Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vital tool for brands keen to get their products noticed by digital consumers. These days there are affordable SEO packages for all kinds of businesses, to help give them wider recognition and a larger client base.
So we asked Sophia Lau, SEO Associate Director at global digital marketing group Reprise to give us her insights on how the world’s food brands can best leverage the SEO metric.
Food, once a word to describe sustenance for an appetite, has now evolved to mean not only a physical substance but also a visual one.
Since the emergence of the internet and social platforms such as Instagram, we’ve all been guilty at some point of having eaten with our eyes before devouring a plate of delicious goodness placed lovingly at the centre of a beautifully crafted set.
So what does this mean for food brands?
Food is evolving
Well, much like food is evolving; the search landscape is equally ever-changing.
With this in mind, it is imperative that your pages are optimised to take full advantage of every aspect of the search engine results pages; so you can ensure your food brand is at the forefront of customers’ consideration.
Content: not just text, but images too
We are now starting to consume content visually before we do textually. So brands need to fortify their holistic SEO strategies by optimising image assets alongside copy. Remember that most successful brands take advantage of SEO companies like SERP Co (https://serp.co/services/seo/) to optimize their content for better results. However, if you think you can manage these yourself, do your best.
With 20.45% of users starting their search on Google Images, images, similar to on-page content, need to be optimised to appear at the top of the image results pages.
So, what do we mean when we say ‘optimise images?’
You have to consider that, although images are visually absorbed by users, they also need to be easily understood by search engine crawlers and those who are visually impaired.
By including a descriptive file name and adding image ALT tags – text used to describe an image – your website will have the best opportunity to improve rankings in the image results pages.
How do you stand out from competitors?
Now you’ve got your images optimised, let’s talk organic results in search engines.
What makes you stand out from the crowd?
Schema markup is code that is applied to your website that helps search engines to make sense of the data that you have; and enhances a seemingly normal snippet with all the bells and whistles that scream “Hey, I’m here, look at me!”
For example, a food brand might have recipes on their website; and there’s a whole host of different schema that can be used to add ‘rich’ content to your slice of the search engine results pie; converting this regular snippet into a rich snippet. If you’re not sure about how to make use of the search engines, you could always get the help of an SEO Company such as CI Web Group or other similar firms. Hiring an SEO firm could help your website rank in search results and help achieve a good social branding for your site. Also, finding an SEO firm near you isn’t a big task! For example, if you are from Houston and seeking an SEO firm nearby, you could begin your research by searching for keywords like “Houston SEO company” and find the best one you think from the search results that appear.
Having said that, if you are planning to do it yourself, you can add a review (aggregateRating), cook time (cookTime) or recipe instructions (recipeInstructions) to your website.
This code translates to additional pieces of information that Google shows in search results, which can help a user make the decision to click on your link.
Remember earlier we mentioned adding ALT tags?
Well, those optimisations, combined with the image schema (image), will also appear in the image search when a user clicks the image e.g. recipeIngredients:
When it’s not just about being number 1
Moving on to featured snippets or ‘position zero’.
Whilst they are from the same family tree as rich snippets, featured snippets are the ones which appear in their own standalone box. They give answers to users’ questions in a convenient, digestible description.
Featured snippets themselves receive 8.6% of clicks from a user in the search engine results pages.
There is not a set formula of how to get to ‘position zero’. However, consistently producing quality content in an accessible format and implementing schema where relevant, helps Google to understand and prioritise your content.
Finding your voice
Whilst traditional searches began with a user typing their queries into the search box, the advancement of technology and the rise of virtual assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa and Cortana, has led to 50% of consumers using voice to conduct general web searches.
Voice and featured snippets (as mentioned previously) go hand in hand – although voice searches use, well, voice, the answers to a users’ query has to come from somewhere.
That somewhere tends to be from, you guessed it, ‘position zero’ results or content with schema mark-up.
There are specific schema properties required for pages such as recipe pages to appear in voice search; so make sure your content is marked up accordingly to leverage voice search.