Thursday, January 10, 2013

SEO for Food Bloggers | Part I – Intro

SEO for food bloggers

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on search engine optimization (SEO.)  I’m just a person who pushed the “publish” button a couple of years ago, who happened to do a bit of research and who, along the way, has learned a few things about what search engines like to see on our blogs.

There are so many posts about blogging out there: how to start; why to start; how to market; how to photograph, etc.  And there are many blog posts specifically about food blogging.  But SEO for food blogging involves some specifics and detailed information and unless you have sat through a few conferences, you might have missed it and food blog-specific SEO posts are not widely found.

Kansas City has a local community of bloggers who meet monthly and a few months ago I (along with a local photographer and family blogger) led a discussion on search engine optimization.  The group is diverse and there were many questions about food blog SEO…which led me to the decision to do a quick three-week series on the topic.  This group is so amazing and it helps remind me constantly to share the knowledge that I have on various subjects.  So here you are, SEO for Food Blogs 101.

Today is the intro. 

And again, I am not an expert.  What I will tell you here is basic and I hope it will provide you a foundation for beginning solid SEO practices on your blog.  I’m still learning.  In fact, I love learning.  The geek in me loves this stuff.  So ask away.  Make a list, send it to me in an email, post it on my Facebook page.  If I can’t answer you, I’ll do the research and ask around so that we can figure it out together.  Let’s use this as an opportunity to build community.

First things first: let’s define Search Engine Optimization. 

Wikipedia explains that SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural or organic search results.  In other words, search engine optimization involves practices that you employ on your website which help search engines recognize what kind of content you have on your site.  SEO is writing and formatting your content in a way for search engines to be able to read and index blog content.

Why do you need to optimize your site for search engines?

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s simple (after you learn the basics)
  3. If you want your content to show up in search results, It’s necessary

SEO strategies not only build credibility with search engines but also for people who are searching the web.  How many times to you make it to page 10 of your Google results?  How many times do you click the first few results that pop up?  See what I mean?

Search Engine Optimization is a long-term strategy.  It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of thing.  It builds on itself over time through consist and quality content.  It’s not overly time consuming but will require you a few minutes per post to make sure everything is titled, tagged, and key-worded correctly.  If you are, this will be even simpler because there are plugins that do a lot of the work for you – we’ll get to that in a couple of weeks.

So, how is that for an introduction?  Here is my plan for the next few weeks: each Thursday, I will publish a new post about a different SEO topic –

January 17: Keywords & Titles

January 24: Links 

February 7: Recipe Formatting & Rich Snippets

February 14: Tips, Tools, Plugins & Resources

The posts for the above-named topics are subject to change because they are not yet written…and because I want your questions!  What do you want to know?  I have an idea of where they will go but I would love to know where you stand on these topics.  What do you currently know, what do you feel like is most important, etc.  You can email me or leave your suggestion/question in the comment below.

Also, if this goes over well, I will plan to continue posts like these from time-to-time so if you have any questions about blogging or food blogging in general, leave them in the comments below and I’ll add them to my list!


76 Responses to “SEO for Food Bloggers | Part I – Intro”

  1. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — January 10, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    Awesome post, Cassie! Can’t wait to read the next few!!

  2. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — January 10, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    Can’t wait to see where this goes! I do SEO tags and description with the plug in, but who knows if I am doing enough! The links and recipe formatting one is interesting to me, because I didn’t know any of that matter – so I am curious what you learned!
    So great to have a local group to get together with – I wish I had that!

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 8:51 am

      Recipe format will definitely be in there!

  3. #
    Jen @ Savory Simple — January 10, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    Great idea for a series!

  4. #
    leslie — January 10, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    Cant wait for this series!!!!!!! SEO..uggggg

  5. #
    Kristen — January 10, 2013 @ 8:41 am

    Yay 🙂

  6. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — January 10, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    SEO gives me gas, so I totes need this.

  7. #
    Melanie @ Nutritious Eats — January 10, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    I love you girl! I would love help here as I have been meaning to look more into this’s on the never ending “to do” list. I will think of some questions and email you. I am so jealous of that blogging group y’all have- it sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Cassie!

  8. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — January 10, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    So glad you are doing this!! I’m hoping that maybe you could shed some light on how to get a picture to show up on the Google search? I’m not sure if that fall under this topic but I’m oh-so curious about that!

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 8:46 am

      I had not thought about that, thanks for the suggestion!

  9. #
    Megan@whatmegansmaking — January 10, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    yay!! I want to read them all right now haha. I need a ton of help in this area for sure. And I agree with Laurie above – how in the world do you get a picture to show up in google search?

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

      This is the biggest question I’ve gotten so far. Will definitely do my best!

