New Google Recipe Search Means Extra Coding for Food Bloggers

Feb 282011
 

According to the Chicago Tribune, a year ago Google started asking big food websites to add code to their recipes so search results would reveal time and servings info, plus reader reviews and other information. What the article didn’t mention is that food bloggers weren’t involved.

Now it’s up to you to add the code to be part of Google’s new recipe search.

Google, you see, gets 10 million searches per day for recipes. In an effort to become more efficient, the company wants people to be able to search more narrowly for everything from ingredients to cook time. That means you, as a food blogger, will have to hand edit your recipes, until a new editor or templates show up to make it easier.

How much coding are we talking about? Google has added a term called “itemprop,” where the HTML  must specify property values for each part of the recipe. There are 14 different values.

Here’s an excerpt from Google’s example for an ingredients list. The first box shows what the ingredients list of a recipe currently looks like in HTML. The second is how Google wants it to look.

Ingredients:
    Thinly-sliced apples: 6 cups
    White sugar: 3/4 cup

Now becomes:

Ingredients:
 <span itemprop="ingredient" itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/RecipeIngredient">
      Thinly-sliced <span itemprop="name">apples</span>:
      <span itemprop="amount">6 cups</span>
 </span>
   <span itemprop="ingredient" itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/RecipeIngredient">
      <span itemprop="name">White sugar</span>:
      <span itemprop="amount">3/4 cup</span>
   </span>
   ...

All this code for just the first two ingredients! This example looks pretty scary for a non–programmer like me. As you can see, you must tag each item with these new properties.

Laura Pazzaglia, who blogs Hip Pressure Cooking, contacted me about this new coding on Twitter. “Let’s say food bloggers figure out how to convert their recipes so that they show up on Google recipe search results,” she continued in an email.  “Other than adding the obvious information  to standardize a recipe (prep time, cook time, total time, yield), the ingredient list is a nightmare.”

“The worst part is that, in HTML, bloggers have to add six tags for each ingredient in the ingredients list (one set of tags for the quantity and one set of tags for the ingredient name). Multiply this by a modest amount of ingredients and dozens of recipes,” continues Pazzaglia, “and you get the idea why a food blogger manually entering recipes simply cannot compete with large, database driven recipe websites with programmers who can type a few line of codes and updated thousands of recipes at once!”

I don’t think programmers have it that easy, but I get her point. “Google runs one of the most popular blogging platforms (which I also use),” she says, “and there hasn’t been a peep about providing any templates or forms to input recipes to fit the new format.”

So, do I have this right? Are you willing to use this new format, plus go back and re-code all your recipes? Or are you waiting for someone to automate it with some kind of tool? What will happen to your recipes in the search results in the meantime?

Update: For more specifics, see Elise Bauer of Simply Recipe’s post on Food Blog Alliance, this post on the Food Blog Forum: Making Micro Formats Manageable, and this post by Amanda Hesser on Food52.

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  153 Responses to “New Google Recipe Search Means Extra Coding for Food Bloggers”

  1. No, I am not willing to go back and re-code my recipes. I am not even sure that I would be willing to input each recipe into some kind of tool in the future. If I was one of the few bloggers who earn income from blogging, I would probably be more motivated to do something so tedious (as well as something that gets more traffic but does not improve the actual quality of my blog for readers).

    • Well, it might not improve the actual blog quality, but might it not improve the ability of people to find your blog while searching for “spinach pasta” or whatever?

  2. Trying to figure out the same! I don’t want to have to write that much code, but would the payoff be worth it?

  3. I’ve been using the hRecipe microformat since before Google implemented it. They are offering several different alternatives. It only makes sense to use a standard format.

    yes, it’s more work for the majority of bloggers – especially those who rely on big blogging sites that don’t allow easy access to modifying the output. Me, I wrote my own template and I don’t have to manually add all those extra tags – they just get added by the template as it goes.

    I don’t see this as an issue. You can do it, or not. Just like you can decide to publish a book properly, or not. There are “restrictions” that come from the publication method you chose. You can chose to have all your images in your printed book in black and white. People may not be interested by that hence not buy the book. Similarly, you can chose not to follow recognised HTML standards, and search engines may not find your site as easily. Choices.

    • You wrote your own template? That’s fantastic, Nic. Would it be useful to other food bloggers and might you be willing to share it?

      Yes, there are choices, but I’m not sure what happens if you chose not to follow along.

      • If you chose not to follow along, then you risk being left behind. But this is not only true in the world of food blogging :)

        As for sharing my template… It *might* be useful to some people in some cases. My template involves a fair bit of customization of the self-hosted WordPress engine. Implementation is not straightforward, though once it’s implemented it’s easy enough to use. Just giving my code out is unlikely to be helpful to people as is, “out of the box.”

