martial arts and martial arts marketing | YakaJirri Web Design

6 Things to Know Before Hiring Someone to Take Your Martial Arts Website to the Top of Google

Almost every martial arts school is bombarded with martial arts marketing companies saying they will get them to the top of Google. But can they get you new students? Could their attempt hurt your website rankings or even worse get you banned from Google? Will it continue to work in the future? This article gives you the information you need to make an informed decision about hiring someone to take your martial arts website to the top of Google.

This is a definition paragraph. If you know the lingo, you can skip this paragraph. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your website ranked high in search engines. With SEO you target "keywords" which are the words people type into the search engine. For example when someone types the words "martial arts" in a search engine, you want your website to show up. Being at the top of the search engines is Google's recommendation to searchers that this is the best place to find the answer. Most people listen to Google's recommendation by visiting the highest ranked websites.

1. Website that Converts

Key Point: Before hiring a SEO person, be sure your website has the ability to get new faces in your school. Getting more traffic on an under performing website is like pouring water in a bowl with holes in it. Focus on tuning your website before getting more traffic to it.

If your martial arts website doesn't convert a visitor into a new face in your gym, then you are wasting your money paying for SEO. It's like trying to build a house without a solid foundation. Think of your website as your digital sales person. If they aren't making sales then first focus on their sales process and then on getting them more leads.

From a high level standpoint the website should connect with the visitor on a personal level and overcome any fears they have. The website then should ideally enable them to sign up for a class. It is best to get them to commit while they are still excited and focused on your school. If someone can't sign-up online then the website should make it easy for them to contact you.

By improving your conversion rate, you will make a step toward improving your Google rankings. Google monitors how long it takes a user to hit the back button. If a visitors stays on your website for a long time or if they quit searching after finding your website, Google knows they are sending people to the right place and will send more people

2. Choose the Best Keywords

Key Point: Focus on the keywords that will get you new students. We have found the term "Martial Arts <city>" has the most searches for people wanting to join a martial arts school.

The SEO person should target the keywords that potential members are searching for. Google has a tool called Google AdWords Keyword Planner to estimate how often someone searches for a keyword. We have found the term "Martial Arts <city>" has the most searches for people wanting to join a martial arts school. One common mistakes is to target your gym name. You can communicate to the search engines your martial arts school's name without taking up prime SEO real estate on your website.

If you want to test out keywords before you target them with SEO, you can buy traffic with Google AdWords and then target the keywords with SEO that get you new members. With AdWords, you pay every time someone visits your site from a Google ad. You get almost instant feedback for a huge number of keywords. With SEO, it takes time before you see results and you can only target a few keywords on a website.

3. Provide Relevant Content

Key Point: Google's goal is finding the most relevant content for it's searchers so they will continue to use Google and Google can sell more ads. Align with Google's goal by creating the most relevant content. Google will get the great content it wants for it's users and give you a high search ranking.

Google is all about providing relevant content to it's users. Google wants people to find the answer when they search so they will continue to use Google and Google can continue to make money by selling ads. Therefore any strategy must help people find the answer to their questions.

A good question to ask the SEO person is 'how are you going to get me to the top of Google?'. If they don't talk about creating relevant content and promoting your website in relevant places on the internet then this is a red flag. Google's goal is to create a great user experience and build a long term relationship with the searcher. If the SEO person doesn't have the same goal as Google, there is a risk it won't work in the future.

4. Don't Try to Trick Google

Key Point: Focus on creating the relevant content Google wants. This is the only strategy that has long term staying potential. Google is a lot like a person in that it will hold a grudge if it catches you tricking it.

People are continually trying to trick Google into giving them a high search ranking. Google publishes a list of do's and don'ts called Webmaster Guidelines. Techniques that follow these guidelines are called White Hat and techniques forbidden by these guidelines are called Black Hat. These guidelines should be followed exactly. Black Hat techniques will hurt your search ranking in the long run and it could even get you banned from Google. Most people hold a grudge when someone tries to trick them. Google is the same.

