I know some yoga studio owners don’t like to talk about yoga studio competition too much. The fact is search engine optimization is unfortunately a zero sum game. There are only 10 spots on page 1. If you take a spot, it means another yoga studio doesn’t.
Same goes for yoga students. The students a yoga studio down the road serves are students that don’t attend your studio.
At the end of the day a yoga studio is a business that operates in a competitive environment. That said, there’s no reason camaraderie and collegiality among yoga studio owners in a town should not exist. I liken yoga studio competition to a sport – you want to win, but sportsmanship should win the day.
But you do realize you need some students and hopefully there’s enough to sustain all yoga studios in your town. Getting your yoga studio ranked on page 1 of Google will very likely result in website traffic and consequently new students in your classes.
The trick, of course is, getting on page 1 of Google for the most searched for and relevant keyword.
That’s what this article is about. I’m going to show you in a very analytical process, how to determine what you must do to get on page 1 of Google.
The analysis is a two-step process:
- Assess your competition
- Do just enough search engine optimization to take a spot on page 1. Of course the top spot on page 1 would be great, but let’s get started with baby steps.
STEP 1. Assessing your yoga studio competition in your town
I’m going to assume that the best keyword for a yoga studio in any given town or city is “Name of City Yoga”. For example, for yoga studios in Seattle, the best keyword to rank well for would be “Seattle Yoga”.
Please note this may not actually be the best keyword for all yoga studios in all towns, but it’s generally one of the best. If you wish to know how to do keyword research, read my keyword research for yoga studios here.
To step you through the competitor analysis process, I’ll use Indianapolis, USA.
- Keyword: “Indianapolis Yoga”
- Number of monthly exact searches: 170
- Number of monthly broad searches: 4,400
- Number of web pages with the phrase “Indianapolis Yoga”: 1,450
Now let’s look at the key SEO factors of the existing websites on page 1 of Google for the search term “Indianapolis Yoga”
(click image to enlarge)
What on earth does all this mean?
The underlined URLs are the URLs for all the websites on page 1 for the search term “Indianapolis Yoga”.
You’ll notice the first listing is Google Places. That’s a tough one to beat. But, I can tell you that there is great opportunity for ranking well if you have a yoga studio in Indianapolis.
What do the colors mean?
The more green a screen from this software produces means it’s easier to edge out a website and get your own site on page 1. In this case, there’s quite a bit of green, so opportunity awaits.
What do the other numbers mean? Here’s a legend:
|DA||Age of domain name||the older the better.|
|PR||PageRank||Generally, the higher the PR, the better.|
|IC||Index Count which is the number of pages on the domain indexed with Google||Generally more indexed pages is better. However, you can rank well with fewer pages.|
|BLP||Number of backlinks to the indicated UR||Generally, the more backlinks to the specific web page, the better.|
|BP||Number of backlinks to the entire website||Generally, the more backlinks to your site, the better.|
|BLEG||Number of backlinks to the website from .gov or .edu websites||The more backlinks from .gov and .edu websites, the better.|
|DMZ||Whether the site is listed on the DMOZ.org directory||Getting your yoga studio site listed on DMOZ.org is really good.|
|YAH||Whether the site is listed on the Yahoo! Directory||Apparently a listing in the Yahoo! Directory is good. I don’t list my sites on this directory because it also costs $300 per year.|
|Title||Whether the web page contains the keyword in the meta title.||You want your keyword in the meta title of the web page you’re trying to rank.|
|URL||Whether the web page contains the keyword URL||If it’s the best keyword, you want it in your root domain if possible.|
|Desc||Whether the keyword is in the meta description||It’s good to place your keyword in the first 160 characters of your meta description.|
|Head||Whether the keyword is in <h> tags on the web page||Don’t overdo this, but the keyword phrase in one set of <h> tags in the body is good.|
|CA||The number of days since Google reindexed the indicated web page||Generally, if you add content more often, your site will be reindexed by Google more often.|
Now that you know what the columns and numbers mean, you can properly assess each site.
You’ll notice that www.yogatherapyindianapolis.com has a young domain name, only 5 indexed pages, and only 13 backlinks to the entire site. The reason it is ranking well is because it has both “yoga” and “indianapolis” in the domain. Moreover, it has our keyword in the meta title.
By going through the above, you’re able to assess the key SEO stats of the websites on page 1. Now you know what to do with your site in order to get on page 1.
STEP 2: Do just enough search engine optimization to take a spot on page 1
Probably the 4 most important factors to ranking your site are:
- Keyword in your domain name
- Number of backlinks
- Placing your keyword in the meta title
- Amount of content on your site (this is the least important of the 4).
the best part about these four SEO ranking criteria is you have a decent amount of control over them. If you already have a domain name and the keyword is not in it, that’s okay. You can focus on backlinking, meta titles, and content.
Therefore, in our Indianapolis example, if a yoga studio website attracted / built 50 backlinks, then they would be well on their way to getting on page 1. It would take some time, but it’s certainly possible.
The point of this article is to show you that you don’t need to guess about what needs to be done in order to get on page 1 of Google. All the information is available to you.
Also, please keep in mind that you can do this process for many keywords. The more keywords you rank well for, the more traffic you’ll get to your yoga studio website. I discuss keyword research here.
If this precision-approach to SEO appeals to you, then you’re probably interested in knowing the software I used to generate the above color-coded chart and all the analytics. It’s Market Samurai. You have to buy it. It’s very good and very efficiently performs website competitive analyses.
However, if you prefer to use free tools, you can pretty much do all of the above using an amalgamation of free tools. They are as follows:
- Google Keyword Tool to determine search volume.
- Keyword Spy (a Firefox browser addon) to check domain age, number of backlinks and type of backlinks.
- Yahoo! Site Explorer for checking the number and type of backlinks.
- Search in Google with “” surrounding your keyword to see the number of competing websites.
- Go to each of the top 10 websites and right click your mouse and select “view page source.” Look for the <title>, <description> and <h> tags to determine if the web page has the keyword in these meta elements.
- Go to DMOZ.org and Yahoo! Directory to see if the other studios are listed with these directories (arguably the two best directories from which to receive backlinks).
There’s no need to guess what needs to be done to rank well in Google. Stop guessing and get scientific with your SEO. The scientific approach means you’ll only do the bare minimum to rank well and you’ll be able to know when ranking on page 1 is not going to happen (like trying to rank on page 1 for “yoga” – you’d need a lot of time and resources to make that happen).
- There are no guarantees with SEO. You could do everything the numbers indicate and still not achieve a top ranking. It’s likely you succeed, but not guaranteed.
- Using this scientific approach does not mean you’ll be able to achieve top rankings for every keyword. In fact, when you analyze the competition in this manner, you’ll discover the keywords for which you have very little chance of achieving a page 1 Google listing. This helps you avoid wasting time on a hopeless endeavor. That said, no keyword is bullet proof. With enough time, money, persistence, and dedication, you can rank well for any keyword. However, you must assess whether it’s worth it and more to the point, whether you have the time and resources.
- The number of backlinks listed by Yahoo! Site Explorer and Market Samurai are approximated. There is no software I’m aware of that is 100% accurate in revealing the number and type of backlinks to a particular website.