In episode 285, Megan chats with Shinta Simon, who was previously a marketing strategy consultant, about how she successfully grew her blog into a business by prioritizing SEO.

We cover information about how your user has to be your priority all the time, why learning on-page and off-page SEO matters and how creating a visual 2×2 matrix can help bring clarity to you in your business.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Caramel Tinted Life
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Shinta Simon is a marketing strategy consultant turned food blogger who lives in Switzerland with her family. In 2016, she started her food blog, Caramel Tinted Life, to bring together her two loves – writing and food. She shares recipes from her Indian heritage, and quick and easy meals using appliances such as the Instant Pot. She is passionate about digital marketing strategies, especially SEO, social media, analytics, brand-building, and applying these learnings into growing her blog. She is also the co-founder of Namaste Switzerland, a digital platform for the ex-pat community in Switzerland. 


  • Be intentional about prioritizing your tasks as a blogger.
  • What’s your goal? Write it down.
  • Having an audit on your site can really give you insight into whether on-page or off-page SEO should be your prime focus.
  • Google has really prioritized the user experience and so should you.
  • Use the tools you have to tackle hard, technical things. Facebook blogging groups, audits, courses, skilled businesses to tackle single issues. Work with these to help solve one problem at a time.
  • Pinterest and social media in general is not consistent in giving you traffic.
  • SEO helps you to future proof your blog.
  • Use a visual tool – like a 2×2 matrix to help prioritize things within your business and get organized.
  • Make sure the content you create is something you’d serve your family, it’s something you’d be eating in 10 years. Don’t take on difficult cultural recipes you’d only eat once just for keywords.
  • Familiarize yourself with what your audience needs and write about it.

Resources Mentioned

AH Refs YouTube series on SEO
Mediavine podcasts
Cooking with Keywords by Aleka
Eat Blog Talk podcasts
Top Hat Rank Webinars
SEO audit (Casey Markee)


Click for full text.


Shinta Simon: Hi, this is Shinta Simon from and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. 

Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk, scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value and I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay. Now onto the episode. 

Megan Porta: What’s up food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in your business. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 285. Today Shinta is joining me and I’m super excited because she’s going to talk to us about prioritizing SEO over Pinterest and using a project management approach to food blogging. Shinta has been the food blogger behind Carmel Tinted Life for five years and in the last two years, she managed to make it a steady source of income while being a mom of two living in Switzerland as an Indian origin ex-pat. The recipes on her food blog are centered around recipes from her Indian heritage and quick and easy meals using budget-friendly appliances, such as the Instant Pot and the Air Fryer. 

Hey Shinta! Thank you for being here today. I’m so excited to talk to you. 

Shinta Simon: Hey, Megan. I’m excited as well. I feel like they already know you because I listen to your voice. I’ve been listening to the podcast for several months. So I feel so familiar with you already. 

Megan Porta: Awesome. I’m so glad to hear that. That always makes me so happy. Before we get into our topic today, what is the fun fact you want to share with us? 

Shinta Simon: Oh, yeah. So the fun fact about me is that in a large chunk of my adult life, I’ve actually moved so many places and moved across continents and moved so many homes. In fact, for a period of over 13 years, I’ve moved 11 times. That includes different cities and different continents. So I was based in Bangalore in India for a while, where I was working. Then I moved to Poland with my husband for his career. Then we moved back to India. Then around eight years ago, we moved to Switzerland, which is what I call home now. But it’s been the place we’re living in right now and has been our home for just around four years. So for me it’s a bit unsettling to have been in a place for as long as four years. It makes me feel like I’d like to move at some point when part of my brain tells me to get prepared for the next move. Which I know is not so easy because I have a toddler now and an eight year old as well. We’re going to stay put for sure for some time. 

Megan Porta: You have that adventurous spirit, it sounds like. You just have it ingrained in your brain that you need to get up and go. But I really love hearing that. So Switzerland. You’re in Switzerland now, is that what you just said? 

Shinta Simon: Exactly. If you live in Switzerland right now.

Megan Porta: Okay. I know nothing about Switzerland. What is it like living there? Give me a few details. 

