Free traffic is the bloodline for food blogs since most of the food bloggers make money from ads and affiliates.
To make a decent amount of money from the food blog it is mandatory to drive a ton of traffic to the blogs.
In the online world today, a majority of the traffic comes from search engines. That makes optimizing for the search engine is not an option anymore.
The good news is, once the blog is optimized for search engines they start getting perpetual free traffic to the blogs.
Unfortunately, the SEO (search engine optimization) techniques are complex for many of us.
Added to that the rules change often and most of it is hard to implement as well.
You know many of the food bloggers are not technology savvy and they miss the opportunity to get free traffic from Google despite the effort.
So I collected some of the best tips for SEO specific to food blog. These tips helped us rank at the top for many blog posts and I thought you would benefit from these tips as well.
What is SEO for blogs?
Before we jump in, let’s understand the fundamentals of SEO. SEO from the technical perspective is complex to understand and implement.
In my mind, it is this.
Search engines are the computer programs that tries to see the website content from a human perspective and the way humans interact with the content.
In order for the programs to accurately mimic human interaction with the content, it needs help from the humans to guide in the right direction.
As bloggers, we put a lot of effort and write many great contents. Still, the content doesn’t get the traffic and engagement it deserves.
With the right optimization, you are telling Google about your content in the language it understands.
Here are the SEO tips
How to write a title for blog posts for SEO?
Titles weight 50% or more than the content itself. The reason, people click the link and go to the content only if the title is appealing and interesting.
The title should contain some of the following characteristics to make it appealing for people to click.
Your title will almost tell what the content is all about, along with that add some additional information to trigger curiosity. Something like “bread in 5 mins”, people will be curious to know how you can make bread in 5 mins. The curiosity will let people click through and read your content.
At the same time, don’t trick people with some hype in the topic and not explain about it. This will disappoint the users and lose trust in your site.
Use question format as much possible, human brains get engaged quickly when a question is asked. So when a question is asked in the title they would be interested to see the answer in the post.
There are tools like Answer the public which could help you with this.
Make sure you are finding a related question and answer in detail. Over a period of time, these posts will rank higher in searches.
Add wow factor
Wow factors always attracts people. It is like I made a cake in the microwave in 5 mins, that triggers the wow factor and you get more clicks.
Use filler keywords
Words like new, free or year triggers the attention immediately. Use these filler keywords appropriately to grab attention.
Length of the title matters
As SEO rules, the title length should not exceed 65 characters. It doesn’t mean that you should use all the characters. People don’t have time to read the lengthy title at the same time they won’t click the link if there is little information. Find the sweet spot for your post and add the title.
Find the sweet spot for your post and add the title.
SEO keywords for blog
Keywords are the words that you primarily focus on ranking your content. It is basically a label to tell Google what the content is about.
When doing a keyword research think as a user. If you had to type in the query in google what that would be. Or the same keywords you used to lookup for reference to write the post.
Use those keywords as the starting point for your keyword research.
I see many of us use google keyword planner to do keyword research.
We naturally put in the keyword and see there is enough traffic and use that keyword.
This method might have worked 5 or 10 years back, but now we have a ton of competition and gazillion post targeting the same keyword.
Here are some tips to do efficient keyword research and beat the competition
Long tail keywords
When I started using google to search information, I used 2 or 3 words to search for information and I got what I needed. Now I need to search specifically for what I need to get the exact information. I am pretty sure that is the case for all of us.
This tells us that the 2 or 3 keywords are almost dead, not many people search that broadly. Even if they do they look for content with specific details to click on it.
Not to mention these broad keywords have a ton of competition.
The solution to this problem is a long tail keyword. Long tail keyword is an extended keyword. For example, if you want to find a restaurant for dinner. You don’t search restaurants rather you would search restaurants near me for dinner or restaurants with a high rating in your location.
You don’t search restaurants rather you would search restaurants near me for dinner or restaurants with a high rating in your location.
Nowadays the search has become more descriptive so we need to find those long-tail keywords that have less competition.
You can use the tools like ubersuggest to type in your main keyword and get ideas for the long tail.
Type the seed keyword and get a many combination of keywords to choose.
Here is the short video from ubersuggest on how to use the tool.
Pick the keyword and put it in keyword planner to get the volume information.
On the same lines, you could get these long tail keywords from google auto complete. Have you noticed when you start typing something in google it start giving you recommendations?
Those are the recommendations it comes up with based on what people are searching often.
Use those recommendation to find the right keywords.
Also if you scroll down the search results in google you would see suggested keywords. It is also recommendation based on what people are searching related to that keyword. You can get ideas from there as well.
These would be some unique keywords you use for your blog. Something like your brand name or some campaign name that you are running and so on. These are called branded keywords.
