Eric Hochberger got together with some friends, and over the last decade, created the successful sites The Hollywood Gossip, TV Fanatic, and Movie Fanatic. He met Amber Bracegirdle at a conference, and together they created Food Fanatic.
Eric’s sites are so successful because he’s spent years cultivating his knowledge of all things Google, and in turn, search engine optimization. Amber’s spent years developing recipes for herself and brands, and cultivating friendships with food bloggers.
Together they created Food Fanatic — a fast-growing contributor-driven website dedicated to all things food, from cooking show reviews to wildly creative recipes, like Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak with Mangoes and Basil or Fresh Cherry Cola Floats.
Their primary goals are distinctive voices, unique food, and getting both in front of as many eyes as possible. They have a dedication to SEO, while still maintaining authentic voices.
Eric and Amber are sharing 5 easy ways to improve your site’s SEO, as a sneak peek to their session at Byte of Texas in September.
1. Stop looking for 5 easy ways to improve your site’s SEO!
Okay, so this seems counter-intuitive, but it’s also the truth. They don’t exist. SEO is a change in your mindset. In how you write about the things you love.
No person you hire, no plugin you install, and no article you read will jump your blog top the top spots on Google. That doesn’t mean stop learning about SEO.
What we mean is: stop skipping those nice in-depth articles that actually teach you about SEO. Looking for 5 quick changes you can make to your theme to improve your SEO isn’t something that really exists. For the love of Pete, please don’t pay anyone who offers these services to you.
Chances are if they’re good, they’re doing it for themselves or charging way more than a food blogger can afford. All you need to know is actually told to you by Google in their SEO Starter Guide and Webmaster Blog. Anything else is hearsay. Still want to hear what we have to say? You should, because we’re going to help you write authentically, while still keeping an eye on what performs well in search engines.
2. Keyword Research
The number one problem we see people make (even our own contributors) is not even knowing what keywords they’re going after. If you don’t know your keyword, how are you expecting to rank on it?
First, find a decent keyword tool. Google used to offer one themselves (Google Keywords), but recently killed it in favor of driving you towards their paid services, like Adwords. There are lots of tools out there. Find a tool you like and is in your price range.
Before you start writing your post, you should have your keyword in mind. It should affect how you write both your post and your title. It may even affect what you choose to cook. When picking your keyword, check out your competition. Search for your potential new keyword in Google. Do your competitors look like they’re comparable blogs to your site… or are they Martha Stewart?
We’re not saying to stuff your post full of your keyword, over and over and over again. But use it often, where it feels authentic. Use it in your title and your recipe name. Use it in your photo names.
Every time you use that keyword authentically, you’re telling Google, “Hey dude, I’m an authority on Blackberry Peach Cobbler. See how all my photos contain those words? See how my post title, and my recipe title (which happens to be a headline within my post text) contain Blackberry Peach Cobbler? I’m totally an authority on Blackberry Peach Cobbler.”
Google believes you when you tell it you’re an authority on a specific keyword, so long as you’re doing it well, and within good content.
3. Page Titles
There may be hundreds of factors in Google’s algorithms, but their starter guide only begins with one — page titles. It’s the single most important on-page tweak you can make to your site. Make sure your HTML page titles are unique and are as close to the keyword you’re trying to go after.
If your term is “Teriyaki Chicken,” your page title needs to be as close to Teriyaki Chicken as possible. In fact, that should be your page title. “The Best Darn Teriyaki Chicken You’ve Ever Had Outside of Japan” may be a better description to you, but it’s way worse in terms of Google.
Each extra word that’s not your keyword is lowering your density. If you need extra words in your page title to make things more accurate – do it. Just make sure you lead with your keywords.
Teriyaki Chicken: Japanese Specialty at Home is a much better page title.
Again, there are hundreds of offsite factors in Google’s algorithm, but most of them are based on one concept – links. You can’t necessarily control who’s linking to you, but most people don’t realize that internal links are just as important and something you can control!
Every post you write is a chance to get links to your old content. Use it!
Ideally, you’d have one internal link per paragraph of text in your post. It can be difficult to get in that mindset, or maybe you simply don’t want to have that many links in your post. That’s okay.
Start by shooting for two relevant posts to link to with your new recipe. Often times, you’ll even find that changing your mindset to think in this way helps you be more creative in recipes you create.
For example, if you have blueberry scones and blueberry waffles on your site, there are many different directions you can go in creating a new recipe that is relevant to those recipes.
Something else that’s blueberry and breakfast-y? Something else that’s breakfast-y, but a new berry. Something else that’s blueberry, but completely not breakfast. All are within relevance to the first two posts, and can be written about with them in mind.
Writing the paragraph in your post practically writes itself when you’re creating from that standpoint.
“Making strawberry scones for breakfast couldn’t be easier. I used the same basic recipe as my blueberry scones (link here), but decided to add a lemon zest twist, like you’d find in my blueberry waffles (link here). Let me tell you, strawberry and lemon together are a beautiful combination, and not just for lemonade!”
We admit, we just got a little gimmicky. But hey, we really want to meet you in person. We’ll go into way more detail on the topics in this blog post, and talk about tons more practical ways to write authentically, but also SEO friendly – than mentioned here. Let us help you get into the mindset of writing for search engines without it being a struggle against your natural voice.