Shinta Simon: Oh, it’s beautiful. Everybody says that about the country when people who’ve just been here as visitors for a short while. But it’s a fact, it’s beautiful and no matter where you go, everything is just perfect. The place I used to live in before, I had a great view of the Swiss Alps from my window on a clear day. It’s just as they show in the postcards, in fact, it’s even better in real life. So it is definitely beautiful. Expat life does have its ups and downs. There is always an issue with not being super comfortable with the language. A work in progress for me. But by and large looking at everything from the point of view of my kids and as a family, it’s been a good ride so far.

Megan Porta: I have heard, and I’ve seen pictures too, of just it being so beautiful. Thank you for sharing all of that. It’s always fun to learn about other places. Okay let’s talk about SEO today and prioritizing SEO over Pinterest. So would you start by just telling us about how you decided to start prioritizing SEO over Pinterest? What launched you into that decision? 

Shinta Simon: Yes. One point when I was working through my blog, I decided to really sit down and get intentional with what I would prioritize in terms of the various tasks.As you’re well aware as a food blogger, there’s always multitasking. There’s so much going on in the day-to-day life of a food blogger, right? There’s so much we need to be abreast of. We need to be up to date with all of the trends. There’s so much that we handle that I decided that it was really imperative for me to get focused on a few things. If it meant that I had to drop the ball down the way on certain things that were not really leading me to my goal, which was to grow traffic, I decided so be it. I made the decision to prioritize SEO, I think sometime in 2019. That was a result of me going through a lot of resources that were out there, reading up quite a bit, and then being part of separate food blogger forums and listening to podcasts such as yours. 

That led me to understand that SEO is really the way to go if you want a future for your website and make sure that it is sustainable and it has the longevity that you need if you plan to make a food blogging a career in the long term. So I realized down the way that SEO is about so many things, or it can be overwhelming as well. I came across the quote at some point, which said that “content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the crown.” That can be said for SEO as well. So SEO is certainly queen and she definitely wears the pants when it comes to food blogging. It seems like it’s not just like one quick thing. It’s not just one thing that you check off your list. It is so much that goes on. There’s on page SEO, there’s off pages, there’s under the hood stuff and I’m certainly no expert when it comes to SEO. But I picked up a few tips along the way and I realized that on page SEO, which a lot of us talk about, which it’s a cumulative effect of having the right kind of keyword research and making sure that you have long form content. It’s just a small part of the overall picture. There’s also other things such as off page SEO that also matters and so does things that have been under the hood of your blog, such as site speed, and then having the right category structure and then having the right plugins and making sure you have a plugin audit and so on.

One of the things that really I benefited from was to have an audit with Casey Markee. I think everybody knows of him in the food blogging world. That really helped me to decide my way forward when it came to focusing on SEO. Then I realized that a lot of things about SEO actually make a lot of sense. If the goal of a food blogger is to grow traffic eventually then we look at traffic in two terms. We look at it as coming from social media. So that would be inorganic traffic and then organic traffic, which comes largely from Google search and SEO as a strategy. It actually makes a lot of sense because if you look at Google, Google has really started to prioritize user experience over and above everything else. So for example, last year. There was this whole conversation going on and there was a lot of buzz around core web vitals and what it meant and what food bloggers had to do. Me, not being a technical person, I was definitely overwhelmed looking at all these numbers. Then running my blog through Google’s page speed insights tool, and then seeing everything come up and get a low grade and aiming for those greens. It. It seemed to be a bit overwhelming, but then I decided to tackle it. I took the help of a whole lot of people around. I took help from a technical team that supports me with my blog, with the technical aspects of my blog. I took the help of the people behind my team, which is feast design, and they have a lot of great free resources on their website or their blog which kind of helps bloggers to work their way towards attaining the green score on core web vitals. I also have a lot of help from the Mediavine support team. Ultimately I did spend a lot of time working towards core web vitals and improving them both for mobile and for desktop.

