Fitness SEO – How To Get On Top Of Google Results

Local SEO results "gym nyc"

Fitness SEO is the art of crafting and tweaking your website, so that you can get more visitors from search engines every day. Fitness SEO has become an essential part of fitness marketing. The ultimate goal is to convert the most visitors into paying customers.

It doesn’t matter if you are operating a local gym, have several sports clubs, or want to grow your personal training clientele as a solopreneur. More and more people are searching online to find your services, so you better get prepared to serve them with content that Google likes.

Albeit all this sounds easy, SEO is a topic where you probably find more contradictions than actionable and useful information for your fitness business. And if you are a gym manager or a personal trainer, it’s not even your task to decide if something works or not.

So here I gathered the main aspects of fitness SEO. These are the key points you should know about and act upon if you want to grow your business with the help of search engine optimization.

Fitness SEO - How To Get On Top Of Google Results

Local Fitness SEO

No matter what your role in the fitness industry is, you definitely need to work on improving your rankings in local search results. You are serving people in your neighborhood, so you need to be on the local listings. These listings by the way have been dominating fitness related keyword results in Google lately.

Local SEO results "gym nyc"

Local SEO reults for the keyword “gym nyc” in Google

Here is a step-by-step guide to improve your local rankings. Some of these might seem too obvious, but believe me, most fitness businesses fail to do even #2 and #3 correctly.

  1. You need to have a local mailing address.
  2. Claim your free listing on Google Business.
  3. After claiming your spot, you must verify your local business. For this, Google uses regular mail so they can be sure your business can be found at the specified address.

  4. Ensure that your business information is accurate across all online platforms (e.g. Google Business, your website, social media profiles, other listings) all the time.
  5. Let me give you an example here. You change your opening hours, and display the new and correct hours on your website and Facebook page, but forget to update it on Google Business. This is an inaccuracy that Google takes as a negative signal in local rankings.

  6. Make sure you have a website, with at least one page that is relevant to the locality and the offer. I.e. for the keyword “gym nyc” you must have at least one page describing your local gym in New York, with the accurate address.
  7. Be active in collecting reviews online. Google reviews are a huge ranking factor in local SEO. But the problem is, people just don’t go home after a workout and write a nice review about your gym. So make sure you actively ask your clients to write a review about you on Google.
  8. Be active on social. Social signals play a huge factor in local rankings. Make sure you have at least a Facebook page, a Twitter account for your business and an Instagram account.
  9. Focus on localized link building. This is not only easier than getting links for huge global keywords, but also essential for your local rankings.

Regular Keywords

Not everything is local. If you really want to dominate Google, and get the most out of search engine optimization, you must focus on as many keywords as you can.

Even if you have only one gym, you have to make sure your website is relevant on your topic. And this means creating content for general keywords.

Local Keywords In Regular Context

We’ve talked about local keywords and local search results. But the same keywords have also regular, “old-school” Google results worth shooting for.

These keywords usually have a local context (e.g. containing city name or neighborhood), and also local results at the top, but then you can find the regular website results below the local ones. See this example below for the keyword “climbing gym nyc“.

Local keywords, regular results "climbing gym nyc"

Regular results for the local keyword “climbing gym nyc”

Getting results with these keywords is not that hard that you might think at first. The key is quantity. You must generate content in great quantity on your fitness website, even if it seems futile in the beginning.

There are at least two reasons you should work on this:

  1. Even if you get no visitors from some of the keywords, they make your website more relevant. This means better rankings and more visitors in general.
  2. Fitness websites doesn’t seem to put too much effort in this category of keywords. So if you work hard enough on this kind of content, you have great chance of ranking high for even very competitive keywords.

Consider the keyword “fitness classes nyc” for example. It is highly relevant, with 390 exact monthly searches.

Making a quick market research, it looks like there are only big listing sites on page one. You might think that there is no way for a local business to get in there.

But the truth is, there is only one local gym that is even sort of trying to rank for this keyword, and they are ranking #13 even with this content. With just a little bit of focus on the rules of SEO copywriting, they could rank easily on page 1.

Fitness classes NYC

A great fitness keyword idea no one is really shooting for

Regular keywords

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find thousands of fitness-related keywords that have no local context. These all have the previous benefits, plus there is no local listings here in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

There are literally tens of thousands of keywords in this category, with an estimated aggregated monthly search in the range of hundreds of millions. The limit is only your imagination and your capability of crafting online content.

There is one downside to this technique though. It requires extreme persistence. You won’t see overnight results. This is more of like building a foundation for your online presence. But once Google grasps into your content, this will ensure a constant and free stream of visitors to your site. This is by the way a really cool and effective technique to really expand and grow your business beyond local reach.

Good news is however that you don’t have to produce this content yourself. You can find talented copywriters on Upwork or Textbroker to do the job for you.

