Analytics. You can not only see your overall traffic, but also the traffic for each separate webpage, and even what portion of traffic came from Google search. Check your report at least once a month, looking for long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a specific action you want prospects to perform, such as contacting you for 10% off their first training session. Google Analytics lets you track both phone and web conversions, learn which of your webpages have the highest and lowest conversion rates, and see which services drive the most conversions.

Ready to Get Started?

Now you know why a targeted local SEO campaign is so important for personal trainers. Work your way through the 5 steps in order, finishing each step before moving on to the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Keyword optimization
  3. Citations and Links
  4. Reviews
  5. Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping personal trainers attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote