Welcome to episode 60 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! In this episode, Bjork finishes off the solo trio with some fantastic advice on SEO for food bloggers.
Last week, Bjork and Lindsay talked about how blogger burnout is 100% real. They also gave some tips for avoiding it that you can implement in your everyday life. To go back and listen that episode, click here.
8 Food Blog SEO Tips
SEO can seem mysterious and scary for bloggers. There’s so much information on it out there, but it can be confusing and difficult to read. Moz, an popular and well-regarded SEO site, published once upon a time a blog post called the Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Bjork read through this whole post (it’s so long it has chapters!) and pulled out a bunch of things he learned from the post.
In today’s podcast, Bjork talks about these things and relates them specifically to food blogging. He talks about what the purpose of SEO is and how people use it, as well as how you can improve the SEO of your website.
In this episode, Bjork discusses:
- What it is that SEO is meant to influence
- Why people use search engines – and why it matters to you
- What keywords you should be trying to rank for
- Whether or not your site design matters for SEO
- How search engines can track whether or not your website is engaging your visitors
- What the (not provided) keyword in Google Analytics means
- The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- January 2015 Income Report on POY
- 10 Food Blog SEO tips from Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO [original post]
- How to combat the (not provided) results
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
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Bjork Ostrom: Welcome to episode number 60 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Hey there, everybody. This is Bjork Ostrom coming to you from St. Paul, Minnesota, and this is The Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Before we jump into the content for today’s podcast, I want to do a quick recap for those of you who aren’t familiar with who I am, or what we do, or what Food Blogger Pro is all about. I thought every once in a while it’d be good to just do the Spark Notes version of our story.
Almost six years ago, my wife and I started a blog called Pinch of Yum, and I say my wife and I, her name is Lindsay. Some of you, maybe most of you, know her. I say Lindsay and I, but the reality is it was primarily Lindsay, and it still is today, but what I found was I really liked the behind the scenes stuff with the blog, so I liked everything about WordPress, and the analytics, and I like to learn about ad networks, and things like that, so it was a really good partnership.
Lindsay was awesome at the content, the photography, recipe development, and I was really interested in the behind the scenes stuff. The reality is with any blog, what it really takes is awesome content, which we’ve talked about so often on the podcast. I was lucky enough that Lindsay was interested and really capable of doing incredible content at a really high level. That allowed me to go and tinker and play around with all of those other things that I talked about: the analytics, the ad networks, marketing, things like that.
Over the years, we started to grow that blog, and we built it into what was a full time job for us. As we did that, more and more people came to us and said, “How did you do that? What were the things that you implemented, whether on the content side with photography, or recipe development, or even planning a content schedule, or partnering with sponsors, or maybe on the back end side, like how do you optimize WordPress, and what are some tips for working with ad networks, things like that?”
At some point, we realized there was the opening or the need for something in our specific niche, which was food blogs, food and recipe websites. There was an opening there to create a community of people that are interested or that are currently doing the same thing that we’re doing and want to improve on that. That’s the story of Food Blogger Pro. We have this podcast that we do once a week, but we also have a membership site, and we open that occasionally, welcome new members in, and they’re part of this community where we have a forum.
We have tutorials, over 300 videos that cover all of those things that I talked about before that we were getting questions on. We have deals and discounts, so some of the tools and software services that we use and that we highly recommend, we’ve partnered with those companies to get deals and discounts for people. All of that is wrapped up into Food Blogger Pro, so I really view it as two different pieces. One is the public facing piece, which is what you’re listening to right now, the podcast, occasional blog post, things like that.
Then there’s the community piece, which is the Food Blogger Pro membership area, and if you’re not a member and you’d be interested in joining, you can sign up for the waiting list. You just go to foodbloggerpro.com and you can join that waiting list there. You’ll see where that is, and sign up, and then we’ll notify you when we open that for enrollment, but I just wanted to do that real quick because I’m sure there’s some people that listen along that maybe don’t know the full story. That is our Spark Notes version of the Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum story.
Whatever your story is, I hope that this podcast can be something that allows you to continue on with your story, to do your thing a little bit better, whether it’s a food and recipe website, or whether it’s something kind of related. Maybe it’s a blog or a website, but it’s not directly overlapping with the food industry. Whatever it is, I hope that this podcast can help you out in whatever it is that you’re doing.