The toughest thing in all of this was to really conquer, there is this one aspect of core web vitals called Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS. Which is something you really can’t help if you have ads running on your website. So that took me a really long time to work towards, but I did see results and I did see improvements happening when I really dug into it and took the help of these experts to help me reach that green marker on my page speed insights. All of this can seem to be overwhelming. We do know that Google does have its updates. Nobody really knows whether one day something pops up and then Google decides that what you’ve been doing so far isn’t right. Then suddenly you see a big dip in traffic. But I realized that at the end of the day, what really happens with Google is that they just want to prioritize user experience. It’s just common sense. What Google wants is, it wants fresh content and it wants you to update your content on a regular basis. It doesn’t want you to keyword stuff. Which is something that several years ago, a lot of bloggers were doing, which was to stuff keywords in their content. This was something that I was so guilty of doing, way back in the day. Then Google changed its algorithms and now it just makes sense to not do it. It is detrimental to you, to your rankings, if you start to stuff your content with keywords. So all of this makes real sense. 

Then mobile friendliness, because Google has a mobile first approach. So it just makes more sense that bloggers start to optimize their content for a mobile first approach, because so many more users access the internet from mobile devices than desktop nowadays. So a lot of it really makes sense in the long term. If you prioritize, if you decide to prioritize social media as a means of growing your traffic over Google, I feel that could be harmful in the long term because you will be subject to the whims and fancies of social media groups, which are constantly changing. You never really know how your Instagram is going to go. Pinterest we’ve seen so much happening. Pinterest has been pretty up and down, the last time. So much of it has been changing that I think that the best way forward would be to really throw your weight behind SEO. It does reward you in the long term. Even if you are a small blogger, even if you’re just setting foot into the big, bad world of food blogging, you can outrank the heavyweights if you do certain things correctly. If you aim to improve user experience at the end of the day. So that’s why I feel that we use the word future-proofing that, that’s why I feel that SEO just makes sense in the long term. 

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, you said so many good things. I loved everything. I agree with everything you said. I think it’s only wise to, on this day, to prioritize SEO. It didn’t use to be like that. How much focus do you put on Pinterest and social media? Do you put any focus or do you just ignore it? What is your strategy with it? 

Shinta Simon: Pinterest has been something that has been a difficult horse for me. So I’ve been a bit of a late bloomer in the Pinterest world. So I started off with Pinterest, I think back in 2018 or something, or probably late 2017. I know that a lot of bloggers have had really good success with Pinterest and I’ve listened to your podcasts. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also had success with Pinterest, right? But for me, I was very intentional about Pinterest for a very long time. In 2019, I was actually investing in a Pinterest school and it was not a very cheap Pinterest course at that. The end of it, I started putting in four to five hours per week. I was making static pins and making video pins and story pins and everything that the course said, and the Pinterest recommended and all of that. I had my tailwind all set up and I was publishing 15 to 20 pins per day. I was pretty much burnt out with Pinterest and I was not even enjoying it, to be honest. At the end of the day, I was nowhere even close to the results I was hoping to see in terms of traffic. My daily views with Pinterest, even after implementing all of this, was around 250 to 400 views a day, which is not too bad, but if you are putting in that amount of effort, you would expect a little more. So I decided then to completely stop focusing on Pinterest. I then outsourced some of my Pinterest work, somewhere mid of last year to a virtual assistant. She handles my Pinterest now, but that’s not entirely what she does. It’s like part of what she does to help me out. But I’m very happy to say that Pinterest is potentially in my bucket of do not resuscitate because I don’t know where this is going right now. I think many of the first, I probably speak for several of us bloggers, we don’t know where Pinterest is headed. They probably want people to stay on the platform itself. They don’t want people to navigate away from them. That makes life difficult for us as food bloggers who make revenue through traffic. Yeah, so Pinterest is now in my DNR category as I call it.

Megan Porta: I don’t think you’re alone with that. I think that a lot of food bloggers would say the exact same thing. Yeah it’s wild, isn’t it? I feel like it’s just completely turned upside down. Nobody knows what’s going on or what is coming. So I think it’s wise to implement your strategy, which is to focus on SEO because Google is always prioritizing the user and that’s a safer place to be and something that’s maybe a little bit more predictable. I want to hear about your career as marketing strategy consultant, because I can imagine that you pulled stuff away from that job and you’re applying it to all of these thoughts that you’re having now, is that right?

