The Secret Ingredient to Ranking on Google Recipes

February 13, 2012

What is the secret ingredient to pitching a recipe? Have you ever wondered how to rank your own or your client’s recipe on Google Recipes?

Try this experiment: Type in the word “recipe” into Google. What do you get? I had 115,000,000 hits in 0.22 seconds.

Consumers enjoy searching for recipes and they are an effective way to communicate messages about health and wellness, which is why they are becoming increasingly popular tool among Ketchum’s food, and health and wellness clients.

In addition to incorporating health and wellness messages around recipes, we are tasked with making sure everyone from foodies, breadwinners, and the casual cook, finds our clients’ recipes and shares them with their social circles−ultimately reaching our target audiences.

Since Google Recipes alone crawls (reviews) hundreds of millions of recipes for information, how do you ensure yours is seen by your target audience? Whether it’s an appetizer, entrée, or dessert, Ketchum makes sure our client’s recipes stand out from the pack through:

  • smart coding,
  • mobile optimization, and
  • intelligent writing.

For our clients who spend valuable  budget dollars to develop mouthwatering recipes, these tactics mean the difference between high ranking recipes for key demographics and a buried recipe on the seventh page of search results (aka the basement of the internet).

So let’s cut through the fat and learn how to prep and pitch a recipe.

Smart Coding

Google’s “Recipe Search” option is a great way for consumers to find new and interesting recipes specifically tailored for their specific needs. By allowing users to select multiple filters Google serves up recipes that are very rated well by other users and are the perfect choice for each user, helping them to “get their eat on.”

How though can you ensure that your client’s new vegetarian chili recipe or turkey lasagna is found by consumers? The answer:  smart coding.

You must incorporate additional coding into each recipe page, which will make it easier for Google to find your recipe and serve it up to users selecting certain filters. Before you know it, consumers will be finding your client’s recipes and using them.

These codes, also known as microformats, show: recipe titles, ingredients, pictures, and ratings directly in search results. The microformat coding, called schema.org, is supported by all search engines and allows for those elements to appear in search.

To implement, it helps to first make some website coding changes first. What specific changes you need to make depend upon what programming language your site is coded in and what CMS you use to edit your site. For example if you use WordPress to edit your site you just simply need to install the plugin.

Changing the code really is not that time intensive, and very much worth it.  The benefit you will receive in search is not just limited to that recipe but it also creates all sorts of other rich snippets in search that your client can capitalize on (ex: events, reviews, authors). If you implement the schema.org code, the culinary-craved folk of the world can easily search for your recipes using different parameters, such as star ratings, easiness, preparation time, and even nutritional information (you can be beach season ready, thanks to Google Recipes!!).

Mobile Optimization
GO MOBILE! New data from Google shows smartphone use is on the rise. More people have an internet-capable mobile device than have a desktop or laptop computer. In the U.S. specifically, 76% of us have mobile internet capability in comparison to the rest of the world, who has a 68% adoption rate.

It’s critical to know that the search engines now index mobile pages higher than their non-mobile friendly brethren for mobile searches.

What does this mean for recipes? Now, the busy mom of three looking for a French onion soup recipe on her iPhone in aisle five is more likely to see your mobile-optimized recipe page in Google than your recipe page that is optimized only for desktop searchers.

Note: You can easily create mobile friendly content by posting the recipe on Google +. Stay tuned for our post about Google + later this week.

Intelligent Writing

To successfully pitch a recipe, it’s important to learn how to “Write for Google Recipes.”

Some people avoid recipes because they view them as too daunting to understand. The multiple ingredients, steps, and techniques, send them straight to the prepared salad bar and your client’s recipe languish with the other losers on page seven.

When writing recipes, follow these best practices:

  • Do a quick search of how people look for your type of recipe. Google has a free keyword tool, as does SEOBook. Use the most popular term that real life people are using in the title and body of your recipe.
  • Use universal measurements – “some salt” and “dab of oil” mean nothing.
  • Bullet points are your friends and can help to break complicated tasks into easy steps.
  • If possible, arrange ingredients by grocery store aisles to help shoppers grab things they need as they go.
  • Include a BIG BOLD PICTURE – we eat with our eyes and a great picture can stop a cook in their tracks.
  • Fill out all the schema.org fields that are required.

Chow Time!

Search engines, mobile technology, and the consumers using them are dynamic and change every day. The one universal theme that hasn’t changed however is that interesting, high quality content shared with others always rises to the top; make sure to promote your recipe page to all of your social media properties and encourage your fans to share!

There will always be new tricks, tips, and best practices you can employ for your clients, to further help and ensure their recipes rank it well in Google Recipes and other search engines. Ketchum’s Online Strategy team believes in practicing what it preaches and continuously updates itself on the newest online food trends and the technology driving it.

When you have five or ten minutes to spare, whip out that iPhone and start searching for recipes. Take note of the ones that strike your fancy, incorporate those tactics with the secret ingredients listed above and you will have your own recipe for success!

We’d love to hear from you. What tactics have you successfully used to get your recipes the online attention they deserve? Have you started using Google Recipe yet? Let us know in the comment field below.

Cory Sealey started out on Ketchum’s Consumer Health and Wellness team, and now has moved over to Ketchum’s Online Strategy team where he combines his love of branding, consumer insights, social media and technology across multiple brand practices. Follow him at @CB_Sealey.