  10. #
    Aggie — January 10, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    You are awesome for doing this, thank you so much for sharing!! There’s so much to learn out there.

  11. #
    Amanda {Amanda's Apron} — January 10, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Yay! I’m excited to learn more! I am the opposite of Laurie – I feel like most of my Google hits are from Google Image, so I need to learn how to get my content/verbage more SEO friendly.

  12. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — January 10, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    This is going to be amazing, Cassie!

  13. #
    Lori — January 10, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    Great idea for a post series! I’m looking forward to all the great information to come.

  14. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — January 10, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    This is awesome Cassie, thank you! SEO is a bit overwhelming for me, so I can’t wait to learn and understand more how it all works. 🙂

  15. #
    Joanie @ Zagleft — January 10, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    I just came across your blog and I’m excited that I’ll be learning more about this. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

      So glad to have you here!

  16. #
    carrian — January 10, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    This is perfect, Cassie! Cannot wait to keep up with it.

  17. #
    Courtney @ Neighborfood — January 10, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    I am super pumped for this! I just recently switched to self-hosted wordpress and am fumbling my way through this stuff. I’ve been putting in alternate titles, meta descriptions, tags, etc, but have no idea if I’m doing it right! I’m curious about whether you could shed some light on SEO for pictures. Does it matter how you name pictures? Do you need to include alternate text for pictures? What about captions? Thanks for taking this on and sharing with us all!

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 10:22 am

      Yep, I will cover all of that. Thanks, Courtney!

  18. #
    Amanda — January 10, 2013 @ 9:49 am

    Gimmy all you got girl… I cant wait to learn it all! 🙂

  19. #
    Sweet Sarah — January 10, 2013 @ 9:55 am

    Yay! I am so excited for this series! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂


  20. #
    Sarah @ Simply Real Health — January 10, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    I am so looking forward to this! Thank you for posting and sharing!

  21. #
    Flavia — January 10, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    Thank you for writing this, Cassie! I am looking forward to the subsequent posts. I need so much help in this area. I have also been debating on whether I should move my blog to WordPress since it has so much more functionality than the CMS I currently use (developed by an independent small biz back in my hometown). There are so many features that WP has that are missing in my current CMS and my blog lacks a lot of practical and functional features, and I think this detrimental for my blog in the long-run. But the thought of finding another blog management company and moving all of my content to WP makes me almost break out in hives! I really need to think carefully about this. I’m looking forward to reading your piece on WP to help me with my decision.

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

      I will do my best! I mostly know WP but I’m going to do a little research on the other platforms. If you have any insight, let me know!

  22. #
    Kari@Loaves n Dishes — January 10, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    Thanks for doing this Cassie. I am pretty much illiterate when it comes to this stuff. I can’t wait to for your future articles.

  23. #
    Mrs. L — January 10, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    Will the tips work across the board? (like on Typepad too)

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

      Somewhat. I will cover some of the things the best I can but will provide some resources!

  24. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — January 10, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    SEO is something we are all trying to keep up with, can’t wait to see your posts!

  25. #
    DessertForTwo — January 10, 2013 @ 11:22 am

    I’m excited for this series!

    I have a small question for you: How do I get my photos to show up in google image results?

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

      That’s been the #1 question. I’m going to do my best to answer it!

  26. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 10, 2013 @ 11:31 am

    Obviously whatever you’re doing is working b/c when I google for a particular recipe, your site is often one of the top 5 that come up. Can’t wait to read these posts!

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

      You are too kind!

  27. #
    Carla @ Carlas Confections — January 10, 2013 @ 11:44 am

    I am really excited about this!!! I am thinking of switching over to WordPress down the road (wish I could afford to do it now) so I am super keen to hear about all the plugins and stuff with that. I am not so good with SEO, so I cant wait! If I think of other questions Ill be sure to ask 🙂 Great series Cassie!

  28. #
    Anne — January 10, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    Great idea for a series- I am just getting started out and really appreciate the advice/intel I can get. Can’t wait for next Thurs!

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

      So glad you are here!

  29. #
    Heidi — January 10, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

    Another total newbie here that is very much looking forward to this series!

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

      Welcome Heidi!

  30. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — January 10, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    Great series! I’m really looking forward to the next posts! I don’t know much about seo so this is incredibly helpful.

    If possible, I’d love to know more about how google+ helps with seo. I’m not even sure if it does but people tell me it can be so helpful.

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

      Good one! I’m still learning G+ but I’ll do my best!

  31. #
    Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — January 10, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

    I am looking so forward to these posts Cassie! I don’t know much about SEO but would love to learn and your posts sound perfect for getting started! I will be here waiting anxiously next Thursday! Thank you!