Today’s podcast, I think we’ll be able to do that because we’re going to be talking about one of the most popular posts that we’ve had in a really long time for Food Blogger Pro. This is published maybe a year and a half ago. We did a three part mini series where Lindsay and I went through some posts that we really wanted to talk about and share. This is the last one of that little mini series, and then we’re going to get back into the regular Q and A sessions that we do coming up. That will be not this next podcast episode, but the one after that we’ll be jumping in. We have some really awesome guests lined up, and I’m excited to share those podcasts with you.
What about today? What is today’s podcast all about? We’re going to be talking about SEO, which those of you that are not familiar, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and this is a really important topic because it’s one of the primary ways that bloggers, especially food bloggers, drive traffic to their blog. As we’ve talked about before in the podcast, the industry is shifting a little bit. It’s not just about the blog, right? There’s also social media, and influence that you can have through, let’s say, and Instagram account, or a Facebook account, or maybe it’s on YouTube, but the blog obviously is still very important, and finding out ways to get traffic to your blog is a really, really important thing. One of the best ways to do that is through optimizing your site for search engines.
The hard thing, though, with search engine optimization is there’s no real, exact formula. Google gives us some information and says, “Here’s some things that we recommend,” but beyond that it really has to be people that are out in the field testing it and doing the best that they can to do an AB test and figure out which sites perform better based on different changes that they make.
We’re going to be talking about some of those things today. Some of those pieces of advice, and things that you can apply to your blog in order to help increase the search traffic, and some of these are going to be things that you can actually implement, and some of them are going to be concepts that you can think about as you’re building your website or your blog. One of the things that I’ve found when it comes to SEO is that it’s really an art, and it’s a science. The science side is making small changes that add up over time. The art side is that good SEO also means good design. As you know, good design comes from good art, which we’re going to talk about a little bit later on as we move through these.
The original post that I did for this was called Ten Food Blog SEO Tips from Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, and if you’re not familiar with Moz, it’s moz.com. It’s a site that’s started out just specific to SEO and still is focused on SEO, but they also have branched out to other things, but they have written a really, really good guide called The Beginner’s Guide to SEO. If you haven’t checked that out before, I’d really encourage you to read that. It would be the kind of article that you’d read through with maybe a good cup of coffee or tea, and sit down and peruse through it because it would really help you long term understand SEO and be able to apply some concepts to your blog to help increase the traffic you get to your blog.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to work through each one of these tips. We’re going to chat through each one of these as the last part in this little three part series of Lindsay and I highlighting the different posts that we wanted to bring the podcast audience. Next week, we’re really excited because we’re going to do the community podcast episode, where we’ve had people call in and give their advice, so I’m really excited to share that with you next week. Then the week after that, we’re going to jump back into the regular Q and A sessions that we have with different industry experts.
Like I said, the original post here was called Ten Food Blog SEO Tips. We’re going to shrink it down, and we’re going to do eight food blog SEO tips just to make it a little bit more efficient, and then also because one of the tips in the post doesn’t apply anymore. It was about using dashes in the URL, or maybe it’s just not as important and something that Moz doesn’t have or doesn’t recommend anymore. Then the other thing that I was going to include, the tenth tip was actually just recommending The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, which is a good read. We’ve taken that out as well, so this is reviewing eight different food blog SEO tips or concepts, and I hope that it helps you as you are building your site.
All right, let’s jump in. Number one, “It is both relevance and popularity that the process of SEO is meant to influence”, so this is actually a direct quote from, and most of them will be direct quotes from The Beginner’s Guide to SEO. If you want to read the entire article or the entire section, you can go and we’ll link to each one of these in the show notes. What I’m going to do is I’m just going to pull that little section out, read through it, and then talk a little bit about what that means.
“It is both relevance and popularity that the process of SEO is meant to influence.” The reality is when I first saw that, I actually had to read that sentence a few times before it really sank in. I’ll say it differently just as another take, so SEO is the art and the science of creating content that actually meets the needs of the reader and is shared a lot. I think that’s another way of saying the relevance and popularity, so it’s content that’s relevant, so it meets the needs of the reader, and then popularity, which means that it’s shared a lot and people interact with it. It’s actually the content that people want and it’s popular.
