SEO for Salons and Spas: The Ultimate Guide 2023

What do you get when you type in “salon near me” on Google today?

Do you see your salon on the first page immediately? 

If you’re standing in close proximity to your salon when you perform this search, I would expect you’ll see your salon. If not, we’ll sort that out today.

However, most people don’t stand that close to your salon when they look for a salon. They might even be in a different city when researching where to book their appointment. And you need to make sure you show up in those cases as well.

I don’t think I need to go into why it’s important to be visible in search results today. We all know that’s how people find salons these days. And 97% of people will click on one of the salons on the first page.

If you’re hiding on page two, you basically don’t exist today. Before you look for any other salon marketing ideas, ensuring that your salon appears in search is the most important thing you can do today.

In this article, I’ll show you the exact strategies for how you can make your salon stand out at the top of the search results page. The focus will be on your visibility on Google as that is the most commonly used search engine (even if you’ll get some tips for other search engines, like Bing, as well).

I’ll also try to keep this guide as practical as possible so that you leave with easy-to-implement, simple tactics to boost your visibility on search engines.

Getting SEO (Search Engine Optimization) right for your salon is one of the most impactful and long-term sustainable strategies to grow your salon business.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a nail tech, hairdresser, or another aesthetician, the salon SEO strategies I’ll share with you today work equally well for hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tanning salons, spa salons, or other beauty salons.

I’m thrilled to have you aboard. Let’s get into the salon SEO tactics that’ll rock your salon business.  

How to Get Your Salon Top of Google. Salon SEO and Keywords Made Simple

You’ll Need a Salon Website

If you don’t already have one, you need to get one. I know there have been discussions in the past regarding if salons really need a website or if it’s enough with a Facebook page or other social presence. But there’s no doubt you need a website today to build good visibility in search.

The good news is that it’s easy and cheap to create a website today. If you have the money, you can of course get an agency to create a website for you with a unique design that is optimized for visibility in search.

However, given the great and low-cost website builders available for salons today you can easily create one yourself. You want to ensure it is search engine friendly and allows you to take the actions I’ll share with you today.

To make things easy for you, I’ve listed the best website builders for salons here. All the website builders I recommend are of course optimized for search engines.

Another essential thing to consider is how well the website builder integrates with your salon booking software. The online booking experience offered by your salon software will play an important role in ensuring that the people who now find your website also get booked.

I use the Mangomint salon software which integrates seamlessly with any website builder. Online booking, and gift card sales, simply fade in on top of your website and you can customize the full experience to match your brand.

Now, let me go through how Google chooses which websites to show at the top of the search results page.

Just a Little Bit of Theory – What Makes Your Salon Website Show At The Top of Google?

Google uses 200+ factors to determine which website to show first on the search results page. They use a super-advanced algorithm to analyze the web and decide this. They don’t reveal everything about their algorithm to avoid hackers doing tricks to fool it. But we know with high certainty what the things that make the biggest difference are.

Before we go into the details here of how Google selects what to show at the top, there is one thing that I want to make sure you take out of this article which is most important. Google’s customers are people who search and in order for Google to serve their customers well, they will show the best possible result to their question that exists on the internet.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

You should always have this principle in mind when you try to make your salon’s website rank in Google.

As you run a salon, you do offer something that people are looking for. So it may well be that you just need to make sure Google is aware that you do offer it and your search position will improve. I’ll show you how you can do that later in this article.

How to Get Your Salon to Show at the Top of Google:

  1. Get your salon registered with all details with the biggest search engines
  2. Have relevant content on your website that includes the salon keyword phrases that people use when looking for a salon like yours in your area
  3. Get other relevant and trusted websites to link to your website
  4. Ensure details about your salon are cited consistently and correctly on listing websites
  5. Check that your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and secure

I’ll show you in detail how you practically can execute the above activities to boost your search engine performance and grow your business. A 6th way to get to the top of search engines is to buy your position using Google Ads or Bing Ads. However, in this article, I’ll only cover the strategies to grow your presence organically.

1. Getting Your Salon Registered With Google Business Profile

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to listen 🙂

According to Moz, Google Business Profile accounts for 19% of Google ranking performance for local businesses like Salons. This is massive. 

Google My Business allows you to register a lot of details about your salon including your location. This means that when a user does a search for “salon near me” (which is a VERY popular search when looking for a new salon), Google can determine if your salon in fact is close to the person and will your details. If you’re missing out on this, Google will just show the salons in your area that have figured this out.