Use these keywords in your keyword mix. I have seen some bloggers doing this, for example, one blogger used the keyword meatless Monday and post veg recipes on every Monday. These types of keywords attract the attention of the user.
It does nothing much for google but for people, it gives a differentiator. They get curious about that keyword and click on your post. Apparently, they will increase the CTR and rank you higher.
Find untapped keywords
Many of us look at volume for each keyword we use and think it is directly related. The fact is google not only rank for the specific keyword but for the keyword group as well. Remember the google keyword tool is a suggestion based on past data and it doesn’t mean the future data will be the same.
Use the volume information as guidelines and don’t skip the keywords that have less volume.
These low volume keywords might not be appealing to big brands and advertisers so you will have less competition.
Look for that keyword group and determine if your efforts are worth for that keyword group.
Don’t get confused about the competition
This is another mistake I used to do, look at the competition in the keyword planner and avoid keywords that say competition is high.
Later I realized that the competition data is for advertisers. It gives the indication of the ads competition for that keyword.
On the contrary, I started picking keywords that have high keyword competition so that we can make more money out of it. It is an interesting idea that I learned will write on a different post.
Ignore the competition metric and look for keyword groups with high volume.
Internation search is becoming more popular because of the increase in adoption of the internet all over the world.
Many of the bloggers write content that is beneficial for all the demographics. Sometimes we write specific to some demographic, like Thai curry or Italian pasta. When we write something specific to a location find those keywords in the local language and include them in the post. They will have potential to rank in that locality.
I know many bloggers even translate their blog in multiple languages and post the same content to bring additional traffic.
Links to food blogs
Links are the building blocks for google to understand the relevance of your content and the authority.
The length of the URL
Pay more attention to the link structure, according to the research from Brain dean. Shorter links rank higher that lengthy one. Even if your title is lengthy try to keep your URL keywords short. The sweet spot is said to be 3-5 words in the URL. Only use the main keyword in the URL and not the long tail version.
p.s. don’t go and update any of your urls now if you have already posted, that would cause more damage. This is only for new posts.
Always link related blog posts within the post. This will give the indication for google about the nature of the content. This also increases the weight the post, since we have more than one content written about that topic.
We can write a separate book about this, as I said this is one of the most important aspects for ranking in google.
Thumb rule is
- Link to high authority sites (Sites or blogs bigger than yours) from your posts.
- Earn links from high authority sites to your posts.
- Gain as much link as possible from other sites on regular basis.
Links are very important, the more you earn links the better you rank.
When linking out or linking in you would use the text to overlay a link on it. These texts are called anchor links.
When you link some content, use the words that describe the content. Instead of saying click here and adding a link to it. Try to describe what you are linking and then add a link to it.
Google understands the relevance better with the right anchor texts.
Blog submission sites for SEO
One of the easy ways to gain links is by submitting your blog to blog aggregators, directories, and RSS feeders.
These directory sites let you add your blog to their sites and give a link back to you. This not only adds SEO value but also drives a ton of traffic back to you.
Look for quality sites and submit your blog there.
Web 2.0 sites
Addition to the directory services, also add your blog to web 2.0 site like Tumblr, blogger, wordpress.com with a link back to you. Don’t forget to mention the origin of the content is from your site to avoid duplicate content issue.
This is the obvious one and I believe almost everyone does this in the common social sites. But there are sites that are not popular yet. Try to get into those sites and add links there as well.
Remember it takes a lot of effort so try to automate all these processes. As it is not one-time submission, but continuous effort to rank your content higher.
How long should a blog post be for good SEO?
The content length doesn’t matter much as engagements on the post. However, the research shows that in a long run lengthier content ranks better than short ones.
The reason is simple.
More content meaning more information, more useful it is for people the better it ranks in google.
Try to expand the content with additional tips and ideas where ever possible.
Don’t try to add content just for the sake it. The word count doesn’t matter much as the useful information.
The easy approach is, search in Google for the keyword you’re writing the content. Find the top 5 results and measure the length of the content. When you write the content make sure you write more words than the top lengthy one.
Also, make sure your post has multiple forms of content like images, videos, and reference materials.
For food blog images are really important and I see many bloggers add more than one image per post. The more the image it takes more time to load and slows the page down.
Make sure you use image compression plugins like smush it to optimize the images and keep the size low.
When adding images don’t forget to add the description and alt tag information. More important add the keyword in the tags.
There is a feature in google where people can search images, and google shows up the images based on the keywords in the alt tag.
SEO is a vast subject and it is hard to master all of it. However, if we know the tips and tricks to tell google the value of our content. Search engines are going to reward you with a ton of free traffic.
I hope some of these tips would be useful for you. Let me know if you need more details.