091: Optimizing Recipes for SEO with Joost De Valk from Yoast SEO

Welcome to episode 91 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week, Bjork interviews Joost de Valk, the founder of Yoast SEO, about optimizing SEO for your food blog.

Last week, Bjork interviewed Brita Britnell about how she created her own path to transitioning from a Legislative Assistant to a full-time blogger and videographer. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Optimizing Recipes for SEO

SEO is something we bloggers hear a LOT about. It’s so important! But it can also be really confusing, even with the abundance of information out there.

Fortunately, there are tools such as the Yoast SEO plugin to help us navigate this often confusing landscape. Yoast SEO was founded by Joost de Valk and is one of the most popular WordPress plugins in use today. That’s… kind of a big deal. Joost met with Bjork for this interview to discuss a wide range of SEO topics, including why SEO matters for your recipes and how you can optimize it.

In this episode, Joost shares:

  • How you actually pronounce his name
  • How SEO changes with languages other than English
  • How to structure your site for usability
  • Whether or not you should delete older content
  • How to repurpose old content
  • If your recipes should show dates in search results
  • Why you need structured data for your recipes
  • Why your blog might not show up in search engines right away

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Bjork Ostrom: In this episode, we talk to Joost de Valk from Yoast SEO and yoast.com. He’s gonna be talking about building Yoast SEO, one of the most popular WordPress plugins. We’re gonna talk about some real specifics on how you can optimize your recipes and your food blog.

And then he’s gonna share the first thing that he would do if he were to audit a website’s SEO.

Hey everybody, it’s Bjork! We’re chatting with Joost de Valk today, and Joost has created Yoast SEO. He was the developer behind it, and he has a really big team in the Netherlands now. But he has started the company, started the company behind Yoast SEO and all the different plugins around SEO that they offer.

And I’m pumped to share this interview with you today because he has a ton of knowledge and insight around SEO. And we’re gonna talk about some real specifics with SEO as it relates to food blogs and recipe sites. And some of the things that you can start implementing today in order to have an impact on your site over the long run.

Two things I want to say about this. Number one, if you don’t have Yoast SEO or another SEO plugin optimized and installed on your site, I’d really encourage you to do that. Our favorite is Yoast SEO. It’s one of the most highly rated, it’s 4.8 out of 5 stars, it has over one million installs. I would really encourage you to install that. If you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, we have a course, I’m going through that and setting that up.

And the second thing, I’ve mentioned this before in the podcast, but we’re talking a lot about structured data on this podcast today. And for those that have been following along, you know that we’ve been really spending a lot of time and energy creating food and recipe, well, it’s really just a recipe plugin called ‘Tasty Recipes.’ And that’s under our umbrella site, WPtasty. So if you go to WPtasty.com, you can learn more about our plugin, ‘Tasty Recipes,’ and it marks up, it includes all of that structured data that we’re talking about today in your recipe posts.

So, if you’re not familiar with recipe plugins, if you don’t have one installed on your site and you have a food blog, it’s really really important to get that up and running. And that’s what we’re using exclusively now on Pinch of Yum. So, if you go over and you look at the new content that we’ve published, we haven’t switched everything over yet. But any of the new content that we’re publishing on Pinch of Yum, we’re using Tasty Recipes for all of that. So, you can get a feel for how that looks and how it works.

So, those are the two things I wanted to mention. If you don’t have a recipe plugin installed, you gotta do that. If you don’t have an SEO plugin installed, you have to do that. And make sure that you pay attention to that, because as Joost talks about today, it’s really important for the long run, to make those small consistent changes, because it has a big impact.

So, let’s jump into the interview. Joost, welcome to the podcast!

Joost de Valk: Thank you very much for having me!

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I’m excited to chat with you today. That was actually the first thing that I wanted to ask you about. So, your plugin, the plugin that you and your team have built and maintained, and it’s installed on so many different websites, is an incredible plugin. It’s called Yoast SEO, but that’s also your name. But I’m curious, because they’re not spelled the same. So, what’s the story with that?

