Download our FREE 7-Day Vegetarian

High Protein Meal Plan

Test link

SEO For Food Bloggers – This is how to get traffic from Google

HurryTheFoodUp is reader-powered. If you click through using links on our site we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

SEO For Food Bloggers - The Most Important Thing in SEO You Need to Know | hurrythefoodup.comHi there!

At the suggestion of a couple of foodblogger friends I pulled together a “short” SEO For Food Bloggers Guide that’ll teach you how to properly research keywords. In my opinion keyword research is the number one thing to do to get traffic from Google. Hands down.

I still have the feeling that many peeps just install YOAST SEO and hope Google sends over some traffic. But unfortunately SEO doesn’t work like that.

SEO For Food Bloggers – We can do this! Let’s start.

In “search engine language” a keyword is a word or a phrase that people are likely to type into Google when they search for specific content. So, keyword research is a strategy to achieve better rankings by looking for words that people are likely to type into Google.

Let’s say you want to make a salad with chickpeas, avocado and feta cheese. What to call your salad? I’ll answer that question with a free and magical tool called the Google Keyword Planner.

The Google Keyword Planner helps you with finding keyword ideas and estimating how they perform. It’s also used for creating adwords campaigns, but that’s not important right now.

The Keyword Planner

If you don’t have a Google Adwords Account yet, you can create one here. No worries, it’s free and we’ll only need that account to access the Keyword Planner. Your screen should look something like that one below. After signing up just make sure you turn off the campaign again!SEO For Food Bloggers

Note: Google recently started to ask for payment info upon registration. But nothing to worry about here, you won’t get charged anything if you do. Also, you can follow this video if don’t want leave your payment info.

After signing up, go to the tab “Tools” and then click on “Keyword Planner”.

SEO For Food Bloggers

Now click on the first option “Find new keywords and get search volume data”.

SEO For Food Bloggers

Alright, we’re getting there. Now let’s use the tool!

Researching Keywords For Your Recipe

Remember you wanted to see what’s the best way to name your salad with avocados, feta cheese and chickpeas? To do that you’ll need to find the ideal keyword for the recipe.

Just for your clarification: In SEO a keyword can consist of one word, but also of many, eg. “avocado” and also “avocado chickpea salad” is referred to as a keyword.

To start the research you just have to type in various recipe name ideas into the keyword tool. Let’s keep it easy and go for three easy combinations including the ingredients (see image):

SEO For Food Bloggers

You can add extra targeting or customising to further refine your search. It’s all self-explanatory, so feel free to play around with it. Personally, I make sure I’m targeting all locations and languages. Then hit “Get ideas”.

Now go to “Keyword ideas”

SEO For Food Bloggers

Finally we’re at what we were looking for: how often are our keyword combinations searched for per month? You see the answer below:

avocado chickpea salad results

Let me quickly explain this screenshot: at the top you see the three keywords we typed into the keyword planner. “Avg. monthly searches” indicate how many times this exact keyword is searched for.

IMPORTANT: “Competition” refers to the amount of Adwords Advertisers on that specific keyword. It doesn’t have to do anything with the competition in the organic search results so ignore that for now!

Below your own keyword ideas you’ll also find a list with keyword suggestions. You should always check them out. Often you’ll find keywords with higher monthly searches than the ones you typed in. Sometimes you’ll even stumble upon new recipe ideas (feta salad dressing – that sounds really interesting!)

Right then, so what do you need to consider now?

Here are two important criteria to keep in mind:

  1. Search volume: obviously, the more the better. But in general, more searches = more competition. If you’re new to SEO I recommend sticking with keywords that don’t get as many searches. How many searches, exactly? Unfortunately, I can’t give you a specific number because it varies wildly depending on your kind of content. For recipes I personally want to get at least around 300 monthly avg. searches.
  1. Organic competition on Google’s first page: Around 71% of the people click on a result from the first page. So, our aim should be to make it at least onto that page, and better yet to make in into the top five (1).

Now you want to check for two things:

First, the less big websites on top the better. If you see Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, The Food Network, BBC Good Food and other big websites occupying the first six results on page one, you’ll be better off looking for a different keyword. For a small food blog those players are almost impossible to beat.

Second, the less targeted the search results the better. If you look for a chickpea feta salad, but the closest result to it is a recipe with the name “Feta Salad with Greens” then your recipe with the right keyword will have it easy to reach the top.

Ok, let’s see:

In regards to criteria one (search volume) the keywordchickpea feta salad” with its 590 avg. monthly searches looks most promising. But before you decide to include that keyword in your recipe name, check for criteria two (organic competition). Type it into Google and see against whom you are competing!

Check out the image below for the search results of the keyword “chickpea feta salad”.

chickpea feta salad results

You may or may not know that Google personalizes search results, so it’s very possible that your list will look a little different when you type in “chickpea feta salad”. Nonetheless, it’s a very good indicator as to what most people see on top.

You’ll notice Jamie Oliver, BBC Good Food, Martha Steward and already took the first four spots. is a very big food blog, Weight Watchers and the Food Network are not exactly unkowns either. To sum up: it’s more likely to win the lottery than get a good ranking for this keyword. No, thank you.