Said differently again, just to continue to take a different spin on this. Good SEO is creating content that is helpful and shareable. Just a really simple way to say it, and I think that’s a really good umbrella take on SEO.
It doesn’t have to be these super tricky things that you’re doing. The vast majority of it, the foundation, is creating content that is first and foremost actually helpful and then number 2, content that people will share. The basic ingredients for a helpful and shareable food blog recipe or a food blog post is a really good recipe, right? It can’t be something that isn’t a good recipe and 2 it has beautiful photos, content that people like to see and look at, that’s the shareable piece, people really like to share beautiful photos and number 3, this is starting to become more popular, maybe there’s some type of interactive element, like a video and you see that on social media a lot. Whether it be Instagram or Facebook, obviously Youtube, those are all important places where people are sharing video content and all of that can have an impact on your blog eventually.
If you would like to take it a step further, you can add in tips, tricks or things that make people go like, “Hey, that’s cool, I’m going to share this.” That’s one of the things that will help your SEO and Lindsay and I talk about this every once and a while as we think about those Tasty videos that you see on Facebook that are so popular. Oftentimes they have a little element of like, “Oh that’s kind of interesting. I’m going to share this, that’s kind of cool.” Think about the food related content that you see, personally and share. What is it about it that makes you want to share that content and then how can you reverse engineer that post or that video and figure out what it was that makes it shareable.
An other thing to ponder is are you creating content that might connect with and help other bloggers or content creators. That’s 201 thing that you can be thinking about meaning that bloggers and content creators are people that are really likely to share other content. How can you create things that are shareable for bloggers and other content creators. That can be a great way to improve your SEO, is by focusing on people who are likely to share, not just the broad audience but people that are likely to share.
This is an important concept, creating content that is aimed at other content creators can be one of the most important ways or the most significant ways to build your blog’s SEO as content creators are also content sharers, just to say that succinctly. These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself as you think about creating content that is both, tying this back to the original thing, that is both relevant and popular. Helpful doesn’t have to be how to type content like a walking through a very specific step to step process for doing a recipe. Sometime people just want to do something, like be entertained versus know something, which bring me to point number 2.
Why do people use search engines? This is a concept that’s really important to understand so people use search engines to do 3 things, number 1, do, number 2, know or number 3 go. I’m going to talk about each one of those as a sub point and as we think about SEO, as we think about blogging, it’s important to think about what type of person am I trying to reach when I’m creating this content.
Let’s talk about do. These are transactional queries so a food blogger an example would be someone searching for your Youtube channel because they want to watch a video you created for entertainment purposes. A do type search could also mean someone searching for a recipe on your blog, going to the blog post and then printing that recipe off. It’s a pretty simple transaction, it’s I want this so I’m going to do it, I’m going to go there, print it off, mission accomplished.
What about know? We were talking about know and know is informational queries. An example would be someone searching for how to make hummus and this person isn’t necessarily looking for a hummus recipe that they’ll print out although that could be a piece of it but the first thing they’re looking for is the information that will show them how to make the hummus. In the first example, do, it’s like they’re just looking to take that first step, they’re looking to get what they need, print it off and then they’re done but in know it’s more of wanting to learn something. They’re in the education phase and I think the know type of content is often overlooked by food bloggers and there’s lot of recipes out there but there’s not as many resources that are instructional in nature.
Can you imagine if there was a blog dedicated purely to food and kitchen tips and tricks and advice? If the content was really, really well done there could be huge potential for creating a following or a site that has extremely relevant of popular, to tie back to that original thing, it has extremely relevant and popular content and lots of potential for brand partnerships as well, which is a fun tie in. That’s know, it’s people that are wanting to look for information. Do is transactional, they want to get something, be done with it. Know is learning, it’s informational.
Then go, these are navigational queries, it’s people that are looking to get somewhere so an example would be somebody that searching Pinch of Yum or Food Blogger Pro. They know where they want to go so they’re typing it in and they’re essentially using search as the place where they would enter in the URL. That’s actually, I don’t know if this is still true but I’ve heard this said before, that one of the most popular search terms on Google is Facebook because people just type in Facebook, they click on the link instead of just typing Facebook.com. It’s just a really common way for people to use search is to do a go type search.