Joost de Valk: No, well. The story is that if you tell an American that your name is Joost, and they see “J O O S T,” they call you “Joost.”

Bjork Ostrom: Right.

Joost de Valk: And that annoyed me. And at one point, a long time ago, I was in Stockholm at SMX as a speaker, and I was introduced to a guy named Rand Fishkin, whom you may have heard of, because he founded Moz.

And we got introduced, and he’s like, “Okay, so, how do I pronounce your name?”

And I’d tell him. And he’s like, “Oh, so it’s toast with a Y!”

And then I turned around and registered yoast.com.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah! That’s great. It’s exactly … you know, when you look at Yoast, you’d say it. And I would have … say it like you read it. Yoast. But that was one of the things that I first did when I knew that I’d be interviewing you, is research your name.

And I was like, “Oh, it’s just like the plugin is, which makes a lot of sense.”

Joost de Valk: Which, to be honest, if I can give you some business advice, don’t name your business after yourself because you’ll get sick and tired of hearing your name.

Bjork Ostrom: Hearing your own name over and over and over!

Joost de Valk: Yeah, and there’s all these things that you can block out, but hearing your own name will always trigger you.

Bjork Ostrom: Trigger, yeah. For sure. That’s funny. We have … we maybe have similar names, and so, my name is Bjork. And it’s one of those names where people look at it, and you would assume that they would know because of “Bjorn,” which is a popular name in the US. But, so much more often than not, I’m either called Ba-jork or just Bjorn.

So, I think I can relate to you with the J issue that people would run into in pronouncing that. So i understand.

Joost de Valk: Bjork is more Icelandic, isn’t it?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, well there’s an Icelandic singer that people know right away. If they’ve ever heard the name before. She wore a swan dress to the Grammy’s. And so there’s that great connection that I have.

Joost de Valk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: So, one of the things I actually wanted to talk to you about was, you had mentioned this just kind of in passing. But that you’re not in the US. And so you have this business that you’re running in the Netherlands, and I’m curious to know what is that like? When, I’m guessing, I don’t know, but I would guess the primary customer that you’re serving is in the US? Is that true?

Joost de Valk: That’s a very US thing to say.

Bjork Ostrom: Numbers wise! Is that not true?

Joost de Valk: Well, no. The US is definitely one of our largest markets. But so far this year, we’ve sold software to over 100 countries. So, you’re not alone! I think it’s somewhere around 50% that is US, which is tough sometimes, time zone wise.

Bjork Ostrom: Right.

Joost de Valk: But at the same time, it is what it is. And it’s always been like the for me, because I started blogging in English very soon into my blogging career. And, well that means that you get reach in English-speaking countries, of which the US is by far the biggest!

Bjork Ostrom: And what does that mean for you with the plugin? I know that you’ve recently released other languages, but primary focus is English language right now. Does that change for SEO? Does SEO look different for different languages? We often get questions about bilingual blogs and websites.

Joost de Valk: Well, there’s two things. Yes, it changed with languages. So, for instance, in Dutch, the amount of people in the world that speak Dutch is so much smaller than the amount of people in the world that speak English. That competition between sites is much smaller. So, food blogs in English would have hundreds of thousands of competitors, and in Holland, you’d only have a couple thousand at most for most niches.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Joost de Valk: So, SEO changes with that, because there’s just a much less market. But it also means that there’s much less market to sell to. So, it’s much less of an interesting market to do stuff for. So, if we could run our business by just being Dutch and doing everything in Dutch, we’d probably do that. But the market is just way too small.

Bjork Ostrom: Right, Right. One of the things that is interesting with that specifically is kind of the supply and demand idea. And so, there’s maybe less demand, but there’s also less supply.

Joost de Valk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: And that’s one of the things we so often hear from with people that are starting blogs that are like, “Well, there’s thousands and thousands of other food blogs out there. How am I ever gonna get noticed?”