Relevant, Non-Local Fitness Keyword Examples

Keyword Monthly Search
average cost of a personal trainer 260
strength training for weight loss 1600
weight training program for women 880
running exercises for women 10
upper body workout for runners 170

Long-Tail Keywords

What you’re really looking for is so called long tail keywords. Long tail is a statistical expression, meaning (in this conext) only those keywords where monthly search is low, but there is a great bunch of them. Thus the aggregated number of clicks (grey area) might be the same as if you were ranking for a very competitive keyword (black area).

Long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are not necessarily long, but usually the low search quantity also means at least 4-5 words in your keyword. In the weight loss category for example “weight loss” or “how to loose weight” would be short tail (i.e. very popular) keywords, with 301,000 and 27,100 monthly searches respectively. While “best resistance exercises for weight loss” on the other side of the spectrum would be a very good example of a long tail one, with only 10 monthly searches.

These keywords represent the secret and tricky way (in a good sense) for you to get more visitors from Google. They don’t have great competition, so sometimes you can rank your content with these kinds of keywords in the first page very easily.

And once again, they are an incredible effective way for clarifying the relevancy of your website.

Social Media And Fitness SEO

You don’t need to be an expert on social media marketing, but you do need social proof for Google that people like what you are doing.

This has become one of the most important off-site signals for Google. No matter how you tweak your website, if there is no social media proof of people talking about you, that might be a huge disadvantage.

Here are a few social media related tips you might consider implementing in order to rank your website higher in Google:

  1. Make sure you have at least one Facebook page, a Twitter account for your business and an Instagram account.

    Again, this might seem obvious, but believe me there are tons of fitness businesses out there with no social media presence at all.

  2. I recommend all fitness professionals (e.g. personal trainers, yoga instructors etc.) in your business use LinkedIn. Of course if you are a solopreneur, this means to create and use your LinkedIn profile.
  3. Actively use your social media accounts. Post regularly, use pictures and client testimonials. But from an SEO perspective it is most important that you post everything first on your website, then post your website’s link on your social sites.
  4. Let people get engaged with your content on your website. This means adding widgets like you see on this very website. Hover your mouse over any picture and you’ll preferably see some sharing options, such as you can see at the left sidebar. It can also be useful to actively ask your readers, visitors or clients to share the content if they like it.
  5. Try to produce some viral content.
  6. This is not easy, and I’m not talking about running a like-bait website. But even if you hit the jackpot only once with one of your contents going viral, it will make a huge positive impact on your SEO. I’ve seen websites having just one viral content on Facebook, and than doubling the number of visitors from Google for all keywords as a result of this.

Link Building

Well, this is the most difficult to write about in a general SEO article. Links were the building blocks of Google’s early success, and the value of links in rankings seems to have been getting even more significance lately.

What this means is you can’t have good SEO results without links pointing to your site.

On the other hand Google put in place some really effective ways lately of filtering out shady link-building tactics.

So here is my short advice on this topic. Start building your fitness website, use all the tactics presented in this article. If you have relevant content, use Google Business for local rankings and use your social media channels, you’ll have to start gaining some traction from Google. If your content is good enough and you promote it via social channels, chances are you get some organic links. Some fitness folks liking what you do and referring back to you.

Ask your clients and business partners if they have a blog. Ask them politely if they wanted to write a short review about you on their website, linking to your site.

Once you get here, you should see at least a few dozen websites linking to you in your Search Console panel. By the way, register for your free Search Console account right the way, that’s your dashboard in SEO.

Then it’ll be time to get someone savvy in the field of SEO and link building and ask them for help to get you even better results.

Forget Free Subdomains

I find that a lot of fitness websites still use some kind of free-hosting, free subdomain solutions. Examples are (not exactly free, but absolutely anti-SEO) or

While these services might be a great solution when experimenting with your first website, unfortunately you have almost no chance of ranking your content on someone else’s domain.

Purchasing a domain is just around $12 per year, and even hosting won’t set you back more than a few bucks per month.

Fitness franchisees face a similar problem. While franchise opportunities are great in this business, sometimes what you get online is just one page of a national website. You need to have your own website, if your franchise contract allows you to have one. Otherwise you just loose all the possibilities I’ve been talking about in this article.

How Good Is Your Website In Selling?

And one more important aspect of fitness SEO. The ultimate goal is to get clients. All SEO efforts and getting visitors to your site is just an intermediary step.

So make sure your website is relevant and it’s actually converting visitors into buyers. Or at least people make the next step, which might be an inquiry or a phone call to your fitness center.

Free SEO Tools For Your Fitness Business

At last some free SEO tools that you can start using in order to improve your fitness website’s rankings.

I hope you found this information useful. Start acting now on your fitness website so you can see your SEO results soon. If you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to like and share.

Fitness SEO Infographics