How to Increase Brand Visibility, Traffic and Customers for your Home Workout App

3 years ago

Why am I focusing on the home workout app market?

Well, in summary, the search opportunity is pretty huge here and there is a specific approach that you can take advantage of to grow your traffic and downloads. 

The organic search landscape for home workout apps

We found that a small seed list of 300 keywords generates around 138,000 searches per month in the UK alone according to Ahrefs. This increases 10x if we look at the global search volume. 

Here is a sample of the keywords we looked at:

Even if we segment the list to focus on app-related keywords, the monthly search volumes are pretty significant when combined:

So, who is winning the organic search race?

Using our in-house software, we checked page 1 rankings and were able to see who ranks on page 1 the most. Here are the results:

Dark blue bars are publishers, whilst green is apps. The interesting thing that you may notice here is that the vast majority of these results are not apps. The following are actually publishers and they dominate search visibility:

  • Men’s Health
  • Women’s Health Magazine
  • Coach Mag
  • NHS
  • Very Well Fit
  • Health Line
  • Self
  • Men’s Journal

As we can see, eight out of ten results are publishers and only two are apps which are individual apps listed in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Whilst relatively focused, we need to dive deeper into the 300 keywords and see how results change if we focus on specific keyword types. For example, adding [app] into the query implies that someone is looking for an actual app, rather than a list of publishers. 

Here is what happens to the top ranking websites if we segment the list to only include “app” keywords:

Again, the results in dark blue are publishers, whilst the ones in green are app results. 

We can see that the dominant results are the Google Play Store and App Store. Again, these are usually individual apps as opposed to category result pages on those stores and similar to the previous results, the majority of results are actually publishers. In this case:

  • PC Mag
  • Tom’s Guide
  • Coach Mag
  • Men’s Health
  • Very Well Fit
  • Digital Trends
  • Marie Claire

Despite the queries becoming more focused with the addition of [app], we can see that publishers continue to dominate search results and if we assume that Google knows best what users want here, we must assume that for these kinds of keywords, users are looking to browse lists of options when it comes to choosing an app or finding exercises to do at home. 

Google is clearly catering for what they feel their users want here. This means that as an app, you’re going to struggle to find your place amongst these results on page 1, let alone at the top of page 1. As a home workout app, these are exactly the kinds of keywords that your target audience will be using:

  • [workout plan app]
  • [workout planner app]
  • [workout timer app]

So, what should you do?

Focus on tactics that drive customers directly.

Let’s look at how we actually do that.

How to use SEO to drive customers to your app

When we do SEO, we don't want rankings. Ranking is a way to GET what we want, but what we really want is sales. Either sales now through people clicking to us or sales later through people knowing us. With that in mind, this data leads us towards one tactic in particular - we need to get on those publisher websites.

Whilst there are a number of ways to use SEO to increase brand visibility and traffic, our data here is showing that there are some specific opportunities that smart businesses can take advantage of without making wholesale changes to their website or trying to rank themselves. 

The goal here is to make your brand more visible with publishers who do rank and there are a few ways that you can do this. 

Essentially, what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t do SEO in the traditional way.

If you do, it will cost you money.

Usually, a standard SEO approach would be to identify keywords relevant to the intersection of your product and what your target audience searches for, then try to rank for those keywords.

We’re not going to start there. There is an alternative approach that not many SEOs at brands think about.

1. Prioritise publishers by traffic and search visibility

Focus on building relationships with the publishers who are ranking well for these keywords and make sure that your app is front of mind for the journalists who are constantly writing and updating their content. This is the content that ranks for these keywords, so the way for you to rank is to appear on as many of their lists as possible. 

Based on our data, these ten publishers alone appear on page 1 of Google for target keywords over 800 times which includes when domains rank multiple times in rich snippets.

These ten publishers alone appear on page 1 of Google for target keywords over 800 times which includes when domains rank multiple times in rich snippets. Given that you’re unlikely to rank on page 1 for these keywords yourself, ensuring that your app appears in the lists that do is the next best thing. 

If you can get your brand featured on these publishers, they will often link to either your app page on the App or Google Play store or to your website directly. This means that you can drive valuable traffic to your brand and get direct downloads. There is also an added bonus in that if they link to your website, there is some SEO benefit there too.

2. Use the face of your brand

One tactic that many home workout apps are using is to promote the founder of the app and showcase the business values, ethos and messaging. This is a clever way to drive brand awareness in a positive way whilst also increasing your chances of generating traffic directly from strong publications.

One fitness app that is already doing this successfully is Sweat by Kayla Itsines, gaining coverage on the likes of Business Insider

Not only is the article fully dedicated to her and the brand, but the journalist includes authentic quotes suggesting the article got pitched as a profile piece. 

Another great example of this is Tone & Sculpt and their founder Krissy Cela who appears in numerous articles across the web which are about her journey and the goals of her app. 

This can not only build that brand awareness but can also show what the brand is about via a real face.

The benefit of this approach is that you can leverage a strength of the brand to get SEO benefits but again, not in the traditional way. Many companies will only think about the impact that the link may have on their organic search rankings, but the real benefit here is that you can drive real traffic to your app from articles that resonate with your audience. 

3. Get more from your brand mentions

Brand reclamation is a common tactic in SEO and is often talked about in the realms of link building and the associated benefits here. Whilst this is true (it’s something we do at Aira), there are bigger benefits when it comes to driving real customers to your home workout app.

If your app is mentioned in an article somewhere, you have the opportunity to reach out to the writer of that article and ask for a link to be added to a relevant page. This may be your app directly or it could be an informational article or the profile page of your founder if they have been mentioned by name.

For example, here is an article that mentions Tone & Sculpt and Krissy Cela. Heatworld is a high profile domain and generates over 1m visits a month according to SimilarWeb:

Turning this brand mention into a clickable link will mean that Tone & Sculpt get more value and the opportunity to drive customers. 

There are various tools that you can use to monitor mentions of your brand including Buzzsumo and Talkwalker which will alert you to new mentions of your brand or names of founders. Whilst we advise following up on as soon as you can after an article is published, we’ve seen success with reaching out up to a year afterwards.


We started with a seed list of 300 target keywords related to health and fitness. We decided to focus on a few core areas across types of workouts, home workouts, home exercises and apps. This led to a range of keywords such as:

  • [home workout apps]
  • [at home workouts]
  • [hiit workout app]
  • [at home exercises]

As you can see, there are a variety of keywords at play. Our aim was to get a good cross-section of keywords across the buyer’s journey and therefore, get a fair representation of who is performing well when it comes to organic rankings. 

Once we had our list of keywords, we used our in-house software to check page one of Google to see which domains ranked the most. We repeated this process a few times to check different segments of keywords to provide deeper insights. 

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