The U.S. health and fitness market has exploded over the past few years and is on track to set a new high-water mark by the end of the decade. This saturated market is extremely competitive, approaching some $35 billion in revenue.
It’s not just about the 39% of Americans with gym memberships, either. Recent forecasts anticipate 33.1% annual growth for the online fitness industry through 2028, paving the way for home gym manufacturers, supplement brands, and other wellness companies to grow.
Since there are so many supplement, equipment, and gym brands in the space, gaining meaningful visibility online can prove challenging for growth-focused organizations.
However, with a successful SEO campaign targeting the best keywords for fitness and health, you can establish search dominance and enjoy enhanced KPIs.
But deciding on the best keywords for fitness can be difficult, especially if you’re new to SEO. And, since there’s so much riding on this choice, you don’t want to settle for wild guesses.
Are you considering SEO for fitness websites? If so, we’ve got you covered.
This guide will cover the ins and outs of keyword strategy to help you get a better handle on which keywords are right for your health and fitness brand.
Let’s start by taking a look at the significance of your keyword selections.
Despite mutterings to the contrary, SEO is alive and well.
Whether you want people to sign up for a gym membership, purchase supplements from your eCommerce site, or sign up for your wellness newsletter, you need them to navigate to the right page on your site.
Organic search is by far the single largest source of traffic across all websites, which is why it’s vital that your important pages rank highly on SERPs.
You can’t expect people to just stumble upon your website and fall in love with your brand. Most people find new brands through search engines like Google, and if your pages aren’t optimized to outperform the competition in search, you won’t see growth in traffic and conversions.
Your keyword strategy plays a crucial role in your organic search success.
Incorporating the right keywords into your product descriptions, facility overviews, and your brand’s health and fitness blog is a significant part of showing search engines like Google that your pages are relevant to a searcher’s query and deserve to rank highly—ideally in the top 10 results, where they’ll enjoy the highest CTRs.
This is an incredibly simplistic overview of the role of keywords in search, and search engine algorithms have come a long way in the 30 years since the internet made its debut. But it’s important to understand the role of keywords in page rankings so you can make informed decisions about which keywords to choose and where to place them on your site.
You have to be strategic and can’t overdo it or try to hack your way to better rankings. Google’s algorithms have evolved to penalize sites that leverage black-hat SEO tactics to malevolently manipulate search rankings. Google’s ability to evaluate pages based on keywords is crucial to how the search engine delivers valuable results to users, and they’re dedicated to defending that process.
So, with a broad understanding of why keywords are significant, it’s time to put some thought into choosing the best keywords for fitness and health brands.
It wouldn’t make sense for you to offer a product nobody is interested in, right?
The same goes for keywords: If no one’s typing a keyword into the search bar, it’d be a waste of effort to try and rank for that keyword since ranking highly would drive negligible traffic at best.
The number of searches for a certain keyword within a defined period—say, a month—is called keyword search volume.
The higher the search volume, the more people are searching for this specific keyword. If you can rank for this high-volume keyword, you can expect to see a significant boost to your KPIs and conversions.
But there’s a catch.
Because these keywords are so “in demand,” there tends to be a lot more competition, which leads to increased keyword difficulty.
There are several factors that determine keyword difficulty. Here are a few of the primary elements:
Evaluating keyword difficult is often a deflating experience, but don’t let it get you down. Instead, look at keyword difficulty as a determining factor in your resource allocation.
You’ll notice there’s typically a correlation between keyword search volume and keyword difficulty. Typically, the higher the search volume, the higher the difficulty, and vice-versa.
Sure, you could invest heavily to capture a top-10 spot for a single high-volume keyword, but you might have better ROI for SEO if you spread out your efforts to rank in the top five for several lower-difficulty keywords.
It’s better to compare search volume and difficulty to help find keywords in that sweet spot where you can spend efficiently while seeing meaningful increases in CTRs and conversions.
Now comes the fun part: researching your keywords.
The simplest way to start your keyword research is by identifying the terms that best apply to your products and services.
If you’re running a health and fitness blog that features how-to videos for different workout routines, you might choose keywords like “leg day routine” or “core strengthening program.”
Do you own a gym, fitness center, or health club? Consider using geography as an element of keyword selection since your customers are typically local.
For example, a Texas-based chain might use “Dallas gyms” or “gyms in Houston.” You could focus on your particular offerings, as well. If you have a team of the area’s top fitness instructors, you could use keywords like “HIIT class” or “fitness classes.” You can also integrate geography for these keywords—consider keywords like “tennis courts Austin” or “Corpus Christi yoga instructor.”
If you offer fitness apparel, you’d want to start with product-related keywords. Consider “workout shorts,” “running shoes,” or “moisture wicking socks.” You could also target specific activities or sports with keywords like “womens swimsuit,” “tennis visor,” or “football gloves.”
Remember, above all else, your keywords need to demonstrate that the pages you want to rank are valuable to searchers. With its Helpful Content Update last year, Google took another step in transitioning from a traditional search engine to a discovery engine.
For digital marketers, one of the most significant elements of the Helpful Content Update is the renewed focus on—and improved ability to evaluate—search intent.
