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The Business Side of Martial Arts

Marketing Your Dojo: Part 3 - Marketing Your Web Site

By Joshua M. Davis

Editor's Note: This is the third of a four part article on marketing your dojo. In Part 1 the author discussed the importance of "word of mouth" referrals, knowing your own strengths and defining your target market. Part 2 discussed the need for an effective web site. Part 3 includes information on submitting your web site to search engines, use of keywords and backlinks, local directory marketing, use of social media and traditional marketing. Part 4 discusses traditional marketing.

1) Google, Bing, and Yahoo directory submissions

Each of these main directories have webmaster tools that you can submit your site to. You can sign up for these services and add an xml site map, and these sites will index all of the pages of your site to add to their directory.  

Google Webmaster tools -
Yahoo Webmaster tools -
Bing Webmaster tools -

You can use a site like to create your site map.

2) Keywords and Back-links

To understand how search engine rankings work, you have to understand how keywords and back-links work. The 2 key concepts are: (1) Choosing high value keywords to use in your content. Using a tool like will help you pick the right keywords for your web site. I can tell you that the best key word is your martial art or style in “the city and state” your dojo is in, i.e., “Kenpo Karate in Virginia Beach, VA., (2) Finding related websites that will link back your website and content. All "Backlinks" are good for your sites search engine rating, but local search sites and related content sites are better than unrelated content. 


There are some important places to use keywords on your website:

  • The HTML page title - use good page titles that are keyword rich like “Taekwondo Classes In Washingtion D.C.” Quick and to the point and easy for a user to see and say, "yes", that is exactly what I am looking for.

  • The file name (use karate-classes-in-Richmond-Virginia.html instead of karateclasses.html) Search engines can read individual keywords in page names when they are separated by a dash.

  • META description - make the first sentence of your description field capture the attention of a user and use the rest of the description tag to elaborate further.

  • META keywords - is a list of related keywords

  • H1, H2, H3 Tags

  • Link text - don’t use links like “Click here to learn more.” Use a keyword rich link like “Learn more about our martial arts instructors”

  • bold text - search engines see bold text as important since you took the time to highlight it, but it is low on priority. Make sure you don’t bold everything or you can actually get a penalty in the search engine.

Important: Sites like Facebook will import your page title and description and display it on their site pages. Make sure that you treat these like highly paid ads, and make sure you get the biggest bang for the buck. You may want to try sharing a link from your site on your Facebook page to make sure you have good text imported. If not tinker with it till you do.

Back Links

Search engines sees websites with lots of back links that are on topic as more relevant to a search request than sites that have fewer back links. This does not mean that you can get everyone you know to link to your site and you magically jump to number one. You need to find related sites and directories that match your keywords. For example,  if your dojo is part of a national martial arts organization or has other associated dojos, its a no brainer to trade links with them. There are many dojo directories; submit your site to them (like  If you are a writer you can add articles to your website on martial arts topics to entice people to link to your site. You can submit those articles to other martial arts websites and get them distributed. If they are posted, you will benefit from your "about the author" section or links back to your site. Articles on your website will also be picked up by various search engines and listed within search results. This can lead readers to your site based on keywords that you may not be able to present well otherwise. For example, writing about topics like women in martial arts, martial arts for weight loss, self defense for the elderly, defending against bullies or even teaching martial arts to Kids with learning disabilities. These types are articles will introduce niche pages of keyword rich content that people may be looking for and you are the only one in town talking about.

Martial arts forums are also a great place to get an easy backlink. If you post on one of these sites like or your account signature file can have a link back to your site every time you comment. This works best when you are commenting on topics that relate to your dojo. For example commenting on a post like “Looking for Kenpo Karate Classes in Richmond VA”, you can comment on that thread with your Shotokan Karate school in your signature file and you get a keyword match for karate.

Great Sites for Backlinks

  • Martial Art Specific Sites

3) Local Directory Marketing

Local website directories are becoming more and more important. I have seen statistics saying that 80% of web traffic comes from local search. Before I tell you any more... you need to go and set up a Google places page for your business.

Ok, now that you did that, you can work on some of the other local listing services, such as:

  1. Google Maps

  2. Map Quest

  3. CitySearch

  4. YellowBook

  5. Yahoo Local

  6. Bing Local

  7. Yelp

  8. Insider





  13. GetFave

  14. MerchantCircle

  15. ShowMeLocal

  16. Telenav

  17. Topix

  18. WhitePages

  19. YellowBot

4) Facebook and Social Media


Facebook is the new "guerrilla” in the dojo marketing world! There is a very good chance that just about everyone in your dojo is already on Facebook, and there is a good chance that your potential students are on Facebook, too. Having a web presence there will add another weapon to your marketing arsenal. You can start a Facebook page for your business at I


I want to thank Christopher Caile the Editor of for all the wording suggestions, clarifications and editing of this and other articles in this series.

Continue to Part 4

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About The Author:

Joshua Davis has over 15 years of web marketing experience and has been working as a web designer and graphic artist since 1995. His career has taken him from working for humble no- profits to Fortune 500 companies.  Joshua came late in life to martial arts after dabbling off and on with several styles before discovering his passion for Wadokia Aikido in 2009. He has immersed himself in the study of aikido and marketing martial arts to help market the 3 Wadokai Aikido dojos in Richmond Virginia.  Since then Joshua has been helping other national Wadokai Aikido dojos and local martial arts clubs.  Joshua offers consulting services through Joshua is a student of Sensei James Golden who teaches Wadokai Aikido in Richmond Virginia.

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

martial arts marketing, dojo marketing, growing your martial arts business

Read more articles by Joshua M. Davis

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