Have you ever questioned why some food blogs are a smashing hit while others seem to simmer in obscurity?

The secret ingredient might just be Search Engine Optimization (SEO)! On average, blogs that are optimized for search engines enjoy 1,000%+ more traffic compared to social media and other avenues. That’s a heap of visibility you definitely don't want to miss out on! 

And you don't have to! Let this article be your guide to navigating the world of SEO for food bloggers.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and let's dive into ranking your food blog.

1. Do keyword research

Let's get started with our first (and most important) SEO tip — keyword research for food blogs.

It's not as scary as it sounds, we promise! Keywords are a key part of growing your food blog using SEO. You neglect it, and it's like leaving your pie in the oven — no one wants a taste.

You've probably heard this before, though. But how do you find these keywords

SEO for food bloggers starts with keyword research

Well, a few free keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest can help. You pick out phrases related to your niche, and these tools churn out related keywords and show you how often they're searched for. In other words, they're like your very own digital sommeliers, pointing you to the most sought-after keywords for your content.

If you're willing to pay for a tool, SEMrush is a great choice. It helps you find the right keywords and understand what your competitors are doing, which can be a big boost for your food blog's SEO

Overall, remember to choose keywords that relevant to your content, have a decent search volume, and don't have too much competition.

It's about finding the right balance to help your blog grow.

2. Use long-tail keywords

Another one you've probably heard of but may be unfamiliar with: long-tail keywords.

You see, long-tail keywords are more specific phrases or questions that readers might search for.

And while these might not get as many searches as other keywords, they're often less competitive! Plus, you can use the search tools we mentioned in the first section, like Google Keyword Planner, to do your research.

Keyword search demand graph
Image: Neil Patel

Just think about it. There's a lot of competition for a keyword like ‘cake'. But, if you're a dessert blogger in the low-sugar content niche and use a long-tail keyword like ‘low-sugar chocolate lava cake recipe', you're more likely to rank high in searches for people who are looking specifically for what you offer.

Makes sense, right? Now, how do you find long-tail keywords for your food blog?

Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. What would they search for if they were looking for your post? What specific questions might they have? That's your long-tail keyword right there! 

An added bonus — these long-tail keywords often match up with the voice commands people use when they search by voice.

“Hey, Siri, find me a low-sugar chocolate lava cake recipe” sounds a lot more accurately matched to your post than just “Hey, Siri, find cake recipes”, right? 

Start using long-tail keywords and watch your traffic from Google start to skyrocket!

3. Build recipe clusters

A recipe cluster is when you combine your related recipes for a more significant SEO impact.

Basically, think of it like a cuisine section on your website. You may have 10 recipes related to Mediterranean cuisine, which all help form your Mediterranean cluster!

Take a look at the example below. It shows a pumpkin pie recipe cluster. Connected topics like ingredients and alternatives help boost the blog's SEO and make it easy for readers to find more info.

Pumpkin pie topic cluster example

Here's the beauty of it: search engines love content that's relevant and interconnected. It gives them a clear message.

So, how do you build a powerful recipe cluster?

Here's a simple guide: 

  1. Choose a theme: Let's say you cover Mexican food. Your recipe cluster could be “Mexican Dishes You Can Make at Home.”
  2. Select related recipes: Rally together all your enchilada, taco, and salsa recipes. Now, start grouping the ones that fit your theme.
  3. Link between the recipes: Within your posts, add links to other recipes in your cluster. This is how you start helping readers and search engines find your related content.
  4. Present them as a group: Create a new blog post or page for the complete cluster, listing all recipes included in it. Think of it as an extravagant menu card for your virtual dinner!

And here's the kicker.

Tasty Recipes and Tasty Roundups are a godsend for recipe cluster creation. They make this process as fast and easy but don't skimp on the beauty either.

So, go ahead and give your blog that extra recipe cluster flavor!

4. Include keywords throughout post

Now, here comes the meat of the SEO sandwich — including those keywords throughout your posts.

But remember, this isn't a game of hide-and-seek; you're not trying to sneak your keywords into every nook and cranny. Moderation is key.

