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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.

 

Zip Recipes interface update: 6.0.0

The last few weeks I’ve been working on a new interface for Zip Recipes. There were some issues with saving data, and personally, I didn’t like the old interface very much. This update is scheduled to be released next week.

Please know that this update is only the beginning! My aim with Zip Recipes is to make it the easiest to use plugin available. I hope you will feel this is a step in the right direction: more improvements are on their way, but if you have any ideas, just let me know!

The plugin is now in beta, testing is really appreciated, this can be done by downloading it here.

The recipes now have their own overview, where you can edit and delete them. In each post, you can switch recipes, add new, or insert an existing recipe. This works the same both for Gutenberg as for Classic Editor.

In the old interface, you couldn’t access a recipe if you removed the shortcode. This problem is now resolved. The update also creates more room for the user interface, so we can now show a live preview of the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

New schema.org nutrition label

Today we’ve released the 5.0.12 version of Zip Recipes lover, which now includes an alternative method to display the Nutrition Label. Until now, the Nutrition Label was generated as an image, downloaded to your site, then displayed below the recipe. This was great, but had a downside: search engines like Google have much more trouble seeing what an image is about than when it’s just characters. To make it even easier for Google to understand the nutrition label, we have created a schema.org compatible Nutrition Label. An additional advantage is that the html/css variant is very sharp and clear, more so than the image label.

(Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond)

To let you be more flexible with the placement of the Nutrition Label, we’ve also added a Nutrition Label widget, and shortcode. This gives you, the user, detailed control over the placing of the label, and so over the look of your recipe. For example, on our demo website (in progress, but soon to contain more recipes and examples) in the first demo recipe: demo.ziprecipes.net/mississippi-mud-pie you can see a recipe where the default Nutrition Label (at the bottom) is hidden. Instead, we have added the label as widget in the sidebar, as schema.org html/css.

 

Chrome's NOT SECURE warning on food blog

Will your food blog be affected by Chrome’s security warnings? 😨

According to some stats, Google’s Chrome browser is used by 64% of the internet.

So, when you get an email from Google itself with the subject, Chrome will show security warnings on YOUR WEBSITE, your hearts starts to pound a little faster…because you’re not crazy!

You probably get the majority of the traffic from Google Search and most people coming to your website are probably using Google Chrome!

What does the email actually mean?

The important part of the email states:

Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

First off, this change isn’t here just yet. Chrome version 62 will be released in October 2017. This gives you a bit of time to remedy the situation and we’ll cover what you can do in a bit.

“NOT SECURE” warning

This warning will appear in the URL or search bar. Here’s how it appears on My Gluten Free Miami, a Zip Recipes customer (has since moved to https, so no insecure warning anymore).

Chrome's NOT SECURE warning on My Gluten Free Miami food blog

Chrome’s NOT SECURE warning on My Gluten Free Miami food blog

When users enter text

Now, when will this warning appear?

The answer is when your visitors enter text. So, essentially as soon as a visitor starts typing (virtually anywhere) on your website, this warning will appear.

This includes:

  • when visitors try to subscribe to your newsletter (most probably)
  • when visitors search on your website
  • when visitors attempt to comment (unless you’re using another commenting system like JetPack)
  • when visitors try to use the contact form to contact you
  • pretty much when visitors type anything on your website!

Here’s how the warning appears

Chrome warning on food blog as user enters email to subscribe to mailing list

Chrome warning on food blog as user enters email to subscribe to mailing list

Chrome warning on food blog as visitor is about to search

Chrome warning on food blog as visitor is about to search

Why is this happening to you?

In the email, Google mentions “HTTP page”. What does that mean?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. If I send you a letter by snail mail, you could say I’m using the Snail Mail Transfer Protocol. That protocol entails that I take a letter, put it in an envelope and, type your address in it and then drop it off at my local post office where I pay a small fee to deliver it to you.

Likewise, when a web page is sent to you, the protocol in use is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. This ensures that your browser can actually make sense of the web page I might send you.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)

With HTTP, if I’m at your house or using the same wireless network, say at Starbucks (which is where I happen to be right now), it’s actually quite easy for me, on a different computer to see any text or data you send if the web page you’re interacting with only uses HTTP.

This is where HTTP Secure comes in. Before it sends the data and text you type in a website out of your computer, it encrypts it so people sharing the same WiFi network cannot intercept and read your data.

In a nutshell, if your website uses HTTPS, it will be more secure and respect your visitors’ privacy. When it only uses HTTP, the visitor’s data can be read by other people.

Google Chrome wants to warn people and make them more aware when they are on a page that only has HTTP and they are about to send data or text.

I should mention that HTTPS may be referred to as HTTP over Transport Layer Security (TLS) or HTTP over SSL. At the end of the day, they all mean the same thing.

HTTPS (and SSL benefits) for SEO

When you switch your website to use HTTPS (and hence starting using SSL), you will get some awesome SEO advantages:

  • You’ll get more referrer data and be able to see where more of your visitors come from
  • It’s a ranking factor for Google and it’s becoming more important so you should start ranking higher when you switch to HTTPS

How can you add HTTPS to your website?

This is usually fairly simple:

  1. Ask your hosting provider to install an SSL certificate for you, or how it can be done.
  2. Install Really Simple SSL