I think that’s an important concept to understand, I think maybe we understand that in a sense but just to really define that as do, know, go, the different types of searching that people are doing. There’s good news and bad news with this, the bad news is we don’t technically know why people are searching for your blog instead of just typing the URL into their browser. This is for go. If somebody searches Pinch of Yum so why are they typing that in versus just not typing the URL but the good news is it doesn’t really matter, we don’t need to know because if people are doing it then people are doing it and they’re ending up coming to your blog anyways. If people are navigating to your blog using search engines, that means you, the blogger, need to be intentional about presenting your blog in the best way possible.
Speaking specifically to the go type of searching, there’s a couple different tips and tricks you can apply. 1 is to make sure to fine tune your blog’s meta description. Every post that you have has a little description area in it but your general URL has a meta description in it as well. For example the one that we have for Food Blogger Pro is learn the essentials about what it takes to start and grow a successful food blog with easy to understand video tutorials. That’s the meta description if somebody were to type Food Blogger Pro and with Pinch of Yum, I’m going to do a little search here, right now, for it, see if I can pull it up. It says a food blog with hundreds of simple, healthy recipes and then food blogging resources form food photography to blog monetization. Pinch of Yum, obviously there this duality that we have. It’s not only recipes and content but we also have the blog side of it too so that’s the meta description for Pinch of Yum and for Food Blogger Pro.
What is the importance of a meta description? Well it’s not going to help your site show up higher, it’s not going to give you a ranking boost but what it does do is it will help increase the click through rate if it’s something that’s relevant. That people see and then they think, “Yeah this is something that I want to visit.” It’s like the little marketing slogan for your blog.
An other thing I don’t think is quite as common but occasionally will be something that you could implement is to demote site links and this is a tool that you would have within Google Webmaster Tools and sometimes what will happen is you’ll have a site link which is, let’s say if you were to search Food Blogger Pro in Google there would be all of these different links underneath that and those are called site links. It’s these sub-links that are part of your website but it’s not the main URL. For Food Blogger Pro it’s Blog, Login, Community Tools, Podcast and Topics and I’ll do one for Pinch of Yum. For Pinch of Yum the site links are Recipes and then it’s the traffic and income report and then it’s Lindsay which is the about page, Blog, How to Start a Food Blog and then Chicken Tika Masala Recipe.
These are the links that Google is saying, these are sub-links, they’re not the main link to the blog URL but these are some ones that you might want to check out and look at and occasionally you will get one of those site links that you might not want to be showing up and what you can do in Web Master Tools is you demote those. You can’t pick which ones are shown but you can say, “Google, my suggestion would be like ‘Don’t show this specific site link,’” and then they’ll take note of that. There’s no guarantees, but it’s a way where you can give a suggestion to Google to not show something. That’s a great way that you can control some of the go type searches. If somebody is searching, let’s say, just Pinch of Yum, you can demote a site link so it doesn’t show up if that’s one that you … Or you can suggest that it doesn’t show up if you don’t want it show up.
Then the last thing that is a basic tip but I think it’s so important is to enter in your blog’s site title and tagline. You can do that in WordPress. What that does is it’s the big blue part of the search. For Food Blogger Pro, it’s a “Start and grow your food blog;” for Pinch of Yum, it says, “A food blog with simple and tasty recipes.” This is really an important piece of it. That’s what people see. It has an impact on SEO so it’s important that you have a really strong site title and a tagline as well.
Just to recap real quick on this one. People use search engines to do, to know and to go. The ones that we are probably most familiar with are the do and the know. It’s important to also remember that go one where people are just searching your site name, even though they might know to type it in, PinchofYum.com goes to Pinch of Yum, a lot of people will interact with your site by searching for it first on Google and then coming over. It’s important to fine tune that. That’s number 2.
