Seeing how you guys, food bloggers, enjoyed behind the scenes of iFOODreal’s recipe writing in September Income Report, I decided not to wait till October and share more. I thought you would appreciate it.
Not everyone, prior to starting a food blog worked in online marketing field. I did it for years just before starting iFOODreal and the last job I had was concentrated primarily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
No secret that Pinterest is big for food bloggers. Like # 1 traffic source big. For many bloggers Pinterest is responsible for 50% of the blog’s traffic. And iFOODreal is heading that way too. But I always make sure all my posts are optimized for search engines.
Have you ever wondered how Pinterest makes money?! Have you ever thought what would happen if Pinterest was gone tomorrow?! I bet you many bloggers are concerned. That’s why working on SEO and controlling at least 50% of your blog’s traffic is the 2nd best thing, after photography, you can learn to do for your business.
I just want you to know and remember that SEO takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. Think like a farmer, act like a hunter. That was the best advice I got, when I entered real estate sales career. Which obviously ended but the experience I received is priceless.
1. Add Best Image after the Title and before Description.
Click on image to enlarge. Before any recipe or intro begins, add the best image of the dish. In the body of the post, just like in my Skillet Greek Sausage Corkscrew Toss Recipe above.
#1. For SEO purposes, so Google picks it up first for Image Search results, and not the other not so important photos in the recipe, like chopping veggies or boiling pasta (in case you include them).
#2. Not for SEO but to make your readers want to eat this pasta off of their computer screens. Quite important.
2. Do Keyword Research.
I touch based in the last income report why using targeted keyword recipe posts is important. I also wrote a detailed post on how to do keyword research. Since then, Google Keyword Tool has been replaced by Keyword Planner, which is essentially the same tool with different layout.
In short, using proper keywords in the recipe’s title, first paragraph, throughout the blog post, image’s title & ALT tags increases the chances for higher Google rankings. Probably not today, but in a few years or less. Include keywords within first 2 sentences of the recipe
Yes, I understand this one might be tough if you want to start with a story. But every other time try to do that. If you start every time describing recipe’s flavours and ingredients, you might sound boring. I understand.
Let’s talk about Skillet Greek Sausage Corkscrew Toss Recipe again. My keywords for this recipe are pasta recipe, chicken pasta recipe, healthy pasta recipes. Using post’s title in the description helps too.
3. Name Your Images.
Name your photos. Please! Don’t leave them with names converted from your camera. AAA_165 doesn’t mean anything for search engines. Rather name the photo with the recipe’s name or accordingly to what’s going on in the photo.
For example, if I’m showing chopped vegetables, I would name the photo “chopped-vegetables-recipe-name”. Above, I named photos for my own reference: closeup, closer, full. Whatever works for you. And yes, I create different image versions for foodgawker.:) They are picky sometimes. I better be ready now.:)
4. Create Proper Image ALT Tags.
Each image has an Alt tag or Alternative text if you are using WordPress. See above (click on image to enlarge)?! Add the recipe name here with dashes between words. That’s how search engines read images. This way, your photo will have better chances showing up in Image Search results and leading to your blog.
There is a shortcut and a little secret. If you follow the rules and do #3 properly, the Alt tags will be inserted automatically. Like with my Skillet Greek Sausage Corkscrew Toss Recipe. Alt tag = image name.
Make sure the link to your recipe (permalink) contains the recipe’s title. Do not let WordPress set it by default. Go to Settings>Permalinks and choose Post Name.
6. Create SEO Friendly Anchor Text in Back Links.
Anchor text are the words that are linked back to your blog, whenever your recipe is mentioned. It is essential part of the link building = white-hat SEO = moving up in search engines. You need and want links back to your blog from other sites.
Link has higher value in Google’s eyes if content keywords like Skillet Greek Sausage Corkscrew Toss Recipe are linked back, and not click here for recipe. Or the name of your blog. The same rule applies to internal links = how you link your content within your own blog.
This strategy will improve your on-page SEO and increase traffic by making it easier for readers to browse content.
7. Don’t Give Away Your Content.
As mentioned in previous point, you want links back. When another oh-so-famous online publication like Women’s Health Magazine, Shape or Babble asks a permission to use your recipe and image, you will be flattered. And you should be! It’s your hard work! But at same time, remember it’s your hard work! Don’t repeat my mistake.
Allow to use your image, link back to your recipe and ask the contact person to email you the link once it’s published. Make sure that is all you give away and get proper credit. Never let anyone copy your recipe and republish entirely. Like ingredients and directions.
2 problems: #1. You will get almost no traffic and benefit from the publication #2. This will create duplicate content online, for which Google could penalize you.
8. Make Content Easy to Share for Your Readers.
I mean social media sharing. Add sharing buttons to the top of each post, not to the very bottom. You won’t believe how many times I want to pin the recipe and can’t find Pin It button. Whaaaat?! Yes. Last week, I came across the food blog with no Pinterest button. Whaaaat?! In 2013? I never went back. Me and Pinterest are tight. You can even add On hover Pin It button now. I personally found Pin It, Share and Stumble to be the best social media platforms for iFOODreal.
Like these Thai Meatballs. Pinned over 6K times in 2 weeks.
And then the Crock Pot Chicken Chili Con Queso. Stumbled over 16K times in 1.5 months. Crazy! Go figure…
I personally believe in less is more and do not want to overcrowd my posts with every imaginable button out there. At the end of the day, today, in 2013, Pinterest rules and your content is # 1. If content is good, people will find you. But still buttons on top are a must!
9. Analyze Your Blog.
There are a few cool tools to help you analyze your blog.
SEO Meta Tag Analyzer – “SEO tool to help webmasters analyze their web pages and Meta Tags. This search engine optimization tool analyze not only the Meta Tags but try to use the same spider technology as the search engines spiders themselves.”
You want your blog to look like this…Like iFOODreal.
10. Make External Links Open in New Window.
This is more of just a usability tip, not so much SEO. But sooooo many bloggers don’t do that. For example, if I mention any external website in my blog post, I always make it open in new window by clicking on the link button and checking off the box above. Why? because you don’t want to lose your readers. Of course some will come back but some won’t. And finally, it’s a pure convenience.
That’s it, guys! I’m getting bored and I think you are too. Tea time with pumpkin bread. Let me know if you got any questions.