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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!
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

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!

Version 4.9 is out – more fields for you!

Truth be told, I released version 4.8 but I had introduced a bug with translations (basically broke them) so I ended up releasing 4.9 right away to fix that.

This image illustrates the new features really well:

 

As you can see, now you can set your recipe’s category (entree, dessert, appetizer, etc.) and also set the cuisine (Ethiopian, Canadian (which would be poutine, really 😂)). These are formatted properly for you so Google can pick them up and understand them to be recipe fields! Rejoice!

I’ve also included Trans Fat and Cholesterol fields in terms of nutritional information you can set for your recipe as well.

If you’re wondering how I got this recipe card to look this amazing, I’m not surprised! It’s the Canada recipe card theme in the premium version of Zip Recipes (all plans include this theme).

P.S.: Divi theme is now supported as well.