Shinta Simon: Yes. That came over time. When I realized that there was a natural link between project management and blogging. So I used to work as a marketing strategy consultant. I was managing projects with teams. In my years as a project manager, most of my tasks were about having regular projects. We were constantly scoping out projects with goals and only these goals were typically measurable goals with a tangible number around it, with time-bound deadlines. We were constantly having checkpoint calls and cadence calls at regular intervals. Because many of these projects were scoped out with our clients. We would monitor them for scope creep to ensure that we were sticking within that budget. Then I realized though, while food logging in the last five audios of blogging, I realized that so many of the tasks that we do in the everyday life of a food blogger have a lot of overlap with what people with project managers typically do. It can be very overwhelming very soon. So maybe people look at food bloggers in a visual sense. So they see your Instagram and they think, wow, beautiful images. You’re probably just doing a lot of recipe development. You’re doing a lot of photography. You created videography, and there’s probably some editing also happening in the background. These are the more obvious aspects of food blogging. People don’t really get it, that there is so much happening under the hood. SEO, which is a huge deal. Then you’re also managing social media properties and then you’d need to learn how to grow traffic through organic and social channels. These aspects of blogging. Then for bigger food bloggers, in managing teams and managing their accounts. There’s so much going on. I’m not even touching upon the technical aspects of the website. So these aspects of logging can take over your daily tasks that leave you feeling more than overwhelmed.

So in the last two years or so, when I started actually making money from the blog, I started getting a bit intentional, little more intention about blogging, and I realized that there are certain project management principles, which you can apply in the blog in a blogger state. One of those things is goal setting. So I know that many of us don’t have similar working styles, some of us like to just put one foot ahead of the other and just see where it leads us. When you’re in a creative food blogging, that’s how it should be always. But it also helps if you set out ideally at the beginning of the year or at a certain point with a defined goal and a certain objective. So in project management, there are smart goals, which is basically an acronym for five characteristics that your goals need to have in order to be measurable. Smart stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. 

Sponsor: Food bloggers. Let’s take a really quick break. I’d love to tell you about just a few things going on at Eat Blog Talk that might benefit you and your business. First of all, if you would take the time to go to your favorite podcast player to subscribe or follow, rate and review Eat Talk Blog. I would be so grateful and it adds so much value to this podcast.

Also go to the free discussion forum at to get in on the conversations going on over there with other food bloggers, like-minded peers, you can ask questions, answer questions, and just contribute to great discussions. Lastly, if you would like to get in on the next mastermind group that will be put together in spring of 2022, to be sure to get on the waitlist now. Go to and follow the buttons for mastermind. We’ll be in touch as spring draws. Now, back to the episode.

Shinta Simon: While it sounds a bit like employing some jogging here it actually makes sense, right? Because if you define your goals realistically and have a tangible goal, you have a number that you’re aiming for. You can set yourself up for success. So I decided that last year in 2021, I thought I would make a bit of a plan ahead. Try to plan ahead of time. So at the beginning of the year, I sat down, I actually wrote down my plan, I set certain targets for myself and then decided to check in with myself at the middle of the year to see if I needed to make some course corrections and we needed to adjust those goals.

So my goal was to hit a hundred thousand page views by the middle of last year. Then my end of year goal was to hit 150,000 page views. So of course you need to allow yourself some wiggle room. You should allow the chaos sometimes to take over. The numbers need not overwhelm you, but I like to use it as a sort of a guiding light to set your bar or to steer your course. I had the goal of a hundred thousand pages by June, which I did not make. It took me more time. I hit that goal in September of last year. But it had to have a concrete number that one Spencer had that number in mind.

It was clear to me that this is what I need to do and this is what I don’t need to do. I don’t also like to plan too much into the future, but I think if you break it up into, let’s say six months at a time and set a goal, which you can visualize, it helps, it definitely helps . Then there’s also this other thing, which I realized I was unconsciously doing, but then also ties into what a lot of management consultants use. So management consultants are obsessed with using visual tools. Visual tools effectively help consultants to structure their thoughts during brainstorming sessions and to help them convey their findings. One such tool is the two by two matrix, which is a visual that helps consultants to make certain decisions. I wasn’t consciously moving towards the spot, but then I realized that somewhere there was an overlap between what I was doing and this matrix or this visual matrix that consultants usually use. The tool I’m talking about is what I would like to call an effort versus impact matrix.

