Prioritize Relevant Content; Get To The Point
Let me tell you a story about why I love sourdough bread. It really goes back to my childhood days spent outside my family’s cottage, when my mother would leave a piping hot loaf of fresh, sourdough bread in the window to cool. I can still smell it.
OMG, nobody cares. Get to the point.
And by point, the reader means, “tell me what I want to know.”
One of the biggest factors in content writing is: does the landing page meet the user’s intent once they’re there? Does the content immediately provide value? The fastest way for bloggers to do this is to help their website visitors to quickly achieve their goal.
Blogging about a recipe? Don’t prioritize your own backstory or some other random tidbit of intro copy, start with the recipe at the top of the page and include all relevant information and steps that relate to creating the dish. This is what it means to create content with the user in mind.
Show (don’t tell) your readers you’re putting them first
Many bloggers make the mistake of writing for the sake of writing. As the content creator, when you’re writing for an audience, it’s your job to know what they want and give that to them by prioritizing that content upfront.
Based on our study of the November 2019 Google algorithm update (that impacted many food blogging sites), one of the main trends in the domains that maintained (retained) their rankings was that, whenever it came to recipe instructions, the main source of on-page content wast the recipe. Any additional or personal information was kept to a minimum.
Putting the user’s intent first is, and will remain, a basic tenant of SEO.
How do we know this? Google talks about this concept in its Quality Rater Guidelines.
In the document (maintained by Google no less), it’s referred to as being able to identify the “Main Content (MC)” on the page versus the “Supplementary Content (SC)”. If a real human whose job is to evaluate the page can’t easily determine what the page is about, it will likely be a poor user experience for the person who visits that page immediately after punching in their search.
No webpage likes a compliment sandwich
We all know a “compliment sandwich” is when someone tries to give you constructive criticism or feedback but it’s sandwiched in between praise.
While frequently effective in conversation, when it comes to a website:
The same is true for one of the longstanding tenants of SEO on prioritizing relevant content; don’t sandwich the good stuff in between more fluff.
In the study, we observed that while big brand name domains (like FoodNetwork and AllRecipes) typically dominate rankings on broader search topics due to their size and domain authority, it is possible for lesser known domains to improve their online visibility — but! Bloggers must learn to prioritize the content users want; often it’s the recipe itself!
The excerpt below from our study done at the time illustrates how traffic and rankings for generic keywords on spendwithpennies.com improved by way of prioritizing the content users want.
Here’s a good way to think about it tactically. The study revealed that, at least where recipe content was concerned, it’s best to actually prioritize the recipe.
In a nutshell, the hierarchy of your page would look like this:
(ingredients, relevant cooking instructions etc.)
History of the dish
(how you first learned about or tasted the dish, facts about where it came from & how it has evolved being passed down through generations etc.)
(special traditions associated with the dish such as sayings or beverages etc.)
(close out your post by offering tips on how to serve the dish in a way that inspires the person who’s making the dish in their home etc.)
In SEO, these headings are referred to as Header tags. But we’ll save that lesson for another post.
Always give the user what they want. Prioritize what your readers are looking for and your traffic will, for the most part, be a lot less susceptible to ranking fluctuations amidst future algo updates.