schema.org for recipes, JSON-LD or Microdata?

When building a food blog, you need to rank in Google to get you visitors. Apart from great recipes and beautiful food photography, you need to make Google understand your recipes. Luckily, recipes are one of the items that are detailed in the schema.org structure. When searching for info on this, you’ll find several terms: Structured Data, Schema.org, JSON LD, Microdata. They’re basically all the same thing.

What microdata in your recipe does, is that it wraps a snippet of information like for example Cook Time, in a tag that search engines can understand. Schema.org is the standardised method of doing this. You can supply structured data either with JSON LD, or with microdata. In the case of JSON LD, the data is added as separate string in your website. It looks a bit like this:

{"@context":"http:\/\/schema.org","@type":"Recipe","description":"Quite simply the BEST chocolate cake for chocolate lovers."}

You see here some info, like what kind of data is provided here (recipe), and what the information is (description in the example above). This string will be inserted in addition to your recipe.

You can do the same thing with microdata, only in that scenario the data gets added to the html of your recipe.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Recipe">
 <span itemprop="description">Quite simply the BEST chocolate cake for chocolate lovers.</span>
</div>

You see this contains the same information, only in this case it is included with your recipe’s html.

JSON-LD or Microdata?

So what should we use then? You’d think it’s better to add them both right? More data is better? That’s definitely a no! We have tested with this and if you add both JSON-LD and microdata, Google will think you have TWO recipes on your site. Warnings and errors may occur.

So we need to choose. And let’s face it, we choose what Google wants us to choose. This is not always transparent, but in the case of schema.org, Google has made it very clear:

“We currently prefer JSON-LD markup. I think most of the new structured data that are kind of come out for JSON-LD first. So that’s what we prefer.”

For this reason, Zip Recipes generates your recipe card with JSON-LD.

How to check if it’s configured correctly?

Google to the rescue! They provide a great tool with which to test your structured data. Simply enter your recipe’s page URL, and you can see the results.

Because lots of plugins insert structured data these days, it’s always a good idea to test this.

What do I get out of this?

Rich Snippets, and ranking. That’s what we’re aiming at here. Tak a look at this rich snippet. You can see Google has read the preparation time, the number of calories, and the rating, as well as the image from the Structure Data.

 

5 quick-start tips on foodblogging

Are you eager to start your own foodblog? Of course! Foodblogging is fun and it can also be a breeze when using zip recipes. Here are some starter tips to get you going.

Think about your niche. What do you feel really passionate about, or what are you really good at? there are loads of foodblogs nowadays, so you have a much better chance if you have something unique to offer. Something that people will learn to associate with you personally. Do not be afraid to focus. for example: only smoothies, or recipes with only 5 ingredients, or vegan, or vegetarian, or all about meat, budget friendly. It can be anything, as long as you love it, and as long as it’s easy to understand what you’re about.

Think of a good name. Preferably something that is not too hard to remember and that already tells a bit what you are about. Good examples are: chickslovefood, minimalist baker, lauragoesgreen, vegatopia etc. Once you have it see wether it is still free and if it is: register your domain!

Be personal. People want to get to know you. Your personal style is what attracts them to your particular blog, in stead of somebody elses blog. Think about the way you want to come across and then try to be consistent in every post (yes, that is quite hard…:))

Start getting to know other bloggers. Bloggers that already have built a following, or are known as experts in your field. Because, let’s face it: nobody knows who you are. Yet. So start guest blogging on well known blogs, to introduce yourself to their followers. Once they know who you are, and start to get interested in your fantastic content they will come to your blog to read more.

Post regularly. It will take some discipline, but try to get some great new articles and recipes out there with some regularity. For instance every week. Every Sunday maybe, one recipe a week. Or maybe at the start of each month. Once your audience gets to know you they will look for your updates and people will be disappointed when they do not arrive at the expected time.

Fix Recipes Markup for Your Website

Recently Google sent emails to website owners that are a bit hard to understand:

Below, we’ll explain the problem and what you can do to fix it right away — it’s not that hard!

“Recipes [with] markup issues” you read?! Then you think I thought Zip Recipes actually handles this for me! In some cases, it’s just a matter of filling out some fields, like the keywords or Cuisine fields.