So visually it would look like a two by two matrix where there are four quadrants and you’re basically plotting your effort on one axis and you’re plotting your impact on the other. All right. So you have four quadrants. There’s one where your tasks are basically low on effort and low on impact. Then there’s another where your tasks are low in effort and impact. Then there are the quick wins, which are low on effort and higher impact. Then there are the things that you need to dedicate more time for which are high on effort, but give you good results and higher impact.

So in my head, the way I saw it, was that something like Pinterest was in the high effort and low impact quadrant because I was effectively putting in so much of my time into it. But I wasn’t really seeing the kind of progress that I hoped for. Like I mentioned a while ago, I was getting around 250 page views a day when I was putting in four to five hours a week, doing all of that work for Pinterest. Then I stopped doing most of it entirely. Today I still get around 250 views. It hasn’t really tanked despite me not doing anything. So I’m happy to put Pinterest in the bucket of high effort and low impact. I don’t really want to focus on that too much right now.

Then there’s the low effort and low impact or quadrant for me, which is for me that’s Instagram. It’s no impact in the sense that Instagram doesn’t really give me the kind of page views that I would like, because page views is ultimately my goal. So I created Instagram as a means to flex my creative muscles in a way. I like to do it. It’s a lot of fun. I use it to get inspiration. If I’m running out of ideas, I’ll just go to the explore page and then look for reels. That really fires me up. Let’s make this thing, let’s try this recipe. Or if I’m in a rotten mood, it inspires me. So Instagram is a lot of fun. But yes, it doesn’t lead me to that goal, which is high page views. But it’s low on effort and it’s fun. So I let it go. I just do it.

Then there’s the quadrant where there’s low effort and there’s high impact. For me, that’s Facebook groups. So Facebook groups have been a source of good traffic, I see massive spikes of traffic whenever I post in certain Facebook groups. You can hit pay dirt if you post in certain Facebook groups and suddenly you see your traffic spiking and it’s really low on effort, right? So low effort and high impact because it takes you literally five minutes to just put a Facebook post in, let’s say five different Facebook groups. If they really click and if they take off, you see a massive amount of traffic the next day. So of course it is not strategic. It is not a sustainable thing that you can do in order to get that win, you would have to be posting every single day and it can be spammy to so many readers, right? So you have to be a bit careful, but I put it in my bucket of high impact and low effort. Then there’s the final quadrant, which is high effort and high impact. For me, that’s definitely SEO. Because if you’re playing the long game, then. SEO is what you need to focus on. As we all know it’s a sum of several different things you need to work on consistently. It’s a continuous improvement that you need to be doing all the time. It is definitely higher effort, but in the long run, it will deliver the kind of impact that you’re looking at.

Megan Porta: Oh, my goodness. That was all great too. As you were talking through the matrix, I was writing out a visual of it in my notebook here and I just love having that visual. I think you’re so spot on with. The Facebook groups and Instagram and Pinterest, and you have just nailed the personality of each of those platforms so well. So thank you so much for talking through all of that. I do love how your job as a marketing strategy consultant bleeds over into this and it, how it helps you to understand food blogging a little bit better, because a lot of us don’t have that unique perspective, but you have just talked through that so naturally and so well. So yeah, just absolutely loved hearing all of that. How important do you think it is to hone in on a really specific niche with this focus of wanting to dive into SEO and put a focus on the user and all of that? 

Shinta Simon: I think that’s the case with so many food bloggers. I started my blog in 2016 and it was really a hobby blog and I was really writing recipes for the purpose of journaling them for posterity and more than anything else I would hone in on the trends. Back then, Instagram was not such a big deal as it is now. So what was trending back then was the macaroons or the tier cakes and all of that. So I was baking at the time. I had a lot of recipes that were not really consistent with using layered cakes. Then I had a lot of Indian recipes and I had a curry series going on. I was also joining plenty of link parties. Now we have some idea of how harmful this is, joining link parties is really detrimental when it comes to SEO. Because when you’re linking very unnaturally it doesn’t do you good in terms of a Google ranking, right? So it’s more focused on that sort of nurturing blog of friendships and then commenting on each other’s pages. I was blogging as a hobby. Then over the years I learned that I need to trim my content, make it clean and make it more focused and streamline the blogs if I had to make this some kind of source of revenue and perhaps make it my career in the future. So I felt that so I did work on this and over the last four odd years, so what has happened is that I have found my sort of sweet spots in terms of a niche.