So, we'll break it down by the places you must include your recipe keyword:

  • Title tag: This is your recipe's name on the internet. If your keyword isn't present, you'll have a tougher time ranking.
  • Meta description: The first writing (besides your headline) users encounter. Make it engaging, but also include the keyword in a natural way.
  • Headings: Sprinkle your keywords in your H1, H2, and H3 tags. But don't overdo it.
  • Content body: Here’s where you naturally integrate your keywords into your blog post. But avoid keyword stuffing and overdoing it. Ultimately, your writing should still sound like it's written for people, not search engines.

Most important is ensuring that your keywords feel natural to the reader.

So whether your keyword is “crispy sweet potato fries” or “vegan chocolate lava cake”, mix them seamlessly into your content for the best SEO results. 

5. Use a plugin

There's a key balance to play with using plugins for SEO.

Don't use any, and you're missing out on some great features that could make your food blog pop. Use too many, and you risk slowing your website down. So it's essential to figure out what plugins make your food blog grow, not slow.

The first plugin we strongly recommend for food blogs is our own, the WP Tasty plugins.

WP Tasty banner

It consists of four plugins (including the best WordPress recipe plugin, all geared toward bloggers and helping them grow their blogs and social presence.

Here's a quick breakdown:

  • Tasty RecipesMakes recipe creation simple and helps your recipes rank on Google through its schema markup.
  • Tasty Pins: Optimize your images for SEO and Pinterest descriptions so you can grow on Pinterest without doing anything!
  • Tasty Roundups: Remember those clusters we talked about? Tasty Roundups helps you make round-up posts to save time for cooking and creating!
  • Tasty Links: Helps you monetize your blog. Interlink your content, monetize affiliate links, and watch the money fly in!

Beyond that, we also recommend some other plugins that will help your site and its rankings:

  • WP RocketSite speed isn't an official Google ranking factor, but it helps! And WP Rocket helps reduce the size of things you don't need on your site so it runs faster, which helps the overall user experience!
  • All In One SEO (AIOSEO): AIOSEO is a plugin that gives you small tips to help you improve your rankings. Adjust headings, change sections, add your keyword more — it's like your personal SEO assistant right in the WordPress editor.
  • Formidable Forms: Helps you create interactive forms, from simple contact forms to complex recipe submission forms — yes, now your readers can share their prized recipes with you!

We're not saying you need all of these plugins. But these are some of our favorites with a great track record for improving food blogs.

So we thought we'd share them with you, too!

6. Optimize images and videos

Did you know that your food images and cooking videos can play a role in enhancing your blog's visibility?

That's right. Optimizing your images and videos for SEO is essential in your journey to gastronomic online glory. Now, the burning question is — how can you do this?

Well, it's actually simple — let us explain:

  1. Name your files right: Make sure the file name accurately describes what it’s about. Don't leave it as DSC_0078.jpg. Instead, name it “secret-lasagna-recipe.jpg”. Google appreciates these descriptive, keyword-rich file names.
  2. Alt text: These are the textual descriptions that display if an image fails to load on a screen. Google uses these alt tags to determine the content of your images. So make sure your alt tags are descriptive and include relevant keywords.
  3. Opt for the right format: Generally, JPEGs are the best format for photos, while PNGs are ideal for items like logos. These simple nuances can enhance your site's loading speed and the overall user experience.
  4. Compress to impress: No one likes waiting for images to load. To keep your page loading times speedy, compress your images using tools like ImageOptim or CompressJPEG. But remember, there's a balance between compression and image quality.
  5. Don’t forget video SEO: Host your videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, and include keyword-rich titles and descriptions.

These steps may seem minor. But when you add them up, they have a huge effect on your site's SEO.

Recipes aren't islands — and neither should your posts be.

We're talking about the art of internal linking optimization.

Internal linking means you're connecting your content together through hyperlinks. It's like building a spiderweb of your posts – each strand leads to another amazing recipe post!

Internal linking 101

Not only is this good for your readers (because hey, who doesn't want more scrumptious recipes), but the Google gods love it, too. It helps them understand the structure of your site and the relationships between your content. 