Number 3, this is another direct quote from the Beginner’s Guide to SEO: “The point of using keywords is not to rank highly for all keywords, but to rank highly for the keywords that people are searching for when they want what your site provides.” I think we all understand this in concept, For instance, the working title for this original post that I wrote, this podcast was 10 things I learned from reading Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Sure, it was a descriptive title, but it was pretty bad for SEO. Why was it bad? Because the person that I hope to attract to Food Blogger Pro isn’t just any old blogger. I want to focus on food bloggers. We have this really specific niche that we’re focusing on and I want to make sure that we are optimizing our content for that specific niche.
My target market is food bloggers, not bloggers, and therefore, my keywords when I’m writing content or doing podcasts should focus on food blogging and not necessarily blogging in general. After applying this tip that I learned to this actual post, the original post that I was writing for this, I changed the title from 10 Food Blog SEO Tips from Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. I included that little food blog SEO portion right at the beginning which is a really important piece to this because I want to attract people that are good bloggers, not just anybody looking to learn about SEO.
Now, I’ll say this. A recipe post is pretty straightforward when it comes to SEO because you’re usually wanting to rank high for whatever the name of the recipe is, so there probably isn’t a whole lot of tweaking that you’ll need to do. That’s especially true if you’re already following the basics that we outlined. If you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, you’ve probably gone through the SEO for food bloggers course. I’m guessing that you might have some products that you sell or maybe it’s affiliate marketing relationships where this SEO tip that we talked about could really come in handy.
When you’re crafting content to promote these products, be sure that you’re focusing on the keywords that people are searching for when they want what your site provides. That’s the basic premise here with it. Again, this isn’t anything that’s mind blowing or anything that is totally revolutionary, but I think it’s an important concept, because sometimes we can focus on too big of a keyword or we can focus on something that will maybe bring in a lot of people, but those people might not be the type of people that we want to bring in. It’s important to remember to think about your niche and to use the keywords appropriately for bringing in the type of people that you want to attract.
Number 4: Seventy percent of search is the long tail. Thank goodness for the long tail. Real quick definition of that for those that aren’t familiar. Long tail keywords basically mean a random string of words versus like one really concrete search term. A really short search term would be something like potatoes or it would be something like even mac and cheese. Long tail would be something like “healthy macaroni and cheese.” That’s a little bit more long tail. Or could be even more long tail like “healthy mac and cheese quick.” That would be an example of something that’s a little bit more long tail.
With long tail keyword traffic, I really think it’s a good example or a concrete example of why the idea of a 1% infinity is almost guaranteed to work when you’re building a blog or a website. For those that aren’t familiar, a quick review, we talked about it every so often on the podcast. One percent infinity is this idea that you’re getting a little bit better every day over a long period of time. If you apply that to SEO, then in a way, what you’re doing is you’re really leaning into this idea of long tail keywords because when it comes to search traffic, the chances are much greater that you’ll have thousands or hundreds of different keywords that results in a few clicks that really add up instead of having just one or two keywords that results in all of the traffic to your site.
That’s been really true for both Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro. If you are listening to this on your computer, on a phone, or something, you could pull up some screenshots that I have, but I’ll talk through those. When I first rolled this post, I took some screenshots, and example that I have was a screenshot from Google Analytics and it shows how Pinch of Yum had over 7,700 different keyword combinations that drove traffic to the site. Some of those might have had just a few clicks; others of them maybe had a thousand clicks. The combination of all those is really what was important and it’s all those different combinations that we’re able to drive traffic to the site, not just a few that drove the majority of it, but it was really a lot of different combinations.
The other example that I gave was Food Blogger Pro which had 274 different keyword combinations as opposed to Pinch of Yum, 7,700. For Food Blogger Pro, it’s 274; Pinch of Yum, it was 7,719. That’s a lot of different keyword combinations, 7,000, right? Almost 8,000 different keyword combinations. Why is there the big difference between the Food Blogger Pro one which was 274 and then Pinch of Yum, which was almost 8,000? There’s numerous reasons, but the most important difference is, number 1, time, and then number 2, total concept.
