In today’s food blogging landscape, SEO is really important. Solid SEO can be the difference between a blog that survives and a blog that thrives.
We built Tasty Recipes with this in mind – we wanted to give bloggers the best chance of thriving with SEO. So, we made sure that Tasty Recipes included all the fields of every bit of required, recommended, and even optional recipe structured data element. As long as you fill out all the fields, Tasty Recipes has your back when it comes to structured data.
But this begs the question – what about all the recipes that were made years ago that don’t have all this information? Or the posts that you just didn’t bother filling out all the fields?
How do you know which recipes need to be reexamined for SEO? How do you know which recipes have optimized rich cards?
This question recently came up from a customer, so I thought I’d write out a solution here. There are two ways to go about this. The first is using a tool built by Google for keeping track of your Structured Data, and the second is a more manual site-wide audit.
At the bottom of this post, I’ll show you the spreadsheet Pinch of Yum used to do a site-wide audit recently, and you can even download it to use for your own blog! 🎉
Aright, let’s jump in!
Using the Recipe Rich Cards area in Google Search Console
Google has the most market share when it comes to search, so they play a big part in determining what structured data is important for your recipes. It makes sense, then, that they also try to give you the tools to make the best of your structured data. Enter: Google Search Console!
Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, Search Console keeps track of all sorts of data about your website and presents it in a user-friendly way. If you haven’t set up Search Console for your website, I’d recommend taking a look at our Webmaster Tools course over at Food Blogger Pro or check out this article from Moz.
Search Console allows you to look at the data for your recipe Rich Cards – one of the ways Google uses your site’s structured data in search results. To get there, log in to Search Console, then select Search Appearance → Rich Cards from the left-hand menu.
You’ll see the different types of cards in the first column (most people will only have one type – Recipe). Click on that line to take a more in-depth look at the data elements.
The first priority is fixing any critical errors. Critical errors prevent Rich Cards from showing up at all and show up in the graph as “Invalid cards”. Those need to be fixed ASAP. The second priority is fixing any non-critical errors (also known as warnings). Warnings aren’t good, per se, and it’s definitely a good idea to fix them, but they’re not as time-sensitive as the critical errors.
Each line in this view is for a different structured data element. Click on a line to see which URLs on your website are suffering from these errors or warnings. If you’re so inclined, you can download a spreadsheet with the information to keep track of your progress.
Now that you know which posts of yours have issues, you can edit the recipes on those pages to fix the issues. While you’re there, you can fix any other issues that might be present by making sure to fill out all the fields (note: if you use the Nutrifox integration with Tasty Recipes, there’s no need to fill out any nutritional information aside from the Nutrifox ID).
When you’re done fixing all the posts that had issues, you can request that Google recrawl your site to update the Rich Card information.
Perfect! Not so hard, right? There is one issue with this method, though: you can’t get a giant list of all the posts that need any sort of update. That means that you might fix one problem on a recipe, only to realize later that you needed to fix another problem (though, filling out all the fields should help get around this). Which leads to Method Two:
Do a Site-Wide Post SEO Audit
This method is a bit more work, but for bloggers who know that nearly all their old content needs some updating, it might be the way to go. It’s less techy, but more reliable. This method involves making a list of all your posts you have on your website and going through each post one-by-one to make sure each one is up to date for current SEO best practices.
Pinch of Yum recently did this to make sure that all posts on the site were optimized for SEO. The POY team came up with a neato spreadsheet that keeps track of all the updates to any posts on the site. Here’s what they updated for every post:
SEO Audit Tasks
- Nofollow sponsored and affiliate links
- Convert to Tasty Recipes
- Include Nutritox label (or other nutrition information)
- Image file names are relevant to the image
- Optimize meta description
- Optimize Pinterest Text for all images
- Optimize Alt Text for all images
- Include the keyword in the post
- Include the keyword in the URL
- Link to other similar posts
- Use SEO-Friendly Recipe Image
- Test with Google Structured Data Tool
- Submit to Google for recrawl
- Annotate update in Google Analytics
It was quite the audit! While using Search Console helps update structured data for recipes, the site-wide audit went through everything to make sure it was SEO-solid. It was a lot of work, but worth it for Pinch of Yum.
If you’re interested in the spreadsheet template that the Pinch of Yum team used to do this audit, you can get it by clicking the button below:
Updating your recipes to make sure they have all the important fields filled out is really important for your blog. Using the Google Search Console Rich Cards explorer tool, you can see all recipes on your site that have incomplete or incorrect structured data. It’s a really valuable tool to have in your back pocket!
If you’re pretty sure that most of your recipes need updating for SEO, or that most of your posts could use a general SEO update, then a site-wide SEO audit might be the way to go. You can use our SEO Audit Spreadsheet I linked above to keep track of your audit progress. Good luck with your updates!