By doing more to serve users, Google is working to create a superior search experience, including the imminent Project Magi, which is set to usher in a new era of search.
All this is to say that since Google evaluates search intent closely, so should you as you decide which keywords to pursue when it comes to SEO for fitness websites.
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Google looks closely at each search query and uses context from a variety of sources to understand what the searcher wants to see, then evaluates relevant content to deliver the answers each user needs.
Whether a user is using their phone for some quick workout inspiration or poring over spec sheets as they shop for a new pair of running shoes, Google wants to help them discover what they need to know with minimal input required.
If your pages can do that, and they’re effectively targeted for the right keywords, Google will want to rank these pages highly and might even include them in rich results like featured snippets.
Google wants to be the resource for people seeking information to answer questions and solve problems. eCommerce is also a big part of what the search engine does, but Google almost never prioritizes product pages in response to questions like, “Where’s the best cardio class in St. Augustine?”
To get the most mileage out of each keyword, you need to go beyond the keyword itself and take an honest look at the pages of your website where they appear.
Are they thin pages that offer users little besides an “Add to Cart” button? Do they provide any valuable information or answer a question? No matter how thoughtfully chosen or carefully placed your keywords might be, Google evaluates all of the content on the page, and if it doesn’t provide value or match searcher intent, you’ll struggle to move the needle.
Google’s reinvention of itself as a discovery engine means there’s more value than ever in selling through content. For example, a health and fitness blog featuring expert training advice accompanied by product reviews and recommendations is a powerful tool for eCommerce businesses in this sector.
Fitness clubs, supplement marketers, and enterprising personal trainers all stand to benefit from publishing high-quality digital content designed to help people.
While choosing the right keywords is important, don’t underestimate the power of well-written, helpful content that your audience would love to read.
Keywords like “gym,” “workout,” or “fitness” are usually either too generic to offer meaningful results (something searchers already know, by the way) or have an insurmountable difficulty.
Alternatively, long-tail keywords can boost your content marketing strategy since they’re geared to match search intent. By anticipating searcher need and matching that need with helpful content, they can often deliver better CTRs and conversion rates despite their typical lower search volume.
“How to train for a 5k” and “proper form for bench press” are solid examples of long-tail keywords. This is another area where geography can greatly aid brick-and-mortar businesses. “Hot yoga classes San Antonio” or “best climbing gyms in Austin” are exactly the type of targeted long-tail keywords businesses can use to boost site traffic and conversions without having to outperform multitudes of competitors.
eCommerce brands can identify long-tail keywords by focusing on product use cases. What problem does your fitness apparel, workout equipment, or wellness supplement solve? You could go with “best protein powder for weight loss,” “workout clothes for tall guys,” or “dumbbells for beginners.”
Long-tail keywords give you the opportunity to position your brand as the best resource to answer a question or solve a problem. When you strategically use long-tail keywords on pages that deliver superior UX and feature world-class content, you give Google a reason to help searchers discover your brand in their quest for answers and solutions.
You aren’t the only brand in your space, which is why you should know the keywords your competitors are targeting. This phase of keyword research provides a few benefits.
First, no matter if you’re doing SEO for mental health apps or a commercial gym, you need to have clear expectations for reasonable success.
If it’s clear that your competition dominates the SERP for a particular keyword, trying to rank for that keyword may not be worthwhile and, if it is, could take some considerable investment and patience.
However, if one of your signature value propositions, as translated into a keyword, is one area where the competition seems thin, you may be able to capitalize. For example, if you’re one of the only “Denver gyms with basketball courts,” you could realize huge results with only minimal investment and make huge progress quickly.
If you’re serious about identifying gaps you can exploit in your competition’s content strategies, it’s worth subscribing to a paid keyword analysis tool like Google Keyword Planner.
There are number of keyword research tools out there, with free and paid versions, from sites like Semrush, Ahrefs, and SpyFu. If you’ve never used this type of tool, take the time to experiment with a free version.
Quality tools quickly demonstrate their value, and for digital marketing managers who truly understand the longevity and ROI of SEO, the cost is easy to justify.
Using a competitive analysis template, list your top SERP competitors. Then, use your keyword research tool of choice to see where the competition is and isn’t ranking. If you understand your audience—and you have the market research, buyer personas, and other materials to support your understanding—you’ll find readily identifiable opportunities to create content that will fill gaps and improve your rankings.
But keep in mind, this process can be complex, time-consuming, and challenging, especially if you’re taking on an established competitor or just getting started with SEO.
Most companies find the best ROI when they partner with an experienced, ROI-focused health and wellness digital marketing agency that has a proven record of running successful SEO campaigns. Spend more efficiently and see superior results by partnering with an agency like VELOX Media.
Choosing the right keywords is one of the pillars of effective SEO. The U.S. health and fitness industry is incredibly competitive, so if you want results, you can’t afford to leave your keyword choices to chance.
VELOX is an award-winning digital marketing agency with over a decade of experience delivering ROI that exceeds expectations for our clients. Our SEO experts use cutting-edge research and proven methodologies to deliver exceptional results, helping you grow your rankings and improve your KPIs.
Contact VELOX today for a winning keyword strategy, world-class content, and everything else you need to establish search engine dominance.