        • You don’t see this as an issue, but then you have the skills to write you own template. Those are skills many of us don’t have and the ‘you can choose to or choose not to’ is a pretty simplistic way of looking at this and I would say not particularly constructive.

          I think it’s pretty obvious that this post was geared towards generating discussion on pros/cons/what might be the outcome of Google recipes. It’s not as straightforward as following or being left behind. Google Recipes may end up being the only online tool used to search for recipes or it may turn out to be absolute rubbish. Either way I think its worth recognising that not all innovation is positive for everyone and not all innovation is inevitable.

          • Lau, I’m sorry if I upset you. In many ways, yes it is as simple as “you do it or you don’t”. If someone doesn’t have the knowledge/skills, and they want to implement these things, they ought to look for someone who has the skills.

            This is *exactly* the same as in printed books. I certainly don’t have the skills/knowledge needed to get a manuscript to printed form. So I would go to someone who does.

  4. I imagine I am like most bloggers – there is no way I have time for this, and its way beyond my skill set. But it might make a difference for bloggers – negatively. Out of curiousity, I googled “peaches with basil” and my post came up in the top 3 results. Added the recipe filter and it didn’t show up on the first 6 pages (I gave up looking after that). At the moment, when I use the recipe filter, all the results for a recipe are from Google’s partners in developing this – allrecipes, bettycrocker and the like. Big operations.

    All this being said, I didn’t even know about these filter options before I read about this, so my hope is most googlers are as clueless as I am!

  5. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more talk about this – thank you for shedding light on it! The way I understand it, many bloggers get search traffic thanks to recipe searches. If Google is optimizing recipe search for bigger sites, inevitably food bloggers who aren’t as tech-savvy are going to suffer…That said, I’m not surprised that they’re doing this. They’ve never made it easy for bloggers (I used to be on Blogger before making the switch to WordPress).

    • I just think bloggers didn’t even enter their minds as they were customizing searches. They’re a big company used to working with other big companies.

      • Those are both really good points, as they cut to heart of who gets their voice heard online. The internet is always touted as this democratic, accessible forum for anyone and everyone, but I think it’s worth recognising that groups can be left out altogether. Obviously the less tech-savvy and more diy recipe blogs will suffer if google recipes becomes the primary way for people to find recipes.

  6. I’m a relatively new blogger so my recipes don’t show up very high on google. I’m wondering if the coding would give my posts a boost in the search engine ranking. If so, then it is probably worth it for me.

    Now, how do I find even more free time to learn about and start implementing coding?

    • Gah! Anyone have an answer for her? I have a techie husband who helped me with the post.

    • I have no idea how it will affect your search engine ranking, but you can find out about how to implement the codes here:
      http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=173379

      It’s a pretty technical document that requires you to click on the little + marks to see actual examples of the code.

      I updated ONE recipe last night. It took me an hour! I figured it was worth a shot to see if it’s worth all of the effort and hub-bub.

      It would probably be easier inputting new recipes with a template, as Nic mentioned, but even having worked with HTML for over a decade I was going cross-eyed updating all of the particulars – even the timing format requires that you type the cooking time two ways..

      Prep time: 30 min

      Plus you have to remember all of the “nests” – Definitely not something for someone who is passionate about food an not willing to spend all of their time hand-coding their recipes!!!

      Thanks Diane for the sharing this issue!

      Laura

      hip pressure cooking
      making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

  7. Hrmm. I wish I could say I’d be up for using this new format and re-coding all my previous recipes, but I simply don’t see how this will work for the average person. If I were more technical, you can be sure I’d be spending many sleepless nights trying to create an automated tool though.

  8. Yeah, totally annoying, but I think necessary. I know I will probably click on the recipes tab to search in the future, so I’m sure others will as well, making adding these tags beneficial.

    FWIW, if you view the source on some of the “big” sites, I only see them do class=”ingredient” and not the separate ones for “name” and “amount”, so I will take that as a clue that I can ignore those as well and keep it at only 2 tags per ingredient (still insanely cumbersome). I’ve only converted my most popular posts for the moment, and can say that the food blogging world could really use the help of a smart plugin. There exists a WP plugin, but it’s not so user friendly in the formatting department. It’s faster for me to type HTML by hand, which is definitely not fun.

    But then, it all comes down to the eternal SEO question – bloggers are constantly told they shouldn’t write for SEO, but what good is a post if no one can find it in the places they are looking? Can bloggers even stand a chance compete to be seen amongst the “big sites” anyways?

