Forgive me, Stomach, for I have Binged… plus, Google Recipes and SEO microcoding

Yesterday, I managed to consume about three day’s worth of calories (and only about half a day’s worth of nutrition) all before noon. Hail cookie dough!

Oh, and another confession: I once bought pregnancy pants for the express purpose of wearing while eating. Comfort is key.

Ten Bloody Mary’s and five Whiskey Sours – Amen!

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There’s something I’d like to talk about, although I feel I’m probably a little behind the times, seeing as most of the hoopla over this happened back in February. But, it’s news to me, so I’m going to talk about it.

Earlier this year, Google introduced a new part of its search engine entirely geared towards finding recipes. Type in what you’re looking for, and on the left-hand side-bar of the site there’s a Recipe button, which opens a whole list of options for narrowing your search. You can choose a recipe based on how long it takes to prepare, what ingredients it uses, or how many calories are in it.

Google Recipes

On the one hand, this is fantastic – it helps the average user to find the average recipe. On the other hand, the search engine works by verifying specific microcodes programmed into each site, which means the top results will usually be places like foodnetwork.com, allrecipes.com, etc. – entirely neglecting the already struggling-to-be-found food bloggers. Of course, there’s nothing stopping bloggers from using microcodes themselves to improve their searchability, but since many of us are focused on food, photography, and trying to run our lives, there’s often little understanding of (or time for) such tedious coding.
Fortunately for us, there’s a solution to our problems: RecipeSEO.com – a website designed by the very talented programmer and fellow food-blogger, Allison Day of SushiDay.com

The way it works is simple (that’s not true, the way it works is magic and I bow down to its greatness) – but what you do is simple. Just enter the information about your recipe, and the website will generate all the necessary microcoding. The formatting can then be copy/pasted into whatever HTML text-editor you use, whether you’re hosted by blogger, wordpress, or tumblr.

RecipeSEO 1.2

The site also offers space to include a photo, prep time, and nutritional information for the dish. According to Google, these things are a must to make recipes searchable in their index.

RecipeSEO 2

After entering all the appropriate information the site generates a script which can easily be copy/pasted into the HTML edit page of your host site.

RecipeSEO 4

It might take a little fiddling with to make it appear the way you’d like it to, but this is approximately what you’ll be looking at.

Although there are many ways to add search-engine-friendly coding to your blog, and indeed a great many things I don’t understand about programming at all, it’s nice to know there are some little things that can help us e-illiterates.

At the same time, however, and knowing that it’s really quite exciting that code can be created to actually tell search-engines specific data (rather than searching for things that simply contain the words ‘chickpea’ or ‘hummus’, it can actually know that those ingredients are used), I’m honestly a little disappointed by it. While there still holds true some basic elements of searchability, and the popularity of your site determining your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it’s sad to think just how much of the technical aspect I don’t grasp, and don’t really want to grasp. This is why it can be so helpful to enlist a programmer, or site designer, or codemonkey, when creating a blog. But somehow I find it depressing, contrasted against the boastfully ‘user friendly’ interface and the notion that anyone can create a blog, that when I type something into Google I might be coming up with the content most easily recognized by the internet, rather than the content most popularized by the people. Perhaps I’m just being cynical, but I take comfort in knowing that a lot of people like and trust SmittenKitchen (for example), not that SmittenKitchen can afford a site monger, or is savvy enough to not need one.

Anyway, I guess my point is, Google needs to find a way to combine its Recipe button with its Blog search button. Then, maybe we can all be happy.

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