When you have your details added to Google My Business you enable Google to show you the map result that is visible at the top of search results. 

As you can see in the example when I search for “salons near me” in New York, there’s more information visible such as opening hours, contact details, and Website. 

You can make this result even richer by adding images and other information to showcase your salon. You’ll also be able to allow users to rate your salon which is the best proof of the quality of your salon you can have. 

Google result for salons in New York

I’m sure you agree with me that you want your salon to appear here. Google My Business is free. You can learn more about it and get started here

What About Other Search Engines?

Google is the most commonly used search engine, and I would encourage you to focus your efforts there in the beginning. This is also where I’ll focus this article. Other search engines work in similar ways as Google so actions I’ll encourage through the rest of this article will also help your performance on the other. However, the only area where I would still like to spend some time is on other search engines equivalents to Google My Business as those are unique to those platforms.

Get Your Salon on Apple Maps

It’s in fact quite likely that you’re reading this article on an iPhone right now. At least statistically. This is the most popular mobile device today and 33% of map searches happen using Apple Maps today. many people are searching for salons using the built-in maps app.

Like Google My Business, it’s free and easy to register your salon on Apple Maps here.

Get Your Salon on Bing

Bing is the second largest search engine after Google and has about 7% of searches today. Similar to Google Business Profile, they offer something called Bing Places. I know it’s only a fraction of the searches coming from Google but given it’s also free in easy to set up, I’d recommend you take 30 min of your schedule to add your salon to Bing as well. 

You can access Bing Places here

Your Salon is Now Registered on the Biggest Search Engines

Congratulations. You’ve just taken a massive leap forward to improve your salon’s performance on search. But just registering for Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Bing alone is not enough to ensure you’ll appear at the top. 

Grab a new cup of coffee, it’s time to dig into the strategies that’ll make your salon rocket on Google. 

2. Create Relevant Content for Your Website and Your Salon Keywords

I promise.

Google will always do its best to match your salon with people who are looking for salons in your area. This is their mission, to help people find what they’re looking for (and they’re pretty good at it, don’t you agree?).

The problem is just that Google will not find your salon unless you give them enough information about your salon. At the same time, you’re most likely not the only salon in your town or city, so you want your salon to perform better than the others, right?

To achieve this, you first need to be clear on what searches people are making on Google and for which you like your salon to appear. Only when you know this will you be able to optimize the content on your salon’s website to match those searches. Makes sense?

What people enter into the search bar is referred to as keywords or keyword phrases. It’s the same thing. It’s essentially a sequence of words that together makes a search query. An example of this could be “best hair salon in London”.

When you’ve identified what the search phrases are, you’ll add them to strategic places on your website so that Google understands it should match your salon with those words. 

Let me show you how.

Finding the Right Salon Keywords for Your Salon

You’ll now identify the keyword that best represents your salon. When you’re done with the exercise I’ll take you through you should have 4-6 foundational keyword phrases for your salon as well as 8-12 long-tail keywords. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Your Salon’s Foundational Keywords

These are your main keywords. The ones that most completely describe your business. This could be “wedding hair stylist in Denver” or “best pedicure in London”.

Try to be specific.

If you go for broad keywords like “hair salon”, you’ll face a lot of competition and reduce your chances to be shown at the top of the search results page. However, if you go for more specific keywords like “Vegan hair salon in Birmingham” or “best waxing in Manhattan” you have much higher chances of getting to the top when people search for those phrases.

As you get more specific with your keywords, you’ll also get better visitors to your salon’s website. By “better” I mean people who are more likely to turn into clients for you. If someone is looking for something like nose waxing in manhattan and you offer exactly that, it is very likely they’ll book with you.

On the other hand, if someone searches for something as broad as “Hairdresser” they may just be looking for what it takes to become a hairdresser or in reality be looking for a very specific service that you don’t offer. 

Do you see the difference?

Your Salon’s Long Tail Keywords

On top of the 4-6 foundational keywords, you’ll include 8-12 so-called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are even more specific. They’re typically not included on many other websites so when people search for those, you can almost be certain that your salon’s website will be visible at the top of Google.

These would be keywords that include specific types of services that you offer in the salon. This could be something like “best nose waxing service in manhattan”.

Alright, let’s get to it. Make sure you have somewhere where you can make notes about your keywords as we go through the coming three steps that will identify your salon’s keywords.

Find Your Salon Type Keywords

You want to start by finding words that people would use to identify your type of salon and services. Try to brainstorm all the variations you can think about. Try to land on 5-15 words. To get you started, let’s look at some examples of words that could describe a specific type of salon or its core service below. 