And one of the things that we say is, find a niche and really serve that audience. And I think language could be a way that you do that. If you know a different language, if you’re from somewhere else, don’t feel obligated to start an English blog or website.

Joost de Valk: No, but if you want to reach the entire world, then English is your language. So, it depends a bit on what you want to do. But for a food blog, I don’t know whether English is always the best choice. Especially if it’s not your native language, because I mean, I’m Dutch. My English is fairly okay, but I run into issues with it not being my native language every once in a while.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Joost de Valk: The more fluent you are in a language, the easier it is for you to write and to create content. And if that’s what you’re going to do and want to make money from, then you might as well do that in a language that you’re really good at.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. And that’s one of the things that we encourage people to do, is like, to start small and then grow from there. To build out from that, so, it’s not that you can’t someday switch over and start to do a blog that’s maybe done in both languages, and switch back and forth. Or allow people to have the ability to switch between languages on your site. Which is a whole ’nother topic. It’s a little bit deeper.

But one of the things I wanted to talk to you about was some specifics with SEO. And speaking of the time zone piece, we know that it’s Friday morning for me, it’s Friday afternoon for you.

Joost de Valk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: So, I want to make sure to be respectful of your time so you can get back to your team and hang out and have a Friday afternoon beer with them.

Joost de Valk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: So, one of the things I wanted to start with, and we always try to do this on the podcast, is really ground-level understanding. So, when we look at SEO, if you’re looking at that holistically, big-picture, how would you describe SEO? And why is that important for bloggers?

Joost de Valk: So, we describe SEO as basically a layer of three things. It starts with having a good technical basis for your website so that a search engine can reach everything on your site, and can find all the content you have. And have the ability to find all of that and put it in its index.

That’s the technical layer. If you’re on WordPress, and you run our plugin or another big SEO plugin, you’re reasonably okay with that, usually. All of the basics are taken care of.

After that is a set of things that … some are truly SEO, other things are related but are very, very important. One of the things that we focus on a lot is site structure, and how people navigate your site. Because that determines whether people will be able to find related content well and be able to browse your site and find something on your site.

But it also determines how well Google can perceive what your site’s doing, and how well it can understand what your niche is, and what you’re really good at.

Bjork Ostrom: When you say site structure, could you explain that for people that don’t know what that is?

Joost de Valk: Yeah, so, say you have a food blog. Let’s use that as an example. There’s a couple of ways how you can set that up in terms of how you structure posts and how you relate stuff to each other. So, if you write a recipe every day, or maybe even multiple a day, your front page is only one view of what you’re doing.

So, say someone would come in and says, “hey, I want a pasta recipe,” and you have a blog that’s only about pastas, then you need to give the user a way of drilling down specifically to what does he or she want to cook. And what are you looking for?

So then you have to figure out, “How do I set up categories well? And how do I make my category pages and my tag pages in such a way that they are actually things that people can browse and find what they need in?”

And how do I make that work?

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so, it’s kind of like site structure would be literally how you are structuring your site.

Joost de Valk: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Including things like categories that your putting different posts and pages into.

Joost de Valk: Yep.

Bjork Ostrom: And making sure that, first and foremost I would assume, that it’s easy for people to get there, to navigate, to find what they’re looking for. And would you say that’s important to do without search?

Joost de Valk: Yeah, it’s absolutely important to do that without search. So, when you’re writing a blog post, it has to be very, very obvious to you where that blog post should be on your site, which category it should be in. And it also has to be very obvious to your visitor when he first comes to your site. How he or she will find stuff on your site and where it’s located. So, that means that site structure relates to both how you connect all of that together and how people browse through that. But that also means that it has to do with your menus on your site and how people navigate that.

That’s the usability aspect of it. How do you show that to people? How do people get there? And what can people do to navigate a site? You can’t give people a 30-item menu with equal items and expect them to understand how to get from A to B.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s interesting when I look at Yoast.com, which is probably a good example to go to, right because … ?