    • Okay, even if it’s only two tags per ingredient it still is insanely cumbersome, as you admit.

      And yes, you still want your post to come up in the search, right? Searches are a major way that people find recipe blogs, and a major way that bloggers find new readers.

  9. I did the same thing as “The Runaway Spoon” – and found some my recipes that ranked high before on searches, rank much lower once the recipe tab is implemented. This isn’t a full-time job for me, so I definitely won’t be taking the time to re-code my recipes. I’ll see where this whole trend goes and see if it makes that much of a difference in the long run.

  10. This is just another evolution in the Google machine. They’ve been working on various “search” changes for the past year (the recipe breakout is just one of them). Of course, having a food blog of my own…I am directly affected.

    The decision to implement the coding on your site is up to you. The results (at least at the moment….but of course it will change ;) ) of implementation, or lack of, are evident.

    As with the rest of SEO, that I work with my clients on, it’s something that you need to decide whether or not you would like to undertake it. Unfortunately, when it comes to code, it’s not something that you can “sort of” do…it’s all or nothing. Eventually, someone will create a WP plugin that is more user friendly and implements the code for you. However, in the meantime you just need to decide what you want to do.

    • FWIW, these changes are not solely for ranking in search engines. The added tagging allows a better, more standard, display of information of the results.

      • A better, more standard display for whom? The added tagging allows Google to do whatever they want with your content. They already display our blog images in the Images search feature without viewers having to visit our blog page; now thanks to our coding efforts, they’ll be able to freely display our recipe content in the Recipes search feature without viewers having to visit our blog. Google is the only one that’s going to reap any rewards from this insane exercise!

        • You won’t be able to see the whole recipe in the search results though, will you Don? That doesn’t make any sense.

          • You’ve missed my point. You won’t be able to see the whole recipe in the Recipes results now, but what happens later? The possibility is there. You’ve no guarantee about how Google will eventually use the content data you’ve provided for them. As with images, the concise, coded recipe data is made easily harvestable by whoever wants it.

    • There *is* an hRecipe plugin, and it’s called (appropriately) hRecipe.

      http://website-in-a-weekend.net/hrecipe/

      The problem is, it forces you to use the WordPress online editor to enter your data in the hRecipe dialogs. I use Windows Live Writer to do offline editing, and there is no hRecipe plugin for WLW. So I’m not using the plugin. I may go in and edit older recipes that show up high in the search results, just to protect their results position.

  11. I have a hunch that if/when this is fully implemented, good coders will very soon be writing plugins for the majority of blog platforms, esp. WordPress.

    • I’ve actually been thinking about making my customisation into a “proper” WP plugin. But it would have to be a commercial plugin – I just can’t afford to give it out for free, web work is my livelyhood. Maybe it’s time I did that.

  12. I kinda think it sucks. Right now I get a considerable amount of traffic from Google, and like others here I plugged in my most popular recipe, for chocolate chip cookies. We’re talking hundreds of hits a day just to that one recipe from regular google, where it usually appears on the first page. On recipe Google, it doesn’t come up in the first half-dozen.

    And no, I won’t be going back & adding code to older posts. I assume someone will be creating a plug-in at some point. Until then I’ll just seethe ;)

  13. I created a template for new posts, that cuts down on a lot of the hassle (I still have to tweak the coding a little bit for each post, since I can’t get the template quite right). I also went back a coded a few of my more popular recipes… I’m going to wait and see if it seems “worth it” before I go back and edit additional recipes that I’ve posted in the past.

  14. wow…surprisingly this is the first I’ve heard of this. I’m actually looking into doing a whole site redesign and moving to wordpress so I’m hoping this can somehow be implemented in future posts. I’m not sure about updating old recipes. If it seems worth it, I’ll probably do it, but no guaranteeing how quickly I would be able to get around to it!

    • Yes, I think it is breaking news for food bloggers, actually. There are lots of stories for consumers about the new recipe search, but not about this.

    • Hey Megan, Have you considered Drupal for your site redesign? And everyone else out there. WordPress has a lot of great features, but this new Google Recipe code, along with other SEO – easy to do, features are available with Drupal. I’d be happy to talk with you further about it. We are currently implementing the Google Recipe code for another client in their drupal site.

  15. When I do a search for a recipe I am often unhappy with the results from sites such as allrecipes and similar sites. I find the results from those sites to often be untested and or lacking. I am often happier with results from a food blog. I hope others will feel the same way and will favor not using the new recipe filter.

    -Robin

    • Hmmm. I don’t think so. It’s so much easier just to type a recipe name into a Search engine.

