How Nerd Fitness Uses Content and Unique Branding to Reach 1+ Million Organic Traffic

 Hannah Wiginton

Nerd Fitness has a unique strategy and they’ve used it to grow from a 1-man show to over 1 million traffic visits per month. Here's how I think they accomplished it.

Nerd Fitness has a unique strategy and they’ve used it to grow from a 1-man show to over 1 million traffic visits per month.

What’s Nerd Fitness? A fitness website for nerds and average Joes. Helping you lose weight, get stronger, live better.

Level up, Nerds

I’ve been following them for several years now because I wanted to be more fit, use best practices for working out, and build strength. Their branding caught my eye because it’s so UNIQUE.

They incorporate the use of The Lord of the Rings with a LOTR Workout, a Hobbit’s guide to walking, Star Wars with a themed SW workout, and LEGO obsessions.

Nerd Fitness was started as a simple blog in 2009 by Steve Kamb. It started out with him googling “nerd fitness”, wondering if anyone had combined the two subjects. When he found nothing, he bought NerdFitness.com and started writing nerdy articles to help beginners with exercise.

Nerd Fitness now has over 50,000 customers, over 1,100 active clients in their online coaching program, and an email list of 150,000. They even have famous people like Tim McGraw’s lead guitarist, Denny Hemmingon as part of “The Rebellion” as they call themselves.

I get an email from them every couple of weeks. It’s from Steve, the founder of Nerd Fitness.

The emails seem like they’re from a nice friend just saying hi, hope you’re doing ok. (I don’t know Steve but after some research, we apparently have a common love for the classic Legend of Zelda game.)

Every time I see his name in my inbox, I KNOW it will be interesting and useful.

If I want to know “How to lift weights,” they have an article about it. If I want to figure out how to stick to my new year’s resolution, they have some tips. Or “How to Lose Weight without Dieting” – that’s right here.

Download the Nerd Fitness Strategy

Nerd Fitness Traffic and Authority Stats

Their stats, according to Semrush.

They have a domain authority of 61. Their monthly traffic, worldwide, is approximately 1.1 million. In the United States, their monthly traffic is 507,000. They have 414,000 backlinks and 13,830 referring domains.

For comparison

History.com has a domain authority of 77 and traffic of 54.2 million.

Kitchenaid.com has a score of 64 with 3 million in worldwide traffic.

Colgate.com has an authority score of 67 with 6 million in worldwide traffic

In 2012, their traffic was at 9,840 per month. Now, in 2021, it’s over 1 million.

How SEO and a Content Strategy Makes the Difference

Now, here’s one of my favorite parts. Their traffic cost for the United States is $754,600!

What does this even mean?!

It means if they paid for the same traffic they receive ORGANICALLY through their blog content, it would cost them $754,600 every month in ads!

Not sure if SEO and relevant content works?

Yes.

Yes, it does.

Their top article right now is one containing home workouts with over 60,000 estimated organic traffic.

Their second top article is How to Hire a Good Personal Trainer. It’s a prime example of speaking to a targeted audience, teaching them something they want to know, and telling them about your own service. (They have an online coaching program with a personal trainer.)

What keywords do they rank for?

As of January 2021, they had almost 20,000 keywords ranking in the top 10 in Google! Remember that organic traffic cost? Yeah, this is why. They have over 144,000 keywords in the top 100 (in the US.)

High volume keywords

The keyword they capture with the highest volume traffic “crossfit” has a volume of 301,000 searches per month. They receive approximately 1,800 estimated organic traffic hits per month from this keyword. And they rank #9 in Google for it.

The article causing all this hullabaloo?

A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit: 8 Things to Know Before Your First CrossFit Workout

It has an estimated $7,400 in paid traffic cost per month. That’s what it would cost them per month if they paid for ads to target the keyword.

It also ranks for an additional 1,200 keywords, several of them for #1 in the SERP.

What types of content does Nerd Fitness have?

Case Studies – They have specific use-cases of others who have used their program and lost weight and got more fit

Extensive How-To Guides – They have a page dedicated to Beginner’s guides, 101 guides, and many more. This is in addition to all their helpful articles.

Meal Plans – How about 10 meals that only take 10 minutes to prep each? They a have a meal plan for that.

Internal Linking – every article links to tons of other articles on their website. In one article, I counted 9 in the first 900 words. That doesn’t even count some of the other links sending you to their coaching program or links to their research sources.

Calculators – Like this Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator or this Protein Calculator.

