Health and Fitness Link Building: Everything You Need to Know

Health and fitness link building is one of the most difficult SEO tasks there is - but get it right and you'll outmuscle your competitors

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Last updated on May 29, 2024

You’re a health and fitness professional, so I KNOW my go-to analogy for explaining link building and the power of backlinks is going to work for you:

Backlinks are like nutrition.

The links you build power almost everything about your search engine performance. And the things you eat and drink power almost everything your body does or can do.

Getting powerful backlinks makes your website stronger than the competition in the eyes of search engines. So your search engine rankings skyrocket.

THAT is why you can’t ignore your health or fitness website backlinks.

Unfortunately, the fact that link building is a necessity in your niche means that you’re up against a TON of competition. But I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about health and fitness link building so you can grow through SEO in 2024.

Let’s go.

Backlinks in the Health and Fitness Niche: An Overview

A backlink is any link pointing to your website that appears on a different website.

If WebMD links to your sports nutrition company website in one of its articles, that’s a backlink.

Backlinks are an important SEO factor in ALL niches — but that’s especially true in health and fitness.

Let’s start with the basics: Google’s very first patent was all about backlinks. Specifically, it outlined a system for using backlinks to understand which documents in a database (webpages) should rank in which order for a particular search query.

Google is much more complex today. But the basics of backlinks (and their importance to the search algorithm) remain the same — if not even MORE important than they once were.

That’s the story for ALL niches. But yours — the health and fitness niche — is under even more direct pressure to obtain high-quality backlinks.

Why? Because yours is a Your Money Your Life (YMYL) niche.

That means what you put on your website can seriously impact people’s health, finances, well-being, etc.

Google applies extra scrutiny to websites in YMYL niches. And that means you need a TON of powerful backlinks to rank well for competitive health and fitness keywords.

DIY vs. Professional Health and Fitness Link Building

At some point, you’ve probably asked: Why the hell is my website performing so terribly in Google?

Most health professionals with their own websites eventually realize that they need backlinks to move the needle. But then, they’re faced with another question:

Should I do my own link building or hire an SEO company?

I’m not here to BS you. I AM a professional link builder and I’ve owned SEO agencies for 15+ years. I’ve built a whole team and business around this service. So I’m biased.

But I’m speaking from more than a decade of experience when I say this:

Building your own backlinks is soul-crushingly difficult. Especially when you’re trying to ALSO run your business.

Let’s take a closer look at why that is:

What You’re Up Against

I already mentioned the YMYL issue. And that’s a big one. But it’s not the only reason it’s hard to build backlinks in the health and fitness space.

Here’s another reason: The websites you want backlinks from get requests for backlinks thousands of times per month. And that’s only barely an exaggeration.

They’re tired of hearing about it. And they almost always say no.

Ready for another reason why DIY link building is so difficult? Because you need SCALE. Real scale.

That is, if you want to compete with the giants already dominating this space.

Such as WebMD, with its 684,400 referring domains and 154.6 million backlinks:

And, with its 79,400 referring domains and 10 million backlinks:

Now, I’m NOT saying you need millions of backlinks (unless you’re trying to compete directly with these behemoths).

What I AM saying is this: You need THOUSANDS of backlinks to compete for even a small portion of the rankings and traffic of a WebMD or

And getting even one backlink the DIY route is hard. Imagine repeating that a thousand times.

How a Pro Link Builder Can Help

Professional link builders — the good ones — have some things you don’t:

  • Link building skills and experience
  • Existing relationships with websites that will link to you
  • Teams that can devote a lot of their time to building backlinks for you
  • Paid tools that help them find thousands of backlink opportunities

They bring that to the table, and you can take advantage of it while you focus on actually running your business.

The Risks of Working with Link Builders

Don’t skip this part.

Yes, I know I just said a lot of positive stuff about hiring a health and fitness link building expert. But don’t pull the trigger just yet.

Here’s why you need to exercise caution:

Roughly 90 percent of ALL so-called link builders are no more experienced than you are at building backlinks.

And they’re actually much more likely to build terrible backlinks that will not only NOT improve your SEO but actually run the risk of getting you penalized by Google.

It’s just the truth:

The link building industry is PLAGUED by fly-by-night, fake-it-till-you-make-it SEO cowboys who couldn’t build a solid backlink if their lives depended on it.

I don’t know exactly why that is, but I suspect it has to do with the lack of professional qualifications in the SEO industry.

If you’re a personal trainer, you have to be certified. But you don’t have to be certified to be a link builder.

So any out-of-work beginner can wake up one day and start saying they’re a professional SEO. They’re not, and you shouldn’t entrust the future of your business to them.

Who SHOULD you trust, then? See below:

The UppercutSEO Link Building Difference

You can (and should) trust UppercutSEO to build the killer backlinks you need (at scale) to grow your health and fitness business.

