SEO for Food Bloggers | Part II: Keywords & Titles
Right now I am thinking “what have I gotten myself into!?” After last week’s SEO for Food Bloggers Intro Post, my head has been literally spinning nonstop with ideas, thoughts and directions for this series. I get started on an idea and then trail off into a whole other idea!
I received many ideas and questions from you all, the biggest being “how do I get my thumbnail to show up in a Google search?” We will get to that in a couple of weeks, I promise.
Today’s theme is keywords and titles. All are extremely important when it comes to optimizing your content for search engines because they help search engines understand what you blog and blog posts are about. This is a long post so I have tried to break it up with bullets, short paragraphs and section titles. Grab a cup of coffee and hang out a minute.
Keywords are used to describe a theme across your blog, or your blog post. When you think about keywords, think about what people might be searching to find your blog. Are you a gluten-free blogger? If yes, then gluten-free might be a good keyword for you to use. Aim to use keywords that would likely be used by people who search for recipes.
A note about keywords: you’ll sometimes see them described as meta keywords, meta tags, tags, etc. Essentially, they are all the same thing. When I say tags, I am not referring to the tags that you add to your post (located under the Categories section.) Those simply allow a way for you to organize your blog posts by grouping similar posts together.
A few tips regarding keywords:
- Focus on 1-2 (maybe 3) good keywords per blog post and use one major keyword in the first few sentences.
- Use the strongest keyword throughout the whole post: in the text of the post, in the title of the post, in the URL and in the photos titles.
- Don’t overuse keywords – what I mean by this is don’t make your post sound like you are a robot, just to use your keywords. Talk naturally, your readers will like you better!
- Use tools like Google Trends. Figure out what people actually are searching. For example, if I am making Homemade Oreos with Cream Cheese Frosting, I might wonder if folks search for Cream Cheese Frosting or Cream Cheese Icing. Based upon my quick search, more people search for frosting than icing. So I would use frosting as a keyword in my post, title, URL, photos.
One last thing on keywords: both SEO plugins that I will recommend help with keywords. I am going to cover those fully in two weeks but if you are anxious, check out All-In-One SEO or WordPress SEO (this is the one I use.) These are WordPress plugins so if you don’t have WordPress, these won’t really help you. Please email me if you have a question on a specific blogging platform.
For food bloggers, tags come into play most-often with our photos. When you upload a photo, it’s important to title and tag it properly so that a search engine knows what the photo displays. Google has no way of actually seeing what you photo is showing.
When you upload a photo:
Most people would tell you to use hyphens in the titles of your photos. I agree with this for one reason – and that is so that Google won’t think you are spam. Why I don’t agree with this is because it makes Pinterest look wacky. Ex: buffalo-chicken-meatballs-2
Other SEO experts would tell you to title the first photo of the past the same as the blog post title and then all of the other photos are named with hyphens and numbers. Ex: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
I prefer to title my photos in a Pinterest-friendly manner, and then include the blog post title as the alt text. Ex: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs | www.bakeyourday.net.
Fill in the Alt Text:
Don’t skip this box! The alt text should include a brief description of the image. This is how the search engines will know what your photos are. Use a sentence format, no hyphens.
In the example below, you can see that my keyword, Buffalo Chicken, is in the photo title and the alt text. Also, I removed the Link URL.
*Note: if you use Blogspot, I found a tutorial on how to add alt text to your images. I didn’t find a tutorial on titling your images, so I would suggest that you name them before uploading. (or maybe there is an easy way to name them?)
Titling Your Post:
Titles should be written using the strongest keywords of your post. The title should match the URL and photo titles. (We will talk more about URL/links next week.) Choose a Title that has relevance to the content on the page; avoid using “untitled” or “new post”. Be specific, descriptive, and consistent.
Below: notice the post is titled Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, the url includes the post title and that title is included in the title of the photo (in the floating layer).
The meta description shows up in search results under the title. The descriptions gives search engines a summary of what the page is about. (Your plugins will help with this.)
- Descriptions should include keywords and name of the blog post/recipe
- Accurately describe the page content
- Be specific
- Don’t copy and paste the first few words of the copy, actually describe what the recipe is about and what it contains.
In the screenshot below, these are the fields that I enter into my SEO plugin. Notice that my keyword Buffalo Chicken shows up in each box.
You have homework to do. Go to your top five posts (today!) and make sure that you have correctly keyworded and titled the posts.
Yes, this can be time consuming but if you set a goal to just go back to a few posts each day, you will be set up in no time. These steps will really go a long way to help search engines recognize your blog content. As I said last week, none of these are quick fixes. SEO is a long-term strategy and while the initial steps can be time consuming, making these steps part of your daily blog post routine will pay off over time!
Next week we will talk about links and recipe formatting so send me your questions!