By Monica Pitts
There’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a recipe and being greeted by a wall of text. All that stuff we want is hidden at the bottom of the page under a wall of stories and kitschy photos of the dish.
WHY DO THEY DO THAT?
As annoying as it is, their tactics work. There’s a reason we found that recipe, clicked on it and waded through that annoying pool of text. Let’s dissect the art of a cooking blog to apply it to our own sites.
Long-ish Form Keyword Rich Content Ranks
You searched for the name of the recipe that you wanted. And then you clicked on a link that contained the name of the recipe. This is the beginning of keyword rich content.
Then comes the obnoxious wall of fiddle faddle at the beginning of that blog post. Recipe bloggers know they need somewhere between 750 and 2,000 words to get Google to quickly rank their posts. If they only posted a bulleted list of ingredients with instructions the recipe wouldn’t be in your search results. Google wants to absolutely know it’s delivering the best results for the key term you searched for and long form content is the quickest way to make that connection.
Great Photos Sell
This is true everywhere. Whether it’s a pair of shoes, a parking lot, or a recipe. People make buying decisions visually as much as emotionally. All those pictures of hot yummy cookies broken open make you want to eat the cookie. So you click on the recipe.
You know what else great photos will sell? Your service.
Think about your service the way bloggers think about a recipe. They know what you need to see to want to make that recipe.
What sells your service or product? Maybe it’s the process you take people through to reduce stress and save time because they choose to go with a professional who knows how to do it right the first time. Consider showing visitors a timeline of a project from start to finish with photos of each step along the way to and what to expect during that step.
Accurate Yet Enticing Titles and Descriptions get Clicks
You clicked on the recipe because you thought it was what you wanted. How’d you know? Because they gave you an accurate title and description. But you probably clicked because of more than just accuracy alone – the title appealed to you. It probably said something like best ever, super tasty, easy or quick.
The title and description are more than just components of your web page. They are ad copy, a headline and a supporting clause. And you choose the link you clicked on because of your current decision making factors: taste, time, ingredients, cooking level, etc. The title allowed you to quickly evaluate if this is the right recipe for you.
Tell me, how different are your buyers? They too are faced with a wall of search results, just like you were when you searched for a recipe. What are the things that make them click on the link? Think back to your competitive advantages and your audience’s decision making factors. Talk about those things in your page titles and descriptions.
Consistent Formatting Appeals to Viewers.
You know what every recipe post has in common – a recipe at the bottom of the page. All of them are formatted the same.
That’s how you know to scroll to the bottom of the page to get what you want even when you’ve never been there before.
You can do this on your website too.
Your services pages can be formatted similarly, blog posts should look the same and all of your content should share similar formatting tactics.
If you’re not sure how to format your content look at how other people do it. If you’re posting job listings look at LinkedIn and Indeed, what do they share and how are their listings formatted? Jobseekers are used to looking at those sites. Share your information in the same format that they’re used to. Mirroring a layout they already know keeps them feeling in control and comfortable.
People will scroll. Even if they hate it.
I’m not going to argue with you about how annoying it is to have to scroll to find what you want. But here’s the deal – you and I both know we scroll through a recipe blog to get to what we want. So, reality is people will scroll.
As they’re scrolling we have the opportunity to catch their attention and entice them to read the things we want them to read. Because they will scroll. And as annoying as scrolling is you need those words to get your content to rank. And in the end it’s more important to get your page to show up than it is to eliminate even the slightest hint of scrolling threat.
So as much as you may hate the recipe bloggers for all their annoying tactics. Now you know why they do it, because it works.
I’m not suggesting you start telling stupid useless stories before you get to the point on the pages of your site. I’m suggesting you take a look at the way these recipe bloggers reeled you in and how they successfully rank their content on Google. We can all learn a thing or two from them and maybe if we do it right, get our content to rank too.
Monica Pitts is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of MayeCreate Design. She spends her days constructing a marriage of form and function; creating art with her design team to grow businesses through websites and online marketing. Monica considers herself an artist, marketer and web dork with the ability to speak geek and English.