Go to Google and perform a quick search on your business’ name. Once the search results are displayed, what do you see? Chances are, your website will be the first result on the page (it better be), and depending on how active you are on other websites (social media, local listings, directory sites, etc.), the additional results on the first page should be about your fitness business.
Whether or not you’re active on Yelp, your fitness business’ listing on Yelp will likely appear in the top five positions. If it appears in a strong position, do you need to worry about optimizing it? The simple answer is yes. The longer answer is that if a user clicks on a listing when searching for your gym, school or studio, you want to make sure they get accurate information that will entice them to stop by the brick and mortar location to try it out. If they click on your Yelp listing and all it contains is your address, they might not be impressed enough to click on different listings in the search results to get the information they’re looking for, or worse, they might just decide to not check your business out.
Before we start, lets first make sure that you’re ready to update your Yelp listing. In order to do this, you must claim your business’s listing. Yelp makes it fairly easy to claim your listing and verify that you are indeed the owner. Once your business has been claimed, make sure that it contains the following three items.
Basic Contact Information
Has your fitness business ever moved locations? If so, there’s a good chance your Yelp listing might contain outdated information. How unfortunate would it be for a prospective member to show up at your old location because they found an outdated address on Yelp?
The first step to optimizing your Yelp listing is to check and make sure it has the basics, and that the basics are correct. Make sure your listing has the correct:
- Phone Number
If any of these key pieces of information are missing, add them before making any other improvements.
Up-to-Date Class Information
Once you’ve made sure that people can find and contact your business, you should make sure to tell them what you offer. Yelp enables business owners to add a list of classes offered. For example, if you’re a CrossFit® box, you probably offer intro or foundations classes, all-level classes, weightlifting classes, personal training sessions and even yoga classes. If you’re a martial arts school, do you offer different classes for different age groups, as well as different types of martial arts instruction? Be sure to include this information on your listing!
It’s important to note that the Classes section is not a place to list your entire schedule. There’s another section you can take advantage of as well, the hours section. Be sure to include hours for each day of the week you’re open. If you open earlier on Wednesday than all other days of the week, make sure your Yelp listing contains this information. Having accurate hours listed will help potential prospects determine right away if your hours will work with their hectic schedules.
Yelp listings that lack photos look downright unimpressive. It’s amazing how much a couple photos of your space and your members working out can add to your listing. Compare the two listings below, the first lacks images and the second, our client Flower City CrossFit®, has several images.
Both business owners and visitors/members have the ability to add photos of your business to Yelp. Images you upload will be labeled as “From the business owner,” while photos from visitors will appear with a link to that visitor’s Yelp profile, as well as how many reviews and connections that person has.
There’s a gray area when it comes to asking your members to write Yelp review, so instead of asking for a review, host a photo contest. Encourage your members to upload photos taken during class and at the gym, and offer some sort of award (free shirt, free classes, etc.) to the member who posted the best photo to your listing.
Yelp optimization is a critical component of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. To learn more about marketing your business online, get your free copy of our Search Engine Marketing Checklist for Fitness Businesses.