How to Find the BEST Recipe Keywords for Food Bloggers

Keywords for cooking recipes

Finding great recipe keywords doesn’t have to be difficult (and can even be fun and inspiring)! Here’s my method for finding the best recipe keywords.

Hi, guys! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a food blogger. And while this tutorial was created with food bloggers in mind, the method will certainly work in any genre. If you’re a new food blogger, you may be thinking, “I don’t really need to worry about this yet, so I’ll wait until I have some success under my belt first.” That would be a big mistake. I could kick myself for not focusing on great SEO years ago! Now is the time you need to start working on your SEO. And, if you’re an experienced food blogger, you might already be doing this or something similar. And, if not… You should be!

An SEO expert I’m not. Not even close. And I know many SEO gurus who have different opinions on this complex topic. But after trying many different SEO methods and struggling through it, I finally found the process that works best for me and, more importantly, has given me a significant increase in search engine traffic.

First of all, you should use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This powerful tool will tell you exactly which recipe keywords you should optimize your content for and give you the best chances of appearing on the first pages of search engine results. {Note: You’ll need to create an AdWords account (if you don’t already have one), but the process takes only a few minutes. You’ll be prompted to set up your first ad; simply delete it immediately after creating your AdWords account. Although I’ve had an AdWords account for years, I tried this personally and found it very easy. My “ad” simply had the word “web” for its title, text, etc. then I went in and immediately deleted it. If you’re not sure how to remove your ad, you can find instructions here.}

Before I go any further, let me tell you how I keep my recipe keywords organized once I have them. I have a small leather notebook (about a size 6×10) on my desk at all times. And in that notebook I keep “keyword categories” with a list of all the best keyword phrases in each category. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say I wake up one morning and it’s a cold, rainy day. I decide the soup sounds really delicious and I’m going to go to the store to pick up the ingredients I need to make a big pot of soup for my family. But I’m not quite sure what kind of soup I fancy. I’d usually head to Pinterest or flip through some food magazines or maybe check my pantry to see what I already have on hand. And I still do those same things very often. But because I’ve started taking SEO seriously and I like getting traffic because this is my full-time job and I need to make a living… there are times when I ignore all that and simply go straight to the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to help me decide.

See also  Costco Frozen Shrimp {Cooked in a Cajun Butter Sauce!}

So my notebook comes out and at the top of a new page I’ll write “SOPA.” Soup is now my keyword category and I’m going to keep a list of recipe keyword phrases that will work for me in that category on that page in my leather notebook (yes, an Excel spreadsheet would be a technologically advanced alternative. I really love my leather notebook for this purpose.)

Next, I

open the Keyword Planner and Login, which will take me to the screenshot below, where I’ll click on “Find new keyword ideas and ad groups.”

Pretty simple. After clicking on that, it will take me to the screenshot you see below. There are four things you should pay attention to here:

  1. Enter your “keyword category” in the “Your product or service” section. In my case, it’s “SOPA.” But it could be anything from bread to bacon, stews and pasta.
  2. Enter your food blog url in the “Your landing page” section.
  3. Under “Keyword options,” turn on “Show only closely related ideas.” This will keep your keyword phrases relevant.
  4. Click “Get Ideas”, the big blue button at the bottom.

Now this is where getting gets good. Click on the “Keyword Ideas” tab and all your glorious soup ideas will magically appear on your screen. This section will give you your average monthly searches for your chosen keyword, soup in this case, although that’s not really what we’re looking for. If you do a Google search for “soup” you will find that there are 23,600,000 results*. That’s a big competition. Remember, your goal is to get high enough in search results for real people to actually click on your link and go to your blog. If you try to optimize your blog post for the keyword “soup,” I can almost guarantee that you’ll be so far down the list that you’ll never see the light of day from Google.

See also  That '70s cooking experience: Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots

Let’s look at the three areas you’ll be paying attention to as you work through this wonderful list of keywords that Google has offered you. In the columns below the blue graph, there are three that are important:

  1. Keyword (by relevance): This is the list of all the keyword phrases that people search for using the word “soup.”
  2. Average monthly searches

  3. : You’ll want to click on this so that you first order the highest number of average monthly searches. The higher the number of searches, the more chances of traffic to your blog.
  4. Competition: In this column, Google is point-blank telling you how much competition there is for that particular keyword. You will be ignoring everything that says “Medium” or “High”. You’re targeting keywords with high search volume but low competition.

Sounds simple enough, right? And it is! But there are a few more things to consider before you rush out and start blogging soup recipes throughout the day.

Check out the screenshot below. You can see that the “chicken noodle soup” gets 110,000 monthly searches average AND has little competition. Jackpot, right??! Well… Not so fast.

If you do a Google search for “chicken noodle soup” you’ll see that your competition is somewhere around 8,000,000. If you’re lucky, you might one day receive a hit in the distant future from someone who is crazy enough to go through hundreds of pages of noodle chicken soup search results. Or, you can jump to your next keyword on your list and see what it brings to you.

In this case, let’s see how many results we get with the “chicken tortilla soup”. Very similar but with very different results. This keyword still has 74,000 average monthly searches and low competition. It’s a promising start.

And when we do our Google search, this time there are only 1,950,000 for our competition. So we’ve significantly increased our odds of being higher in search engine results.

But let’s say you’re a new food blogger and you know that even with that drastic reduction in competition there’s no chance, at this point in your blogging career, anyway, that you’ll rank high enough to click. Don’t worry, just keep scrolling down your list.

See also  Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy - This Farm Girl Cooks

Here we have “sea bean soup” as our key word. It drops competition and gets just over 12,000 monthly searches on average.

And when we do our Google search for “sea bean soup,” we see that now our competition has dropped to 300,000! That’s a big reduction in competition and there may be an opportunity for some organic search engine traffic here!

If you’re a very new blogger, my advice would be to start with lower-competition keywords like the one below. “Avgolemono Soup” (a fantastic, easy-to-make Greek soup) gets 3,600 average monthly searches.

And when we do our Google search we can see that our competition is just 150,000. Which is the best you’re going to get! Now, I might say, but there are only 3,600 average monthly searches – I want to rank for something that gets 36,000! We all want that, of course, and if you keep blogging and connecting and working your craft, one day soon you will. But if you’re not getting organic traffic and don’t know where to start, this is really your best bet.

Your SEO plan, whether you’re a new blogger or someone who’s been around for a while but has neglected your SEO and still doesn’t get much traffic from organic search, should be to target keywords that have as little competition as possible but still have enough searches for you to see decent traffic. Then, as your blog grows and rises in search engine results, you can start searching for some of those higher search volume keywords with a little more competition. My philosophy is that it’s better to be on page one of Google for many lower-volume keywords than to rank not at all for the big ones.

Having said all that, I warn you not to blog completely in this way. The vast majority of my posts are because it’s food I love and want to share. It’s important to blog first for yourself, second for your readers and let everything else come after that. But if you keep SEO in mind while doing those things, then you’re already on your way to food blogging success!

*Google search results can vary widely from person to person and even from day to day. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the collected keywords and rerun your numbers regularly, especially if you’re working from a list.

Related Articles

Back to top button