Joost de Valk: Yeah, and even that I have my worries with!

Bjork Ostrom: Sure! But, when I contrast that with Pinch of Yum, our food blog, one of the things that I notice right away, and it’s something I’ve kind of thought a little bit about, but when I hear it from you it’s really confirmed. You know, with Pinch of Yum we have a very, very basic site navigation page. We have an About, we have Recipes, and we have a Shop.

But when I go to Yoast, there’s these categories, where you can go to, let’s say, courses, where you talk about your different courses, or SEO blog. And when I hover over that, I can go to content SEO, WordPress, technical SEO … all of these different categories that I can go to.

And it seems like, oh, of course! Especially with a food blog, it makes sense to have those different categories really easily accessible for people. But then also how that impacts search.

And so, are you saying that by structuring your site, by paying attention to site structure, that that communicates to Google? The content on your site? What is the impact SEO-wise, then?

Joost de Valk: You can basically say that Google by now is a slightly dumb, blind visitor to your site.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Joost de Valk: So, they can read, but they can’t see all the fancy images. And they have to figure out how your site’s structured just from what you give them. And if the only way to relate posts is by doing random related posts, or by having your categories somewhere, but not making obvious what your categories are, and not optimizing those as landing pages … if you click on one of those categories for us, you’ll see that those are pretty optimized landing pages.

We’ve even classified some articles as “must read” articles for that specific category.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Joost de Valk: And highlight those in the beginning of that category page, because we think that that is the stuff that you really should read if you’re on our site.

Bjork Ostrom: So, an example would be when I go to the SEO basics category page on Yoast, and we can link to this in the show notes for this podcast …

Joost de Valk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s not just a blank list or a standard list of all of the different posts. On the top you have this little call-out box where it’s optimized for this idea of SEO basics.

So, even the category page itself is a landing page. Okay. Yeah. Interesting.

Joost de Valk: Every page on your site is a landing page, and if it’s not, then ask yourself very, very, very hard why that page even exists.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes. And if it doesn’t, you would say we should consider removing that, because it’s better to have fully-optimized pages. More isn’t necessarily better.

Joost de Valk: No, no, no. More is absolutely not necessarily better. In fact, we go through our own content all the time, looking at our old posts. “Okay, is this still stuff that we want people to land on?” And if not, what do we do? Do we rewrite it? Do we delete it? So, it’s a continuous process.

Otherwise, you end up with thousands and thousands of posts that aren’t timely anymore. For instance, in recipes, you mention ingredients that people might not even be able to buy anymore.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sure. And to go back, and to maintain those, and to make sure … And I think that’s something that people don’t do, is view their entire catalog of content as something that they manage, as opposed to this space where they just continually add to it.

Joost de Valk: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Like, you have to go back and you have to keep things clean and fresh, and pay attention to those.

Joost de Valk: It’s a lot of work to do well!

Bjork Ostrom: It is, for sure! So that was one of the questions I was gonna ask you, and one of the questions we hear a lot. Is it worth it to go back and update old posts or old content?

Joost de Valk: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: And then the second question with that that I have for you is, how do you know when you should delete something, versus update something? Maybe we can use a recipe post as an example?

Joost de Valk: Well, so for a recipe, if that recipe still gets search traffic, and people still land on that page, and people are obviously still searching for that specific thing. So, then I would keep it. If nobody ever comes on that page from anywhere, then ask yourself the question, “If I rewrote this and made it good for this time again, would it be useful?”

If the answer to that is yes, then you should just rewrite it. If the answer to that is no, this is really too old-fashioned and nobody wants this anymore, then delete it!

But I think you’ll be surprised, especially with recipes, how evergreen they are.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Joost de Valk: And so that means looking at, “Okay, so what needs rewriting in this thing? What has changed? Which things would I do differently now?” Then just update it!