But here's a pro tip: You don’t want to just scatter random links everywhere. The key is relevance. Link to recipes that are related to the one you're currently posting about. For example, if you're blogging about a spaghetti dish, link it to your posts on homemade pasta sauce, garlic bread recipes, or a wine pairing guide. 

This is where Tasty Links excels.

It's a nifty WordPress internal linking plugin that automatically links specific keywords to certain pages on your blog. For example, you can tell Tasty Links that whenever you mention ‘chocolate cake,’ it should link to your signature chocolate cake recipe.

Tasty Links link management

Talk about a time saver!

And all of this interlinking goes toward building the clusters we discussed earlier!

8. Use Google Search Console & Google Analytics

Google Search Console, or GSC as the cool kids call it, acts like a health checker for your blog.

It helps you understand how Google views your blog and lets you address any issues that could be blocking Google from accessing your content. It also provides information about who is linking to your site, the most common words used to reach your site, and how your site is performing on Google's search results.

However, there’s a little catch: You need to verify your site ownership to use GSC.

The good news is most of us food bloggers are already using WordPress, which makes the process easier! 

Once you set up GSC, you can monitor how your blog performs in search results. Pay particular attention to elements like queries, clicks, impressions, and clickthrough rate (CTR). These metrics will tell you which posts are performing well and which ones might need a sprinkle (or maybe a handful) of SEO.

The same goes for Google Analytics!

It breaks down what people are doing on your site. How long are they spending on a page? What percentage of visitors leave your site quickly (bounce)? And what pages are most popular?

The combination of GSC and Google Analytics is a power that can't be understated.

You must use these tools to get proper feedback on how to improve.

9. Build authority

Just like a dash of salt can enhance your recipes, your blog's authority can spice up your visibility on search engines.

Let's look at some ways to build it: 

  1. Guest posting: Write for other reputable food blogs or websites. Secure a backlink to your blog or a specific post.
  2. Quality content: Write helpful, well-researched, and unique content. The more your content helps readers, the more Google will favor you.
  3. Getting backlinks: The more backlinks you earn from reputable sites, the higher your authority.
  4. Social proof: Just as we love reading reviews before trying out new eateries, your blog visitors love to see genuine testimonials.

Remember, building authority is like slow-cooking your favorite comfort meal — it takes time, patience, and a solid recipe.

But once it's ready, it's worth the effort! 

10. Check competitors (but don't copy!)

Checking your competitors is critical in growing your blog.

Food blogs like Pinch of Yum didn't grow simply by making content they thought worked. No, no, they did research to help fuel their growth. And competitor research is just one part of it.

It's about gaining inspiration and understanding of what's working for them, not copying. (We emphasize this one. Copying is never cool.)

Here's how to do it:

  • Perform a competitor analysis: Figure out who your major competitors are — the other food bloggers whose stats you'd love to mirror. Remember, they're not your enemies; they're just fellow food lovers who've hit the right taste buds with their SEO strategy.
  • Dig Into their top-performing content: Explore their top-performing posts, dissect the keywords they're using, analyze their formatting style, and pinpoint what makes their posts a diner's favorite. Use these findings to add your own touch to your posts.
  • Stay updated on their activities: Consider subscribing to your competitors' newsletters, stalking them on social media (friendly stalking, of course), or using tools that let you know when their kitchens are cooking up a storm.

Eventually, these competitors are great options to develop relationships with! They're great for collaborating, maybe some guest posting, or just forming a friendly (but competitive) friendship.

But first, you need to get to know their content!

Any more SEO for food blogging tips?

Ready to improve your food blog SEO?

With these ten SEO tips for your food blog, you're ready to rise to the top of the Google Rankings. Remember, it’s not just about the raw ingredients but how you combine and apply them. Every strategy is a unique recipe, and sometimes, it’s about tweaking and tuning until you get it just right. 

So, with that said, comment and let us know your top SEO food blog tips! They all help people grow their own food blogs. And everyone wins when we share information!

So drop a comment below!