When you dig further in to the issue, you might discover that Google has these specific issues:

Let’s explain what each one means:

  • Missing field aggregateRating: this means that your recipes don’t have visitor rating information. Likely they don’t have the ability to rate them. Follow the steps in Solution 2 to solve this.
  • Missing field recipeCuisine: this means that you have not set a recipe cuisine when you created your recipes. Follow the steps in Solution 1 to solve this.
  • Missing field keywords: this means that you have no added keywords to your recipe. As of 6.0.4, this is a field in the Recipe editor. Just add some keywords!
  • Missing field video: this means that you have not set videos for your recipes.
  • Missing field nutrition: this means that you recipes lack nutrition information
  • Missing field author: this means that your recipes don’t have an author set
  • Missing field description: this means that your recipes are missing basic descriptions.

Solutions

The good news is that you can fix most of these issues today!
All of the above issues indicate that you did not add some information to your recipes that Google deems important.

Some of the fields are available in the basic (free) plan of Zip Recipes so you can apply them with minimal effort. Some other fields are available in our Friend and Lover plans.

  • Description can be set in the More Options section of the recipe entry screen:
    1. Edit your recipe
    2. Enter your recipe’s description in the Description field :
  • Recipe cuisine can be set in the More Options section of the recipe entry screen as well:
    1. Edit your recipe
    2. Enter the recipe cuisine in Cuisine:
  • Aggregate rating basically means recipe ratings.
    1. Upgrade to the friend plan
    2. Now you visitors can give your recipes a rating based on a 5-star rating system:
  • Author settings is the field that contains your name (you do want the credit for your recipes, don’t you?)
    1. Upgrade to the Friend plan
    2. Set yourself as the author of all your recipes in one step in Zip Recipes > Settings page:

 

Nutrition

    • data can be added to your English and Spanish recipes with 1 click! We call this feature

Automatic Nutrition.

    1. Upgrade to the Lover plan
    2. Edit your recipe
    3. Click Calculate Nutrition button to automatically calculate your nutrition information:
    4. You also get a Nutrition Facts label without any work!

Get Your Recipes To Pop-out and Get Noticed

You’re trying to get more readers to your blog. How do you do that? You certainly don’t do it by being plain Jane or Joe!

You’ve already done the hard work of creating your recipe, taking mouth-watering photos..you’re almost there…don’t quit now!

You would never buy a product on Amazon if it has no ratings. It’s not worth the risk.

Your readers treat your recipes the same way. Who has the time to create a recipe from scratch not knowing if other people had success with it?!

Google has the ability to show the ratings of your recipes. Question is, are you giving Google this data?

With our Friend plan, your readers can rate your recipes and give them the recognition they deserve!Pinterest also has started showing ratings on recipes. You worked hard to get in front of your audience. Now is not the time to be looked over because your recipes don’t have ratings.

When you upgrade to our Friend plan, your recipe ratings will automatically start showing up on Pinterest. Your readers will thank you!

Google is very tight-lipped about how their search algorithm works. Once in a while, they shine the light on you and actually tell you what you should have on your web pages or recipes for them to be considered top notch.

When Google talks, you listen!

Google recommends that you add Ratings and Author Name to your recipes.

Ratings and Author Name can be set when you upgrade to our Friend plan. If Google is Happy, Life is Good. Your website is an extension of you. It’s your baby. Everyone wants a well-dressed baby!

When you upgrade to the Friend plan, you will get 5 different outfits…alright maybe overdoing the baby analogy….you’ll get 5 gorgeous recipe card themes to choose from.

Easy Way To Generate Nutrition Data For Your Recipe For Free

Last week, I released the much sought-after, Automatic Nutrition calculator feature for Zip Recipes.

It basically generates a nutrition label for your recipe as you’re creating the recipe. You just click one button and you’re done.

However, this is a premium feature and I realize that there are food bloggers out there who have time but don’t have much money to invest. That’s why I’m writing this.

Overview

I thought I would have a few different options to cover here but found that unfortunately, most of them are a pain in the neck to use.

They require you to search for each ingredient separately, choose from a list of results. Is it “Onion, raw,” “Onion, welsh, raw,” and so on. That’s really annoying and I’m not going to recommend these options:

One example of these hard-to-use options.

In addition, most of these are not suitable because they want to do more than just generate a nutrition facts label for you. They want to create the whole recipe (and possibly use it for their own purposes as well).

Anyway, I am going to cover two options which I like and would use myself (of course, if Zip Recipes didn’t automatically do this for me ).

HappyForks.com


I love how simple and well designed HappyForks.com is!

