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Local SEO For Martial Arts Schools

Want to be the top martial arts school in your area?

You don’t need to have the most students.

You don’t have to be in business longer than your competitors.

You just need to rank #1 in your local searches for “martial arts in [your area]”.

If you can do that, then people searching for martial arts will perceive you as the top academy and you will have a better chance of them becoming students with you.

In this post, we will give you the guide to ranking your business higher in search engines.

Search Engine Optimization: Local SEO & Organic SEO

Search Engine Optimization for Martial Arts Schools breaks down into two main categories: Local SEO & Organic SEO.

Local SEO is usually 3 top listings in your area that show in the “map pack” in search rankings. Searchers can easily see which school is closest to them and click to call, visit website, or get directions.

Organic SEO is typically below the “map pack” and is a direct link to websites that best match the search criteria.

See the image for more clarification. The arrow is pointing to the “map pack”. The circle towards the bottom of the screen is showing who ranks #1 organically (their website).

Local SEO for martial arts schools: local and organic SEO

In this article, we’ll talk about Local SEO for Martial Arts Schools. In the next post, we’ll dig into organic SEO for Martial Arts Schools.

Local SEO for Martial Arts Schools: 101

If you want your martial arts academy or gym to rank higher in Google Maps then you need to focus on these 3 areas.

1. Create/Claim & Optimize Your Google Business Profile (GBP)

Google Business Profile (GBP) used to be called Google My Business. You can still find your listing at business.google.com. This is how to get your academy showing up in Google Maps and local searches.

  • First, create or claim your GBP.
  • Second, make sure your NAP is correct in your GBP (see step 2 below for more information).
  • Third, set your description, hours, and make sure all other parts of the main profile are completed correctly.
  • Fourth, add any trial offers (like a free class or 2 weeks for $29) as “Products” in your listing.
  • Fifth, set a schedule to “add updates” to your GBP. This means posting, like your social media posts, to your GBP. Start with a few times a week and adjust from there.

That’s the basics for optimizing your GBP. Next step is make sure your information is correct and consistent across the internet.

2. Consistent NAP

If you want to rank high in local searches then your academy’s Name, Address, and Phone number need to be consistently THE SAME across the internet. This includes anywhere your business is listed, along with; your website, Google Business Profile, Facebook page, Yelp, CitySearch, BBB, Apple Maps, Bing Places, and a lot more…

What does being “consistent” mean?

It means you don’t use “Avenue” sometimes in the address and then shorthand it to “Ave.” other times. It means you don’t include a suite number occasionally but not all the time. It needs to be consistent.

Here’s a fake school name to help explain it clearly.

CORRECT NAME: Dave’s Martial Arts Academy
– Daves Martial Arts Academy
– Dave’s Martial Arts Academy, LLC
– Dave’s Martial Arts School
– Dave’s Martial Arts

CORRECT ADDRESS: 1522 N. Richmond Rd.
– 1522 N Richmond Rd.
– 1522 North Richmond Rd.
– 1522 N Richmond Road
– 1522 N Richmond Rd. Ste 5

CORRECT PHONE: (630) 000-0000
INCORRECT PHONE: Any other number. Don’t use personal numbers in some places and business phone number in others. Just use 1 business phone number for all your NAPs.

CORRECT WEBSITE: davesfakemartialartsacademy.com
INCORRECT WEBSITE: davesfakemartialartsacademy.org

The best way to do this is to start with your Google Business Profile. If you haven’t yet, go to step 1 and make sure your information is correct on GBP. If it is, then use the way that Google displays your Name, Address, and Phone as your NAP for the rest of the internet and begin updating everywhere else.

Here are some top listings and citations to consider checking your information on or get a complete Local SEO audit done for you at https://packthemats.com/local-seo-report/

Some initial listings and citations to confirm consistent NAP on:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Apple Maps
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Bing Places
  • Dojos.info
  • Citysearch
  • BBB.org
  • Foursquare
  • Hotfrog
  • Local.com
  • MapQuest
  • Merchant Circle
  • Yahoo! Local
  • Yellow Pages

This step will take time. There are paid tools and services to help you guarantee that your information is consistent. Sometimes those tools and services are worth it, depending on how bad of shape your NAP is. If you have many old phone numbers and addresses to correct then consider paying for a service for 6+ months or more to help clean up your listings and boost your rankings, rather than doing it manually.

3. Get More Reviews

Consumers trust reviews and so does Google. If your business has more Google Reviews than all your competitors, there’s a great chance you will rank in the top 3 of the “Map Pack”.

For our clients, we recommend aiming for 50 reviews, then 100 reviews, then 500+ reviews. This will separate you from the rest of your competitors and insulate you from new schools that will take decades to catch up.

So how do you get more reviews for your martial arts school?

You ask for them.

Set up a review request as part of your normal communication process with members. Just send out an email or text message asking how their experience is going so far, ask for their feedback, and include a link to your Google Reviews.

Remind them that reviews from members like them will help you reach more families in the area.

Not sure how to find your Google Reviews link? Here’s a quick 3-minute video we did on how to find your link to get more Google Reviews right away: https://youtu.be/VqaOegEhtno

Remember: Despite what many internet gurus say, you don’t need to pay or reward your members for them to leave you a great review.

You just have to ask them. Some schools will turn their Google Reviews link into a QR Code and put it on posters around the sitting areas so parents can scan and leave reviews while watching class. You can also hand these out or put them on your business cards at the front desk.

Will you get some bad reviews too? Possibly, but most likely you won’t. It’s better to have 100’s of reviews with a couple bad ones than to have 10 reviews that are all 5 stars.

When you do get reviews, always respond to them from the Google Business Profile dashboard. Not sure what to say? Thank them for taking the time and let them know how much you like having their family at the academy. If it’s a bad review, just explain your side, without getting defensive. Consumers will learn a lot about your academy based on how you reply to reviews.

Next Steps?

Those are the top 3 tips to improve your Local SEO for Martial Arts Schools. Now, it’s time to get started. Follow the steps above or reach out to get a free local SEO audit for your academy.

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