First off, I’m going to give a quick shout-out to a couple of blog posts by John Doherty and by Dan Shure as two sources of inspiration for my own “If I did SEO for…” post. The two of which were most likely inspired by Tom Critchlow’s SEO for Hipmunk post. I’m going to give a shout-out to Dr. Pete for sending me an invite to Fitocracy after I asked him for one on Twitter.
Fitocracy is a gamified version of online exercise tracking. Track your daily workouts to earn points, level-up, unlock achievements and complete quests. You can find motivation from other users giving you props, finding new achievements and quests to complete or from looking at other users’ comments or workouts.
I was a film student in college. Ever since, I haven’t been able to watch films without a critical eye. Similarly, once I became consumed with SEO, I could no longer look at a website without looking for ways to optimize. Are the title tags OK? What’s the site architecture look like? Are they using the canonical tag? I wonder who links to them?
After looking around a bit, I’ll usually have a lot of ideas. I’ve enjoyed using Fitocracy and thought I’d write a bit about how SEO could help their startup. I wouldn’t waste my time writing about or actually optimizing a crappy site, but Fitocracy provides real value. It’s a great premise for a website. People want to exercise and a little extra motivation from a gamified, social online tracking program makes a whole lot of sense. I’ve been on the site for about 2 weeks and couldn’t possibly prevent myself from finding a few ways to improve it.
I’m not going to get too technical in this post. This is not a full site audit. I haven’t dug into the code. Instead, I’m going to talk about a few simple ideas that could put Fitocracy on the path to achieving brand recognition and set them up for success in the SERPs for the foreseeable future. I fully believe that SEO is no longer only about keywords and links. We now have to consider usability, design, conversion, social and everything else that can optimize a site in any way. You can call it SEO, inbound marketing or just internet marketing. It doesn’t matter. A good consultant looks at it all. In honor of Fitocracy’s leveling-up system, I’m going to give Fitocracy a few goals to achieve to ensure future site success.
Level 1: Quick Fixes
• Update Title Tags. The title tags on the site are fairly generic. Adding a targeted keyword for each page could help bring in additional traffic. Some possible quick changes (disclaimer: no real keyword research has been done)
Current: Fitocracy – Home New: Online Exercise Tracker – Fitocracy
Current: Fitocracy – Play New: Fitness Log – Fitocracy
• Get Unwanted Pages Out of the SERPs. Sometimes it’s necessary to create a lot of pages on your website, such as profile pages. The Fitocracy Forum has over 5,000 profile pages indexed in Google. All of these pages are essentially a duplicate profile page to the users main profile on Fitocracy. Since these pages provide no value to searchers, consider using the “noindex, follow” attribute to help keep these pages out of the index, but also allow the crawlers to follow them through to your forum posts and keep the juice flowing.
• Move Blog Location. Move the location of the blog from blog.fitocracy.com to fitocracy.com/blog. Building up one strong domain is easier than building up two. I prefer using a subfolder as opposed to a subdomain for newish websites.
Level 2: Content Optimization
• Leverage and Showcase Your Blog. There is some great content on the Fitocracy blog. Weight loss success stories. Real life tips given from other users. New website features and updates. Unfortunately, the only link to the blog is in the site footer. Consider putting blog post titles in the sidebar of our profile pages or even in the timeline of Fitocracy user updates. This is good content, produced from the site we are on. We are interested in seeing it.
• Create Unique Pages for Exercises. Fitocracy has a lot of different exercises listed within its tracking system. However, they are all only available upon hovering over exercise names in a drop-down menu. In addition to this exercise snippet, they should create a unique page and URL for each exercise. Additional content on the page could include a Fitocracy produced demo video, user videos, alternate names for the exercise move, leaderboards for the particular exercise, average weight or reps by male/female users, as well as a ‘users who do this also do this in the same workout’ suggestion box. Each page would have a chance to rank well for searches related to the exercise name.
Level 3: Link Building
Having a dedicated user base on a site that is focused on leveling up and unlocking achievements is a great resource for a site looking to build links. Tapping into the vanity of Fitocracy’s users can make link building an easy win. Fitocracy already does a good job in prompting its users to share their work on Facebook and Twitter. However, a few easy steps can lead to a domain authority bigger than the thighs of the guy who just unlocked the Monster Squat achievement.
• Badges FTW! I’m at level 6 on Fitocracy. However, it just shows that in text next to my profile pic. Make a kick-ass ‘Level 6′ badge with embed code and I may very well embed that on my blog to prove to my friends that I’m more than a computer geek. OK, I probably wouldn’t embed a level 6 badge, but you’d definitely see it in my sidebar when I hit the teens. The five people who read my blog would instantly click on it knowing they could achieve a higher level than me. A link and a CT is what it’s all about.
• Easy Graph Embeds. Fitocracy recently released a new History tab which features slick graphs for your recent workouts. Want to see how your reps or weight have improved over the past few weeks? No problem. Check your History tab. Making these graphs easily embeddable with a nice HTML anchor text link underneath would guarantee they regularly show up on Health and Fitness blogs all over the web. Other bloggers think, ‘where’d you make that gnarly graph?’ before clicking through and signing up themselves.
• Easy Achievement Embeds. Same thing as above. If I earn some kick-ass achievement for busting my ass in the gym, I very well might embed it in my blog post the next day. Assuming I’m a health and fitness blogger, not an SEO blogger. Add some HTML with a keyword rich anchor text link in the embed code and you just got another easy link. Over and over again.
Level 4: Leveraging UGC
Fitocracy already has a Forum section which allows users to post on a wide variety of fitness and exercise related topics in an indexable format. This is good. However, not all users want to use a Forum. There are a few good options for UGC for Fitocracy to consider.
• User Blogs. Allow users to write their own blog posts that are a part of their profile page. Fitocracy users love to write about their workouts and their tips. Including a simple CMS within the User Profile would encourage a lot of users to write content and workout tips. Better yet, have badges for users that blog often or create blog posts that receive a certain amount of ‘props,’ the Fitocracy equivalent of a Facebook like. User blog posts would show up on the walls of everyone that follows the user.
• Workout Routines. Individual users can create a workout routine and save it within their profile. However, users cannot create routines that are visible to the public or the search engines. Allowing users to create and name workouts with some accompanying text would be a Win for Fitocracy. Not only would it create additional content for the search engines, it would also give users additional workout goals to complete.
Fitocracy is currently in Beta. I know they are not trying to get a billion organic visits and a million new members immediately. I’m also sure there are some great minds working on the site and they have a plan going forward to optimize it. I just wanted to write this post because I like Fitocracy. If you want a Fitocracy invite, hit me up on Twitter. If you work for Fitocracy and you want to spend your entire online marketing budget on me next year, hit me up on Twitter.
I strongly recommend you follow @NorthsideSEO on Twitter. We don’t tweet that often. When we do, it’s click-worthy.
Have you been to Fitocracy? Any ideas for improving the site? Have you written a “If I did SEO for…” post? Leave a comment and drop a link to your post so I can check it out.