You can get your nutrition label following these easy steps:

  • Enter your ingredients
  • Enter number of servings
  • Click Analyze Recipe
  • Click Nutrition Facts label:
  • Click Download on the label you would like: you have two options, horizontal or vertical:

The nutrition label image will be downloaded in the Downloads folder, in most cases:

Adding HappyForks.com nutrition label to your WordPress website

Once the label is generated using VeryWell and you have saved it to your computer you can add it to your recipe like so:

  1. Edit the recipe post in WordPress
  2. Click Add Media button
  3. Drag and Drop the nutrition label you saved to your computer
  4. Ensure it’s selected (notice the checkmark)
  5. Click Insert into post button

Pros of HappyForks.com

HappyForks.com has a few great pros here:

  • It’s very easy to use and pleasing to the eye
  • It gives you quite a detailed analysis of the recipe. Presumably, you can take screenshots of some of this data use it in your posting as well…but I’m not a lawyer!
  • You can edit the ingredients once you enter them and update and then download the nutrition label again
  • You can save the recipe for in the site in case you decide to update the recipe later
  • It’s fast and doesn’t have a lot of annoying ads

Cons of HappyForks.com

  • The biggest downside is that you have to leave your WordPress posting and go somewhere else to generate the recipe. In addition, you have to generate the nutrition label every time you update your recipe in WordPress.
  • The other disadvantage this nutrition label has is that it does not tell Google any thing extra about your recipe. Google cannot read it.
  • The resulting nutrition label does include HappyForks.com branding, which isn’t that bad but it may annoy you.
  • The only other issue I can come up with in regards to HappyForks.com is the nutrition label button can be easy to miss.

VeryWell

Now, let’s have a look at VeryWell.

It’s evident that VeryWell and HappyForks.com are very similar in design. They do generate the results a bit differently.

VeryWell lays out the instructions clearly at the top. To generate the label, it’s a few easy steps:

  • Enter the recipe ingredients in the big box
  • Select number of servings
  • Click Analyze Recipe button.

Once the recipe is analyzed, you can change individual ingredient items, add additional ingredients, or clear the recipe for a fresh start:

VeryWell handles the nutrition label generation a bit differently. Instead of saving the nutrition label to your computer and uploading it to WordPress, they give you a code you can paste on your website:

Adding VeryWell nutrition label to your WordPress website

To add the generated label to your post, you can copy the code that it generates, and paste it.

However, there is a wrong place to paste it, and it may not be obvious. Wrong place to paste it is in the Visual tab:

Instead, click the Text tab and paste the code like this:

Now, if you go back to Visual tab, things will look better (it may take a second to load):

If you preview the post now, you will notice that people can click on the nutrition label generated by VeryWell and they’re taken to their website. If you don’t like this behaviour you can change the code when you paste it. Remove the parts highlighted here:

The part you still want looks something like this:

<img src="IMAGE URL" width="NUMBER" height="NUMBER" />

Nerd Alert: This is called an image tag in HTML.

Pros of VeryWell

  • VeryWell, indeed does have a very simple interface to generate the nutrition label.
  • I do like that you can go and modify the ingredients and update the label easily.
  • Adding the nutrition label to WordPress, in a way, is easier than HappyForks.com. Just copy and paste a bit of code.

Cons

  • Even though, it’s easier to embed the code on your website, the cons of that are that the nutrition label is stored on VeryWell. Should they disappear from the internet tomorrow, so will your nutrition labels.
  • Like the one generated by HappyForks.com, this nutrition label does not tell Google anything extra about your recipe. Google cannot parse it and understand it.
  • The other annoyance with the way the nutrition label is generated is that it automatically links to VeryWell. See the instructions above on how to remove the linking.
  • I will say that another con in my mind is the fact that VeryWell is a broad website and not one focused on recipes or nutrition. Therefore this took may be left behind any time they choose; it’s not their…bread and butter after all!

How does Automatic Nutrition feature from Zip Recipes compare

Let’s compare how Zip Recipes works to generate the nutrition facts label with VeryWell and HappyForks.com.

Now, I realize this is inherently an unfair comparison because Zip Recipes has the advantage of being right at your fingertips — it’s on your WordPress website and that’s where it’s strength comes in.

Like VeryWell and HappyForks.com, in 3 steps, you can generate the nutrition label:

But notice that it’s literally only one button click more than you usually would do when posting a recipe anyway.  You can have Automatic Nutrition on your site in a few clicks!

Pros of Automatic Nutrition

  • It saves time since you don’t have to leave WordPress, copy some code and change it or save an image and upload it again. All that is done for you.
  • It generates the nutrition data in a format so Google and also read it. This means higher ranking for you.
  • Your readers can print the nutrition label (this can be configured)

Cons of Automatic Nutrition

  • It costs money. I’m assuming you’re reading this post because you’re on a tight budget and can take the extra time to generate labels manually with VeryWell or HappyForks.com

If you found this useful please comment and let me know. If you didn’t, please, please, comment and let me know!