If it’s a big update, so we do this all the time to our content, if it’s a big update, we republish it. So, we just change the date to today’s date, and we hit publish.

And then it hits the top of your blog again. If you do that a couple of times and you don’t change the URL, you just change the date, then over time you’ll have multiple people linking to that page. And over time your chance of ranking for specific keywords might become easier.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s one of the things that … we actually did an experiment with that with a post, where we updated it, Lindsay took some new photos, changed the date, and it showed up on the top again. It went out to the people that subscribe to the RSS and received email updates. And we saw an immediate bump in our search traffic for that. And it was really interesting to see the impact that just strictly updating content and changing the date to today had on search. People were coming to it because obviously it was on the front page now, and they could see it, but also were searching for it and coming across it.

Joost de Valk: And if that post is like six-years-old, which is something that happens for us fairly often, because I’ve been blogging since 2005.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, before it was cool!

Joost de Valk: Yeah! Well, it was cool back then, there were just way fewer of us. But you have these old posts and people are searching, and they see the date in the search results. And if the date is like ’08, and it’s something that has even a bit of a time-related thing in it, they might go like, “Why would I click on a result from 2008?”

Bjork Ostrom: Right. Yep. Do you think that would apply to recipes as well? That’s one of the things I’ve thought about, was potentially removing the date from search results for recipes.

Joost de Valk: I think that would be very smart because a recipe should be timeless.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. And so the date doesn’t help people click through it, necessarily, but it could potentially hurt it if they see it’s really outdated.

Joost de Valk: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: Speaking of, one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about is this idea of structured data.

Joost de Valk: Which is fairly important for recipes!

Bjork Ostrom: For sure! So, can you talk about what structured data is, and why recipes are especially important when it comes to structured data?

Joost de Valk: So, structured data is where you give Google more insight into what’s on that page. You don’t just tell it “this is the title and this is the content of the page,” but you give it a bit more metadata to tell what you’re talking about. Which means that you give it code on your page, and there’s a couple of different forms in which you could do that, to tell “Okay, this is a recipe, and these are the ingredients, this is the title, this is how long it takes to cook, this is the average rating by our visitors of this particular recipe, etc.”

There’s quite a few things that can go into a recipe markup. Google reads that markup and then uses that for search. So, if you search for a recipe, you’ll often see an image, and you’ll see a rating, you’ll see cooking time, you’ll see a number of calories … All sorts of different things that Google can show for recipes.

And, well, it’s actually fairly important that you have those.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And when you see those, and when you include structured data, does that help you show up higher? What is the benefit of having that? It’s something that we get asked a lot about, so I’m excited to include it in a podcast episode!

Joost de Valk: So, officially I think Google’s stance is that it doesn’t improve ranking, per se, but it improves your snippet. The snippet is what we call an individual result in a list of results on the search result page.

Bjork Ostrom: Yep.

Joost de Valk: It’s what we call a snippet. So, it improves your snippet because you get an image and you get a rating with stars, etc. You might show up in a carousel or in other things.

Bjork Ostrom: And can you explain what a carousel is for those that aren’t familiar?

Joost de Valk: Especially if you search on mobile for a recipe, you’ll sometimes get a horizontal scroll box instead of a vertical one, where you can flip through recipes. And that’s what you call a carousel. And to be included in that, Google needs to realize that you’re a recipe. For that you need to have the markup.

But also just in normal search results on desktop, when you see the images and etc., if you have those images, and those images look good, people might click on your more. Getting more clicks relative to where you’re ranked than what Google would expect you to get, might mean that you slowly move up in the rankings. Because Google sees by you getting all those clicks, that you’re a relevant result.