  32. #
    Herbivore Triathlete — January 10, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    If you would like a picture to show up on a Google search for a recipe blog you can use this plug-in:

    Only for self-hosted though.

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

      Thanks! I’m going to cover this part in a few weeks.

  33. #
    Jess @ OnSugarMountain — January 10, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

    Hi there! I just started following your blog today and how happy was I to see you’re doing blogging tips!! I’ve been food blogging for over a year now and I always am up for whatever tips and tricks other experienced bloggers can give. I can’t wait to see what you post!! 😀

    • Cassie replied: — January 10th, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

      So glad you are here, Jess!

  34. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — January 10, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

    I am sooooo glad that you are doing a post on SEO! I don’t have it on my blog and need it so badly but I consider myself not to be Tech savy when it comes to behind the scenes stuff with my blog. I am trying but I too have so much to learn.

  35. #
    Amber (Sprinkled With Flour) — January 10, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

    So glad you are doing this series, I am so clueless when it comes to SEO. Everytime I sit down to try to figure it out it gives me a headache!

  36. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — January 10, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

    Absolutely love that you are doing this series, Cassie! I have so much to learn!

  37. #
    Kate@diethood — January 10, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

    Cassie, thanks SO much for doing this! I need all the help I can get.

  38. #
    Jackie @ Domestic FIts — January 10, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

    This stuff makes my head hurt. I’m so glad you can explain it to me in normal person language.

  39. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — January 11, 2013 @ 12:32 am

    Really looking forward to this series, Cassie! I have tried to read about it, but it just gives me a headache and there is so much information!

  40. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — January 11, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    THANK YOU for doing this post. I need all the info I can get from people who actually know a thing or two. Can’t wait for the next posts…. I am soaking it all up!

  41. #
    Tracey — January 11, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    I’m so excited for this series Cassie! I only know a little bit about SEO despite blogging for several years. Thanks so much for doing this 🙂

  42. #
    katie — January 11, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

    This is going to be a great series! I think everyone hates SEO… so I’m thankful your tackling the topic head-on!

  43. #
    Jessica @ Kettler Cuisine — January 11, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    Great idea! I am very much looking forward to this. I would love to hear some tips for foog blogs in Blogger. I started my blog about 8 months ago on Blogger and in hindsight should have used WordPress, but hard to transition now!

    • Cassie replied: — January 11th, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Jessica! I started on Blogger and moved to about 8 months later. It wasn’t so bad but I did have some help. If you’d like recommendations, let me know. In the long-term, WP will be much better for your blog’s SEO but there are some things to do on Blogger that will help and I will cover those!

  44. #
    Jacob Clayton — January 11, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

    Cassie – If you’re open to guest thoughts within your series, I’d love the chance to address the rich snippets question for your readers (a.k.a the image showing up in Google searches) and pass along some tips, plugins, etc!

  45. #
    Paul (GetMeCooking) — January 20, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    Hi Cassie,

    I’m one of the owners and developers of the GetMeCooking recipe plugin for WordPress (

    Our plugin is very focused on SEO (and I have written about it and given presentations on it), so please feel free to contact me if you have any questions for the plugins chapter of your series.

  46. #
    Marisa @ Margaritas In The Rain — January 24, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    Cassie – one of the coolest things about you is that you’re so generous with your food blogging knowledge. It’s so amazing to hear about some of your tips for success. Based on all the comments, I can see that I’m not the only blogger who agrees. Thanks for putting this information (and your trial-by-fire findings and research) out there to share! You rock.

    • Cassie replied: — January 24th, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

      You just made my WEEK, Marisa! Thanks so much for your comment, it’s truly my pleasure to pay it forward!! YOU rock.

  47. #
    Amy @Very Culinary — March 19, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    Oh Cassie, Cassie, Cassie. I just read all 4 posts. I’m doing so many things wrong. ACK! But I consider you a lifesaver and my new best friend for sharing all this information. Thank you! Thank you so so much.

  48. #
    monique — February 18, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

    I am so grateful to see this info you have written about Seo’s. I have been blogging since October 2014 and I blog regularly but I feel I have so much to learn about getting found. For some reason unknown to me I have attracted the whole podiatry community to my blog. It’s great because they give me good response but, I want to attract more people who love what I love. Thank you again. I will be studying this info and checking back.

  49. #
    Tikamika — May 26, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

    Thank you so much for posting such an organized overview about SEO. I’ve just launched a food blog and am eager to share my recipes. To do this, I have to be easily searchable. Looking forward to the next session!

  50. #
    Marcellina — January 19, 2017 @ 12:11 am

    Just wanted to say thanks for this series. I have just read through a little bit of the first two in the series and have understood so much more of what I need to do. Thank you!


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