      • If people only wanted to type their search into a search box that would only give them recipes they would have been using allrecipes, epicurious etc, not Google.

        Having just played with Google’s recipe search I find it very limiting. It is obvious the sites it is pulling from is very limited. Personally I think Google needs food bloggers buy in for the new recipe search to become popular.

        -Robin

    • Add blog or message board at the end of the search term to skip over Google’s 5 or so hand selected food/recipe sites who had a year head start on this. I don’t like the crappy corporate recipes either.

  16. This totally stinks. I have over 400 recipes on my blog and there is no way I’m going back to change every recipe. I’m not going to what I’m doing now. I am however very interested in a plug in or template or something that would make this easier to accomplish.

    Thank you Dianne for sharing this and making us aware.

  17. As previously echoed, someone will develop a plugin for these tags. I am sure it won’t be so bad. Of course, you can choose not to do this, but keep in mind the internet moves without you, and its own pace. You can chose not to update, but keep in mind you may be making yourself obsolete. During my 16 years online with websites, I have changed platforms many times, and I have re-edited everything more than once.

  18. Honestly, I don’t see myself doing this without a plug-in. Not only am I not tech savvy enough, I just don’t have the time. Google already ignores those of us with small blogs, so I don’t think I will lose traffic. I guess it will make it harder to grow though.

  19. I’m currently using the Blogger platform, and ironically enough, it looks like I can’t manually insert the code into my page because several elements Blogger uses for my template seem to contain incomplete or invalid values that trigger an error when I run a check on Google to see if it detects the code.
    I’m not sure if this is something I can fix, or if it’s something Google needs to fix on the Blogger platform itself. Either way, it’s a pain in the butt, especially since I’m not exactly the world’s techiest person and can’t afford to hire someone to do it for me, either.
    As a “little guy” blogger, it’s hard enough to go head to head with the big recipe sites as it is… This gives them yet another advantage over us… But since I can’t afford to give up the percentage of traffic that Google sends my way, I guess I’ll have to figure it out.

    • Sad but true, Isabelle. You will have to figure it out or ask other people who use Blogger.

      • Agreed, Dianne. Unfortunately, there have been a handful of posts on the Blogger Help forums since the introduction of the feature, and none have gotten a response so far.
        Considering they knew months ago that they’d be adding this new search function, the lack of support on Blogger seems like a deliberate choice to me.

    • I’ve encountered the same problems – frustrated with how Google/Blogger has handled this so far.

      I know there are some people who only post their recipes on the larger sites, but you lose the uniqueness of your blog there.

      I was actually shocked to find that Cook, Eat, Share isn’t using the new format yet. I imagine it’d be easier for them to implement since they do have a template for those who enter recipes in directly, rather than linking to recipes on their blogs.

      I’m waiting for a mass conversion tool of some sort. Assuming people put ingredients in bulleted lists and work steps in numbered lists, it should be easy for some Googler genius to create a script that reads your posts, determines if it’s a recipe (or if the post contains a recipe), and adds the tags automatically.

  20. I know someone will create an open source widget or plugin to address this, or perhaps it’s that evil mastermind (Mr. Recipe) trying to help the cookbook industry from dwindling into non-existence. If folks don’t code, it is possible recipes will be slapped back into books? Oh my!!! Maybe all recipes should only be available on Kindle or as an ebook. Perhaps we should just limit the number of ingredients in recipes to 3-4 items and only post those recipes, all others will be posted in a WiKi! I know that’s crazy too. I’m still waiting on a way to prove recipes are tested…since so many aren’t and don’t work! What to do? What to do?

  21. Wow, scary! My recipe comes up as the first item in a “vegan pasta carbonara recipe” search on regular Google On the recipe finder, I stopped looking after Page 5. Like so many of the previous commenters, I am definitely not tech-savvy enough to do add all this code myself, or even to use a plugin on my own. Which means paying somebody to create a template for me. . . (Nic, I think you have a good idea, there). ;)

    What I resent is being forced to make all these changes if I want my blog to continue to draw traffic, even as little as it does now. I certainly wouldn’t have thought to compete with “the big sites” before this new Google search, but it seems that this change will make it harder for bloggers to even exist. Or maybe there will evolve an entire parallel universe of blogger-only recipes that people will seek out when they can’t find good recipes that work on the big sites?

    • People are still going to find you when they search in google. The problem is if the people who search use the recipe search, and not the regular search. My guess is that you will only see a small decline in traffic, as not everyone will adopt the recipe search because some of their favorite sites aren’t going to show up in there initially.