And that will help you move up. Also, I don’t know the recipes market in the US very well, but I do know it fairly well in mostly European countries. I don’t think you’ll show up in most results if you don’t have the schema markup anymore.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So, the idea with that is, not necessarily that suddenly if you start including structured data within your post, that Google is gonna show you higher. But there’s this kind of nuanced reality with search results that if you have a lot of helpful information in a post, especially if there’s a picture, maybe if there’s ratings and the ratings are really high, that more people will click on it? And, if more people click on it, that would be the thing that Google then takes note of and says, “Okay, I see a lot of people are clicking on this. And so that probably means it’s a good result,” so it shows up higher.

Is that in general kind of the idea with structured data?

Joost de Valk: Yeah!

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. So, the other question that I have with structured data that we hear a lot is, people say, “Okay, I have all of the structured data on my recipe post, I have it all marked up, I’ve used the Google structured data testing tool. And I’ve checked off that it’s all in there and checks out, but it’s not showing up in my search result. It’s not there.”

Sometimes it’s even like, twelve hours after they’ve implemented it. And then they go and check, and then it’s not there. So, could you talk a little bit about how Google works? And why it takes a little bit of time sometimes for those to start showing up?

Joost de Valk: All right. It can take a long time. So, Google comes to your site and grabs the content from it, and then puts you in the index. That process in itself can be fairly quick, especially when it’s only a simple news item or something like that. Then that can be fairly quick.

But if it has to grasp more around your content, if it has to parse that metadata, then it might take a while for Google to realize that that is the structured data, and that it has that structured data for your site, and that it can show that.

So, that can take days, if not weeks. And at the same time, if Google doesn’t trust your site, or your site is very, very new, then it might take even more time because Google is the first one to see, “Okay, what is this site? What’s going on here?”

We’ve seen sites where recipe markup doesn’t show up at all, even after weeks, because something else is wrong. Because there’s another technical issue, or because that particular domain has been bought and has been used for nefarious purposes before. And Google doesn’t trust that domain, and we have to fix that first.

So, there’s all sorts of reasons why it doesn’t show up immediately. That’s a time thing. You probably have to wait days if not a couple of weeks before it shows up for the first time.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah. Sometimes it just is the fact that you’re getting it started.

Joost de Valk: See, SEO takes time. Don’t expect SEO benefit to kick in the minute after you’ve done your optimization.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s definitely a long term play, but the great thing about it is that once the ball is rolling, then you don’t have to continually push it all the time. The cumulative effort of your work pays off over time.

Joost de Valk: Yeah. It gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Joost de Valk: I mean, Yoast.com now does over a million page views every month. And the large majority of that comes from organic search, and seeing that is hilarious. Because it just grows. There’s no end!

Bjork Ostrom: And you’ve also been doing it for, as you said, you know, years, and years, and years.

Joost de Valk: But as I’ve said, I’ve been blogging since ’05. So, it’s not …

Bjork Ostrom: You’ve paid your dues.

Joost de Valk: Yeah. Sometimes I get this question from people who’ve only just realized that we exist. Like, how did you become such an overnight success?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Twelve years of hard work.

Joost de Valk: Yeah!

Bjork Ostrom: So, one of the last questions that I wanted to ask you was, when you go in and look at a site, or let’s say we were to share login credentials for Pinch of Yum, our food blog, what would be some of the things that you would look at right away and say “these are mission critical things that need to be in place, and need to be optimized?” When you look at a site?

Obviously, when you install Yoast SEO, there’s a lot that just by turning it on, that helps out. But what are the things that people could kind of do a tiny little audit on their site and see if there’s some things they could update or fix?

Joost de Valk: One of the first things I would do is connect your site to Google Search Console. And check the errors in Google Search Console for your site. And see whether there are any ones there that I’d really consider mission critical.

Bjork Ostrom: What would an example of a mission error be?

Joost de Valk: Well, what happens a lot is that people rename a post and forget to redirect the old URL to the new one.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure, and so they would see a 404?

Joost de Valk: Yeah, they would see 404s in Google Search Console for URLs that probably should exist.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. And so, 301 redirect those to the correct page.