I’m not asking you to take my word for it. I’m asking you to look at what we offer:

  • A fully transparent SEO dashboard that shows EXACTLY what we’ve done for you
  • A team with decades of collective link building experience
  • A direct line to our SEO experts (including me) any time you need help

It’s how we’ve gotten results like THIS for a client in the health and fitness niche (who has asked to remain anonymous):

Link Building Methods That Actually Work for Health Websites

Health and fitness link building isn’t like link building in other industries. It’s harder.

But over the years, I’ve identified some strategies that actually do work in this space.

(There are dozens of link building strategies, but these work best, in my experience.)

Here’s the rundown:

Guest Posting

Guest posting is a classic link building strategy. But there’s one right way to do it and hundreds of wrong ways.

In a competitive niche like health and fitness, you need the RIGHT way.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • You reach out to hundreds of websites in the health and fitness space (not direct competitors).
  • You offer them something of value: an article for their website that will bring them traffic.
  • A few accept your offer.
  • You write the article and include in it a link back to your website. The other website publishes your article with the link in it.
  • You just got a backlink.

Link Insertions

Link insertions also involve a lot of outreach, but you don’t do any article writing. Instead, you convince a website owner to insert a link to your website into an EXISTING piece of their content.

How do you do that? There are a few methods:

  • You identify links in their content that are no longer working and offer a resource on your website as a replacement. This is called broken link building.
  • You create an incredible piece of content that is related to content on the target website. You tell them about the content and suggest linking to it as a resource for their readers.
  • You buy backlinks to insert a link to your website.

The benefit of link insertions over guest posting is that you get a link in an existing piece of content that is (hopefully) already getting traffic from Google, meaning it will transfer more SEO power to your site more quickly.

Digital PR

Digital PR is a relatively new link building method. It’s not perfect for all websites, but it’s actually ideal for health and fitness sites.

Here are the basics:

You find a unique, newsworthy angle on some existing data or topic related to health and fitness. You create content around that angle. Then, you push it out to journalists and bloggers in the health and fitness arena.

They “cover” your story and link to you to give you credit.

This can be incredibly powerful as a link building method. But obviously, it requires a lot of footwork and some blind faith that it’s actually going to get results. It often doesn’t get results, but when it does, the SEO effects are massive.

Media Outreach

Media outreach kind of sounds like digital PR, but it’s different. And it’s a POWERFUL link building strategy.

Here’s how it works:

  • You sign up for one of the “media outreach” services, such as HARO, Qwoted, SourceBottle, Featured, or similar.
  • You get “call for pitch” emails that feature stories journalists and bloggers are already working on. Like this:
  • You answer those requests that are related to your area of expertise (health and fitness).
  • The writers receive your input and (maybe) include them in their articles and (hopefully) link to your website to give you credit.

It takes some doing, but when you get quoted in a major website’s article, you get an incredibly powerful backlink.

Assessing Backlink Quality

Backlinks are NOT all created equal. Some are much, much better than others. Here are some link quality factors to keep in mind as you build your health and fitness backlink profile:

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text included with a link. Search engines use it to understand the relationships between the two sites linked together by the link.

That means anchor text can influence your rankings.

So, what does “good” anchor text look like?

The most powerful is exact-match, meaning it’s an exact keyword you want to rank for. For example, if you’re a gym in NYC, an exact-match anchor would be “NYC gym.”

But you don’t want ONLY exact-match anchor text. You want a mix of partial match, naked URL, branded (your business name), and “cover” (click here, learn more, etc.).

But the very best backlinks in the health and fitness space come with exact-match anchor text.


The backlinks you build must be relevant to your website and its content. For example, you do not want a backlink from a plumbing website if you run a fitness website.

The more relevant, the better. Of course, if you can get a link from The New York Times, take it. But that’s a rare exception to the relevance rule.

Why does relevance matter? Because links from sites that are completely unrelated to yours look unnatural, and that can send up red flags to Google and lead to penalties.

Search Traffic

A lot of link builders want you to ignore this factor, but I promise you it’s important:

The webpages linking to your website need to have search traffic. I mean they need to be getting traffic from Google in order to provide valuable backlinks.

Why? Because that signals that Google trusts them. It’s ranking those pages, after all.

And that means any backlinks from those pages will pass on powerful link juice.

Anyone can create a random webpage and offer backlinks. But that’s not valuable. They need organic (search engine) traffic in order to actually improve your rankings.

Beef Up Your Health and Fitness Backlinks with UppercutSEO

Health and fitness link building is one of the most difficult SEO tasks there is. But that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Instead, you need to invest in a link building strategy that will change the game for your business. You need to invest in link building services from UppercutSEO.

Our proprietary, one-of-a-kind dashboard shows EXACTLY where your money goes. And enables you to order backlinks (as many as you need) when you need them.

Nobody does this better than us. You can quote me on that.

Ready to see for yourself? Book a free consultation with me or claim your FREE SEO dashboard right now.

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