SEO for Gyms

Learn how to rank higher on Google and attract more customers for your gym.

In today's fast-paced digital age, services like Yellow Pages are now relics of the past. If someone wants to find a gym to attend, their first choice is Google.

So, to grow your gym and attract more clients, it's important that you appear on the first page of Google's earch results.

Keep reading to learn how to do just that.

Local SEO

People who search for local businesses like gyms will usually see two types of search results: regular and "map pack."

You can rank in both of these types of results, making it possible to show up twice on the first page of Google.

To rank in the regular organic results, you'll need to optimize your website. That's what the rest of this guide focuses on. 

To rank in the "map pack," you'll need an optimized Google Business Profile.

How to get started
  1. Get a free Google Business Profile
    Head over to to set one up.

  2. Optimize your profile
    Fill in as much as you can, including the types of fitness and training services you offer.

  3. Get reviews
    Reviews help you rank higher, so ask customers to review your business.

Keyword research

People won't always type "gyms" into Google when they need one. Some will search for more specific services like pilates classes or personal training, and others will search for solutions to problems like how much does a personal trainer cost.

Unless you rank for these keywords, you're missing out on potential customers.

To find gym-related services and topics people are searching for, you'll need a keyword research tool like Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer. These tools pull keyword ideas, estimated monthly search volumes and other SEO metrics from a database of billions of keywords.

How to get started
  1. Enter a few industry-related "seed" phrases
    Example: gym, fitness, weights, personal training

  2. Choose a keyword ideas report
    Example: "Matching terms" shows all ideas containing your seed keywords.

  3. See keyword ideas
    Example: "How old do you have to go to the gym" gets an estimated 3k monthly searches in the U.S.

Content creation

Knowing what people are searching for is useful. But unless you create pages to target those terms, there’s little point in doing keyword research. 

For example, there are an estimated 36K monthly searches in the US for "gym membership."

Given that your homepage will be more of an overview of what you do, it's unlikely to rank for this term. It's more likely to rank for broader, more popular terms like "gym" or "fitness classes."

The same goes for questions like "what to bring to the gym.” If you want to rank for such terms, you need to create content to target them.

How to get started
  1. Create landing pages for services
    Examples: pilates classes, personal training, gym passes

  2. Answer questions with blog posts
    Examples: how to lose weight at the gym, how to start going to the gym

Link building

Backlinks are clickable links from one website to another. As they're one of Google's strongest ranking factors, getting more high-quality backlinks typically leads to higher rankings and more organic traffic. 

In fact, you'll almost always need backlinks to rank for competitive keywords.

For example, the query "what to eat before gym" has a Keyword Difficulty (KD) score of 52 out of 100. As this is quite high, you'll almost certainly need backlinks to rank on the first page for this term. 

Unfortunately, link building is one of the most challenging aspects of SEO. But there are tried and tested tactics you can use to get them.

How to get started
  1. Look at the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword
    Search for your keyword in Google, or check the SERP overview in Keywords Explorer.

  2. Find their backlinks
    Enter their URLs into Site Explorer and check the Backlinks report.

  3. Find replicable backlinks
    Look for links you can easily replicate for your website, and think about how you could get more links like them.

Technical SEO

Everything above is a waste of time unless Google can find, crawl and index your pages. That's because it's impossible for them to show up in search unless they're in the index. 

For example, say you wrote a post about eating right to target the keyword "what to eat before gym." Even if it's the most useful guide to the topic on the web, Google won't index the page if it contains this code: <meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

Luckily, it's quite unlikely that the pages you create for search will contain that code. But there are plenty of other common technical issues that can hinder the performance of your pages in search.

You can find these issues by regularly auditing your site.

How to get started
  1. Audit your website.
    Get a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account and crawl your site with Site Audit.

  2. Check your Health Score. 
    Get a sense of your site's overall SEO health. 

  3. Investigate and fix technical issues.
    Delve into individual issues and fix them.

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