If you want new people to find their way to your yoga studio and website, it is important that you can be found through Google. You want potential new yogis to quickly and easily find you through queries that are relevant for your yoga studio. When they google ‘yoga’ in ‘your local area’ you want your studio to be one of the first search results!
Most people start their search for yoga classes online
Most people will use Google to do this. So Google is the place to start if you want to improve your ranking in the search results.
It is important that your yoga studio comes up first when potential yogis in your area are searching though Google. Think about that time when you were looking for yoga classes when you moved to a new city or when you are looking for yoga classes while you are on holiday or traveling.
How exactly should yogis find your yoga studio through Google? Let’s take a closer look at some Google search results.
There are two types of results in Google
- Normal search results (also known as organic results)
- Paid search results (Google AdWords, see Ad.)
1. Your yoga studio in Google’s organic search results
In order for your yoga studio website to be taken up in the normal Google search results, your website needs to meet certain technical standards. For example, a correct display of the name of your website, the page titles and other content (text and images).
But even more important is making sure that your website is ‘popular’. This means in this case that other websites refer to your website. For example links to your classes, news, blog posts or videos. The more websites refer to content published on your website, the better. This is one of Google’s main indicators to measure the popularity of your website. More about this later.
A checklist to improve the ranking of your website in Google
The following steps will help Google to understand what your website is about and who your target group is.
- Is your website not listed in Google search results at all? (check this by googling your domain name as ‘mydomainname.com’ and clicking on ‘search’). No search results that lead to your website? Then start by submitting your website address here https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
- Check if the content of your website matches the queries of your potential audience. For example, is your yoga studio located in Brooklyn New York and do you teach restorative Hatha yoga classes to seniors? Then the words ‘New York’, ‘Brooklyn’, ‘Restorative’, ‘Hatha yoga’, ‘seniors’ etc. should be mentioned somewhere on your website so that when people Google this, your website can be listed.
- Add your business to Google Maps: https://www.google.com/business/ By doing this your yoga studio will be featured on Google Maps in your local area. Another benefit is that people can leave reviews, which can also improve your popularity.
- Check if the content of your website is correctly displayed. Only then Google is able to index which pages of your website are important. Check the following:
• Do all pages have a unique and descriptive title? You can check this by clicking on each page of your website and looking at the title in your browser or browser tab.
• Is the title of each one of your website’s pages also the header of this page? And are these the right titles and do they correspond with the queries of your target audience? (see point 2 above). It is important that titles and important info (like the types of yoga that you offer) are immediately visible on your page. So your titles and other important info should be bold and in a larger font, preferably by using HTML definitions and levels.
• Did you add a description to every image and photo on your website? For example, a photo of a student in one of your classes should have a little description containing the location (your yoga studio) and what is happening on the photo: ‘a student during a Hatha yoga class at yoga studio Happy Yoga in Brooklyn, New York’.
- Is your website searchable? For this Google requires a couple of simple, yet technical settings. Maybe this is something you can discuss with your webmaster ;) Or do it yourself! Search on Google for the following topics to get more information on this. Some of Google’s requirements for a searchable website are:
• A correct display of the META data on your website. These are: title of the website, description of the pages, the author etc.
• A correct definition of the metatag ROBOTS. This is linked to the source code of your website and it basically blocks or allows search engines like Google to index and search through your website.
• A sitemap (optional). Having a sitemap allows Google to optimize the listing of your website in its search results.
• No dead links. This means no references to pages that no longer exist.
Do you want more information on the improvement of the ranking of your website in Google’s search results? Continue reading on Google and check your website via Google webmaster tools.
Popularity of your website
Google uses an ingenious system to rank search results. Which website will be listed first? And which one next?
It is impossible to crack the code of Google’s search algorithms, let alone to describe them. What we do know however, is that certain website features play a crucial role in improving your ranking in Google’s search results. To keep things simple, we will call this the popularity of your website. Because we don’t want things to get too confusing and technical, we will focus on two things that are important for your yoga studio:
- The amount of references to your website
- The local popularity of your website
The amount of references to your website
Google counts the amount of references (links) to your website. And not just links on websites but also on forums, blogs, social media etc. Google considers this as proof that your website is valuable to include in its search results.
To increase the popularity of your website in Google it is important that other websites refer to your website. The more references, the better. How? Here are some simple tips:
- Social media! Make sure the content of your website can be shared easily on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Every time a user is sharing your website content on social media, new links to your website emerge. Google will save this information and use it to rank your website.
- Press releases and (local) news. When you have a promotion for your classes, an event or anything worth writing about, you can send out a press release to your local media. It might just get published in the local newspaper or on its website. Do make sure to include a link to your website. If it’s not included in the publication, especially if it is published online, ask the editors politely to please add it.
