Comprehensive Guide to Link Building in Health and Fitness Industries

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Whether you are an experienced SEO strategist or you’re only now beginning to explore the SEO landscape, link building is one of the pivotal aspects of digital marketing. It can help you bring your and/or your client’s online visibility to another level and ultimately ensure more conversions. Although the SEO environment is constantly changing and evolving, high-quality link building is one of those rare constants that always brings results.

Much like other niches we’ve covered in our Actionable Guide to Successful Link Building series, fitness and health is an oversaturated market that requires constant SEO investments in order for you to stand out from the crowd, which is why building niche-based high-quality links should be among the top priorities for those who seek an organic boost in their online visibility.

Even though the process of link building can feel like all sizzle and no steak, with no tangible results right off the bat, those who decide to approach this SEO method from the right angle and with enough thoroughness soon start experiencing a substantial boost in their online visibility. But let’s start from the beginning.

Thorough research is the fulcrum of quality SEO

Prior to any link building efforts, you should perform an in-depth analysis of:

  • Your client
  • Their most successful competitors
  • Target audience for the fitness and health niches

Step 1: do a thorough client research

As we already mentioned, health and fitness is a rather difficult niche to take over so easily. In order to start off on the right track, you should first get to know your client and figure out what they can offer that others cannot. This involves:

  • Learning your client’s unique tone of voice
  • Conducting a research on their current content and linkable assets
  • Learning what their overarching goals, standards and values are

This very first step has a potential to supply you with enough data that will act as building blocks for your off-site SEO strategy (more on this aspect of research later in this post).

To make sure this step goes well, your client analysis must include:

  • Determining their goals - schedule a meeting during which you will talk about what your client’s goals are. This is critical when it comes to coming up with a potent and carefully tailored off-site SEO tactics, especially in terms of keyword research and the competitors they find admirable.
  • Detailed content audit - go through their content pieces and determine which posts need to be improved, deleted, updated, expanded (or shortened), repurposed, etc.
  • Your client’s investing capabilities - make sure you are on the same page regarding what assets they are willing to deploy. In other words, determine how much time, effort and money they are truly willing to invest, so you can come up with a tailored, effective yet realistic link building strategy in accordance with their overall goals.
    Important Note: This is where you need to establish yourself as an active marketing advisor who will take the wheel from here on out. So, if they have certain wishes that are unrealistic or simply plain wrong, you need to bring this issue up right away. For example, if your client insists on not including forums in their link building efforts, while you know there are numerous opportunities available through health and fitness forums, make sure you educate them properly and explain why they need to revisit their approach.
  • Additional SEO assets - inquire about your client’s link building opportunities aside from their website and content. Maybe they have relevant industry connections and partners through which you can reach wider audiences.

Step 2: competitor research

Track down your client’s most successful competitors and examine their link building strategies so you can get valuable insights about which SEO practices work best within the fitness and health niche.

What you need to examine:

Competitor’s strongest content pieces

Take into account the content that generates most attention according to the following metrics: on-page time, organic traffic, shares, links, likes, etc.

ADVANCED TIP:

While examining their content, be sure to take into account any interesting fitness and health topics that haven’t been covered by the competitors. These can come in handy later on when you start creating content for your customer.

Once you feel like you have a firm grasp on which aspects of their posts are directly influencing their success, try to replicate them for your client, but make sure your client’s content has a personal touch.

Keywords and anchors

While going through their content, pay close attention to competitors’ keywords deployment and the use of anchors. There will likely be numerous great keyword ideas right off the bat and you will have a nice overview on which keywords should be in focus and which ones are to be disregarded altogether. As for the anchors, take into account both incoming and internal link anchors.

ADVANCED TIP:

Names of prominent influencers, brands and industry events from the health and fitness niche can really make a difference when it comes to your keyword research, so be sure to take those into account as well.

Backlinks

Exploring the competitor’s backlinks brings you much more than just the opportunity to emulate them by contacting the same sites they did. Of course, first you need to know what you are looking for.
During the segments to follow, we will keep reminding you what to look out for during competitor analysis, for now, suffice it to say that you should keep track of all the major influencers and their contact info; that you should keep an eye out for broken links that used to lead to resources that you have something similar to, or could try to reproduce; and that you should be noting down common footprints found on websites that you find interesting, as they will be of immense help once you actually start prospecting for new linking opportunities.