Lindsay has been building Pinch of Yum for 6 years at this point. She has … Oh, man, I don’t know how many it is, like 900 different posts while Food Blogger Pro has been around 3-ish years and has less than 150 post. half of those are low quality post in the eyes of Google, like quick member interviews or news about Food Blogger Pro. Not exactly stuff that people are sharing or linking to. It’s more of updates for members or things like that. The point here is that long tail keyword traffic is one of the reasons why we often preach about the importance of long-term commitment to blogging with … This is a side note … Long-term commitment with small daily improvements along the way. Because, as we mentioned, 70% of search traffic is long tail.
The best way to build long tail search traffic is to have lots of awesome content that you’ve been producing for an extended period of time. it’s important though to keep in mind that long tail traffic refers to search traffic, not social traffic. A spike in social traffic, maybe it’s something on Pinterest, like it’s shared a lot, oftentimes happens quickly and sporadically, not slowly over time. With Pinch of Yum, we’ve had post g viral on Pinterest or Facebook or not really Twitter but maybe, and it’s awesome. It’s also relatively short0lived.
If you were to look at the social traffic versus search traffic over a long period of time for Pinch of Yum, one of the things that you’ll notice is that social traffic, in general, goes up and down and maybe improves a little bit. It goes up, it bumps up a little bit, and then it will stay at the same level and then it bumps up. If you look at search traffic over, again, the long-term, I’m talking like 3 to 4 years, not 3 to 4 months, if you look at it over the long-term for search traffic, in general, the trend is going up. It’s slow and it’s steady, but it’s generally going from down on the left side of the graph, to up on the right side of the graph. It’s slowly going up over the time. The same in general is true for Food Blogger Pro. Bottom line here, the advantage with the longtail, or longtail keyboards is that, it’s usually a slow and steady climb upwards, as opposed to social, which is usually sporadic, a little bit unpredictable. Albeit powerful.
Social is important and powerful, and like we talked about the beginning of the podcast, it’s important to build out those other channels, it’s not only about SEO, and it’s not only about your blog or your website. Social is also important. If were talking about SEO, the long tail is really important.
That’s number 4. Number 5, good site design can positively impact your blog’s SEO. As I was reading through the beginner’s guide to SEO on Moz, they have this section called how usability, experience and content affects search engine rankings. The piece I want to hone in on here is the usability experience. This one, to be honest, always confused me a little bit. I heard people talk about how good design is important for SEO but the thing is, I never really understood how Google, which is technically it’s like a robot. It’s a bot that comes to your site and looks at it. I never could understand how Google could quote unquote get what good design is.
Here’s the thing, Google can’t tell what good design is, but people can. You and I can. Most people, at least people I know, really enjoy things that are designed well. If people really enjoy something, then they are more likely to link to it in a blog poster on social media, and having high quality links back to your blog is one of the most important elements in building the strength of your blogs SEO. Therein lies the beauty of SEO.
What we’ve talked about is both an art and a science, it’s engineering and it’s psychology. You’re creating content that’s easy to understand for robots like Google, and that’s the stuff like structured data, or its meta-descriptions, or its alt tags that are correctly updated. You’re doing that, but you’re also creating content that highly engaging for humans, that’s designed really well, that people like to share. That’s more of the art side of it.
That’s why I love SEO so much, because it’s the art, and the science. If you’ve ever wondered why does it matter? Why does good design matter for SEO? The reason is because a well-designed site, or beautiful photos, it’s not like Google could look at a photo and say, “I see that, that is beautiful.” What Google does is Google looks at things that people are sharing, and people like to share beautiful things. That’s why good site design can positively impact your blogs SEO.
Number 6, here’s one of the things that I learned from Moz’s beginner’s guide to SEO, search engines track engagement by seeing if you come back and continue searching. I think this is such a cool thing about Google, and such a interesting take away that I had after reading the beginner’s guide to SEO. I knew that a website could rank higher in search engines if it was more engaging. We hear that all the time, we hear people talk about, “Well, your post has to be really engaging, you have to engage your audience.” I never really knew how search engines would track how engaging a site was. I had this way weird assumption I guess it was that Google search would hook into a website’s Google analytics stats to see how long people would stay.