      • Yes, I realize they will still find me in regular Google searches–but I was comparing a regular Google Search to the new recipe search. As The Runaway Spoon mentioned above, there is going to be a difference for bloggers who don’t join in on the revamp for the Google recipe searches–we will just get lost for anyone using Google recipe search. And as Dianne mentioned, once the word is out, most readers will probably search for recipes using the Google filter rather than regular Google.

        • Ricki you think things through very well. I wasn’t against anyone’s opinion on the potential loss of traffic, or that some folks would adopt this way of searching for recipes. Yes, it will happen, and for smaller bloggers it may impact them more. My experience in my 16 years of blogging is that my audience isn’t among to adapt early. Again, that is my audience only, and that may not be your audience. I just recently made tutorial videos on how to use the search features on my site for my audience, and I have received a good response from these videos. Keep in mind you are in a very different place than your audience may be in technical skills.
          I am going to guess that by the time this becomes a real live issue where your traffic is negatively impacted there will be a variety of plugins to help you, and once again level the playing field. Blogging isn’t for the faint of heart.

  22. I’m sure it won’t be too many days before there’s an app or web services that will let you write your recipe then generate the code to drop into your blog.

  23. I was interested in the article and wanted to learn more. While I agree recoding web sites would be a huge pain, I also found out that there are only one or two required tags. I also found that google is not using the proposed standard in the way it was designed. The standard can be found here http://microformats.org/wiki/hrecipe

    I tried adding code to my test site and found that this blog entry http://vermonttandem.blogspot.com/2011/02/apple-pie-test.html would in fact generate a positive recipe hit (should google ever go look). The complete code I used is below, although I’m not sure it will show up.

    Grandma’s Holiday Apple Pie

    By Fred Flintstone
    Prep time: 30 min
    Cook time: 1 hour
    Total time: 1 hour 30 min
    Yield: 1 9″ pie (8 servings)

    • Actually the code did not show up. I would be happy to share should anyone need/want it.

      • I think these tags are more dependent on the sitemap file, did you update your sitemap? You can check in google webmaster tools to see if your latest sitemap had been read. Just a thought, but I am sure you already checked that.

  24. I did find this plugin. Not sure of how old it is or if it works with WordPress 3.1 but might be worth a look. I know I’ll dig into deeper tomorrow with fresh eyes. :o)

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hrecipe/

    • Drug is helping on valtrex online us day four but.

      I tried this plugin – not the most streamlined especially if you want to do some other formatting, but it can be worked with. Personally for me it’s faster if I just type the needed HTML.

  25. I heard that Word Press has a free plug-in or template that applies the codes. I use Blogger and it amazes me that Google’s blogging tool doesn’t have a similar plug-in. It’s just so surprising to me that Google didn’t put the support in place on their own product! As a small time food blogger, I don’t have the know-how or tools to setup a template of my own.

  26. I think it’s an innovative idea, but the current formulation does a lot of damage to bloggers and smaller sites. This is funny, because only a few weeks ago Google changed its rankings to downgrade so-called “content farms” — and if you ask me, the sites like Epicurious that show up in Google’s new recipe search are exactly that, recipe content farms.

    I’m hoping Google will get smart and tweak its recipe search, but who knows. Either way, I do have the technical know-how to implement the new coding, but I’m not sure I will. Because there’s no quick fix — for all of us who typed up our recipes in paragraph form, as opposed to entering them into some sort of formatted database, this means entering EACH AND EVERY POST and rewriting the recipe. I’m going to wait to see if this search catches on before my husband and I spend an entire weekend (or more?) going through my 200-recipe archive.

    By the way, all the comments on Google’s own blog post announcing this change are negative, exactly for this reason.

    • That’s a good point, about content farms, but apparently high-quality sites like Epicurious don’t qualify as such. I kind of agree with that. You can’t really compare About.com to Epicurious. Or maybe I just think that because I’m an old-school journalist.

      • Actually, it seems like the recipe search is picking up about.com. It’s also picking up some good sites, but it’s a rather limited mix of decent things and “recipe farms.”

        This whole thing is turning out to be ridiculously hard for bloggers to work with. I am actually trying to make my site compliant, and there are a few major issues, beyond the number of hours involved. First off, you need a minimum amount of information — you need to tag ingredients, and several items including prep time, rating, a photo, etc. Many bloggers do not have enough of this kind of data — how many of us list things like prep time or rating?

        And let’s say you get past all that — you manage to mark up your site and it passes Google’s hRecipe test. Then you submit your site to Google for approval. But according to comments on Google’s forum, it could take months until it’s picked up — if it’s picked up at all. There’s no guarantee.

