By Tim Mauk, Special FBA Contributor

It is no secret that Google is a massive driver of leads for gyms and personal training studios worldwide. However, for many small- to medium-sized fitness facilities, the prospect of getting their website on the first page of a Google results page seems lofty.

Fortunately, local search engine optimization (SEO) can be a huge asset for these owners to leverage when utilizing the strategic advantage of proximity to their ideal clients.

In this blog, we will discuss local SEO, how it differs from general SEO, and some great tools you can use to position yourself favorably in your local market.

What is SEO VS Local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the craft of designing, editing, and structuring information so search engines can easily find, review, and catalog/index it. Further refinement of website pages and various surrounding elements can inform indexers on how your information relates to queries from a relevancy, authority, and topical expertise (among other things) standpoint. Search Engine Land concisely summarizes SEO as “the process of improving your website to increase its visibility in Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines…”

Similarly, local SEO operates on the same principles. However, the geographic location and a few other location-based variables play a more significant role in search result specificity. One of the most common features referenced when talking about local SEO is the Google Map Pack, which lists relevant local businesses in the Google Map SERP (search engine results page) features section on queries like “personal training studios near me.”

Popular Local SEO Tools for Fitness Professionals

Due to the complexities involved and seemingly constant large algorithm changes from search engine providers, many businesses assume SEO optimization is not a project they want to take on. Luckily, when looking at local SEO, there are some straightforward things you can start incorporating into your fitness business that can help move the dial on your local listing rank.

Google Business Profile

One of the most basic starting points is claiming or establishing their Google Business Profile. In short, this is a free tool that Google offers that allows inquiring searchers to quickly review critical business information straight from their search results page without having to click on your website. Information like business hours, phone numbers, addresses, and more can be easily found and displayed here alongside reviews and photos of your facility. This completed profile can be an excellent opportunity to market your facility through accurate and clean information, appealing pictures, answers to questions, and positive reviews.


Everybody knows reviews are influential. However, there are some gold nuggets into “how” you collect and further leverage your reviews for additional value. First, implementing a system of asking happy clients and members for reviews - and then making it easy for them to access and write a review is pivotal to the long-term growth of your reviews. This organic and consistent growth trend of reviews can be a powerful indicator for search engines, especially with local SEO.

Further, once you receive reviews (especially on Google), responding as the facility's owner with a personalized note to reviews can also give you an additional boost and an opportunity to pepper in other keywords you would like to rank for. Additionally, adding reviews to your website can help build further on-page SEO value.

Website Local References

Another factor in the local SEO ranking is helping the bots understand your location and authority within the geographic area. Adding links to popular local businesses or pages and referencing popular nearby locations can aid this process. Some fitness businesses accomplish this via individual posts within their blog, or they may add popular nearby companies to their “directions page.” Others have even made a “local partners” page listing businesses they partner with nearby. There is no specific way you “have” to follow to implement this sort of information, but focusing on doing it in a way that feels organic for your website/business and also could benefit your clients is always a recommended best practice.

Stand Out Locally

Outside of the primarily digital topics outlined above, there are some other considerations to review that can also help from a local SEO perspective. Local news and press releases are still powerful tools for regional markets. Focusing on highlighting the newsworthy opportunities that exist (or developing them), you can help drive a fantastic awareness opportunity within your local geographic area for significantly less cost than advertising the same medium. And because those types of mentions typically get published online with additional contact information, you also help build a more robust local backlink profile for your business.

Another opportunity to drive brand impressions and interact with the community is to sign up for local (and relevant) events and programs. These are great ways to meet with the community, talk about your brand and network, or even learn about other nearby businesses you could start a partnership with. Again, activities like these can add local SEO value by writing an event recap blog on your website.

Final Thoughts

Local SEO should not be a scary concept for fitness facility owners. Many of the ways we discussed that you can help move the dial on your local rankings are generally good business sense to-dos. You can also further process content from these initiatives for your marketing purposes—such as additional content for social media from images from events or blog announcements. By keeping your client in mind as you make these changes, you can begin to appreciate the effect these additions can have on their perspective of your local business.

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Tim Mauk is a results-oriented marketing professional who started GymSplash as a free resource to help small- to medium-sized fitness facility owners thrive. helps equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to elevate your fitness business. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities gyms face and guide you with tried-and-true business and marketing principles.


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