Everything Gym Owners Need to Know About Google Business Profile and Local SEO

A great website will help a gym owner get a visitor to book a free consultation or No Sweat Intro.

In this department, Kilo’s got you covered.

But how do gym owners get people to visit their websites?

One of the most important resources is your Google Business Profile (GBP, to some).

Formerly called Google Places and Google My Business or GMB, the Google Business Profile allows entrepreneurs to add key details that will help searchers find what they need. This service is free to the business owner, and managing the profile isn’t complicated. But the rewards can be huge.

According to Statista.com, Google holds over 83 percent of the search-engine market share. That means more than eight out of 10 people are going to use Google to enter terms such as “gyms near me,” “personal training in New York” and “best gym in San Francisco.”

If you’ve created and maintained your Google Business Profile, those people will be much more likely to find your business; visit your fast-loading, fully optimized, search-engine-friendly website; and book a consultation. 

Local SEO

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Local SEO is critical for independent gyms with physical locations.

While competition for search terms like “gym” and “personal trainer” is fierce on a global scale, independent businesses can score some big wins when local people enter “gyms near me” and similar terms in Google. They’re looking locally, and it’s much easier for gym owners to claim victories in that smaller market.

But you’ll lose if Google doesn’t have all the info it needs to provide a searcher with the best answers to questions. That info comes from your Google Business Profile.

Think about it: A person searches for “gyms in Minneapolis” or any other city. Google knows about all the websites for gyms in that area. But five gym owners have taken the time to set up, optimize and maintain their Google Business Profiles. Google knows viewers are going to find current hours, holiday closures, photos, reviews, special offers, events and updates—everything they need to know.

Which gyms are going to make it into the top ranks of the search engine results pages (SERPs)?

The answer is obvious.

The reward for the top businesses? Placement in the Google “snack pack,” “three-pack” or “local pack”—the high-profile callout box that features the top three local businesses for the search.

Position in the high-visibility snack pack gives three businesses a monster advantage and a huge amount of credibility. The power of the local pack is obvious to anyone who uses the internet for a local search, so we won’t beat it to death. Instead, we’ll just offer three stats from Renolon.com:

  • The local three-pack holds top position in 93 percent of local searches.
  • 68 percent of Googlers said they trust the three-pack listings. That figure drops to 27 percent for the rest of the entries below the snack pack on the SERP.
  • When people search for something “near me,” they buy something 28 percent of the time.

The snack pack is the golden ticket to more clients, and Google Business Profile is the key to the snack pack—as well as to high placement in organic search results below the three-pack.

Resource: For more on local SEO, read “The Guide to Local SEO for Gym Owners.”

Control Your Business’s Story

Scenario: Would you rather be able to tell your clients about your fitness business or have a third-party do the talking for you?

The answer is obvious here, too.

So make sure all the details about your business are current in your Google Business Profile. That way Google can easily pull that data and present it, and people won’t be forced to enter additional search terms.

Furthermore, you can encourage your clients to leave knowledgeable, well-considered, honest but favorable reviews that provide social proof for people who are considering your business. A large number of reviews will help people learn more about your business and your high standards of service. And should you get a less-than-stellar review—it happens to everyone—it will be balanced by a host of positive evaluations.

(If you’re terrified of bad reviews, Hootsuite says Google likes a little variety rather than 100 glowing reviews: “A combination of positive and negative reviews is more trustworthy than page after page of glowing recommendations.”)

Finally, profile viewers can ask questions, which you—and others, including reputable Local Guides–can respond to. By providing concise, helpful answers to common questions, you can grease the rails for clients who want to engage with you but need a little more info first.

Our advice: Make sure you monitor your profile and respond to questions so others don’t step in with inaccurate information.

How Do You Set up a Google Business Profile for a Gym?

Note: The Google My Business app is no longer in operation. You can use the Google Maps app to manage your business profile now: Apple and Google Play.

Start by going right to Google and claim or create a listing.

After that, enter the critical info about your fitness business: name, contact details, location, website. You’ll also need to select the categories that apply to your business. This info unlocks powerful features for searchers: Googlers can click through to your site, click to call you or even get real-time directions to get to your place of business. (Google Maps users can even save or share your profile if they want to.)

Next, enter service area, hours of operation and payment options. Upload media and additional details. Google sometimes adds features, so be sure to address any new areas not listed here. Your goal: Ensure every single field is filled out with the most up-to-date info.

Promote Your Business

With the profile set up, you can really set yourself apart by using the Promote tab in the Google Maps app. Many businesses set up a profile and forget about it. But that’s a mistake.

