Google Ads for Clubs: The Keywords to Bid On & More

Justin Dowsett

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September 25, 2020

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category

minute read

PUblished

September 25, 2020

Setting up and running Google Ads for your health or fitness club can seem daunting. The interface can be confusing. The terminology foreign. Worst of all, you’ve heard horror stories about people spending a significant portion of their marketing budget, and yet, they have nothing to show for it.

It doesn’t have to be that way! When managed properly, and alongside other digital marketing strategies, Google Ads can be a powerful source of new prospects and members for your club. It just takes a little bit of know-how, strategy and maintenance.

In this blog, we will help you find the right keywords for your club’s pay-per-click strategy, teach you how to organize them and get your ad groups set up in Google Ads.

Let’s begin!

Selecting the Right Keywords for Your Health Club

Finding the right keywords for your club starts with building out a “seed” keyword list. This is a list of 10-20 keywords that you think are the best fit for advertising your club. It is called a seed keyword list because this list of keywords will grow into your entire keyword list as you extrapolate and find more precise keywords for your account.

For example, if I were the marketing director for a Denver-based club, I might have things like “denver health clubs” or  “gyms near denver”. Additionally, I would want to include terms like “health clubs near me”.

Once you have that list built out, you can add modifiers that more closely align with the services that your club offers. If your club has a pool, you could add that to your seed keyword: “Denver health clubs with pool”. This specificity can help ensure you are targeting the right people.

There are four main considerations you’ll want to consider when finalizing your keyword list:

  • Volume: Is this something that people are searching for? It could be an excellent keyword, but if no one is searching that term, your ad will not show.
  • Intent: When people are searching for this term, are they looking for a club to join, or could they be looking for something else?
  • Competition: How many competitors are also bidding on these terms? This will have a significant impact on the cost per click of the keyword.
  • Alignment: How closely does the keyword align with what your club offers? If you are an upscale fitness club, you wouldn’t want to bid on something like “cheap gym near me”

Here is a simple four step process to build your keyword list:

  1. Simple brainstorm: Think about what keywords you would use to find your club, but don’t overthink it.
  2. Related searches: Google your initial keywords and scroll to the bottom to find the related searches.
  3. Use Google Search Console: If you have Google Search Console set-up, you can see what terms people are searching for and clicking to arrive at your club’s website. This can be a gold mine!
  4. Use Google’s Keyword Planner: This tool is within the Google Ads platform. It will not only help you expand your keyword list, but will also give you detailed information about projected search volume, competition and costs.

Once you have walked through the steps above, you will have a solid keyword list to start your campaign.

Now it’s time to put them to use!

Creating Ad Groups: The SKAG Strategy

Just like with other forms of online advertising, if you’re going to be successful with Google Ads, you need to put in the work and build your account strategically.

Within your Google Ads account, you have campaigns. Within your campaigns you have Ad Groups. Within your Ad Groups, you have a set of ads and keywords that will trigger those ads. To maximize the efficiency of your advertising budget, it helps to create ads that align very closely with the keywords that trigger them. One methodology to achieve this is to create Single Keyword Ad Groups or SKAGs.

As the name implies, a SKAG is built around a single keyword. There can be slight modifications to it, but it should be focused on that keyword. Any changes to the keyword should be slight and not change the intent.

Now, there is some nuance. It’s not as simple as only using the keyword “denver health clubs” and calling it a day. The way Google works, that keyword would be much too broad, and searches that have any of those terms, or related terms found in that keyword could trigger your ad. This may sound good, but it is the fastest way to blow a hole in your budget.

In order to get more specific, Google has modifiers that help control what queries will trigger your ad. Here is a quick run down:

  • Broad Match Modified: This is the broadest of the modifiers, but is still much more targeted then a non-modified keyword. With this match type, you add a “+” symbol to the front of any term that you want required in the search to trigger your ad. For our example we would use “+denver +health +clubs”. Doing so will make sure that your ad will show only for searches that have all three of these words, in any order. Your ad will also trigger on searches such as, “Health clubs in the denver area”
  • Phrase Match: This is slightly more narrow. To use this match type, you would add quotations around your keywords, i.e. “denver health clubs”. By doing this, you would ensure that your ad only triggers when the search query has that phrase within it, in that exact order. Your ad would trigger for “best denver health clubs with a pool”.
  • Exact Match: This is the most narrow of the keyword modifiers. Your ad will only show for a query that is exactly that keyword. To use this match type, you would create brackets around your keywords, i.e. [denver health clubs]. Doing so will ensure that your ad is only triggered when that exact search query is used.

Employing a SKAG Strategy

When employing a SKAG strategy, you should include all of the above match types for your ad group. If your SKAG was Denver Health Clubs you would start with: +denver +health +clubs, “denver health clubs” and [denver health clubs] at a minimum.

If you found that the terms “health clubs denver” were also good keywords for your club, you could include “health clubs denver” and [health clubs denver] in the SKAG as the intent is still the same and your ad copy will also be a good match for a user searching that query.

It may seem redundant to add all of the different modified keywords to your ad group, particularly when the broad match modified version would cover all of the above, but what this does is allow you to find which exact type is the best Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Since you set your bid for each keyword, knowing which match type performs best can inform how much you’re bidding for each keyword. Typically, what you’ll find is that the exact match might cost more per click, but you are getting much better conversion rates and more prospects using that keyword type.

Google Ads can be a powerful tool for your club’s marketing effort, but it can also be a money pit if not used properly. Using the steps above can help set you up for success and make sure that you are thinking strategically about when and where your ads will show up.

And of course, if you want to use Google Ads but don’t have the time to manage it, we can help! Our Digital Marketing services can do everything above and more to help drive prospective members to your club. Get in touch with us below to learn more about how Digital Marketing could boost your club's success.

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Static and dynamic content editing. A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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Into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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