The key here is to provide valuable content to your visitors. Google will reward you for this. One SEO technique is posting to forums and putting a link to your website at the bottom of the post. If you do this, add valuable content. For example if someone asks about martial arts in your area, reply to the post about your school. Or if someone asks about the best gloves for MMA, then give them your opinion. Don't do a useless post by saying something like 'great discussion, I learned a lot'. Some SEO people will do the later just to build links.

There are lots of strategies to market on the internet. Some focus on long term value while others are short term where you make money and get out. Lots of internet marketers will take the risk of getting their website banned from Google for short term gains. They have multiple websites and the reward is worth the risk. Don't risk the future of your martial arts schools website by trying to trick Google.

If there is a technique that is questionable and you really want to try it, create a test website on another domain. It is simple and cheap to create a test website. We believe you shouldn't risk your primary website. If you are interested in learning more about this, leave a comment and we will write an article.

5. Ask for Something Impossible

Key Point: One of the key factors in your success in SEO is the level of competition for the keyword. Ask the SEO person to rank for an extremely difficult keyword like "weight loss" in a very short time like 6 months. This is practically an impossible task. If the SEO person gives you any hint they can achieve this goal then run for the door.

The difficulty of getting to the top of Google depends on the competition for that keyword. Think of a student that comes to you with the goal of winning a cage fight. Winning a fight on the local circuit compared to winning a fight in the UFC is very different. Even though the goal is the same the competition isn't.

One of the most competitive keywords is "weight loss". We recommend asking a question like:

"We have a great weight loss program on DVD. We want to be on the top of Google when anyone across the country searches for 'weight loss'. We need it to happen within 6 months."

This is practically an impossible task. It's like winning a UFC fight after only training martial arts for 6 months. If someone gives you any suggestion they can do it, pass on them. A quality SEO person will tell you they can't do this in the time frame you want. You can buy ads to be on the top of Google but buying ads isn't SEO.

6. Ask for Previous Results

Key Point: Ask about how they improved the rankings for keywords they have targeted. It's important to consider the competition for the keyword. Ask for their best results and worst.

With SEO there are 2 major challenges. First, Google guards how they rank websites very closely. SEO people perform lots of experiments to try to reverse engineer how Google ranks websites. A major challenge is that Google is continuously changing its ranking algorithm to find the most relevant content. A trick that worked yesterday may not work today. That is why we recommend aligning your goals with Google which is providing the most relevant content.

The second challenge in SEO is that the sites you are competing against are most likely changing. If a site becomes more relevant in Google's eyes then they will get a higher search ranking.

Due to these two factors, it is impossible to know exactly where your site will be ranked. Be aware that no one can guarantee a search ranking. If someone is guaranteeing their work then they are simple saying if their techniques don't work then they will refund your money. Be cautious because some providers could get desperate and try some tricks to get you ranked so they will get paid.

Some questions you can ask are: for previous projects what was your starting rank and what is your current rank, and how competitive is the keyword. Ask about their most successful project and the worst performing project.


The key in selecting a SEO person is to find someone that will help you provide relevant content and get you on relevant places on the internet. Google wants relevant content. Give Google what they want and they will give you the rank you want.

As a martial artist, it is easy to use your expert knowledge to create content. You can share how martial arts have helped your students, how someone reduced their stress, how a new mom lost the baby weight, how a child stood up to a bully, how self defense kept a women safe, how martial arts built someone's self confidence, some of your trick moves, and anything else someone will find valuable.

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About YakaJirri Web Design

martial arts and martial arts marketing | YakaJirri Web DesignYakaJirri is martial artists helping other martial artists. Being practitioners and teachers, we understand martial arts and are passionate about growing the sport. We leverage our expertise in technology and vast knowledge of students needs to help martial arts school owners grow their schools.

We offer martial arts websites that have a proven track record of helping grow martial arts schools. In addition we offer search engine optimization (SEO) and martial arts marketing.