Food & Recipe SEO – How You Can Get More Traffic

Being at home 24/7 I miss eating out. If you are anything like me, being under lockdown, I am cooking A LOT. Each week when I am planning the shopping as a family I do my ingredients research beforehand, looking for new vegetarian recipes I can try out. The first place I turn to is Google.

This is reflected worldwide in Google search volume data where I am seeing search volumes for recipes increase 10, 20 times in some cases. The below shows worldwide searches for the term “recipes” by month:

Here’s another snapshot of some other terms for the United States:

Focusing on “pancake recipe” we can see the extent of this increase – 450,000 searches per month in February to 823,000 in April (United States).

Turning to the United Kingdom we can discover that “banana bread” has exploded going from 201,000 searches in February to 1,000,000 in April:

Just as the number of searches rises within the food/recipe space, around key times of the year like Pancake Day, Easter, and Christmas, the number of searches across recipes and food since March 2020 has increased and you should be seeing a reflection of this trend in your site’s traffic. (There was a Google update during the week of 6th May 2020 so if you noticed a drop then you may have been affected by that).

Some recipe sites are seeing traffic levels surpassing the traditional Christmas high which is normally the busiest time of year.

With all these millions of extra recipe related searches, there is a huge opportunity to double down on your SEO efforts and improve your rankings so you can increase your site’s revenue.

Keyword Research

The purpose of keyword research is simple: to identify those search terms with high search volume so you can create content targeting those terms which will enable you to rank.

Each page you create is another opportunity for you to be found on Google. If you do not create that page, that a keyword you will not show up in Google when someone searches for that recipe – simple.

Most recipe sites have hundreds and thousands of pages so it can be hard to keep track of which recipes you have and which you do not. Do you know what recipes you have on your site? More importantly, do you know which ones you DON’T have? When you identify those recipes that you do not have, (and you can create), combined with the monthly search volumes for these:

You can create a prioritised keyword plan based on common themes:

Low Hanging Fruit

There are opportunities that lie within your Google Search Console account that you can find by filtering through the data. Ranking opportunities are pages or keywords that already rank on google. Usually, these rankings can be pushed to the first page with some on-page optimisation and internal linking.

Unfortunately, there are limitations with Google Search Console in order to scale this process. That’s why I created an internal tool:

This allows you to export your pages along with any queries the page rank for, as well as each queries impressions, clicks, click-through rate, and average ranking position. There’s more magic that happens to automatically identify under optimised keywords by importing the basic optimisation information (url, heading 1, description). The image below what the export file looks like.

You can contact me to get free access 🙂 Easily identify those pages that are under optimised.

Recipe Plugins

Google can understand your content better if you feed it the information when it has been defined under certain variables. Googlebot reads the structured data that is marked up on your recipe so it can rank your content better and also show certain aspects of your content within search results.

The websites in the image below use various levels of structured data: recipe images, ratings and reviews, cooking time, and calories. The more comprehensive your mark up is, the better Google can understand your content and the more real estate in Google search results you will take up which will increase the likelihood of users clicking onto your website.

You can code this directly into your website or you can use either of these handy plugins:

WP Recipe Maker

WP Tasty

Recipe Schema

Once you have installed either of these you can start filling out the required fields within these plugins for each recipe. There are quite a few fields to complete for each recipe, and like I said before, the more you give to Google the better recipes will be set up to appear in Google Search.

The most common fields:

  • image URL
  • name of dish
  • rating
  • author
  • cook time
  • prep time
  • total time
  • date published
  • description
  • keywords (yes, keywords for recipes!)
  • calories
  • recipe category
  • recipe cuisine
  • ingredients
  • instructions
  • yield
  • video

Once you have completed the markup within the recipe card you can test this on Google’s structured data testing tool here.

Content Audit

Creating new content targeting new recipes is just one part of an SEO strategy. A content audit can optimise your internal linking, optimise your crawler resource and help avoid any keyword cannibalisation. Combining your pages with traffic as well as status code and the number of words on a page you can identify those pages that should be consolidated, deleted, or redirected.

Technical SEO Audit

A technical SEO audit will tell you what issues are holding back the site from ranking higher in Google. It will identify issues covering, page speed, on-page optimisation, internal linking, information architecture, on-site errors, and redirect issues to name a few.

It’s not why is this one page not ranking higher, but how can I get my 10,000 recipe pages ranking higher.

What questions do you have about increasing traffic from Google? I would love to hear from you 🙂

If you have been affected by the May 2020 Google Core Update and you want traffic recovery like the graph below I can help.