What 1000 audits of blogs taught me about SEO

if you wanted to Hide state secretsThere is no better place than the text of a recipe post.

You may have heard this joke or Some the difference from him. These jokes are funny because they have a kernel of truth to them. However, in most cases, it is not the blogger’s fault.

Recipe bloggers are some of the toughest and smartest content creators on the planet. But they also suffer from bad SEO advice, unfair stereotypes and herd mentality practices that can do just that.
stifle their overall growth.

Length is not the power of SEO

The number of words Not the ranking factor advertiser Repeatedly The Google. But don’t tell recipe bloggers that.

why?

Because the goal of a regular food or lifestyle blogger is to monetize, this is mostly done by displaying ads on the site by a major ad publisher.

Longer recipe posts mean more ads, which means more ad impressions. This can increase RPM for bloggers, which is great for a blogger but not necessarily great for people who read the content. The advertising companies themselves hate discouraging this trend.

Although I’ve been in SEO for over 20 years, I’ve focused exclusively on the food niche since 2015. Over the past seven years, I’ve worked with thousands of food bloggers as an SEO consultant.

I’ve audited them all, from bloggers who are just starting out, to bloggers trying to qualify for quality ad networks, to bloggers who are already making six figures per month in ad income.

The experience was enlightening. Not only did it make me a better SEO, but it allowed me to meet some of the most talented content creators in the world.

Here are some of the most important points gleaned from several SEO audits.


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Lesson 1: Running a successful food blog has never been more competitive!

The pandemic has been disruptive to many industries, but the impact on the niche of food and lifestyle blogs has been profound. Millions of people stuck at home under mandatory quarantine have suddenly found time to aggressively embrace current hobbies, new interests and long-awaited tasks.

One of the most common decisions made during the pandemic has been to start a new blog or work full time for what was previously just a “hobby” blog.

The influx of what was estimated to be thousands of new bloggers to lifestyle and niche recipes has led to more competition for long-tail keywords, a rush for the best resources and training and a quick desire to qualify for an ad company and monetize as fast as possible.

During that time, one of my biggest conclusions was that bloggers were coming to me earlier in the blogging process than ever before. This was to ensure that they were using the best combination of hosting, plugins, keyword research strategies and best SEO practices from the start and to give them a competitive edge.

Pandemic bloggers were more than willing to see their new blogging as a business from the start, rather than as a hobby, and spend money at the beginning of their blogging journey to give them the best chance of standing out and building traffic.

This desire to invest in experts, tools, and training continues into 2022. Bloggers are now qualified to ad networks and build traffic to 50,000+ sessions per month (the minimum we’re seeing for good monetization) faster than ever!

Lesson 2: Good recipe SEO training is insufficient (and questionable)

I remember speaking at my first food blogging conference in 2015. I heard gasps from the audience when I told them that alt image text (alt text) was not used to stuff images with Pinterest keywords, but to help visually impaired users understand what was in Actually in that picture.

It was also interesting to see what happened to SEO training in this field in those earlier days. There’s been no shortage of Blogger retreats, masterminds, and online courses, pushing silly over-optimization techniques on the page like crafting whole sentences, wrapping entire paragraphs in H2 or H3 tags, and sending a spam keyword to every possible title on the page.

Even worse were the collaborative linking strategies that bloggers pushed into Facebook’s own masterminds.

These groups used weekly themed tours like Sunday Supper and Meatless Mondays to bring together dozens of bloggers who link back and forth in reciprocal linking schemes. These practices have led to bloggers being attacked by computational actions through core updates and the identification of manual actions by identifying unnatural links.

In recent years, food bloggers have been plagued with “bad advice” or failed to check the sources they get from said advice. A great example can be found in the Blog Training Concept.

Why would someone receive training in SEO concepts or traffic building strategies from an “expert blogger” who didn’t qualify for an ad firm, doesn’t have real credentials, and even smallest Who are the bloggers they hope to train?

Well, honestly you shouldn’t. But that hasn’t stopped me from seeing the practice over and over at the expense of the paying party.