Worksheet Templates – They have ready-made templates so you can get started with workouts right away. If you want to start doing Kettlebells, here’s a worksheet.

Custom Character – You can create your own superhero character

GIFs/Memes – Not all businesses could get away with using silly GIFs, so this is part of their branding.

Ebooks – Several articles have been turned into ebooks.

Published Book – Steve wrote a book, Level Up Your Life, in 2016.

Email Newsletter – They send out a free bi-weekly newsletter to 150,000+ subscribers

Content Upgrades/Inline Opt-ins – There is an opt-in on most articles offering free helpful guides to help you on your fitness journey. Just add your email and you’ll receive a ‘Nerd Fitness Starter Kit’

Archives – They have a dedicated section on their site listing out every article by month and year. Here’s 2020, 2019,  2018, 2017, and on and on.

They use all kinds of content to reach users!

I have a list of over 90 content types you can use to grow your business

Additional Lead Generation

Phone App – You can download the NF app on the Apple App Store or on Google Play

Community -They have a Facebook Group, Discord channel, forum on the website, app forum, comments on articles. Inside the communities, they have monthly challenges and daily log check-ins.

Online Workouts – They have a variety of workout routines you can do.

Live Events – They try to meet for a big in-person event occasionally.

Content Observations – Common Themes in Most Articles

I dissected several articles to understand what they do to make each one shine.

  • They use an image, video, or GIF every 100 – 200 words.

It’s easy to follow along with lots of variety between text, video, and images.

  • Table of contents

They make each article easy to navigate and you can see a summary of what you’ll learn.

  • Word count varies

This article has 2,955 words. This article has over 3,606.This one has 2,056. This one has 2,119. This one has 1,977. This one has over 5,200.

(Each of these word counts include about 400 words in the call-to-action buttons and opt-in boxes)

Their top 3 articles have 2,688 words, 4,200 words, and 4,448 words, respectively.

  • They add multiple opt-in boxes, call-to-action buttons, clickable images, or CTA text to each article.

I counted 14 total in this article. While that may seem like a lot, it doesn’t detract from the article at all. The content is still helpful and informative and I’ll be able to immediately start doing bodyweight workouts in my living room because of this article.

  • Infographics and custom graphics

They create custom graphics for workouts, meals, and more.

  • GIFs

They use generic GIFs and they create their own custom gifs showing how to do workouts.

  • Videos

 Many articles have short videos showing how to do a specific exercise.

  • Use of multiple formatting options

 Varying font type, bold, italics, underline, bullet points, all caps, quotes,

  • Silly Alt text

This is something us web nerds find interesting and fun. And hopefully it gives those who need accessibility a chuckle.

Internal link strategy

Nerd Fitness uses internal links liberally.

In this 20 Minute Beginner Kettlebell workout article, they added 26 internal links. That doesn’t even count the links they include to their online coaching program.

Backlink strategy

They have about 405,000 backlinks. Over 325,000 of them are Do Follow links, which means search engines will crawl them and see them as quality and they can continue building domain authority.

GIF Strategy

If you want to see what a GIF strategy looks like, go read any of their blog posts. They sprinkle GIFs into every email and article. They have GIFs showing you how to do specific workout routines and random funny GIFs.

teaching how to do pushups
dumb and dumber

Building a LEGO-Style Branding Strategy

Apparently, Steve loves to build stuff. When he was younger (and even after 30 years), LEGOs were a way to express his creative, building side.

Because of this, you’ll find LEGO figurines all over the site who are lifting weights, doing pushups, struggling to choose between eating ice cream or running on a treadmill, or eating a pizza. They are everywhere…

Pretty sure the LEGOs are my favorite part of their strategy.

pushup lego
running lego

And some more…

lego eating ice cream
running lego man

Ok, I’ll stop now.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t take a genius to see Nerd Fitness can give you a mini-education on better fitness, training, and nutrition.

And what they’ve built brings in readers far and wide who they educate through a variety of content, articles, workout GIFs, and funny LEGO figurines.

Download the Nerd Fitness Strategy

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About the Author

I’m Hannah Wiginton. Writing and marketing are what I love do! ✍
Everywhere you look, words are used to tell you about products, people, and services. 
Let me help your business excel by creating an in-depth content strategy, writing compelling web copy, creating engaging blog posts, articles, or documentation, and writing effective emails. 
Find out about my strategy and writing services or contact me about your project. Discuss this article or just say hi on Twitter: @hannahwiginton or LinkedIn: @HannahWiginton