SEO for Blogging: No-Sweat Guide For Personal Trainers

A picture of a pregnant personal trainer sitting on a weight bench in her home gym, laptop open and working on a blog post.

If you’re an online personal trainer or online service provider of any kind, basic SEO for blogging is not nice-to-know, it’s NEED-to-know.

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When I brought my personal training business online in March 2020, I learned a hard truth: The online fitness space is saturated to the gills.

And establishing a foothold in the online fitness community requires more than just expertise and passion.

It requires a clear and compelling messaging, valuable and entertaining content and of course, an audience.

There are a couple places you can go to find an audience- most online personal trainers turn to social media as their stage.

But if you want to do things differently? If you really want to stand out in a sea of sameness? Then use your website and more specifically, your blog, as your stage.

SEO: The Art Of Getting Found On Google Search

As an online personal trainer, I can attest to the potential of a well-crafted blog. 

Not only have many of my personal training clients discovered me through my blog posts, but most of those folks have walked into our initial Meet and Greets already sold on my services, thanks to the trust and connection they felt through my content.

However, great content alone isn’t enough. The internet is a big messy place. And unless you put yourself on Google’s radar, Google won’t know about you and Google won’t tell other people about you.

This is where SEO comes in. 

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is the art of getting found on Google.

And SEO was my game-changer and my money-maker.

Implementing SEO strategies specifically tailored for blogging meant that my content wasn’t just being seen, but it was being discovered in search results by those actively seeking information and services around pregnancy, postpartum and exercise during the childbearing year.

IS BLOGGING GOOD FOR SEO?

For an online personal training business, I’ll argue a little blogging is essential for SEO. In order for Google to show your website in search results, it has to view you as an authority. And if you only have 5 pages on your website, it’s not going to view you as an authority on anything.

Each blog post you create is an opportunity to build your topical authority. It’s an opportunity to earn links back to your website. And it expands your keyword universe.

A single blog post can rank for 10s to 100s of keywords increasing your chances of getting found.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about when I say topical authority, keywords and backlinks- I recommend starting with the basics. Check out:

The Ultimate Guide to SEO For Personal Trainers

Then head back to this article to get started with your first blog post!

The A.C.E. APPROACH TO CREATING BLOG POSTS THAT GET FOUND

A blog post’s job isn’t just about sharing fitness tips or success stories. It’s about creating a bridge between you and your ideal client, offering them value and establishing genuine connections.

If you’re looking to amplify your voice, reach your audience, and turn your blog into a powerful client magnet, you’re in the right place.

In this post I’ll teach you my simple A.C.E. approach to streamlining your blog SEO and creating content that your right-fit clients AND Google will both love.

A: Attract readers with great content.

C: Connect and engage with your audience.

E: Establish leads with clear Calls To Action

Infographic describing the A.C.E. approach to creating blog posts that attract and convert.

Throughout the rest of this post, I’ll break each step down so you can write blog content that will help Google connect you to the people who are looking for you.

1. Attract Readers With Great Content

The first order job of your blog post is to get eyeballs on your content. If people don’t see your work, the rest of the ACE framework doesn’t matter.

Long-form content is the secret sauce of SEO. Each new piece of content expands your keyword universe and creates new opportunities to get served up in search engine results.

The caveat here is that the content needs to high-quality and original. It needs to be aligned with your expertise and your clients’ pain points, thorough, trustworthy and engaging.

As Google continues to refine its algorithms, it increasingly prioritizes content that reflects personal experience and treats subjects in ways that are genuinely helpful and original relative to what is already available on the internet.

As you create content, don’t be afraid of writing about your controversial view points, unique approaches and lived experience. It’s good for your readers and your rankings.

Brainstorm keyword ideas

The first step in creating engaging content is to brainstorm and create a bank of content ideas.

Consider:

What questions are your ideal clients are typing into Google in the middle of the night? What are they worried about?

What questions are they asking BEFORE they know you’ve got the solution they need? This is called “getting ahead of the solution”?

What questions do you commonly get asked during Meet and Greets or by your current clients? Create a resource on your own website that you can refer people to.

What do you want to be known for? Make sure you’re creating content on the topic.

Popular blog post “types” include “How-to” posts, “Listicles” (Top 5 ways to XYZ, 5 best exercises for XYZ), myth-busting posts, and comprehensive guide posts “The ultimate guide to XYZ”) as well as case studies that demonstrate your expertise and cleint outcomes. But feel free to break the mold as well.

