Getting on the Top of Google Ain’t That Complicated – Boot Camp Marketing Tips

Ranting Time Is ON! OK, this is going to be fast, and it’s going to be furious… I am furious.

A friend of mine is a personal trainer, and she markets a fitness boot camp. Her company is well run, and she’s got a web site, all the basics. And like any web site owner, she gets solicitations from companies that will promise to put her on the top of the page ranks with Google through Search Engine Optimization. Of course, there’s going to be a price. Two friggin’ grand a month! And a three month cancellation clause! Holy crap! What a racket!

Now, there’s a handful of good fitness marketers working on Google, and some of them can help market a fitness boot camp. They hold nothing back, and they bring a lot of value to the table, because they aren’t just repeating the same old stuff, they talk to their clients, focus on the message and try to make it all work together.

Now, I am going to blow the lid off of the other guys. The hacks. The ones that think marketing a fitness boot camp is all about drawing craptastic ad revenue placement, or trying to set up an affiliate program tied to some blog about women’s shoes. (No, really, that’s what they offered my friend. It was ‘building the community’ and they found “boots” and “camping gear” to be accessible keywords.)

There are some fundamental basics at play here. Once you know them, you’ll be able to see through the scammers trying to sell page position using the tools that Google makes available for free, to everyone. This won’t replace a good marketing campaign run by someone who understands your business and how to refine your message – but it’ll get you into the ground floor of things and let you build out from there.

I want you to know that what they’re selling is a set of link farms; overdo this, and Google will blacklist you – or at the very least, shove you down the ranks. They’re also selling a dependency system. You want to make this work, you’re dependent on them – and they’ll claim that if you don’t pay them every month, you’re gonna fall off the rankings page.

I wants you to know that it’s Crap. Here’s how you can get your business (even my friend’s fitness bootcamp) parked on the first page of Google.

Phase I – Target Your City

First, use the title of your site’s home page – the TITLE tag – to put your city and two or three of your key words into the title. For example, Tustin CA Fitness Bootcamp. This is what shows up on the top of the browser window when someone hits the page, and it’s the first thing Google indexes.

Don’t overdo the keyword stuffing, it’ll dilute things. It’ll also make your web page look like it was put together by a dork rather than someone who’s running a business.

2. Those keywords (and a few others) should be used in your Description tags.

3. For the key words tags, make sure that you put in a mix of keywords (boot camp) and one city. Google focuses in on geographical locator’s as part of its algorithm.

4. Use the good old fashioned H1 tags for your headline. Google still ranks this pretty highly, because it’s going to be the text that the reader actually sees. Remember, Google wants to direct human eyeballs, and no web spider ever bought anything from anyone. For example, “Costa Mesa” Fitness Boot Camp Tones Abs And Drops Pounds in Eight Weeks. Can You Afford Not To Go?”

5. Every two to three paragraphs, use a subheader with an H2 tag. It needs to have one or two (tops) of your keywords in it; this also gives SEO rankings.

6. Latent Semantic Indexing means that Google likes having a long home page, rather than a lot of smaller pages to crawl through. Testimonials are a great way to fill out your home page, though they should come after the main information about why the reader will benefit from your business.

7. Alt Tags are there for web browsers that don’t display graphics. Yeah, they still exist. They’re also a great way to fit in more keywords where Google will consider them important. Make sure that the alt tags read like photo captions; don’t just randomly stuff keywords in there without making them into a sentence.

8. Quality counts. That means that Google does grade you on how well written your page is, not just keyword density. It’s got to be keywords in places that make grammatical sense, rather than stuffing “fitness boot camp” all throughout the page.

9. Get your links by submitting articles to article directories; this costs you nothing, and the links get weighted much more readily because they’re part of a referring article, which is how Google rates relevance. Those articles need your keywords in the titles, and a couple of times in the article body – it’s important that they show up in the first hundred words (first paragraph) and are sprinkled throughout the rest of the text.

Keep your articles from being spammy. Make them informative, not sales pitches. Your sales pitch needs to be on your home page, not the article directory. On the resource box, make sure that you have a sentence or two that incorporates a few of your keywords and has an HTML link back to your web site. Make sure the link itself has text in it using keywords. This boosts page relevance mightily.

If you need content, but look at writing yourself, there are sites out there that can help. Need-an-article.com is a good one; I recommend this over paying 300 dollars or more for a press release, or trawling the e-lance type sites. Look for an article creation service that keeps its writers around for a long period of time; if they keep the writers happy, they’re doing something right, and that means the writers have more experience on writing web content.

Phase II – Fire For Effect

In the Army, we learned to “fire for effect”, which was to hit a grid coordinate with artillery, and then hit all adjacent grid coordinates in one massive barrage. Guess what? The same strategy works for Google too.

Take that first web site you did, using all of the strategies above, and create ones similar to it for your surrounding cities. These additional city sites will start popping up on high page rank positions for their cities, especially if there’s not a lot of local competition for them.

Now, link your web sites together with a site map. Tie them into a link box at the bottom, using keywords like “City Name (Boot Camp)”. Having a group of sites that come up on the top of their search pages that are linked carries a lot of Google mojo here.

Now, look for people in the same business in different geographical areas. Help them set up site clusters, and swap links. In no time, you’re going to be at the top of more generalized searches for things; my friend eventually got onto the first pages for personal trainer by this method.

And all it costs is a bit of your time. Now I want you to go out there, use my out-of-the-box Boot Camp Marketing tactics and kick butt!