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Step 3: target audience research

If you want health and fitness bloggers to accept your guest post submission, or a reputable site to add your post to their ‘Resources’ page; you have to understand their audience. After all, they are your client’s desired audience as well.
You can find out a lot about their habits and preferences simply by:

  • Reading their comments on blog posts or forums
  • Joining relevant groups and communities on social networks
  • Observing their behavior in Google Analytics
  • Using Google Trends, or a similar tool, to find out what is currently popular
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If you invest enough time and effort into this part of research, you’ll learn which tone of voice to use when writing for this audience; what kind of posts do they like to read and share; which social networks are they are easiest to reach through, how they usually formulate their queries in search, and much, much more.

Once you have all that you need, it’s time to move on to the next stage in the process.

Link building tactics for health and fitness websites

Examining sites and backlinks of your competitors is not only supposed to lead you directly to all kinds of prospects, but it also gives you all the information you need to look for similar websites with Dibz or Google.
We decided to cover some of the most popular link building tactics for health and fitness websites. If you want a more exhaustive list of these tactics, or an explanation for some of the terminology we’ll use, you can take a look at our Link Building 101 post, which should answer most if not all of your questions.

Guest posting on health and fitness blogs

Due to its unique ability to expose you to relevant audiences through contextual links with anchors you get to decide, and all of that without you having to pay for those links; guest posting recommends itself as one of the most effective link building tactic in most niches, not just in health and fitness. You can find adequate blogs to outreach with your guest post proposition in a number of ways:

  • You had to have come across quite a few during competitor research
  • Comment sections of relevant blogs are a great place to look for other health and fitness bloggers
  • Prolific authors will often share their posts, and thematically similar ones on their social network profiles
  • A reverse image search with headshots of those authors, or with common stock photos will also lead you to interesting blogs

However, since Dibz gives you a streamlined way to perform a number of live searches simultaneously, allowing you to find an impressive number of prospects in a matter of minutes, we’ll describe three basic ways to find health and fitness guest posting opportunities with Dibz. Of course, the same queries would work in Google as well.

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1) Looking for ‘Write for us’ pages.

One of the most common methods for looking blogs that accept guest posts - it might not always lead to the highest-quality websites, but at least they should be willing to hear you out. In Dibz, we use advanced parameters (common footprints, modified by advanced operators or not) to define what page you are looking for, while you need to provide the keywords that will make it clear what niche are you interested in. Here are some suggestions for both:

Parameters

  • intitle:"Submit an Article" OR intitle:"Guest Post Guidelines" OR intitle:"Contribute to our site"
  • intext:"Your article will be published" OR intext:"Your post must be original"
  • inurl:/submit-article/ OR inurl:/contribute/ OR inurl:/guest-blogging-guidelines OR inurl:/write-for-us/
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Keywords

  • nutrition during pregnancy
  • healthy eating
  • healthy diet
  • important nutrients
  • refined carbs
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • "big five" of nutrients
  • benefits of exercise
  • stay healthy
  • workout routine
  • fitness coach
  • strength training
  • cardio workout
  • anaerobic exercise
  • dumbbells
  • barbells
  • fitness regime
  • working out
  • fitness goals
  • targeting specific muscle groups
  • easy weight loss
  • healthy lifestyle
  • stubborn pounds
  • sports injuries
  • balanced diet
  • gym equipment
  • athletic clothing
  • over-train

2) Looking for published guest posts.

There are plenty of websites out there which are perfectly open to publishing guest posts, but that don’t have a ‘write for us’ page. The best way to find them is to look for the guest posts they’ve already published.
All you need to do is to combine some of the following parameters either with the keywords that are likely to show up on ‘write for us’ pages, that we’ve provided above, or with names of popular niche authors, exercises, pieces of equipment or brands likely to be mentioned in (guest) posts on health and fitness websites.

Parameters

  • guest AND post OR article OR contribution OR journal
  • "community post, written by one of our" OR "guest post was written by" OR "guest post courtesy of"
  • "guest contributor" OR "guest blogger" OR "contributing writer"
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3) Looking for health and fitness blogs in general.

Even though this kind of search is likely to have the lowest response rates of the three methods described here, it is also likely to produce the highest percentage of above-average links in terms of quality.
Just because a blog doesn’t have obvious markers of being open to guest posting, that doesn’t mean they aren’t, or that you won’t be the first who manages to persuade them to change their mind.
Keywords we described so far are applicable in this method as well, and as for parameters, you can improvise with everything indicating that what you are looking for is a blog. Some suggestions are below, but if you scan the blogs you like for other common footprints, you are bound to come across dozens.