  27. What I’m a bit confused about is if adding this code will even add a blog to the search. I did numerous recipe searches on that function and the only blog that showed up in all of the pages was Smitten Kitchen. Aside from this, it was all the big recipe sites and no blogs whatsoever, right to the end. Is this really even open to bloggers?

    • It’s open if you want to add code. That’s my understanding.

      • I think maybe I wasn’t quite clear on my question. I actually checked for Nic’s recipes, as he mentioned in the comments here that he has been using hrecipe format for years, and none of his recipes show up at all in the recipe searches. Something is amiss here. I know of some other bloggers using the hrecipe format, and they aren’t getting pulled either. I’m just inquiring on if the Recipe search portion on google is really open at all to bloggers, or if it is only for recipe sites. I’m sure blogs will be added at some point, but right now it doesn’t look like they are spidering blogs for the Recipe / hrecipe portion.

        As for people’s concerns, we tried out the wordpress plug-in today and it isn’t bad, and actually quite good if you aren’t used to using html code (friendly interface). If you are comfortable with html code though, just creating your template looks easy. I actually like the idea of this, as it creates a uniform look to the recipes, and really, doesn’t look much harder than formating your recipe anyways. My hat’s off to google for doing this!

  28. I enjoy cooking/ baking and blogging about it. but I’m a “code” challenged person. When I started writing my blog, I spent ages reading up and figuring a lot of it but there’s no way I’m equipped to add code and stuff so that my recipes show up on Google’s recipe finder!
    So until there’s an easier way to do it, I’m not going to be a part of this revolution no matter what that means. I guess if people use the regular Google search my blog will show up. Otherwise there is always Food Blog Search which is pretty good.

  29. This has definitely affected me. My traffic from google dropped dramatically when they implemented this. Will be trying to figure out an easier way to fix this than recoding every individual recipe.

    • Wow, that’s amazing that you can see an impact right away, Diana. When you figure out the fix please let us know!

  30. Hi everyone, there is an existing free plugin for WordPress called hRecipe. I am just now switching over to WP, and need to redo every post anyway, so I will be using it as I go. My understanding is that you type in the recipe, highlight it in HTML view, and then use the plugin. I’ll be happy to explain more once I’ve worked with it. As I’m also doing tons of the SEO built into WP/Thesis, I’m hoping this will overall be a good thing for my blog.

  31. It looks your ingredient reformatting can be done with an Excel spreadsheet.
    You would have one column for the ingredients name, one for the amount, and two optional columns for descriptions that either precede or follow the ingredients’ names
    i.e “Thinly-sliced” apples or apples “cut in quarters”.

    The rest is boilerplate that can be dropped in and repeated down the page. After that, it’s just cut and paste.

  32. Personally, I do not like using the recipes from the big sites like Allrecipes. They seem less personal to me and I like the background, feedback, advice etc. on a recipe that is giving in a blog post.

    IMO – bad idea Google.

    • It’s a completely different format– reader- contributed recipes that are ranked. And now you can see the rankings in the search results. That was part of the overhaul.

  33. Yikes! Just when I thought I was finally getting into a little bit of a groove with all of this. I’m going to have to let this digest for a while and come back to it, because I’m feeling overwhelmed about it right now just reading all of this. I’m not ready to tackle it!

    • Can’t say I blame you. Maybe Google will make some adjustments in the coming month that won’t make it so hard on individual bloggers, but I kind of doubt it.

  34. All this talk of coding is a little like maths – it makes my eyes glaze over.
    I guess that’s it for me – here I go, disappearing into obscurity ….

    • Yeah, well, the hard part about blogging is that it’s not just about writing. Unless you have unlimited funds, you have to figure this stuff out.

  35. My boyfriend who works at Google just sent me this. It seems he didn’t even know about it until reading your article… but then he doesn’t work in that area.

    Of course, he would probably be very well placed to help me with implementing this but, as per many of the other responses, unless he was prepared to develop a template for me to use, I don’t think that I would be keen to input all the code on every recipe. It is already time consuming enough when you work 9-5 without having to add an extra hour or two adding code.

    I hope that the runaway spoon is right. I, too, was unaware of the recipe filter, so perhaps that means the majority are? Indeed, when I am searching images, I usually forget to filter by images and just type, e.g. flowers bouquet image and still get to the image page. Hopefully, the rest of the world are equally forgetful/lazy.

    Thanks for notifying us!

    • You are welcome, Vix. We can hope this new format takes a while to catch on while food bloggers catch up!

  36. Sounds like a lot of work in programming. This will include billions of recipes once everyone has adapted their recipes with the new code?

