For new personal trainers, or personal trainers looking to grow their existing business, establishing a strong online presence is a ”no brainer”. Although the industry has traditionally been very hands on when it comes to marketing and sales (i.e. posters, handouts, and advertised promotions), leveraging the power of the Internet (and Google) is essential to making the most of the business.
There is a simple mindset when it comes to a personal training business. These businesses are very “hands on” and require little to no technology when compared to other service-based businesses (i.e. restaurant, retail store, or doctor’s office). All a personal trainer needs to be successful is knowledge, experience, good communication skills, and gravity. Free weights, cardio equipment, and other fitness accessories aren’t necessary to challenge a client and produce measurable results, but they definitely add more to the services a personal trainer can offer.
Because personal training is such a hands on profession, trainers struggle to find the time to market themselves and generate new business. Most personal trainers work really hard to build a client base and then “hope” they don’t ever leave. Unfortunately, that is not the best way to run a business.
The Internet has provided a brilliant way for personal trainers to market and advertise themselves (and their business) 24/7/365. It’s a marketing company that doesn’t need to sleep, eat, or take bathroom breaks! Although the internet has been available to most of us since the 1980’s, Google has changed the way people around the world communicate with one another and how we stay connected.
Google, the most used search engine (and #1 website in the world), is reported to have over 65 percent market share of searches in the US (according to a recent Parse.ly Authority report reviewing Internet traffic for July 2013). If you want to get noticed on the internet, and build your personal training business, you need to get to know the “rules” of Google!
Understanding Google Search
Google Search receives several hundred million queries each day. When a search term is put into the Google search bar, it searches through over 100 million gigabytes of data (3.6 billion pages – August 2013) to find the best possible answer to your request. At Google, they take their role in providing useful and impartial web results very seriously.
Google writes programs and formulas (a.k.a. algorithms) to deliver the best possible results each time. These formulas are constantly being improved to ensure the best results come up and that websites don’t “game the system” to show up higher than those who truly deserve recognition. For example, Google ranks results based on over 200 different factors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the culmination of activities that seeks to generate productive “organic” traffic (unpaid search engine results) from search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Although SEO prior to 2012 was associated with marketing scams and unethical business practices, SEO is essential to business success on the Internet.
Regardless of the search engine you choose to use, there are three primary factors that have the most effect on a website or web page’s SEO:
- Content – Produce great (and unique) content.
- Backlinks – Focus on building quality links pointing to your site.
- Social Media – Get people to share your content on social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.).
Building Website Traffic – Weekly “To Do” List
Personal trainers looking to establish their business on the web need an effective strategy for long-term success. As Google is getting better at filtering out websites that have used “loopholes” to obtain their high rankings (known as black hat SEO techniques) a realistic timeline for a new website has gone from a few days to several months (or even years). It may feel like a waiting game but by focusing on content, links and the social influence of your site, Google will handsomely reward those who follow the rules. Below is a list of three activities to complete each week to build and maintain a successful website:
- Post unique content (and images) at least once per week
- Write on topics relevant to the focus of your personal training website (i.e., fitness, exercise, health, wellness, nutrition, etc.)
- Posts must be at least 300 words or a few short paragraphs long
- Establish at least one new backlink (an incoming link) to your site
- Contact the owner of the website (using an email address found on the site) and see if they would be willing to exchange backlinks
- If you already put a backlink on your website to their site, they will more likely to return the favor
- Post to each social media network at least two times per day
- Social signals (links from social networks back to your website) are proving to be the MOST valuable ways Google learns to trust your website
- Include all social media networks (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)
- Post links to your new website content, links to information on other websites that are relevant to your site, random thoughts, or relevant video or images
Writing posts and identifying backlinks about fitness are much easier to do than focusing on social media. You already know about fitness and talk about it all day. Writing it down and referencing other websites should come fairly naturally. Social media, on the other hand, is somewhat confusing and more labor intensive. According to FastCompany.com, to increase website traffic using social media you should post to Twitter 14 times per day and to Facebook two times per day.
Who has time to do that when you have to train clients all day?!?!?
Luckily, ZootRock (an online service) automatically posts relevant information, multiple times per day, to your social media networks. You choose the topics you want ZootRock to find for you (i.e., fitness, health, wellness, exercise, diet, weight loss, etc.), or provide specific website links that you would like to automatically direct to your social media pages, and it goes to work! You can let it go on “auto-pilot” or you can take the time to review the content before it goes out. For less than a dollar a day you can put ZootRock to work while you make your money training clients!
Final Thoughts About Google, SEO, and Social Media
The Internet is a powerful tool that can be harnessed to build your personal training business. It isn’t going anywhere and people are becoming increasingly reliant on it for their everyday needs. Many businesses spend too much time making a website cool and/or beautiful and little time on search engine optimization. Regardless of how beautiful a personal training website looks, it if doesn’t show up in the Google, Yahoo or Bing search results … it might as well not exist. To build your personal training business for the long term, take the time to implement the activities needed each day to improve your rankings and optimize your website!