Because recipe sites have seen huge fluctuations in visibility

30 second summary:

  • The recipe space is very competitive
  • While sites like BBC Good Food and the like have seen a 22% increase in search visibility, the good times may be over
  • Award winning performance marketing agency, Reprise Digital’s SEO Account Manager on how to rank while algorithm update may still be in play

Google is a popular home for recipes. The search engine giant sees millions of recipe searches every day, with users looking for inspiration or trying to learn how to make a specific meal, snack, or baked delicacy.

The recipe market is competitive, with big players like BBC Good Food and Delish, brands like Gousto and Hello Fresh, and thousands of dedicated recipe blogs vying for your attention. Google does a great job of making this recipe’s content attractive in SERPs with rich results showing user ratings, how long the recipe takes, cooking, and more. This means that researchers can get all the information they need in one instant practice before they click.

Recipe sites saw significant increases after the algorithm update in November – sites like BBC Good Food saw huge increases in visibility to + 22% just a couple of months later. It’s been a similar story for most major recipe sites, with up a whopping 94 percent in the few months following the update. The websites of the brands mentioned above have also seen huge increases. In fact, Gousto’s visibility increased by over 150 percent just three months after the update!

However, the good times may be over, at least for now anyway. After the last algorithm update in May, those generous portions of huge increases have been consumed and replaced with significant reductions. Sites like Gousto and Hello Fresh were the hardest hit, as these brands saw their visibility drop by half!

Recipe sites and their organic analysis of the site's visibility based on the algorithm update

Source: Searchmetrics

Blogging sites have had to swallow a similar fate …

Recipe sites and their organic analysis of the site's visibility based on the algorithm update - table 2

Source: Searchmetrics

Algorithm updates have clearly had a huge impact on recipe sites, but Google has also been playing around with recipes for some time now. Many researchers have noticed that recipe carousels have been segmented by “recipe type” in recent months, for example.

It’s clear that recipes are a particular focus in core algorithm updates, so there’s never been a better time to ensure your recipe content is the best it can be.

Tips for making your creme de la creme recipe page

Below are some tips to make sure your recipe page is the crème de la crème. By following these steps, your content will have the maximum chance to not only appear at the top of the SERPs but also drive traffic by making it more engaging than other results:

1. Provide additional information

This includes cooking, cooking time, difficulty and calories. Also, remember to implement structured data (if you haven’t already!)

2. Add relevant optimized images

Let’s eat with the eyes first, images are a great way to make the recipe more engaging, as well as easier to follow. It is also important to select the best image that will appear in the rich results, it must be clear, of the recipe in question and of course look delicious!

In a competitive space, images are your chance to entice the user to click on your result rather than others. Off-screen products (as below) or low quality images represent a missed opportunity and could result in a loss of traffic to competitors.

Recipe sites - Google search results - rich results

Source: Google search

3. Create a video resource for high-value recipes

We all know that videos work great for recipes, but it can be time-consuming to create a video for each recipe, especially if you have a back catalog of hundreds or even thousands. Instead, focus on those recipes that offer the greatest opportunity by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are the search terms returning video results?
  • Do major competitors use videos for this particular recipe?
  • Is there decent search volume for the recipe on Google AND YouTube (maximize ROI)?
  • Is the recipe already at the top of the chart? If so, will a video take him to that next level?
  • Is this a recipe that would really benefit from a video? Are there many steps or variations?

As the data shows, recipe content is volatile, but minor tweaks and improvements can ensure your recipes have the best chance of ranking at the top and encouraging users to click.

Robert Scott is SEO Account Manager at award-winning performance marketing agency, Reprise Digital. Rob has five years of SEO experience with a keen interest in content and holistic search.

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