  37. [...] this really a good idea now? Yesterday I ran across a blog post from a Food Blogger which had created a lot of chatter about the Recipe search. This chatter was more on the negative [...]

  38. I post to my food blog just once a week (Friday morning), and I usually just use one photo. Just THAT takes all the time I can spare. There is no way I can take on the task of learning more tech stuff and adding an hour to my blogging time for each post! I am a cook, recipe developer, freelance magazine writer and food blogger. That is enough! I shouldn’t have to add programmer (or whatever) to that list. Even if Blogger (my platform) comes up with a way to make it easier, it’s still a pain and I STILL resent it!

  39. The big sites that Google consulted just happen to be some of their big advertisers… coincidence? Those people are always at the top of the search pages because their recipes have ratings and Google loves those gold stars. We can’t all have the public review our recipes. (Personally, I don’t want everybody and their brother telling me how they loved my recipe after substituting margarine for the butter and sprinkling fat-free cheese on top!)

    In spite of that, some of my keywords are on page 1 if you do a regular search, yet my blog traffic started going down on the very day that Google implemented this new feature. As of today, it’s down 25%.

    • Hmmm. Probably that is not a coincidence, as you point out. But the main reason they come up first is because the recipe databases are HUGE, so much bigger than any one blogger, except for Elise of Simply Recipes.

      Wow. That is a significant decrease.

  40. Yes, it’s very upsetting, especially as it comes on top of their recent algorithm adjustment which affected my main website (not a food website), with a frightening loss of AdSense income there.

  41. This is really discouraging for me. My last recipe when searched on regular google came up on the first page, searching under recipes you can’t even find it. Most of the results were not even related. I don’t have the tech skills or resources to recode my recipes, plus I use blogger which sounds more difficult. I don’t blog for money, but I would love to find readers eventually, if they can’t find you in search, then how can they. Thank you writing about this and enlightening me!
    -Gina-

    • See Elise’s link above to shed more light on the subject. Perhaps there will be a plugin for Blogger soon that will solve the problem.

  42. Hi Dianne,

    I became aware of that fact last week from a professionnal collegue of Cuisine Canada on Cuiscene blog. It seems it will be a lot of work and I think I will ask my son or husband to help me with the tools other bloggers suggested. I have a bilingual website and a French blog that can be translated in English with Google.

    I did tested a few ingredients written in French in this Google recipe search. Most ot the time the results are English results, I would say 90%. Those big websites are so strong they even have the French name of ingredients in their tools.

    That said I tried the google recipe search with ingredients in english and french and was unhappy with results from mainly the same 3 big websites allrecipes etc…I wonder how people will appreciate the recipe searcher. I think french speaking might not like that since they will otten gets results in another language.

    Thank you for the posting it will help me decide the best for my blog

    Micheline

    • You are welcome Micheline. I guess bloggers have to wait for the tools or make the changes themselves.

  43. Dianne…you are such an amazing resource! I wondered what had happened to my recipe traffic. Funny that even big business can infect something so simple as food blogging, but where ad revenue can be made, the devil lurks…so to speak. I will have to wait for a blogger plug-in, I don’t code, I just bake and write…mostly in that order.

  44. If anyone is interested, a programmer friend of mine made a little app to generate the rich snippet code automatically for us HTML-stupid food bloggers (like me). He’s still working out the kinks and would love feedback. Try it: http://www.therecipewiz.com/ and leave comments/feedback on his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/TheRecipeWizcom/115340238541119

    • Fantastic, Erika! Hope it works.

      • Hi Dianne,

        I created the recipe wiz and would like to know how it worked for you. I am open to making changes and updating the service to make it easier for you and your audience if you have any suggestions.

        -Keith

        • Here’s hoping readers will give you some good feedback, Keith. My site doesn’t use recipes — fortunately in this case!

  45. I just wanted to add that I recently came across FAQ about rich snippets from google – it looks like it’s not enough to just do a few popular posts – I wonder how many posts will have to be richly tagged before google decides to pick up a food blogger’s site for their recipe search? Whether or not nice plugins have been/are being developed, it’s a lot of extra work indeed if one has to go back through and edit years worth of posts.

  46. I run a site (called Food Frenzy) that allows food bloggers to share their food posts on our site to extend their reach. I recently created an input template that will create the Google Required tags and output the recipe on the Food Frenzy site. It is currently being tested by a handful of our registered users. Before we go live with this form, I want to determine the best way to make the tagged html code available, in a usable format, to the authors (food bloggers) so they can update their blog site with the appropriately tagged html code.