Hair Salon Keywords

  • Hairdresser
  • Hair stylist
  • Hair salon
  • Colorist
  • Hair styling
  • Hair cut
  • Hair color
  • Highlights
  • Hair extension
  • Barber
  • Barbershop

Nail Salon Keywords

  • Nail salon
  • Manicurist
  • Manicure
  • Pedicurist
  • Pedicure
  • Nail artist
  • Nail technician 
  • Nail tech
  • Nail art
  • Nail treatment 

Beauty Salon Keywords

  • Beauty salon
  • Beautician
  • Tanning salon
  • Skin treatments
  • Waxing salon
  • Massage salon
  • Massage treatment
  • Spa 
  • Spa salon
  • Spa treatments
  • Makeup
  • Makeup artist

Find Your Keyword Modifiers 

Now that you have noted down the words that can describe your type of salon, you should look at additional words to describe you even better. These are words to describe the quality of your service (e.g best), a specific type of service (nose waxing), a specific occasion (e.g. wedding), or other words that would describe what makes you unique (e.g “vegan”).

  • Best
  • Cheapest
  • Fastest
  • Vegan
  • Organic
  • Bridal
  • Wedding
  • Editorial

Find Your Geographic Keywords

These are the words that would describe your location. Also here, people may use variations or different words to describe your location. Let’s say you have a salon based on Oxford Street in London. What words could be used to describe your location?

  • London
  • Oxford street
  • Bond Street tube station (which is on Oxford street) 
  • Mayfair (area on Oxford Street)
  • Marylebone (another area Oxford Street crosses)
  • West End London
  • England
  • United Kingdom

Adding Your Salon Keywords Together And Test What Works

You should now have a wealth of words that together can build up your 4-6 foundational keyword phrases as well as your long-tail keywords. For example, the above can give you “best wedding hairstylist London” or “vegan hair salon Toronto”. Try to do a few combinations that would best describe your salon.

Next, open up Google and do a search for your keyword phrase. Google will now give you some different suggestions for similar keyword phrases (see the example below). This tells you two things:

1) If you can see your keyword phrase in the suggestions, you know that this is a popular search. Otherwise, Google would never recommend it. You can then be reassured that people will actually be searching for this.

If you do not see your keyword, chances are that you are being too specific and that very few (if any) people will actually be searching for it.

2) You’ll get new ideas here on how you should formulate your keyword as you know have visibility on similar searches that people are doing.

Hair salon keyword research

Below is also another example of what people are searching for when looking for a wedding hair stylist in London.

Play around with your new phrases in the Google search bar and note down your 4-6 foundational keywords as well as your 5-15 long-tail keywords. You’ll come back to those strategic keywords as you start to optimize your website for search engines.

Congratulations! You’ve now completed the toughest part of what I wanted to teach you today. Well done! For the rest of this article, we’ll look at how you can put your new keywords into action and improve your salon’s SEO so that you soon will attract a lot more new clients to your business!

Tip for Advance Salon Managers

As you select your keyword and put it into Google search, you can also look through the search result to see who else is ranking on the keyword. This will give you an idea of how tough competition you’re up against. This will give you and idea of how much work you’ll need to put into your website to rank at the top.

Get Your Salon Website SEO Ready with Your Salon Keywords

Do you have your list of salon keywords now?

To get your website to show up when people are searching for your keywords, you need to have the right content on your website which also should include your keywords. It’s good to have your foundational keywords in many places. However, you should avoid the unnatural stuffing of keywords in your text. Use them where it makes sense and make sure to have them in strategically important places. 

I have listed the places below where you want to check that you have your keywords included.

Your Salon Home Page

Here you want to have your most important foundational keyword in big font size. I understand you may be tempted to have something more creative and interesting here but at least combine it with your main keyword e.g. “Best Wedding Hair Stylist in London”.

Page Titles

Each page has a title and it’s what’s visible in the top web browser window bar. It’s also what people will see when your page shows up on Google. Thus, you want to make sure the title is compelling and want people to click on it. At the same time, you should include your most important keyword for that specific page in the title.

On top of this, you should try to keep your title no longer than 60 characters. As if it gets longer than that, google will cut it off and you will only see part of it in the search result.

Having a compelling title for your page is important for your salon SEO not only because you have your keywords in it. Google also tracks how many of the people that see your link actually click on it. If many people click, Google understands that your web page is a good response to your search and will over time promote your web page higher in the search results.