That would create a reverse inventive for websites to use Google analytics. If Google was using their website analytics to see how long people would stay, then if the site was an engaging one, then people would not rank higher, so then what would be the purpose of using Google analytics if it could potentially hurt your site? That was my assumption, like, “Oh, that’s how Google does it.” What I learned was, in reality, search engines tell how engaged someone is with a certain page by tracking to see if that person comes back to the search page after clicking on a link. I think that’s so cool, and it helps me understand one of the ways that you can make your site rank better, or through the process of creating something that makes people stick around and not go back to Google and search again, or just go back to Google in general.
Let’s do a for instance, let’s say you Google red lentil curry recipe, and you’re presented with a list of potential recipes, because undoubtedly there are hundreds of them, and you click on the first one, but it’s not quite what you’re looking for, so after 5, 6 seconds you press the back go back to the search results page. What you’ve just done is you’ve communicated to Google that this page isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, and if enough people go to the search results page after clicking on a certain link, then it’s possible, nobody knows for sure, but it’s possible that Google would notice that trend, and would maybe say, “This page isn’t maybe showing exactly what these people want when they are searching for red lentil curry recipe.” The potential then is that your site can be dinged because the process of going back to Google tells Google that it’s not exactly what people were looking for.
That’s one of the reasons why adding things like a video to your post is helpful. We talked about videos a lot, but it’s like, “Why videos? What is the thing about a video that would potentially be helpful?” This is an example where adding content that helps your page to be sticky, that helps people to stick around to engage in it a little bit more, and to not go back to Google, adding that type of content helps people stick around which tells Google, “Hey, I guess that was a good match, I guess that was what they wanted.” Which is what Google is really trying to do, they’re trying to find the links that are most helpful for the things that people search for.
If people don’t come back to Google, that’s a little hint to Google that the information that you provided on that page was what people wanted. As much as possible, add in that sticky content, add other links. Either internal links to other content on your site, or external links to other pages, that’s one of the reasons why it’s helpful for SEO. You can also add in, like I said, videos. It doesn’t have to be a super polished video, maybe it’s just a 30 second video that walks people through a complicated process that you’re doing. All of that stuff helps to give you a little boost, because, as we said before, number 6, search engines track engagement by seeing if you come back and continue searching, and if you don’t, that’s a little note to them that the content was potentially a good match for what you’re looking for.
Number 8, this one is such a bummer, but it’s important to know. If you ever look at the section in Google analytics where you can see the keywords that people search, you’ve probably seen this thing that says not provided, and in parentheses it says not provided. The not provided keyword, I didn’t know this until I read the beginner’s guide to SEO, the not provided keyword, that’s a result of people using Google with a secure SSL, which means HTTPS, or the people that are signed into their Google account. It’s one of those situations, and that results in this not provided thing, because Google made this announcement that they’re not going to share keywords for people that are searching when Google is used in SSL state, which is vast majority of the time now, which is kind of a bummer.
If you go into your organic keyboards section in Google, you’ll probably see at the very top, the one that says not provided, and it represents 90% of the keyword data that we personally have for, again, search results and that screenshot, and that’s a lot of data that isn’t provided. The not provided, in parentheses, not provided results, like I said, happened because of a change that Google made. It was actually in 2011, that blocked Google analytics from reporting on keywords from users that were logged into a Google account, or using that from a secure URL, like HTTPS google.com. There are ways that you can combat the non-provided results, and we’ll lean to that in the show notes. For us personally, that hasn’t been a priority for what we’re doing.
Right now we’re just using the 10% of the data that we do have, or a lot of times it’s less than that, maybe it’s 5%, it’s a sample group. We’re not really trying to dig into that data much, but it’s one of the things that I learned, so it’s one of the things that I wanted to share with you. If you ever wonder what that is, why that’s there, that’s what it’s all about. Number 9, actually this is number 8. This might be one of the most important ones too. Just knowing the important ones won’t help unless you can effectively interpret and apply changes to course correct.
This is one of the things that I see most often, myself included, but it’s one of the things that I see most often with using analytics, or Google analytics, or learning about search engine optimization. To be honest sometimes it can be harmful because people aren’t using the numbers anyway that are actually helpful. So many people use analytics and traffic numbers as look at it, and it’s like, “That’s nice to know.” We check our stats, we see that the numbers have gone up, and then we’re like, “Yes, this is great news.” You’re excited for the rest of the day, or we look at them and they’ve gone down, and then we get bummed out, and we get sad, and we don’t feel good about things.