- Register in business directories online, for example the yellow pages. Just search on Google which directories might be relevant for you and register wherever possible. For example the yellow pages, Google Maps and Google Business https://www.google.com/business/
Do you want more information? Then Google ‘link building’.
The local popularity of your website
When someone in Boston is googling yoga classes, this person will get different results then when someone in Miami is doing the same. Therefore you have to build local popularity for your website.
How? Well, make sure to actively communicate about everything that is happening in your yoga studio. Both online (website, social media, blog etc.) and offline through press releases. You can read all about that here.
Here are some tips to increase your local popularity, or in other words, your online presence:
- Register in local business directories, the municipality directory or local (news)websites, forums or community websites.
- Join forces! Every time when you work together with other (local) businesses this is newsworthy and it gets people talking which increases your popularity. Also, are you a member of your national yoga alliance or trade association?
- Use online agendas for your city, for example for special classes (lesson in the park) or other events you’re hosting. Sometimes you can even publish your entire schedule on these websites, so it is definitely worth looking into that to reach a wider audience.
All these little things combined can make a big difference! Every time your yoga studio is mentioned on other websites this helps to strengthen your online presence. When these other websites are also local media, this gives an extra boost to your local presence. And as we mentioned before: new yogis start their search for local yoga classes on Google!
We now have a better understanding of how Google ranks its search results. Want to know more? There is plenty of other information available online. Try searching for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in Google.
2. Your yoga studio in Google’s paid search results
When you want to speed up the process of new yogis finding their way to your studio, it can be very effective to use Google’s paid services.
It is possible to have your website, yoga studio or special offer (free trial lesson!) placed above all the other search results. You can do this by creating a Google ad and selecting specific words that your target group may use. Your ad appears when someone searches on google with a combination of the words that you have linked to your ad. You pay every time a user clicks on your advertisement. This system is called Google AdWords.
Let’s first have a look at how the paid results look like compared to the ‘normal’ search results.
For example, someone Googles for ‘Yoga Miami’. Several paid ads are placed above the normal search results.
When someone clicks on one of these ads, Google charges the advertisers a ‘cost-per-click’ rate(CPC). This cost-per-click can easily be around €1 or €2. This may seem like a lot. But when you make sure that the process of buying a subscription on your website is simple and evident (for example by using Momoyoga) these relatively expensive clicks can lead to new customers.
When from every 40 clicks on your ad, one becomes a member of your yoga studio, this will cost you around €40 to €80. Again this may seem like a lot. However, when this yogi stays with you for one year, and pays around €25 per month, your yoga studio still earns around €220 per year (instead of €300 if you deduct the max. €80 advertising costs). This still means extra income for your yoga studio.
When you want to optimize these ‘sale costs’ there are two things that you can do:
- Make sure you pay a low cost-per-click
- Ensure that clicks to your website lead to new members
A low cost-per-click
You can lower the cost-per-click by ensuring that your ad is shown less frequently. This may sound odd, so let’s clarify this with an example:
A yogi Googles for ‘yoga’. Many paid search results appear. For Google it is unclear what this person is looking for. Is this person looking for videos of yoga classes, a yoga mat, a teacher training or classes in your area?
When your ad would show for everyone Googling ‘yoga’ this will not only be way too expensive but also ineffective. The cost-per-click will be high and you will have lots of clicks from people who are not actually looking for the services that you offer or in the area in which you are offering them.
It is key that your ad is appearing only when it is relevant for the user. So be specific with the choice of words for your AdWords campaign. Rather opt for “hatha yoga Brooklyn” than for the more general “hatha yoga classes”.
It is also recommendable that you change the settings for your AdWords campaign to ‘local’ so that only yogis in your local area would see your ad.
Ensure that clicks to your website lead to new members
As mentioned before, you pay for every time someone clicks on your ad. So it is very important that these clicks don’t get ‘lost’ on your website but lead to new members instead.
You can facilitate this by making sure your new members can easily purchase a subscription, for example by placing your Momoyoga subscription link visibly on your homepage. Like this new yogis can subscribe safely and easily. Agreeing with your studio’s terms and conditions is done in one click and all their info is immediately accessible through your Momoyoga admin page.
This is easy and care-free for both you and your new members. They can even sign up for classes in one go, including the classes held on that same day.
It is definitely worth experimenting with the subscription procedure on your website. Ask some of your friends and family if they understand how the website works and how they can subscribe. Because that is what matters when you are promoting your website: attracting new members and selling subscriptions.
As said in the introduction of this blog, paid search results can be a great addition to other (often more effective) forms of publicity. It is not recommended to entirely depend on paid search results as your only type of publicity.