After that, SEO myths circulate in the food blogging field. When I run across these (eg word count or Google Analytics data is the ranking factors), the best approach is usually to educate, not argue, by linking to a supporting statement from Google if any.

finally, Good advice doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Over the past several years, I have worked closely with well-known professionals such as Top Hat Rank and Nerdpress. We host monthly SEO seminars for web publishers that are 100% free and dedicated to making sure bloggers have the most accurate and up-to-date SEO information.

Lesson 3: The concept of the herd mentality rampant In the place of the recipe, at her extreme expense

Herd mentality, also known as mob mentality, is the act of making a decision or adopting a strategy based on the opinions and recommendations of peers and friends, not necessarily from actual data or personal experience.

Unfortunately, the herd mentality can be detrimental to food bloggers.

Common herd mentality practices include adopting group-recommended plugins, courses, topics, or implementing “questionable” strategies that others might and, as such, should do as well.

Since most food bloggers run on the WordPress platform, herd mentality practices present themselves in WP plugins, themes, and hosting providers. I’ve seen bloggers completely stay away from one SEO plugin, theme, or host to another, to their detriment, only because a friend, prominent blogger, or Facebook thread told them to do so.

However, the most obvious example of the herd mentality tends to be a blind following of big bloggers trying to replicate their success. This is especially devastating because trying to replicate what you see on high-ranking sites also means repeating their mistakes.

You also don’t see the full picture when trying to copy strategies for larger sites. Backlinks are still an incredibly strong ranking signal for Google. Strong backlinks can act as a ‘bubble’ and cover up obvious errors in on-page optimization, positional fit and UX practices that young bloggers cannot overcome.

Blindly following the herd can easily point you to a metaphorical pack of voodoo lions ready to prepare their next meal. Seek expert advice, and always do your own research!

Lesson 4: Bloggers tend to be very hard on themselves when a little “blessing” goes a long way.

For most creatives, blogging about food is a solo pursuit. They spend dozens of hours a week researching recipes, testing steps and ingredients, photography, doing keyword research and writing the final recipe before promoting it on social media.

This kind of dedication can lead to isolation and cause mental health concerns that bloggers feel unable or unwilling to express to their friends, colleagues or family. It has also worsened during the pandemic as regular social outlets such as blogging conferences, personal get-togethers, or simple trips to the grocery store or farmers market for ingredients become impossible.

Society, traditionally, has not helped solve this crisis or provide enough viable support options. The stigma attached to mental health remains paramount to the stereotypes we see in television and movies. Sometimes it’s easier to keep things to ourselves than to open up about potential judgment or criticism.

Bloggers must give themselves a personal blessing.

One of the biggest mental health traps that food bloggers fall into is the “comparison trap”. Why is this blogger working so well and I am not? Which is something I’m trying to specifically address in my audits. Show, through the illustration, what works and what doesn’t using “competitive, not comparative” data.

Then, using this data, bloggers can craft a plan that matches their schedule, not an artificial schedule dictated by outside forces over which they have no control.

The result is a better mindset, greater confidence in their own strength and direction, and a better mental outlook for the journey!

Finding a Recipe for SEO Success

Other than life insurance, prescription drugs, and online casinos, the prescription niche is the same
subordinate harder And more SEO niches out there.

I spend dozens of hours a week monitoring forums, reading new and updated patents, and brainstorming
With fellow SEOs, usertesting.com surveys are all done to find out about users (and Google)
Bloggers want to see recipes and their content.

Many recipe bloggers have been following bad SEO tips and imitating others. Once they start following the right SEO advice, these bloggers can retire, buy second homes, leave emotionally draining jobs, and literally change their income tax brackets!

So the next time you see a long recipe post with too much backstory and “personal anecdotes,” give this blogger some grace. Most likely, it’s not their fault. Hey, at least you got your free chocolate chip cookie recipe!


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of the search engine. Staff authors are listed here.


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About the author

Casey Markee is the owner of the online consulting firm Media Wyse. An SEO for over two decades, he’s been working exclusively with food and lifestyle bloggers since 2015. During that time, he’s worked with thousands of bloggers across every recipe imaginable. He loves long walks to the fridge and back and thinks bacon and sweet corn are gourmet foods.

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