Parameters

  • inurl:/2019/ AND inurl:/blog/
  • intext:"this blog is meant" OR intext:"we write about" AND inurl:about
  • inurl:category/health OR inurl:category/fitness intext:blog OR intitle:blog

Brand mentions

If you are promoting a personal blog or something of the sort, this tactic may not be available to you, but if your client is a brand name in health and fitness industry, whether a chain of gyms, or equipment and supplements manufacturer, this might be a gold mine of opportunities.
All you have to do is search the web for mentions of your brand name, check which of them are not linking to your site, discard the ones that you don’t want a link from, and start outreaching those that remain.
Naturally, if the site you are promoting can boast popular thought-leaders and influencers in its editorial staff, you can instead look for mentions of their name and ask for them to be accompanied with a link to your site.
There are plenty of ways to do this, from actively monitoring your brand mentions with Google Alerts and checking them for links manually, to using Dibz or Google to find all the pages talking about you, and cross reference them with your backlink portfolio to identify the ones that aren’t linking to you.

ADVANCED TIP:

One of the fastest ways to compare two large lists is by the use of VLOOKUP command in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, by identifying those from one range that are also appearing in the other.
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Giveaways and reviews

While this tactic might often be more in the area of gray-hat than white-hat SEO, like with most of the other methods, how spammy it is going to be depends mostly on the execution. If you are hoping to use your products or vouchers for your services as a bribe to get someone to write a mindless praise of your brand - you’re approaching it wrong.
What you should be looking for is exposure to qualified audiences and an honest review from a credible, trusted source. While it would be great to only have nice things written about you, audiences are more than capable of telling when a reviewer is being genuine. The ones that aren’t might be more convenient, but a link from their site is not likely to carry any kind of weight. Again, competitor research should bring a decent amount of sites open to this kind of arrangement, make a list of common footprints you’ve found there, and use them in Dibz along with the ones we already provided there for this kind of research. When combined with product or service you’re offering, your queries might look something like this:

  • nutrition supplements inurl:product-review
  • gym equipment intitle:product AND intitle:review
  • omega-3 inurl:giveaway

ADVANCED TIP:

Sometimes queries like the last one won’t lead you directly to prospects, i.e. websites willing to accept giveaways, but instead to those offering them. When this happens simply run those sites through a backlink checker, and you’ll get a list of actual prospects you can contact.

Resources and links pages

Even the health and fitness websites that are not discussing the most complex aspects of these industries are never far from actual, serious science. If you want to have any kind of credibility in this niche, you have to make sure that your content is as meticulously researched as the seriousness of the subject matter demands.
This means that there is no shortage of websites recommending resources they have found to be valuable and reliable.
While this tactic requires a much less significant investment when you already have a resource you think might be found worthy of inclusion in the lists of this kind, things aren’t so grimm even when you are starting from scratch.
While you will need to spend some time and money on creating a really impressive piece of content, the fact that you will have already been through competitor research and have spent some time looking for prospects of this type, will mean that you have a very solid idea of what kind of resources usually get linked to, and thereby, what kind of a resource you should be creating.
We’ll provide some handy advanced parameters below, and as for keywords, you should use the names of respectable health and fitness authors; phrases describing the resource you intend to offer; common elements of research titles in your niche, etc.

Parameters

  • intext:"suggest a link" OR intext:"suggest a resource" OR intext:"suggest a study"
  • inurl:resources OR inurl:"favourite resources" OR inurl:links OR inurl:"favourite links"
  • intitle:"other resources" OR intitle::"favorite resources" OR intitle:"favorite tools"
  • intitle:resources OR intitle:links OR intitle:"further reading" OR intitle:"more resources"

Outreach

We’ve already mentioned how even the more casual posts in this niche might deal with serious science, which means not a lot of people will be thrilled to stake their reputation on something you’ve written unless you have an impressive range of references or even actual credentials. This makes outreach for health and fitness link building a rather demanding activity, one that you need to really be proficient in if you want to hope for any kind of success.
That’s why we decided to go straight to our link builders, and ask them for tips on best ways to do guest posting outreach for health and fitness sites. We chose this particular tactic not just because it is the most popular one, but also because it perfectly illustrates what your outreach should look like for other link building methods as well. Here’s what our link builders with most experience in these niches had to say about:

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The subject line

While it is generally a good idea to keep this short, adding the name of the person you are contacting or the name of their blog has been known to improve open and response rates. You should make it obvious that you are writing with the intent of contributing to the site, but some bloggers are immediately repelled by the sight of the phrase "guest post" in their inbox, so you might want to avoid that particular term.
On the other hand, bloggers who are generally open to this kind of collaboration (for instance, those whose blogs you’ve found by looking for ‘write for us’ pages) will often appreciate you giving them an idea of what you would be writing about in the subject line, but this can sometimes backfire by making them realize they are not interested before they even open your email.
Finally, some link builders have noticed their response rates have improved after they started phrasing their subject lines as questions, as this seems to further incentivize the bloggers to at least open the email.

Email content

The email itself should also be on the short side. As most people in health and fitness niches you outreach will have a fairly good idea of why you are contacting them, you shouldn’t spend too long dancing around the fact. Apart from testing their patience, if you appear like you are trying to hide your true intention, you might even come across as insulting or deceptive. Simply list how you found them, what do you like most about their site, and move on to explaining why you think you are qualified to write a guest post for them.
This where your references are of crucial significance, the more high-profile publications that you can prove you already published guest posts on, the likelier that your pitch will be accepted. If there are too many of them for you to comfortably list them in the email itself, you can always create a free online portfolio page on one of the platforms offering that service, and send the link to that page instead.
Your email should be impeccably formatted and tidy, suggesting that you’ll have the same kind of attention to detail when composing the post you are offering. Aside from showing that you know quite a bit about the blog you are contacting, the email should also convey your general knowledge in the subject matter. Researching the trending topics in the micro-niche of the site you are contacting is a great way to show that you are staying current and that the content you’ll provide is likely to be high-quality.

Personalization

We’ve touched upon this in the previous outreach sections, but there’s more to email personalization than simply using the blogger’s name in the subject line.
For one, there is the register and tone of voice you’ll use. While some personal bloggers will prefer to stay informal, those dealing with more complex subject matter or with serious health related issues should always be approached in a professional, straightforward manner.
But this is not the only thing that you need to about a blogger before contacting them. For instance, you also need to know how involved they are in the blog they are running. If they are not too concerned about staying ahead of the curve and offering in-depth topics, your submission should also be based around a generic trending topic, as those are the ones they are likeliest to accept. However, if you notice that they are putting a lot of work into filling their editorial calendar, your pitch better be equally specific and well-formulated.
Finally, even though these are exact sciences we are talking about, it’s amazing how wildly opinions on certain subjects can differ. While one respected blogger will praise the keto diet as the best idea ever, another one will have nothing but derision for it. If you are hoping to elicit a positive response, you shouldn’t even start an outreach email before taking the time to get to know a little bit about the blogger’s views on the subject you intend to propose.

Email template for health and fitness guest blogging outreach

Hi,
[Name] here, I’m a regular contributor at [a blog you frequently post on]. Our content is focused on fitness, health and everything in between.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts! I wanted to contact you and see if you’d perhaps be interested in collaborating with me on creating some content for your site. I have over X years of experience working in the fitness industry and I’d love to be able to contribute to [their blog].
Here are some of the topics I am currently working on:

  • [Topic 1]
  • [Topic 2]
  • [Topic 3]

Let me know if you might be interested in publishing one of them and I will send the final draft to you. If you’d like to see more of my previous work, you can find some of the posts I’ve written for other publications linked below, or take a look at my online portfolio page[linked]:

  • [Linked post title + site name 1]
  • [Linked post title + site name 2]
  • [Linked post title + site name 3]

Also, please let me know if you have any ideas for new and engaging posts - I would be happy to provide content for you!
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!
All the best, [name]

The bottom line

While there is no way to cover all the potentially effective link building methods for sites in health and fitness niches, we did our best to show you what the entire process of creating and executing this kind of digital marketing strategy would entail.
Hopefully, you’ll test some of the queries we’ve provided you in Google, and once you are confident you know how they work, use them to get impressive amounts of prospects with Dibz in a fraction of time you’d have to spend looking for them in the SERPs.
If there are some parts of the process that you are still not clear on, or if you would like to learn more about other link building rules and tactics, our Learn SEO section already has quite a few useful resources, and is only going to keep growing, so give it a visit!