Google listens to complaints about the length of recipe pages, and suggests that more concise pages might be better for users.
This was stated by John Mueller, Google Search Attorney during a Google Search Central SEO Hours Hangout taped March 4.
During the show, Mueller takes a question from a food blogger asking about the SEO implications of writing multiple pieces of content about the same recipe.
Their idea is to have a page with just the recipe in it, and have supporting information about that recipe on separate pages.
They ask Müller if this is a good strategy compared to having all the information about one recipe on one page
Separate long recipe pages into multiple articles
Mueller believes that creating a single page to focus on the recipe, and separating the supporting content into other pages, would be a great structure for users.
It’s based on feedback Mueller hears from people who say there’s a lot of extra content on recipe pages before you get to the actual recipe.
From Google’s point of view, it would be nice to spread the content across multiple pages, Mueller says:
“From Google’s point of view, that’s definitely not a problem. It’s something I get, especially with recipe content, a lot of complaints from people who feel like these are long recipes, and I don’t have time to look at Life Story, and go through all these other stuff around this page — I really just want the recipe.
So if you can separate that and focus on the recipe itself, and maybe separate some of the questions about that recipe, from a user perspective that seems like a great thing.”
The challenge of this approach, Mueller notes, is balancing the power of individual pages.
The more articles are published about the same recipe, the more diluted the keyword becomes.
One way to strengthen one page’s mentions over others is to only link to supporting content from the main recipe.
Then, Google will get a clear indication of which page is the most important.
“It’s something that I think the balance can be tricky in terms of how aggressively you can create these individual pages. In particular, if you’re segmenting things on your website, maybe in terms of internal linking as well, all of a sudden every recipe ends up being two pages, and then Of course we have to index two pages for each recipe.
And we have to give a two-page value to each recipe, which means you can probably lighten things up a bit. On the other hand, if you set it up in such a way that maybe those FAQ pages are only linked from the recipe, and the primary content on your website is the recipe itself, I expect we’ll be able to focus on the recipe.
And if someone searches for something that’s in the FAQ portion of that recipe, we’ll be able to bring up the FAQ page in the search results. “
A note about overuse of FAQ markup
On the topic of FAQ markup, Mueller notes that Google is aware that some sites overuse it in order to take up more space in search results.
Now, Google is trying to reduce the amount of rich results for FAQs shown in SERPs:
“From a structured data standpoint, from a rich results standpoint, sometimes people like to put FAQ markup on all pages because it adds extra space in the search results.
I think that’s almost like a way out, from our point of view, where we’ve seen people do that and we’re trying to reduce the amount of FAQ entries that we show in search results, just because they’re not helpful to users as every result has this set of FAQs.”
Mueller states this to prove that separating the FAQ content from the recipe makes sense for research:
So moving that to a separate page from my point of view makes sense there. In that you don’t burden the result of the recipe with all this extra structured data. You’re really like, ‘If people want more information, we have that information.'” If people just want to focus on the recipe, we have that information, too.”
Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:
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