Once you have a list of ideas, choose one keyword to be your focus keyword to start. But before you get going on your new blog post, make sure understand how your ideal client would be searching for this topic.

Perform Keyword Research (With Google)

Take time to research your keywords. They’re not only key to getting displayed in search results, but used well, they’ll help you climb higher in search rankings where you’re more likely to get discovered.

There are tons of fancy keyword research tools available (SEMrush, Ahrefs, Answer The Public, Ubersuggest), but if you’re new to SEO and new to blogging, I strongly recommend you start with Google.

Google is a GREAT keyword research tool and it’s still my first line source for keyword information.

While this is a pretty big topic in it’s own rite, here’s a tip:

Make sure the focus keyword you’ve chosen comes up as autocomplete text when you begin typing it into the Google search box.

If it doesn’t, your keyword choice isn’t an exact match to terms that people are commonly searching. See if you can slightly modify your phrase so that it aligns with something that Google can autocomplete.

A screenshot of the Google search bar displaying autocomplete suggestions for the prompt "Is it safe to exercise while"

Use Your Keywords In The Right Places

Keywords should be used in your SEO title, meta description, blog post title, and within the first 100-ish words of text.

As you write content, don’t stuff your text full of the same keyword. It’s like beating Google over the head with a stick. Instead, brainstorm synonyms to your main keyword and be sure to use those too.

For some additional keyword research strategy and insight into how you can incorporate them naturally into your content, you can grab the SEO Simplified: Master Keywords With The GROW Framework For Female Fit Pros.

Tip: Each page of your website, include blog posts, should only have one focus keyword. Conversely, each keyword should only be the focus of one page on your website. If you write two pages focused on the same keyword, Google won’t be able to prioritize them appropriately and neither with rank well on search engine results pages.

Craft An SEO-Friendly Blog Post Title

Blog post titles and SEO title tags are important signals that tell Google what your post is about. And of course, there’s an art to creating catchy yet SEO-rich titles.

Of note, the blog post title and the SEO title tag are 2 different but related items. The blog post title is what shows up at the top of the web page when the post is loaded. The SEO title tag is what is displayed in search results.

Infographic illustrating the difference between the SEO title and the blog post title (H1).

They don’t have to be exactly the same, but the should be similar and I find it easiest to use the same text for both.

Tips:
  • Place your keyword as close to the beginning of the title as you can. If you’re doing a listicle post, it’s fine to start with “5 ways to…” etc.
  • Keep the character count between 44-65 characters. Ideally around 55 characters. I like to use an online character counter to double check the length.
  • Write at least 10 variations of your title before choosing the final pick. And really consider, if you saw that title in the search results, would you click on it? Is it compelling? Spend time coming up with something YOU would actually click on.

Break Up Your Text With Subheadlines

Reading online is different from print.

People prefer content that’s skimmable and easy to digest rather than facing a solid wall of text.

Breaking up your content with subheadlines is the solution. Subheadlines guide your reader, making content more readable and help them skip to relevant sections quickly.

But there’s an added advantage: subheadlines are strategic points to incorporate keyword synonyms and related terms, enhancing your SEO. So, not only do they aid readability, but they also boost your content’s visibility in search results.

In essence, effective subheadlines serve two roles: They enrich the user experience AND they play a crucial role in online content discoverability.

2. Connect And Engage With Your Audience

Step 2 of the A.C.E framework is creating connection. Coming up with a great idea and formatting your text nicely is one thing, but in order for that content to really work for you, it needs to foster connection and engage with your reader.

The tools I use to create connection and engagement are images, videos, strategic storytelling and internal link building.

Use Images To Create a Better User Experience

Images are a powerful tool for your blog.

Not only do they add aesthetic appeal to your content, but they play a role in improving user experience.

By breaking up long sections of text, they offer readers a visual respite, making complex or dense topics more digestible.

But their value isn’t just aesthetic. When correctly labeled with meaningul (i.e. keyword-rich) file names and alt text, they offer an additional opportunity for keyword integration, boosting your SEO efforts.

Finally, don’t underestimate the potential of your images being discovered via Google’s image search. By ensuring they’re optimized and relevant to your content, they can act as billboards, directing more traffic to your blog.

Your images not just decorations, but strategic assets in your content marketing.

Here are a few image optimization tips:

  • Use original images where you can. Original images include your own photography, infographics that you’ve created or screenshots of your work.
  • Write meaningful (i.e. keyword rich), hyphen-separated file names for your images.
  • Keep your images light. That means, aim for your images to be less than 100 kB in size.
  • Use as many images as makes sense and certainly more than one. Images bring your content to life so make sure you’re not stopping with just one lonely photo at the top of the page.

