SEO – Search Engine Optimization

In a previous post I talked about how to drive traffic to your food blog through food porn websites. Another major way to get traffic to your blog is google. This is probably the one you should focus on the most. Ultimately you want google to find your blog when someone searches for a recipe that you have. This is called search engine optimization or SEO, the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines natural or unpaid search results. Google is not the only search engine out there, obviously there are others like bing, or yahoo, but most of my traffic that comes from search engines comes from google.

To explain how you can improve your website’s visibility, well let me just say there are professionals out there who are SEO experts and do it for a living. SEO also changes as search engines get smarter, and it evolved from very basic ways such as including the keyword meta tag in your pages to the complex algorithms of today. I can however list some pointers that should help you:
  • Create unique, accurate page titles that accurately describe the page’s content. Use brief but descriptive titles.
  • Make use of the “description” meta tag, a page’s description meta tag gives google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. Also make sure you use unique descriptions for each page.
  • Improve the structure of your URLs, your URLs should include a category name that is descriptive and your post name which should describe the recipe, if you’re using wordpress you can use your post title as part of your URL. This is easily accomplished in wordpress, I’ve found the best way to do this is to use a custom structure in wordpress, so if you go to Settings -> Permalinks, select custom structure and use /%category%/%postname%/ as your structure.
  • Make your blog easier to navigate. Navigation is very important for search engines.
  • Optimize your content. Interesting blogs will increase their recognition on their own. Create compelling and useful content. Try and offer unique and exclusive content.
  • Use heading tags appropriately to emphasize important text.
  • Make effective use of robots.txt. Before a search engine can tell you where a file or document is, it must first be found. To find information on the hundreds of millions of web pages that exist, a search engine uses spiders which are special software robots, that build lists of the words found on web sites. This is called web crawling. If you want to restrict crawling where it’s not needed then you’ll need to use a robots.txt file which tells search engines whether they can access and crawl parts of your site. This file robots.txt must be placed in the root directory of your site.
  • Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links, combat comment span with “nofollow”. Setting the value of the “rel” attribute link to “nofollow” will tell google that certain links on your blog should not be followed or pass your page’s reputation to the pages linked to. When would this be useful? If your blog’s commenting is turned on, links within those comments could pass your reputation to pages that you may not be comfortable vouching for.
  • Promote your website in the right ways by increasing backlinks with an intention to increase the value of the site. This is the beauty of using sites like and, you are creating backlinks to your blog which will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject.
  • Make use of free webmaster tools. Google also provides free tools for webmasters which helps you better control how google interacts with your blog and get useful information from google about your site. Using google’s webmaster tools it allows you to see which parts of your blog google had problems crawling, it helps you identify issues with title and description meta tags, it also helps you understand the top searches used to reach your blog, among many other benefits.

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