Editing page titles require that you know HTML code or that you use a salon website builder that supports it. If you’re about to create a new website for your salon, you can check out my article on the best salon website builders where I show the ones I recommend that all include the feature.  

Page Meta Description

Similar to the title tag, your page’s meta description is also visible in the Google search result. This is the short text summary that is visible just below the header. Include your page’s keyword also here. As with the title, try to make the text here compelling so that people click your link. Meta description also requires a website builder for your salon that supports editing this information.  


Google will treat what you put in your headers as if of higher importance. So make sure you have your keywords also in your page headers and subheaders.

Internal Link’s Anchor Text

As you build up your website, you’ll certainly have links pointing to your different pages. Either in your menu or on your pages. When you create your links, use the keywords that are relevant to the page you’re linking to within the link text.

Image Alt Description 

Images that you have on your website also help your google ranking. To help Google understand what is shown on the image you can write image descriptions that include your keywords in the image alternative description. This is called the image’s “alt text”. It’s the text that you also see when you hover your mouse over the image. 

Get Other Websites to Link to Your Salon

Your salon is now well underway to start showing up at the top of Google! You’ve now registered your website with the biggest search engines, you’ve identified what your salon’s keywords are, and you know how to start adding your keywords to your website. 

This is awesome, you should soon start to see the results of your work.

But there is more you can do 🙂

Another important factor to build your website’s trust with Google is to have other websites link to yours. If other websites link to you, Google interprets this as a sign of trust from the other site which in turn will make Google promote your salon higher in the search results.

Ensure Your Details Are Cited Consistently on Other Websites

It’s not only links to your website that help improve Google’s trust in you. Your search performance will also be helped if your salon details are cited on other websites. That is your salon’s name, address, and phone number – also referred to as your NAP.

It’s important that your NAP is referenced consistently. That you are using the exact same address and phone number everywhere. In the same format.  

Ensure Your Website is Mobile Friendly, Fast, and Secure

Finally, there are a few technical things you can do to make sure your salon’s website show up better in Google Search result. Google wants to create the best possible experience for its customers. Its customers are people using their search.

Is Your Salon’s Website Mobile Friendly?

Today, the majority of people are using their mobile phones when browsing the web. So if Google sees that your website is mobile-friendly – meaning that it adapts to the smaller mobile screens to create a good user experience – Google will promote your salon’s website in the search result.

If you build your salon’s website using a good website builder, this will already be taken care of for you. If you are thinking about updating your website, you can read my article here on the best salon website builders which all have mobile support built-in.

Does Your Salon’s Website Load Fast?

People are becoming less and less patient. If your website takes more than two seconds to load, people will start to drop off. In fact, according to a Google page load time study, already after 3 seconds of wait, 53% of visitors will drop off. Slow websites are not a good user experience so Google will promote websites that load fast over those that are slow.

You can check your website’s speed right now. There’s a free tool available called Pingdom where you can test your site speed. Pingdom also gives you some insight into what it is that is causing your website to be slow so that you can work on addressing it. The more common reasons are:

  • Your website hosting: If the server where your website is located is slow or if it’s located far away from the user accessing the webpage, you’ll get a longer load time. When you use a good website builder for your salon you typically get good hosting with it. You can read my article here where I also recommend cost-effective quality hosting solutions for your salon website.
  • Large images: This is typically what takes the longest to download. I know nice high-resolution images look great but try to find the right balance here so that you don’t compromise your site’s speed.

Is Your Salon Website Secure?

This used to be important only for websites that accept credit card payments. But these days Google favors all websites that are secure. What is meant by secure is that all communication between the user and the website is encrypted. 

It is free to secure your website at most website hosting providers, you just need to request a certificate to be installed.

You can see if a website is secure if the web address starts with “https://” instead of just “http://”. Most web browsers also show a padlock next to the web address.  

Secure salon website


Congratulations! You’ve now taken the most important steps toward making your salon’s website rank at the top of Google’s search results. I can reassure you that this was time well invested. Having your website shown at the top is one of the most important actions you can take to attract more new clients and grow your salon business in the long run. 

Let’s recap the actions you can take to improve your website on Google.

  • Get your salon registered with all details with the biggest search engines
  • Have relevant content on your website that includes the salon keyword phrases that people use when looking for a salon like yours in your area
  • Get other relevant and trusted websites to link to your website
  • Ensure details about your salon are cited consistently and correctly on listing websites
  • Check that your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and secure

Over to you now. What action will you take already today? Maybe start by registering for Google Business Profile?

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