By adding photos, you can keep providing people with images that represent your ever-changing business. If you hire a new trainer or renovate your facility, tell the world about it! Then go further: Post lots of pics of smiling members so prospective clients see them and think “that person is just like me!”

You can also add events—like a bring-a-friend day, open house or free seminar, or competition. Businesses that “do stuff” feel far more vibrant to an outsider than those that don’t, and gym owners are always up to something. But most don’t tell Google about it.

Similarly, offers can be added to the Google Business Profile. So if you’re running a specific promotion, add it in—with a photo, of course. You can even include coupon codes, links to redeem offers, and terms and conditions.

Same deal with updates: Post them regularly to make sure everyone has the most current info about your business. Updates allow you to add an action button—Book, Order Online, Buy, Learn More and Sign Up—as well as a link that provides viewers with the next step. Try this: Post an update stating you’ve added more free consultation times, then link the “book” button to your calendar.

You can, of course, also connect your biz profile to Google Ads for marketing purposes if you want.

In addition to all these oft-underused features, Google Business Profile will give you access to performance insights including website clicks, requests for directions, bookings, messages and calls. You can learn how people discover you, what search terms they use to find you, and whether they’re using mobile devices or desktop computers.

If someone leaves a review, you can reply, which is a great way to thank people and respond to negative reviews. Finally, you can respond to messages—“chats”—from Google users, giving you a great way to connect with clients and potential clients fast.

Tips for Using Google Business Profile to Rank Locally

To improve your local SEO, here’s our #1 tip: Claim/set up your Google Business Profile and use it regularly.

As we said above, if Google has to choose between two identical local gyms but one has a complete, continuously updated profile, you can guess which one will rank higher.

And what if a prospective client views a profile with out-of-date, 3-year-old pictures before checking out a great-looking profile that was updated yesterday? One business looks abandoned. The other looks vibrant and engaging.

So make sure your profile is complete, and use the Google Maps platform to update it regularly.

Here are more specific things you can do to be found more often:

Check in on Your Profile

You check social media too often. We all do. So instead of opening Instagram for the 10th time, open the Google Maps app and run through your profile.

Are there any new reviews or messages to respond to? Is everything current and accurate? Have you posted hours or closures for upcoming holidays? Have you added any amenities or increased accessibility?

Protip: If you need backup, be sure to turn on email notifications so you never miss anything.

Respond to Reviews and Messages Promptly

Consumers have come to expect quick responses from the businesses they engage with. The sooner you can answer a question, reply to a chat or thank someone for a review, the more good will you’ll generate.

Post Stuff

Gym owners post to Facebook and Instagram all the time. But if you ask around, most don’t ever post to their Google Business pages. Your competition probably doesn’t post either.

You can stand out by letting prospective clients—and Google—know you’re running a dynamic, active business. Easy wins here: Post about upcoming seminars, events and programs. For example, if you’re running a 30-day nutrition kickstart, it needs to be on your Google Business Profile, not just your website.

Encourage Reviews

You can easily share your business profile with people and ask them to leave a review. Our friends at Two-Brain Business recommend you actually build this action into your client journey. For example, you might ask satisfied customers to leave a review at the end of goal review sessions that occur after the first 90 days of membership.

You can also build review requests into your email sequences (Kilo does this for you). Some gym owners even use QR codes and lobby signs to get clients to leave reviews. Finally, you can reward clients for leaving reviews with points in in-house competitions.

A steady stream of real reviews shows Google that you’re an active business that really connects with people. And a pile of amazing ratings show prospective clients that people think your business is top notch.

An Investment in Local SEO

You need a great website to convert clients—and we’ve got you covered there.

But you can ensure more people get to that website by spending some time on your Google Business Profile.

If you haven’t set up or checked your profile recently, block off an hour of time for your Google Business Profile this week. People pay huge money to consultants to improve SEO, but you don’t need a consultant to work on your profile. All you need to do is spend a little time filling out as many details as you can. It’s not complicated or tedious.

After that, maintenance of the profile might take 20 minutes a week. Just check in daily to review your notifications and post regular updates for your business. Start with one update or new photo a week and add all your upcoming events and offers. Your competitors probably aren’t doing this, so you’ll stand out immediately.

In just minutes a week, you can give Google every reason in the world to rank your business in local searches and include it in the local three-pack. You don’t want a competitor in that spot. It should be yours.

Spend 60 minutes on your Google Business Profile this week, then let Kilo take care of the rest with a website that converts prospects into clients.

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