As discussed in the first post of our series SEO tips for fitness sites, on-page optimization is all about communicating to Google what your site is all about. On-page SEO involves improvements you make to your site so that Google can better understand your content, how it fits together, and ultimately what potential keywords (or search queries) your pages should be ranking for.
Let’s talk a little more about on-page SEO as it relates to these 3 concepts:
Let’s go back to my example of my fake business, Frank’s Fitness Center. For my first exercise, I created a list of all the search terms that people could be searching to find me on Google. Here’s my partial list:
“frank’s fitness center” - homepage
“frank’s san francisco” - homepage
“frank’s jones st” - homepage
“frank’s address” - contact or about page
“frank’s hours” - contact or about page
“frank’s classes” - classes or offerings page
“frank’s prices” - pricing page
“gyms near me” - homepage
“gyms with TRX classes” - homepage, classes or offerings page
Now that I have an idea of the keywords that matter to me and what pages they should be associated with, I'll want to make sure my site is arranged in a way that makes sense to users (and therefore Google). By that I mean 1) navigation is easy to find and understand, and 2) all pages are reachable by links. Together, users are easily able to find all the information they need and Google is able to crawl your site and index it, much like a library stores a book on a shelf for future use.
To help visualize what your site structure or navigation might look like, it’s a good idea to draw out a simple information architecture diagram, like this:
Note: This can be a fairly complex topic depending on the size of your site, but this should suffice for most health businesses out there.
Now that your site is organized, we want to make sure Google can find everything.
Hyperlinks are the mechanism by which Google crawls your site. On your homepage in the top navigation for example, you may have links to your About page or Pricing page (see diagram above). While that’s very useful for visitors to navigate your site, it’s also beneficial for Google because they’ll be able to find all the pages on your site. Therefore, the more cross-linking you do to the other pages on your site (within reason), that easier it is for Google to find and index everything.
Note that this shouldn’t be exhausted too much (if you have a small site it won’t be challenging for Google to find all your pages), but just make such that none of your pages are orphaned, meaning every page can be reached by way of an internal link.
At this point maybe Google has come to your site, crawled every inch and has now recorded your pages in its index. Now we’re going to talk about the content of your site. The reason this is important is because it’s not enough to have a well-organized site, now you have to communicate to Google what your site is about and therefore what search queries they should be considering your site for. Simply put, let’s put the keywords that matter on the pages that matter in the places that matter. Let me explain using my “Classes” page as an example.
Primarily I want this page to rank when people search for “frank’s fitness classes” in the search engines. We can achieve this simply by having that language in select elements on the page. These elements also happen to be what Google deems most important when deducing what you page is about. But first let me describe what each element means:
Title Tag: This is in the code of the page. If you have a webmaster they will know this by name or perhaps by “meta title.” If you’re using WordPress look for “Meta Title” or “Page Title” as well. This is important because Google places a lot of weight on the title tag because it realizes it’s the title of your page (much like the title of a book). This is also what will appear in your Google listing in the search results.
Meta Description: This is also in the code and it’s the description that appears under your title tag in the search results. This does not have ranking implications, but it’s good to make it descriptive so people who are considering clicking your link can learn more before they do.
URL: I’m sure you know what a URL is, but did you know Google pays close attention to it in terms of keywords as well? Make sure your URLs are organized and readable (franksfitnesssf.com/classes as opposed to franksfitnesssf.com/0nf2028nhg.html)
H1: This is the main header of the page itself that visitors will see. Think of this like the chapter title of the book. Google also pays close attention to this tag so ask your webmaster about the h1 or look for the Header 1 tag in Wordpress.
Now that you know what the elements are called and where to find them, we’ll want to put our primary keyword in each. Here is how I might set that up for my Classes page on Frank’s Fitness Center:
Title Tag: Classes | Frank’s Fitness Center
Meta Description: Frank’s Fitness offers a variety of classes at a very affordable price. Check them out today!
H1: Classes and Trainers
Notice how each element has my primary keyword “frank’s fitness classes” in it? That increases the chances that that page will rank when someone searches “frank’s fitness classes” in Google!
Beyond that, it’s always good to have a few more mentions of your keyword on the page itself. Once you feel comfortable about that, fill out the rest of the page with good, rich content. If you’re hoping to rank for some stretch keywords like “gyms with TRX machines,” make sure you have a few mentions of that keyword on the page too, or maybe even a link to a page all about that topic if you have enough to write about.
All-in-all, when it comes to filling out our pages with content, think about explanatory copy, pictures, videos, or anything that will be useful to visitors!
Now that you have your structure and interlinking down (Google understands how your site fits together and is able to easily crawl and index it) and you have your keywords in the right place (Google understands what your site is about so it can rank you accordingly) you’re ready to go! What’s next? Now you have to prove to Google that you’re worthy of being ranked highly. And that is where the magic of SEO really kicks in.
Check out our next post on Fitness Business SEO 101: Off-Page Tips to learn how to boost your rankings!
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