Have you ever Googled one of your recipes and been disappointed with how the result is displayed in Google (if it even displays at all)? This happens for one of two reasons:
- Google has decided to show your post that way.
- You haven’t set things up correctly on your blog.
You can’t do much about #1. Even if your blog is perfectly formatted Google might still decide that they’re going to leave out certain information from a search result. Google does as Google pleases. There’s not much you can do about it except make sure that you're not falling victim to #2.
There is something that you can do about #2, as there are multiple components that factor into the ideal search result for food bloggers. None of them are complicated, but they do require some time to set them up properly.
Keep in mind, this post is not necessarily about how to get your food blog to rank high in Google. It’s about how to set things up so your food blog has as many “bonus” search elements as possible.
I’m using the healthy sweet potato skins recipe from Pinch of Yum as an example for this post. You can view the original post here and the search result here. Otherwise, here’s a screenshot of the search result:
Note #1: It's important to know that Google doesn’t automatically reflect updates in the search results (remember, Google does as Google pleases). If you want to check to see if things are formatted correctly you should use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
Note #2: We’ll be using the term “keyword” or “keyword phrase” in this post. Your keyword phrase is the phrase that you’re trying to rank for in Google. The keyword phrase for a recipe post is usually just the name of the recipe. In our example, the keyword phrase is “healthy sweet potato skins.” If we wanted to try to rank for a more competitive keyword we could use “sweet potato skins,” or an even more competitive keyword phrase of “potato skins.”
Let’s break down each element and talk about how you can replicate these results for your food blog.
1. Bolded Text
Have you ever noticed that Google bolds the words you search for if they’re present in the search result? In our example this is happening in three places.
- The title (most important)
- The URL
- The description
For a food blogger, the title and URL will usually be the name of the recipe. If you notice that your title or URL aren’t correctly formatted then be sure to check that you’re entering them in correctly when you first draft the post, like so:
The description, or meta description as it’s technically called, is a little bit easier to overlook when drafting a post. There are different ways to go about accessing the meta description area, but the easiest is by using a plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast.
A plugin like this gives you access to a number of SEO features, one of which is a meta description area. Use this area to add a brief description of your recipe. Remember that you want to have as many bolded words as possible, so be sure to include your keyword phrase somewhere in the meta description. Don't overdue it though. You want to be smart with your description, not spammy.
Sometimes Google will decide to use different text than the text you’ve provided in your meta description. Google does this because it thinks the text that it is using is better than the text that you’ve provided. There’s not much you can do about this. Google does as Google pleases. 🙂
2. Recipe Rating
The recipe ratings functionality usually comes bundled with a recipe plugin. We use a plugin called Easy Recipe on Pinch of Yum. The ratings feature can be turned on or off in the General Settings area of Easy Recipe.
When this setting is enabled users will have the option to rate the recipe when leaving a comment.
Google will show the average rating and the total number of reviews in the search results.
3. Recipe Image
In Easy Recipe, the recipe photo selector is the second tab.
The recipe image size that Google shows is only 70px by 70px, so you want to be sure and select a photo that is easy to see and doesn’t have many distractions in the background.
4. Google+ Profile
Having your Google+ profile show up below your post is great for three reasons:
- It adds credibility to your post.
- It allows users to click through and view other posts that you've written.
- It increases the possibility of someone following you on Google+.
Setting this up isn’t necessarily difficult, but there are a few steps involved. Here’s what you have to do:
- Setup a Google+ account
- If you haven’t yet, install WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- After you install the plugin, go to Social > Google+ and make sure that you are selected as the user to show for the homepage.
- In WordPress, navigate to the “User” area and make sure that you have your Google+ account listed.
- In Google+, find the “Links” section and make sure that you have your blog listed in the “Contributor” section. If it’s not there, click the “Edit” button and add it.
Check Your Work
That’s a wrap! You can check to see if your updates were successful by pasting in a URL for one of your posts into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
How did it go? I'd love to hear if you successfully made these changes or had any issues along the way.