Use Video To Cultivate Connection

If you’re an online personal trainer or any movement-oriented professional, embracing a “show AND tell” approach is key.

While written words and static images definitely provide value, there’s a dynamic layer of understanding and connection achieved through videos.

Consider filming exercise demos (if you’re not already) and sharing them on YouTube (owned by Google!). Once uploaded, embedding these videos into your blog posts offers a multimedia experience for your audience.

Video allows your readers and potential clients to see you in action. They get to observe your techniques, listen to your cues, and get a feel for your teaching style—all crucial in establishing trust. It’s about more than just demonstration; it’s about fostering a connection that static media can’t fully capture.

From an SEO perspective, integrating videos can be a game-changer. Visitors are likely to stay longer on a page with engaging video content, signaling to search engines like Google that your page is valuable and relevant.

And don’t underestimate the power of YouTube as a search engine in its own right. It’s actually the second biggest search engine after Google! To boot, your embedded videos, when indexed, can also pop up in Google Video Search, broadening your content’s reach and potential impact.

TIP: If you already have a library of videos that you’ve created for your online clients, you can ask them to do double duty on your website. My exercise demos appear in my TrueCoach programming AND on my website in blog posts.

Use Story Telling To Supercharge Trust

One of the most overlooked tools in a content creator’s arsenal isn’t just the raw information they present, but how they present it. And this is also where your voice and your experience has an edge over AI-generated text.

By sharing your personal stories, you invite your readers into your world. Whether it’s recounting a client’s journey, an anecdote about a hurdle you’ve overcome, or a moment from your own fitness journey, stories create connection between you and your reader.

People resonate with people.

While facts, figures, and encyclopedic knowledge have their place, they lack the heart and soul that come with personal experiences. Your stories not only demonstrate your experience and passion, they set you apart from every other provider offering the same service as you.

Stories are memorable. While a reader might forget a statistic you share or a particular exercise tip, they’re more likely to remember the story of how you helped your 60 year old client perform their first deadlift. Or how your own tough postpartum experience shaped your perspective on health and wellness.

Personally, my fitness blog is full of stories drawn from my experiences during pregnancy and postpartum, parenting, managing breast cancer and returning to exercise after setback.

As you craft your content, weave your knowledge with your personal journeys. Let your readers see the person behind the advice, building a deeper trust and making it more likely that you become their go-to resource when they need your service.

Build Internal Links To Craft A Reader Journey

Story, images and video are not the only tools that amplify the power of your blog post; the strategic use of internal and external links can significantly elevate your content.

Both types of links are covered by solid SEO practices, but they also play a crucial role in guiding and retaining your readers.

Internal links serve a dual purpose. First, they point your readers to related articles or pages within your site, allowing them to delve deeper into topics that interest them. This not only makes your site more navigable but increases the time they spend engaged with your content.

For search engine bots, these links make your site more navigable, boosting its SEO potential.

External links, on the other hand, should be utilized carefully. They are essential when you need to cite sources, offer additional information, or reference authoritative sites. By linking to trusted and reputable sources, you communicate to Google that your content is well-researched and reliable.

Integrating links into your content can be done in various ways.

Embedding them within your text by hyperlinking relevant phrases is a common and effective method.

Additionally, offering a “further reading” or “resources” section at the conclusion of your posts can encourage readers to explore topics further and acknowledge the sources that informed your content.

TIP: Make sure you’re not only linking OUT to other pages but that before you hit publish you set up internal links POINTING to your new blog post as well.

3. Establish Leads

Navigating the world of fitness blogging? It’s not just about providing great content; it’s about leveraging that content to build relationships and grow your clientele.

Once you’ve attracted visitors to your website and fostered a connection with them through your stories and insights, the next important step is guiding them toward deeper engagement.

Direct Readers To Take Action

The primary goal? Get them on the phone or add them to your mailing list. Whether it’s a Meet and Greet, a Chemistry Call, or any other introductory session, the end game remains to turn that online traffic into tangible leads. Some effective calls to action you might weave into your blog post include:

“Ready to take the next steps? Book your first consultation now!”

“Want more tips like these? Sign up for our exclusive newsletter!”

But how do you ensure these calls to action capture attention? It’s essential they pop. Play around with different colored text, underline key phrases, bold the essentials, or create a clickable button. A vibrant and clear CTA can be the difference between a passive reader and an active lead.