Joost de Valk: Yeah. Our premium plugin helps with that, but you can do that with other plugins too if you’re so inclined. But yeah, that’s one of the first things I would do, is just basic housekeeping. Making sure that you don’t link to 404s yourself from within your site.

So, when we do audits, the first thing we usually do is get a scraping tool like Screaming Frog and scrape the entire site and see like, “Okay, which errors did we see?”

Now, that’s not something a normal webmaster will have to do, but Google Search Console basically does that for you. It tells you where stuff is broken. And fixing that actually does help quite a bit.

The other thing we often look at is site speed. If your site’s slow, we’ll start optimizing your site immediately.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Could you talk real quick about Screaming Frog? What is that?

Joost de Valk: Screaming Frog is a spider. It basically is a tool similar to what Google uses to look at your site. It grabs all the pages of your site, and grabs the title, the content, etc. of it. And then you basically get a spreadsheet out of that with all the data of your site.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Joost de Valk: And then we can look at that. And it can recognize issues itself, but as an SEO, you just look at “Okay, where do we have 404s? Where do we have broken images? Where etc.?” There’s a ton of things that you could look at there.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. Great. So, Google Search Console for those that are just getting started would be the best place to start?

Joost de Valk: Yeah. And if you look at a lot of sites, I would seriously recommend getting something like Screaming Frog in place. Or, if you want it for your own site on a continuous basis, onpage.org, which we have integrated into our plugin as well, is an awesome tool to just get regular updates on hey, what stuff is breaking on my site?

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. Great. Yeah, it’s the maintenance piece, right? It’s not super exciting or sexy, but it makes an impact long term, so.

Joost de Valk: SEO is not very sexy, so.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Joost de Valk: SEO, as I always tell people, stands for Seriously Effortful Optimization.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah! For sure!

Joost de Valk: It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Bjork Ostrom: A lot of work, and intentional. And if you do it long term, it pays off.

Joost de Valk: Yeah, absolutely.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. So, I’m sure that people will hear this and will be excited to continue learning about SEO. It’s a huge thing for recipe and food sites. Joost, where can people go to learn more to continue to optimize their sites? To figure out kind of additional tips and tricks? What are some of the resources that you guys have?

Joost de Valk: So, we have … go to Yoast.com. There’s a couple of places there where you could start. And if you want to go through our posts, then you can. But just go to the SEO blog and look at all the categories. We’ve also got a set of courses that range from a basic SEO course to pretty technical SEO courses.

So, check them out. There’s an e-book as well that might be very useful, SEO for WordPress if you’re on WordPress. It basically takes you through the entire process of optimizing your site. So, there’s a lot of stuff we have there, and I hope you find something useful!

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome! Thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I’ll let you get back to your team and your Friday afternoon beer!

Joost de Valk: Thank you very much, have a great week!

Bjork Ostrom: You too, Joost.

Joost de Valk: Thank you, bye!

Bjork Ostrom: Bye.

One more big thank you to Joost de Valk for coming onto the podcast today, especially late in the day when he is kind of winding down here going into the weekend. It means a lot, so thank you, Joost.

And also thank you to you and your team for creating such an awesome plugin that has such a big impact on so many people’s sites. And therefore so many people’s lives!

I really appreciate you and the work that you’ve done, and your willingness to share a little bit of insight and tips and tricks for our audience.

So, to our audience, to you, wherever you are listening, I want to be intentional to take time to say thank you. And that we appreciate you! It really means a lot that you tune in each week. It’s one of my favorite things that we do here at Food Blogger Pro is this podcast. Being able to share it with you and to connect with you in person and, whether we meet at a conference, or at a Pinch of Yum workshop, or whatever it is, it’s always fun to connect with people.

And they say, “Hey, I feel like I kind of know you because of this podcast!” So, it’s a really fun thing for me, one thing I really appreciate about our job. And I hope that you find some value out of it.

All right, that’s a wrap! Make it a great week. Thanks guys.

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