So I don’t have a specific niche in terms of my content, but I would say that my blog is more or less 50% Indian recipes, 30% instant pot recipes, probably 10% fryer and 10% other recipes that I enjoy that I have tried. What I don’t write anymore is layered cakes. I don’t talk about elaborate recipes from other cuisines and other cultures that I am not personally familiar with. I definitely don’t write recipes that my family wouldn’t try. So this is what I feel makes a lot of sense for me. Perhaps down the line, this might change. But I know for sure that what I would definitely like to write about and that I would be happy to see in my blog, let’s say 10 years down the line would be some of my Indian recipes. Some of which are painstakingly long and not necessarily written from an SEO perspective. They’re not really high in terms of keyword search. But for sure they’re time tested and I know for sure that they will be looked and searched for in the long run.

Megan Porta: So I love this too. I feel like so many food blogs are trending in this direction where they don’t necessarily have one specific niche, but more of a collection of niche themes. Is that a good way to describe that? 

Shinta Simon: Yes. Yes. You don’t necessarily have to have a particular niche, but find what you’re comfortable writing about and then find that sweet spot where you’re able to grow traffic and find your audience, but also write about what you’re comfortable with and familiar with and not just pursue and not just chase the numbers with keywords.

What are your thoughts on this? If you have a collection of little sub-niches like you do, do you have a handful of different audiences that come to you? Because I just think it would be so hard to have such a unique focus in so many different areas and have someone like the same basic user coming to your site for those things. Do you know what I’m saying? So having a handful of different audiences coming to you for different content. 

This is happening over time. I’ve come to realize that I have a large North American audience, a largely US-based audience around 85% of my readers are based in the US. I live in Switzerland. I have never been to the US. As a writer, somebody catering to my users, I need to familiarize myself with common American terms and brands and stores. Try to make that extra effort to go through Facebook groups, such as Instant Pot groups. I try to read about the posts that people have been posting, the kind of queries that they ask and the questions that they’ve been asking. I tried to make myself more familiar with what my audience really needs. The questions that they ask and what and in terms of where they shop from and the brands that they use.

For example, sometime back I was writing this recipe for, I was in the process of developing a recipe for Buffalo wings, Buffalo cauliflower wings for the air fryer. I was testing this recipe and I realized that a lot of people have previously made this recipe with Frank’s hot sauce. An ingredient that I wasn’t familiar with. It’s not available in stores in Switzerland. So I did not know how exactly that would taste. I improvised and I wrote up my recipe. I did not declare myself as being familiar with Frank’s hot sauce in any way. But then much later I found that it was actually there in a Swiss supermarket and then I tasted it and I was like, oh, this is something completely new. So yeah, I have to make that extra step to make myself familiar with the audience that comes to my website and that I intend to write for.

Another thing I’d like to say about writing for your audience is that, don’t assume that your reader knows everything that you are writing about. For some of us, it comes naturally to just make a statement such as, lining the baking tin or cream your butter and sugar together. In the case of Instant Pot recipes, and I write a lot of those, we talk a lot about things such as NPR, which stands for natural pressure release or QPR, which is quick pressure release. This comes naturally to us, but for a newbie who has just landed on my website for the first time, this might not be familiar. So I might need to mention what this actually means in brackets. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that, so I write about Indian recipes, which I make in an Instant Pot. But a lot of people would write comments coming in where people ask me how they can make my recipes without an Instant Pot. How do we veganize it or what substitutes they can use for my spice blends? So some of these things are not really obvious to people. I need to understand that. Perhaps what I could do, what a good practice would be to take these questions and incorporate these questions into the recipe notes, or even in the frequently asked questions, which is something that I’ve been trying to be consistent with. Frequently asked questions as part of my blog content and this is what I feel really helps to create content that really resonates with your audience. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. That was a really great explanation, too. You are so thorough. I feel like you’ve given this a lot of thought and you’re just going about food blogging in such a smart way. Super appreciate all of that. I’m just curious, how much of your life do you include in your writing? Because this is a debate, right? Do we become robots and we need to please the Google gods and write only for structured SEO, whatever. How do you balance that? 