Simplify the Subscription Process

One of the most straightforward methods to get potential clients into your ecosystem? Collect their email addresses. By doing so, you have the opportunity to nurture and engage with them regularly through your newsletter.

That said, the key here is to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

Incorporate an in-line opt-in form within the content of your blog.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How Long Should My Blog Post Be?

There’s a lot of conflicting advice on the internet on how long a blog post should be. Quite often you’ll see folks say a blog post should be AT LEAST 500 words. That number is totally fabricated.

Google’s official line is that there is no minimum word count. But in actuality? Longer content often ranks better in search engines.

Studies by Hook Agency and Wordstream conclude that often, blog posts need a minimum of 1500-2000 words to fare well in search.

But, 1000 crappy words won’t rank better than 500 great words. Google values quality over quantity but it’s also true you need enough words to thoroughly answer a user’s query. Very often, that’s more than 500 words.

If you need a number (and I get it..), the best thing you could do is to look at the top 10 search results for your focus keyword and aim to write in the ballpark of that many words.

If that feels overwhelming? A short blog post is better than no blog post. Start somewhere. Start small. And know that you can always come back and flesh out your post at a later time.

How Often Do I Need To Blog?

There’s no specific frequency at which you need to post. The best schedule is the one you can stick to. That said, Google won’t view you as an authority until you have a body of work to your name. So my advice is that when you’re starting out, try and push out new articles as fast as you can without sacrificing quality.

That doesn’t need to be everyday. But remember, the more you publish, the sooner you’ll get found.

Why Don’t My Blog Posts Show Up In Google Search Results?

If you hit “publish” and now you’re wondering why you’re post isn’t at the top of the search engine results page, here are a few things to consider:

Website Age: If your website is relatively new, it might not have gained enough “authority” in the eyes of Google yet. Google takes some time to recognize new websites and index their content.

Blog Post Age: Just like a new website, a freshly published blog post can also take time to appear in search results. First it takes a little time for Google to find and index your new content. Once found, it will take time work it’s way up the rankings.

Indexing with Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a tool that helps website owners monitor and manage their site’s presence in Google search results. If you haven’t indexed your sitemap through this platform, Google might not be aware of your latest content.

How Long Will It Take My Blog Post To Rank On Google?

Unfortunately this isn’t exact science, but here are two things to keep in mind depending on the age of your website:

Established Websites: 

Website maturity matters. 

For websites that have been around for a while and have built up credibility and authority in their niche, the timeframe can be shorter. 

If your website is well-established, you can expect your blog post to start showing ranking movements within 3-6 months. However, do note that ‘showing movements’ doesn’t always mean it will reach the top position. Depending on competition, quality, and various other factors, it might rank lower or higher.

New Websites: 

If you’ve recently launched your website, the scenario is a bit different. 

Search engines are still getting to know you. 

Newer sites might not have the domain authority or backlinks profile that older, more established sites have. As a result, it might take a bit longer than the usual 3-6 months to see any significant ranking changes. For some, it can take up to a year or more to start gaining traction, especially in competitive niches.

In essence, while 3-6 months is a general guideline, remember that SEO is a long-term strategy.

Action Items

Blogging is an essential component of any website that

Keep in mind, these blog specific seo tips are in addition to the SEO foundations that I discuss in the Ultimate Guide to SEO for Personal Trainers. You build your blog on a foundation of good tech and fast loading on mobile devices.

I also recognize this might sound like a lot. And it can be! But it can also be as simple as this:

Start posting to your blog

Refine as you go. 

My first blog posts weren’t great from my current vantage point. But they laid the foundation for the blog I have now. Learn from each post. Go back and update as you have capacity.

Here's How I can help

If this feels overwhelming, I get it. 

Your first order task is to just start posting content to your website. Don’t worry about perfection. 

Second order task? Ask for help. I can help you craft a blog content strategy so you’re not throwing spaghetti at the wall AND you never run out of ideas. I also offer SEO coaching to support you through your website and content creation journey. 

For a complete list of ways I can help, check out my services page.

And good luck! My blog is my favorite business asset and I hope you get just as much satisfaction and traffic from yours.

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Laura Jawad, Ph.D. is a personal trainer and birth doula-turned-SEO strategist for female health and wellness providers.

She offers SEO site reviews, SEO coaching and on-page optimization for wordpress users.

Please reach out with questions, schedule a Chemistry call or explore her services page!

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I’m an SEO strategist and systems junkie devoted to helping female health and wellness service providers get found on Google. I’m here to help you fill your client roster without relying on social media.

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