Google To Recipe Bloggers: We've Heard Complaints, Ensure Key Parts Of Recipe Have Easy Access

Oct 30, 2023 - 7:51 am 7 by

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Google's Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, posted that he is aware of the complaints about recipe pages being too long and hard to find the ingredients and directions. He added that this is something content producers might want to keep in mind. "If you want to appeal to that audience, you might want to ensure your recipes are helpful in that way, easy access to the key parts," he added. Initially the word "appeal" was "appear" but Danny corrected that, just a heads up.

To me, this seems like some sort of warning about an upcoming Google search algorithm update that might target those really longwinded, SEO-written, recipe blogs and pages.

Danny Sullivan wrote on X, "I will add that I well know the complaints that recipe pages sometimes go really long while some people just want to get to the ingredients. I think that's something content producers might want to keep in mind. If you want to appear to that audience, you might want to ensure your recipes are helpful in that way, easy access to the key parts."

This was in response to a question posted that read, "Help me understand Danny! RE recipe sites: in theory the user wants a recipe and that’s it. No fluff. No tweaks. But will Google really rank (and know how to) a stripped back barebones list of ingredients and method?"

Danny Sullivan replied, "Some people want just a list of ingredients. Some people want recipes from people or places they might recognize. Some people might want a recipe along with some background about the recipe, what it means to the person who is sharing it and so on. All people don't want the exact same things. Our systems try to show what seems generally helpful."

Then he added the warning about the fluff, which is something Google spoke about a year ago, saying, fluff content is hard for Google to understand.

"But if someone wants to tell you more about their recipe because they want to, because it's important to them, because they think that's useful to them and their readers -- that's up to them. That should be respected," he then added.

Then he says it is not about the length, "We're certainly not saying don't write a recipe long or short. We're saying, as with any content, just write it in a way that makes sense for people first. That also means don't just add stuff because you somehow heard we want "long" copy and so on."

Do you think this is a warning to recipe bloggers to get to the point?

Forum discussion at X.

Update: A post by Danny Sullivan on X later today adds more detail, he writes:

Overall, the page seems to have a lot of repetition. It tells readers what the dish is in the opening paragraph then seem to repeat similar things in the third and fifth and again after the first ingredients list and then way down again when I get to the recipe. Then the instructions above feel repetitive to the instructions that are also below. The Tips and Notes and FAQs also feel duplicative to each other.

As a first time reader of the page (as I was), there just feels like there's a lot of unnecessary repetition. If you're doing that because you believe it really is a helpful format for your readers, then continue doing so. People-first is what you should do. But if you're repeating a lot of this content because you think Google wants long content, wants all those extra references and so on, then that's not people-first and should be avoided.


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