Google Search Console Adds New Data for Recipe Structured Data
Google recently announced new Search Console capabilities for structured recipe data site owners. With this innovation, it has become much easier to track the SERP performance of recipe web pages. Site owners can get a report on page impressions, average position, and average click-through rate. All this information can be additionally filtered by various parameters, for example, by location, searches, and devices used for searching.
Previously, it was not possible to obtain such detailed data. Google Analytics remained the only option for tracking traffic from recipe web pages, and it was not possible to get specific performance results using it. The new features allow for flexibility in semantic markup and enhance the content on the page, getting better results. The site owner might assume that the structured data on the recipe pages are completely customized. If you look at the performance report in Search Console, you may find that not all pages appear as intended in Google Search.
There are several options to deal with these situations. First, you need to carefully check the semantic markup, whether all the necessary properties were used, and supplement them. If everything is in order with the markup, you may need to wait a while while the search engine crawlers index the content and make a decision about displaying it.
Understand that Google does not guarantee that the page will be shown, for example, in a carousel, even if all the markup was done correctly and according to the recommendations. This can depend on the overall page optimization metrics, page rank, and other factors. To use the new capabilities for analyzing web pages with recipes, simply go to the Performance Report section of the Search Appearance tab:
Performance report provides many useful features for webmasters and SEOs. They are now available for recipe sites as well. You can learn more about performance reports from the video:
Let’s consider the basic subtleties of setting up semantic markup and figure out how to correctly compose structured data for effective SEO optimization of web pages with recipes.
Types of Semantic Markup
Semantic markup is a way to mark data on a web page using special tags. Its main purpose is to highlight important information and delimit the structure of content for further use. With SEO, markup is used to provide the necessary information to search engine robots to correctly understand the content of the page. Any site markup complies with certain generally accepted rules and standards.
There are different types of data markup, so-called dictionaries. Here are some of them:
- Open Graph
Search engine optimization uses the Schema.org dictionary. It was developed by Google specialists in collaboration with representatives of other leading global companies, including Microsoft. Structured markup data can be represented as property-value fields. Using them on a recipe site can provide benefits that will affect how your site appears in the search results.
Search bots use the provided recipe information and display relevant search results in a user-friendly way. Moreover, Google can display recipes relevant to the query not only in search results but also in Google Images. This has a positive effect on the results of search engine promotion. Let’s take a look at the search results for “apple pie recipe easy”. In the search results, we will see a recipe carousel:
Go to Google Images and see what results are displayed there:
The same pages got to the TOP of image search and the Google carousel.
Displaying Recipes on Google
To display recipes on smart displays and in Google Home, you need to add structured Recipe data to your web page. The Recipe Instruction and Recipe Ingredient properties are recommended for displaying content as a result of searches and presenting it step-by-step in Google Assistant.
There are over twenty properties in Recipe markup. Most of them are optional for specific situations. Name and image are required. It is not difficult to guess what role they play. By reading the values of the Image property, the search robot selects the most suitable image for display in terms of resolution and aspect ratio. Note that according to Google’s requirement, any page with a recipe, even without using semantic markup, must have at least one picture. Google makes a few more mandatory requirements for this property, you can read them here.
An example of a properly filled Image property in Recipe markup:
Optional properties include AggregateRating, Author, CookTime, DatePublished, Description, Keywords, and others. A complete list of Recipe properties and their values is available on the official Google page.
You can use the ItemList to display recipes in a Google carousel. It is used not only for the beautiful presentation of recipes but also for any other information, such as films. According to Google, ItemList is optional, you only need to use ItemListElement, ListItem.position, ListItem.url properties. Read more here.
The Impact of Structured Recipe Data on SEO
While structured recipe data makes it easier for search engine spiders to analyze the content and theme of a web page, webmasters and SEOs often don’t agree on the impact of SD on impressions, clicks, and average position. Representatives of Google on Twitter officially stated that structured data does not affect search rankings.
The SEOs at Technical SEO have done their own research on the impact of structured data on various SEO metrics to verify or disprove Google’s claim. As a result, interesting and not entirely obvious results were obtained. The study was based on the removal of structured recipe data and analysis of clicks, impressions, and site position in the search results after that.
The researchers analyzed the number of ranking pages before and after deleting structured data. We found out that this indicator has not changed and Google is telling the truth. However, it is better to pay attention not to the number of ranked pages, but to the CTR, especially in terms of mobile search results. Experts provide screenshots of CTR graphs for mobile and desktop search after deleting structured recipe data.
CTR change for mobile devices:
From the graphs presented by the researchers, it can be seen that deleting structured data had a negative impact on mobile click-through rates, but almost did not affect the desktop. The reason for this lies in the lack of display of results with extended recipes in the Google carousel. While structured data does not affect search rankings, the lack of recipe web pages in the carousel, that is, at the top of mobile search results, can lead to critical results. This is what the authors of the study believe.
The share of mobile searches on Google is constantly increasing. Today, even having a mobile version of the site is an important ranking factor. Statistics show that mobile users very often use Google carousel without clicking on regular links. A decrease in the click-through rate from mobile devices can significantly reduce the site’s ranking and its position in Google.
As a result, the following conclusions can be drawn:
- Structured data has an indirect impact on search engine traffic. This influence in some cases is strong enough and can lead to a significant decrease in the site’s rating.
- Having recipe web pages in the Google carousel is a great way to increase mobile CTR.
- CTR from desktop devices is not very sensitive to the presence of structured data. However, in the absence of these, Google cannot compose snippets. And this entails, although not critical, but quite a noticeable decrease in the click-through rate.
Recommendations for Recipe Website Owners
Summing up, we can make an unambiguous conclusion – structured data today have a serious indirect impact on the position of the site in the search results.
- Some sites get a significant proportion of their mobile traffic from Google carousel. Without structured data on your web pages, this is impossible. Losing traffic can be a big problem and significantly reduce your site’s ranking and position in Google. Follow Google’s guidelines to ensure you don’t miss out on properties and fill them in correctly.
- With modern tools from Google, adding structured data is a breeze. Now it is possible to conveniently analyze their performance for a specific page and make changes in a timely manner if necessary. Track your recipe page stats regularly and make changes if snippets are not showing in SERPs or the page is not in the carousel.
- Structured data allows recipe pages to appear in Google images. This is a good way to attract new traffic, both from mobile and desktop devices. To interest the user, add beautiful and intriguing images of the dish to the page. If there are multiple images, Google will choose the most suitable one.
Following these simple rules, you can achieve significant results in increasing conversions to the site with recipes.