Email inboxes buzzed across the blogosphere on June 27 with a new email from Google. The subject line reads, “Fix Recipes markup for https://yoursite.com.”
The email content wasn't very comforting either. Here's what it said (emphasis mine):
Google systems show that your site is affected by 1218 instances of Recipes markup issues. This means that your Recipes pages might not appear as rich results in Google Search.
Search Console has created a new report just for this rich result type. The new report enables you to identify, fix, and resubmit affected pages to Google so they can start appearing in Search Results with rich result features.
Understandably, this created quite a stir in the blogging world. Questions came piling in from Tasty Recipes bloggers:
- What does this email mean?
- Will bloggers would lose their rankings for their high-performing recipes?
- Are these issues new, or have these issues existed all along?
- What do I need to do to fix these issues?
In this blog post, we'll lay out everything you need to know about this email and the Google Recipes report, and we'll discuss how to use it to improve your recipe SEO.
What does the Fix Recipes Markup email mean?
Until now, bloggers were happily chugging along creating content, trying to improve their SEO efforts with each new post. However, most of the recipes they published in the past were forgotten – old content that wasn't quite up to par.
Some bloggers who are SEO-minded might have come across our blog post about optimizing recipe rich cards and updated their some of their recipes. However, the feedback from Google about these updated posts wasn't great.
To help content creators better their recipe SEO efforts, Google added a new Recipes Report to Search Console.
This report highlights exactly which recipes on your website are missing which structured data fields.
Missing structured data fields (such as cook time and nutrition information) make it less likely that your recipes will show rich information in search results.
So what's the difference between this report and the old reports? From what I can tell, the only difference is the notifications you'll receive about the report.
Google redesigned Search Console in the last year or so to be a bit more “modern.” This new Search Console view didn't include recipe rich data information. With this new recipes report, you can see all that information and get alerts from Google whenever a page on your website has errors.
The “Fix Recipes Markup” email was exactly that – an email alert from Google about pages on your website that have errors or warnings in the recipe markup.
Will bloggers would lose their rankings for their high-performing recipes?
As scary as this email was to receive, nearly every other blogger out there (including Pinch of Yum!) received this kind of email.
The email isn't a warning of punishment to come, nor an indication that something has suddenly gone wrong. Instead, it is simply highlighting issues that already exist for your recipes.
However, as other bloggers update their recipes to include all the information, it's going to become more difficult to compete with incomplete markup. Now is definitely the time to take action!
Are these issues new, or have these issues existed all along?
As I mentioned above, the issues that Google is highlighting in the Recipe Report are issues that have existed all along. Your recipe plugin didn't suddenly fail you, and you shouldn't be losing sleep at night because of these issues.
However, this new Recipes Report and the accompanying emails should be an indicator and a guide for your website's SEO efforts.
What should I do to fix issues in the Recipes Report?
Great question! Ideally, you'd go through each and every recipe on your website and make sure to fill out all the fields in your recipe card.
Don't have time for that? Us either.
The next best thing is to start with fixing critical issues, then move on to making sure your top-performers are optimized for SEO.
Fix Critical Issues
When you first log in to Search Console and click on the Recipes report, you'll see which recipes have critical errors. For Pinch of Yum, we have zero critical errors 🎉. If you see errors there, then it's important to make sure to fix those first and foremost. Critical errors – such as missing an image or having improperly formatted times – can prevent rich snippets from showing up altogether.
Use the Recipes report in the search console to see which recipes need updating and fix those errors first. ❗
Optimize Top Performers
Next up, make sure that your top-performing recipes are really SEO-solid. Use Google Analytics to identify your top ~50 recipes (if you have that many!), then go through each one and make sure you've filled out all of the recipe card fields. The SEO Audit Spreadsheet can be really helpful for keeping track of these updates, as well as other post optimization updates you can make.
After you make sure your top-performers are doing really well, take a look at your other recipes to see which ones could potentially perform really well. Determining a post's potential to do well is another blog post in and of itself, but in short, ask yourself, “Are people likely to search for this?” If the answer is yes, then do some keyword research to determine why you aren't ranking highly for that post, then use the SEO Audit Spreadsheet to go through and make updates.
As a note, when you click through to a URL in the Recipes Report, Google will highlight the structured data on the page that needs updating. If you're a Tasty Recipes customer, then Tasty Recipes takes care of creating this markup for you – all you need to do is fill out the fields in the recipe card.
The new Search Console Recipes Report and its accompanying emails are a great way to get insight into issues that exist with your recipes. The emails sent from Google Search console will help you stay on top of your recipe SEO game while alerting you of any critical issues that need fixing immediately.