Has your website lost visitors recently? Numerous health and fitness sites have seen a huge decrease in users over the last few months. Since late July, many have seen their Google rankings plummet and visitors numbers tank in the wake of an unofficial algorithm update.


In the article, we summarise what’s happened, why websites in our sector have been particularly affected, and how you can fix it…


Summary Overview…

Here’s a quick high-level summary of what’s happened…


  • What Happened? Health and fitness websites experienced a decrease in rankings and traffic.
  • When Did This Happen? From 20th July 2018 onwards.
  • Why Did It Occur? Google updated its quality guidelines and many health and fitness websites don’t meet the new requirements.
  • What Does It Mean? This is bad news for affected sites. Fewer visitors means decreases in every area of your sales funnel, from enquiries, leads, and prospects to trials, sign-ups, and purchases. In short, fewer web visitors = less revenue.


Fitness Sales Funnel

Simple Sales Funnel – The fewer you have going into the top of the funnel, the fewer sign-ups you’ll have as a result.


How Did Google’s Algorithm Update Affect Health & Fitness Sites?

Marie Haynes wrote a really insightful article into exactly how the update affected sites. It’s well worth a read for detailed background into what happened. The short version is that Google updated its Quality Rater’s Guidelines on 20th July 2018. After this date, many health and fitness sites started to decrease down the rankings and lose traffic as a result.


It seems likely that these sites did not meet the requirements outlined in the new guidelines which is why their user numbers spiralled downward so quickly. Inaccurate fitness and nutrition info can significantly affect a person’s health, so Google takes the quality of these types of sites very seriously.


Losing Fitness Website Visitors Pinterest


How To Fix Your Rankings & Recover Your Traffic

Fitness Marketing Templates PDFs Tile HRSo, how can you fix your rankings and recover your traffic? Well, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you’re really creating high-quality content. Are you using an evidence-based approach that’s supported by science?


If you’re producing content that isn’t honest and accurate, then the health of your readers could be at stake so it’s only right for Google to de-rank it.


If you are producing top-quality content but still got hit, then you might have fallen foul of specific rules. The best way to resolve this is to look at Google’s Quality Rater’s Guidelines. These break down exactly what Google is looking for and can help you to identify where to improve.


We took a look and immediately noticed some key factors that may be affecting many health and fitness sites. These are summarised into five simple steps below that may help you recover your rankings and traffic…


#1 – About Page

An ‘about’ page can provide information about the expertise, authority, and trust of the people producing the content. They’ve fallen out of favour in recent years with many marketers claiming that readers want to know how you can help them rather than your life history. However, they remain one of the most-visited pages on most sites and an essential quality requirement according to Google’s guidelines.


Social Media Templates Tile#2 – Social Links

Links to your social profiles can demonstrate proof that you’re site is high-quality. After all, people won’t follow or like pages that produce low-quality material. Although not all businesses need a social media presence, this can also be an indicator of fraudulent intentions.  So, if you do have social media pages set up for your business, be sure to link to them from your homepage.


#3 – Clear Authorship

Google is also interested in the credentials of your content authors so it’s important to include up-to-date bios. As you can see in the image below, Heathline do this really well. They include the qualifications of every article author which links to a longer bio with more detail. This demonstrates that they are qualified to write about the topic and are more likely to produce accurate info.

Authorship Credentials Example

#4 – Reviews & Testimonials

Including reviews and testimonials on your site is another way to prove the quality of your offering. It’ll also help to convert more sales as people will see the purchase as less risky. Be sure to include them as text on your site so that the Google bots can read them easily. If you include them as images then the bots may not understand what they are. If you’re able to include star-ratings for your products or services, then include these too.


⇒ Check out this article on creating effective fitness testimonials.


#5 – Press Coverage

Getting press coverage is another form of social proof and gives your website more credibility. Including the logos of well-known websites or magazines that you’ve been featured in will demonstrate that you’re a legitimate authority. SitePoint has a great guide on how to use an ‘as featured in’ block to impress the right people – read it here.


Fitness Marketing Ideas Ebook AdSummary

This Google update highlights the importance of doing business with integrity. When people’s health is at stake, it’s crucial to approach marketing responsibly. This means writing accurate articles and creating high-quality content based on scientific evidence.


Focusing on education over sales is also likely to boost your rankings and credibility too. Google wants content to be useful, so fill your website with information that’s truly helpful and valuable to readers. This way you won’t fall foul of the next unexpected algorithm update and can continue to grow your customer base.