Better check the second keyword option: “avocado chickpea salad”

avocado chickpea salad results

Just 390 searches per month, but the organic competition looks much weaker (so as you probably spotted that’s the keyword we went for).

No Jamie Oliver, no Martha Stewart, excellent! It will not always be possible to avoid the big websites, but the fewer of them the better. And this looks good.

Also, check out the type of results: do you see the Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich on spot number three? This is certainly not an ideal search result for someone who is looking for an Avocado Chickpea Salad – a very good indicator that you’ll have a good chance to get to the top with your recipe.

To complete the example let’s check the keyword “avocado feta salad” as well.

Avocado feta salad results

Allrecipes and BBC Good Food on top. Nope, that’s tough. The best choice is the keyword “avocado chickpea salad”.

Cool, that’s it with this short SEO For Food Bloggers Guide. Now you know how to research the keywords for your recipes. Please note that this was a very smooth example. You could dig in much deeper. Maybe there are still better keywords for this recipe that I haven’t thought of yet (eg. Avocado Summer Salad, Vegetarian Chickpea Salad, Greek Chickpea Salad).

Just by properly researching the keywords for your recipe, you can influence if it gets traffic from Google or not. Funny how excluding “Feta” and including “Avocado” in the recipe name can make such a difference, right?

On that note: I’ve written a complete SEO Guide For Food Bloggers that teaches you exactly how to elevate your recipes to the first page on Google. Keyword research is the most important component, but to give your recipes the extra push you’ll need to know a few more strategies.

Check it out here 🙂

Thanks for reading!



Leave a comment below

Your comments make our day. Thank you! If you have a question, please skim the comments section – you might find an immediate answer there. If you made the recipe, please choose a star rating, too.

  1. Great post! I really didn’t know enough about SEO!

  2. Superb post! Got me some clarity on how this works. Thanks for sharing, Howie!

  3. I agree. Great post! Super helpful–I need to read it more than once to get it into my brain!

    1. Thanks a lot, Letty!! Yes, there is a learning curve, I have to admit. But once you have it down, it’s second nature (and really helpful to get traffic 🙂 )

  4. This article has made things FINALLY click for me in regards to SEO – thank you! I am going to get some basics sorted and then get onto your book 🙂

    1. Hi Jayne! That is really really good to hear!! Also I’m always around to answer any question. Just hit me up on facebook or via email 🙂

  5. Thank you Howie for this post. Sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake and your explanation of SEO and keyword relevance is helping it to finally sink in with me. Nicely done!

    1. You’re welcome, Dan! Yes, keywords are sooo important. You have the highest chance to rank high for keywords consisting of 3 words or more.
      On that note: I just checked out your blog and saw the ricotta cheese from scratch post. Did you type in “how to make ricotta cheese” into the keyword planner? Could be sth to go for 😉

      1. Hi Howie! Thank you for the article. I am curious to know in this example, can you make the focus key words “how to make ricotta cheese” even if the post title and URL are, for example, “delicious ricotta recipe”.. I am just giving an example to showcase the keywords not matching the post title. I am going to dig into the focus key words now for the recipes I have already posted, and knowing that it’s too late now to change the title. Thus my question.

        1. Hi Yang!
          The only thing I wouldn’t change is the URL because that would break links that we’re pointing to that recipe. Not good..
          But why not changing the title towards the keyword? I mean you could name the post “how to make ricotta cheese + including delicious recipe” or something in that direction 🙂

  6. Such an awesome post – I was just always going for the ones that were searched the most without realising I’d be fighting for a spot against Martha Stewart and Good Food. It all make so much more sense now!

    1. Hi Emma! Cool stuff that we we’re able to shed some light. SEO can be a bit tricky to begin with. But once you get the hang of it google will send you good traffic! 🙂

  7. Great article!! Useful information on how to use keyword planner tool.

    1. Thanks Antonet! 🙂

  8. This is very helpful for growing my own blog! I honestly haven’t learned all about this. And you gave me with a lot of useful information. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Really cool to hear we could help out! Enjoy the weekend 🙂

  9. Thank you for the lovely article. What about the technical aspects of the blog? Does it really matter if you use a WP recipe plugin and rich snippets?

    1. You’re welcome Kristina. Yes, I think a wp recipe plugin and rich snippets are super important. Google will gladly use the extra info and position your recipe higher and more beautifully!

  10. Very informative article. just one thing to ask about Keywords Difficulty! Please explain in brief how to choose prior keywords for recipe website? how to find keywords difficulty?

    1. Hi Steven! Well, the keyword difficulty I determine via the moz toolbar. You can see the page and domain authority of other websites in the search results. If I see there are too many strong competitors with high authority ranking high on that keyword I tend to skip it. Check out for the toolbar. Very helpful 🙂

  11. Hey Howie what a wonderful article you wrote! Thanks much for sharing, I am very much new to the world of blogging and your article is just a big time savior to me. Thanks once again! Loved reading it 🙂

  12. Loved this guide! Great way to discuss on-page and off-page Technical SEO approaches.

  13. Very Useful information for foodblfoggers. Thanks for sharing this topic

  14. Thank you! Exactly what I needed! I’m blogging for a while but until now I didn’t pay attention to the keywords and SEO optimization! I’m going to re-think my process!