    I suspect there is a lot of people that will not want to take the time do this themselves, but I also have reservations that people will want to take the time to fill out a slightly longer form as well.

    If anyone is interested in helping me test the form, please check out our site and let me know. The recipe form is currently hidden, test mode right now, but I would be happy to share the link if you are interested in testing and providing feedback to help shape how the recipe form should look and work.

    • Are you saying bloggers can use your html code on their site, if they post with you? I guess that’s good.

      • Yes. My goal is to help all food bloggers increase exposure and traffic to their sites as well as my own site. Without their participation, I don’t have a site, so why not help each other.

        I can create the html code output in the format desired by Google. I will post it on my site with the layout I would like to control, but at the same time I would make the raw format of the code available to the author so they can apply it to their own site however they feel appropriate.

  47. [...] Wondering what the picture is of? It’s an example of the code Google now requires for their Recipe Search feature. If you think it looks scary, you’re not alone. When Dianne Jacobs wrote about the issue on Will Write for Food, more than 100 comments poured in. The curious may read about it here. [...]

  48. I’m pretty good at coding, but I’ll forego the extra hits to avoid that amount of work.

  49. Perhaps programmers don’t have it that easy, as you point out, but at least they’re getting paid for entering all that code. Not only aren’t we getting paid, it’s costing us money.

    If Google wanted, they could write a program that would pick up that information automatically instead of turning us into unpaid data entry clerks (to quote Ken Evoy , of Site Sell).

    • There are aspects of blogging that aren’t as much fun as others, that’s for sure. Wouldn’t Google want to do the right thing (for their own blogging platform, at least)?

  50. [...] more information. Here is a round up of what we found: The Food Blog Forum, Food Blog Alliance, Will Write For Food, Meathead Goldwyn on the Huffington Post & Amazing Ribs, and Cafe Liz. The articles were [...]

  51. For more info, I have posted a discussion of Google’s recipe search, the hRecipe CSS tags, examples, and other related info in an article on HuffPost. A more complete version is here:
    http://www.amazingribs.com/blog/google_rich_snippets.html

    • Thank you so much. I linked to your post in my next post about the Huffington Post, but this is a better place for it.

  52. [...] New Google Recipe Search Means Extra Coding for Food Bloggers Dianne Jacob at Will Write for Food [...]

  53. Besides rich snippets for recipes, Google also reads (and presumably favors) rich snippets for reviews. This can have an effect on food bloggers who do restaurant or food establishment reviews on their sites. Similar to the hrecipe microformat, there is also the hreview microformat. And similar to the RecipeSEO tool that helps format the code, there is an hreview creator to help you format your review:

    http://microformats.org/code/hreview/creator

    • Wow, I had no idea, Nate, that there is a rich snippet for other than recipes. Thanks for passing this on.

  54. I’m a little late to this thread, but have a related question. How do most of you have your recipes stored? Are they in files and you copy/paste them into a blog post or you you enter them by hand?

    • @Dave I have my recipes (and posts and photos) in a file on my computer in case something happens to my site and I cut and paste…Why?

      By the way, there is another free WP plug-in called Recipe SEO here http://sushiday.com/recipe-seo-plugin/ (you can access it through the plugins page in the backend of your blog too if you’re on self-hosted WP).

      Jenn (JennCuisine) mentioned she wasn’t certain all the values were covered but it sounds like a few of you think you only need two or three of the values anyway?

      • @Sasa I want to build something that helps add the rich snippet information for everyone. But I also want to make sure it works with how people might use it. Would love to chat with you more about that. You can email me here: dave [at] yummly [dot] com

  55. Has anyone tried the wordpress plug-in mentioned in the Food Blog Forum article?

    http://foodblogforum.com/1494-making-microformats-manageable-the-new-recipeseo-plugin

    • Cathy, I tried the RecipeSEO plugin and it didn’t work for me and wouldn’t generate the rich snippet due to insufficient data or errors. I also found problems with the plugin in that initially you couldn’t edit a recipe, which has now been fixed, and then while you could edit the recipe sometimes it didn’t save the whole recipe. You also can’t format the recipe such as bolding headings etc. In the end I gave up and have gone back to simply typing out my recipes in my posts.

  56. EasyRecipe handles the rich snippets really well and also offers recipe printing, formatting – background colors, borders, fonts, all languages around the world, links in the recipes, photos in the recipes and all formatting changes are viewable in the live demo. orgasmicchef.com/easyrecipe for a quick video or free download.

  57. now if they would only make one of these cool tools on the blogger platform..WP has all these great plug ins but the process of switching over (and I have been contemplating it for several months now) seems so difficult to transfer previous posts

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