Shinta Simon: That’s a good question. Yeah. So I think, very often we get tempted to get carried away with looking at keywords. If you get a bit into the whole SEO part of writing, writing for your blog you do tend to get caught up in trending keywords, and then effectively you’re just looking for those low hanging fruit in the keyword world, so to speak because you’re just chasing those keywords because that gives you that big spike in traffic that you desperately need. But I would say, try not to get caught up in those keywords, which are super trendy. Even with gadgets that are trending at the moment. I know that’s difficult because I do write about gadgets. I talk about air fryers as well. But then I try to bring a sense of my background and myself as a person. When I talk about my love for Indian recipes, I have a lot of them on my blog. Like I said earlier, these are recipes that will definitely stand the test of time. I try to bring a bit of, I wouldn’t say things that happened in my daily life, but like my background, for example. I remember the taste of this recipe that I had growing up in India or for example. I would try to add a bit of my experience with growing up, eating that food that I’m familiar with in the blog.

So I do try to achieve that sort of a balance. I feel like. It is very tempting to chase after keywords, having a keywords only approach in terms of food blogging. There’s no doubt that things like air fryers are trending for sure. I have been tapping into that trend and I love my air fryer, there’s no doubt about it. If you remain true to your brand, to your personality and what you think you will be making and cooking 10 years down the line, what your family would be eating 10 years down the line, what your readers would be eating 10 years down the line, essentially you’ve future proofed your blog. 

Megan Porta: I love that. Just future proofing. We talk about it and it’s not super easy to do that, to find that balance between being a human and taking out your experiences with food and also writing for SEO. But the more you get into it, I found the more likely you’re able to find that balance. But starting out as a new food blogger, I just feel like that concept is really difficult to wrap your head around.

Shinta Simon: Yeah, absolutely. 

Megan Porta: Thank you, Shanta for all of this. Do you have any final words on why SEO is great for future-proofing your content and your website? 

Shinta Simon: Why is SEO great? It’s a bit of a struggle if you’re getting into it initially, because you need to have patience to see how it plays out eventually. It does take time, but you will see the results. For me, I did see the results. It took me a while though. I I was reading different aspects of SEO and how it would add improvements to my traffic. Then what really helped me was to have a SEO audit with Casey Markee and that also opened my eyes to so many things which actually made perfect sense. I think a lot of SEO is really rooted in common sense. If you have your user on top of your mind, you’re essentially writing for them. If you’re writing for your user, then really nothing else should matter. So I think that is a great strategy and pretty commonsensical approach to use. If you’re aiming for long-term growth. 

Megan Porta: Great words to end on. Thank you so much today for joining me. It’s been such a pleasure to talk to you and just hear all of this knowledge that you have and just the way you’ve navigated through food blogging. I am just fascinated by it. So thank you so much for being here, Shinta.

Shinta Simon: Oh, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Megan Porta: Yeah. Yes. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to end with today? 

Shinta Simon: Yes. For sure. The quote I’d like to share is, “don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” That I think is something that I had to accept because, for a while, I have been dabbling in a lot of things and I realized that I have limited time and resources, like a lot of us do. So if you have to give up on something and if you have worked on and you’re at the point where you’re wise enough to use your own judgment and realize that certain things don’t really work, it’s best to give up and move forward and then aim for a long-term goal in mind and then just go for it.

Megan Porta: Great way to end.We will put together a show notes page for you, Shinta. So if you or anyone else wants to go peek at those, you can head over to Love the name of your website, by the way. So great. Why don’t you while we’re talking about it, why don’t you tell everyone where they can find you online and on social media and everywhere else.

Shinta Simon: So you can find me at www. and I use the same handle for my Instagram and for my Pinterest. My Facebook is as well. 

Megan Porta: Thank you again for being here, Shinta. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

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