Numbers and analytics, and insight like that, it’s all useless unless we use them to take action. That’s one of the reasons why I recommend bloggers use this thing called user controlled analytics in your first year of blogging, instead of traditional analytics. With user controlled analytics, essentially what you’re doing is you’re creating analytics for yourself that you track along with, and those are things that you control. An example would be, I want to post 2 times a week.
Or maybe you say, “Once a month I want to meet up with a group of bloggers, and learn something new from them, and share some of the struggles I have, and see if they can help.” Especially in your first year because those numbers probably aren’t going to be what you want them to be, and it’s going to be a roller coaster, and it always is in some way, shape or form, but especially when you’re first getting started, that can really be discouraging.
Now, if you are somebody who is a numbers person through and through, and you know that you’re going to get in there, and you’re going to look at the analytics, and you’re going to figure out ways to improve on your blog or your website based on those numbers, then I would say go for it, dig deep into the analytics. So often what happens is we just use them as a success metric as opposed to a metric that reveals to us what we should be working on, or focusing on, or what we couldn’t be improving on. That would be an entirely different podcast episode.
The important take away here is that, if you’re convinced that you want to check your numbers consistently, then be sure that you’re using those numbers to help you better understand and improve the type of content that you’re creating, instead of just using it to track along with, and to feel good one day, and feel not so good the next day. That’s a wrap, those are the 8 things that I wanted to touch on here in this podcast episode, and things that really I learned as I read through this beginner’s guide to SEO. I know that SEO is something that often comes up in conversations whether it’s on the Food Blogger Pro forum, which we track along with, or if it’s sitting down with a coffee shop conversation with somebody, we hear this so often come up, how do I rank higher on Google? What are the things that I can implement to make my blog show up higher when people do a search for a certain recipe?
Some of these takeaways, although your higher-level concepts, I think are really important to implement. If you have additional questions, I would encourage you to check out Moz’s beginner’s guide to SEO, it’s really good foundational knowledge. The case in point, this was actually number 9 that I wanted to share, but the case and point for why it is good is that if you search SEO, which is a super competitive keyword, because the people that are trying to rank for SEO are people that are in the industry of SEO, but one of the first results, for me it is the first one, is this beginner’s guide to search engine optimization. I think that’s a really good case study for somebody that is good to SEO, that’s a good check for anybody that says that SEO, and SEO industry … One of the things you can always look at his say like, “What are some case studies of things that you’ve done?” For Moz, that’s ranking for SEO.
That’s a great example of something that would be good to dig into to learn, and a great way to apply 1% infinity, to look through this content, to read it, and to use that as you continue to build your blog and website. That’s a wrap for this week’s episode, I really enjoyed doing these little solo podcasts, and they’ve been fun to review. Some of the most popular blog posts that we’ve had on Pinch of Yum, and Food Blogger Pro. I hope that you find them helpful.
As I said, next week we are doing this community podcast, which I’m really excited to share with you, where people from Food Blogger Pro, members from Food Blogger Pro, and some of those from outside Food Blogger Pro will share things that have been working for them. We know that you, wherever you are, are a smart individual that has learned a lot of stuff, whether from other people, or from learning online, and we would love to share that with the food Blogger Pro audience. We haven’t had a chance to interview everybody, and we never will get a chance to interview everybody.
We want to do these occasionally where we reach out to the audience, and asked them to call in and leave a message. If you want to jump in and leave your message, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/call. The basic idea with that is there’s 3 things that we are asking people to do, number one tell us your name, number 2 tell us where people can find you online, so your blog or your website. Number 3, tell us one thing that’s been working for you. If you’re related to social media, photography, video, time management, really could be anything.
The goal is to allow us to chat with our … Hypothetically chat, it’ll just be a message, but to chat with our smart listeners like you, and give you a chance to share who you are, and what’s working for you. We are excited about that, we can’t wait to hear the different messages that people leave. That is a wrap for this week’s episode of the podcast, and the last in this little miniseries of Spoken Word Blog Post, the audio version of a few different blog posts. Thanks for tracking along, and can’t wait to share next week’s episode with you. Until then make it a great week, thanks guys.