In episode 346, Eric Samuelson teaches us how to rank for non-recipe posts and why this content is often easy to create and valuable as it attracts new readers to our blogs.
We cover information about how to determine what your expertise is so you can generate more interest, non-recipe posts are easy to produce and are valuable to your audience, create roundups for posts you rank well for and think of recipes that will solve a problem for people and share it.
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Bio Eric has been blogging at Eat Like No One since 2009 before there was anything out there like Eat Blog Talk or a food blogging community! Eric considers his blog to be a “teaching blog”. Eat Like No One Else is THE PLACE to learn how to enhance the way you eat through learning of specialty foods and ingredients and how to make the most amazing food at home. He solidly believes in the “if you teach a man to fish…” philosophy.
- Mix up recipe content and educational or information posts to teach your audience.
- Use Google analytics to see what ranks well for your blog and serve your audience then build from there.
- Comparison posts are another great piece of content to serve your audience which compliment your current content.
- Create Q&A posts that revolve around Q4 content.
- Substitute posts can offer good information to your audience with allergy issues or when you can’t get the regular ingredient you use.
- Always be experimenting and learning what works for your blog and audience as you stay curious about all things that impact your niche.
Click for full transcript.
Episode 346 – Eric Samuelson – Final
Eric Samuelson: Hi, this is Eric Samuelson from Eat Like No One else, 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 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. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: Hey 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 their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 346. Today I have Eric Samuelson with me. He is going to talk to us about how to rank for non-recipe content and why that content is so valuable. Eric has been blogging at Eat Like No One Else since 2009 before there was anything out there like Eat Blog Talk or a food blogging community.
Eric considers his blog to be a teaching blog. Eat Like No One Else is the place to learn how to enhance the way you eat through learning of specialty foods and ingredients, and how to make the most amazing food at home. He solidly believes in the, “if you teach a man to fish” philosophy. Eric, I am so glad that after 300 plus episodes, you’re finally coming on to Eat Blog Talk. We’ve known each other for a few years. It’s such a pleasure to have you here today. How are you doing?
Eric Samuelson: Thank you, Megan. Yeah, it’s a pleasure to get on and get to chat with you and be on your podcast. So, I’m excited about it.
Megan Porta: Yay. Me too. Okay, we want to hear your fun fact, if you have one to share with us before we get to the topic.
Eric Samuelson: Sure. So my fun fact here, and this kinda relates to our lifestyle, so a quick little snippet of it, me and my family travel full-time in our camper. So we travel all over the country, starting in September, 2020. Something that we do, especially me and my oldest daughter, is we like to go out bird watching and identify different species of birds. As of right now, we have taken photos and categorized 245 different species.
Megan Porta: I didn’t know this about you. That is the coolest thing ever. Okay. What is the rarest bird that you’ve seen?
Eric Samuelson: I’d say it’s kinda a tie, because we saw the California Condor in Zion National Park in Utah, which is extremely endangered, and they just reintroduced them. When I was a kid, there were like 23 of them left in the whole world.
Megan Porta: What?
Eric Samuelson: So we saw that. Then we once saw a Roseate SpoonBill in New York and that is like a Florida type of south southern bird, somehow made it up in New York and we saw at this wildlife refuge, we took a picture off it and shared it on Facebook and within two hours that refuge was jammed with traffic. All these bird people started showing up to see this bird that had never been seen in New York before. So it was kinda cool.
Megan Porta: So what do you call a bird washer who’s really into it? Like a bird fanatic? A birdie? Do you have a name for that?
Eric Samuelson: A birdie. My dog goes with bird nerds. She calls us bird nerds.
Megan Porta: Bird nerds. That’s perfect. Okay. That’s what I was looking for. Bird nerds. I love birds. The rarest thing, and it’s probably not super rare, but I occasionally see in our yard those big blue jays, like with the just stately heads, they’re so big. I’ve seen maybe three times over the past six years they’ll just like land on our railing and I’m like, Oh my gosh, that’s so cool. Do you guys see Blue Jays often?
Eric Samuelson: We do. They’re only more in the eastern part of the country. We didn’t see them when we were out west for months and months. It was like a common bird for us, me growing up. So it was like, Oh, there go. It’s been a long time.
Megan Porta: They’re so pretty, aren’t they? Oh, awesome. Okay, now I know that I can talk birds with you. Now that I know you’re a bird nerd. All right, Eric, you have an amazing journey. Your blog is one of the older blogs, and I’m not being rude because mine is old too, but in a good way. You have stuck with it through thick and thin. Your blog has weathered many storms. We’ve had a lot along the way, right? I think it would be really valuable to start out with you just sharing a little bit about your journey. Why did you get started? Maybe share with us some ups and downs, and then where you’re at now.
Eric Samuelson: I originally got started back in 2009. At that point I had one kid. We have four now. She was, let’s see at that point, a toddler. At the time I was a stay at home. My wife worked, so I was at home with her. So kinda looking for other ways to make income. I saw some people making money off websites. Oh, that’s cool. That be kinda a cool thing to do. I had to try it out for myself and see if I could do that. I always loved food, very interested in grocery shopping, I loved grocery shopping as a kid. That was my favorite time of the week when we went on Mondays to go grocery shopping and just find the new things in the store and stuff.
So I wanted to share that knowledge. So when I originally started the blog, I had a three prong focus. It was at the store, in the kitchen, in the garden. The garden stuff I then did for a little bit while and then cut that completely out of the blog because it did not generate any traffic or hardly any traffic. So it was like, I’m not getting anything out of this here. I’m gonna shift my focus to those two things. So for a while I was partially a gardening blog until I realized that wasn’t really working. I was lucky at the beginning because at that time period, there weren’t communities for food bloggers, so it was a lot of just learning things on your own. I had someone luckily point out to me at the beginning that you should put Google analytics on your website. What the heck is Google Analytics? I had no clue. In the beginning, I got into tracking page views and stats and stuff here. It used to be more powerful back in the day. It used to tell you every single keyword that people came in from and it stopped doing that over the years. So it was really helpful to know what people were searching for and that. So early on in the first year, I was already trying to generate content that would be what people were looking for. I could already get an idea around that. So that’s changed and shifted over time. So yeah, for many years, got into the advertisement up there. Really just not high paying advertising at all. It was so bad. There were info links. It was because they put DoubleLines under your links here. Way way back in the day, things that obviously did not pay much. I did Google Adsense a little bit until I got kicked off it because my mother-in-law clicked too many things for me. I ended up being kicked off the first month of my blog, so that was great.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s funny. Oh, your mother-in-law is trying to help and she got you kicked out. Have you ever done Food Buzz?
Eric Samuelson: No, I didn’t do that one. I did Gourmet Ads. The other one was a chain name a couple of times, like Sovereign, I think it was called it at one point. I think it went through a couple different names, but I had a couple other things that I was doing in the beginning and Amazon affiliate, I did Amazon affiliate programs since pretty much the very beginning. I got early on to doing that. So those were the original phases.
Megan Porta: Then where has it evolved to now? Now it’s generating some income and you’ve got better traffic. So where are you at now?
Eric Samuelson: I was working full time for a long time when my wife lost her job. I went to work then I was working most of that time I was working for Whole Foods. So I was still in my space and I was still interested in food all the time and learning about the grocery side of things here. Everyone at the store, all my coworkers went to me anytime someone had a customer that had a question they couldn’t answer. Cause I always had the answers pretty much all the [00:08:00] time. So I was trying to build the blog while doing that at the same time, which was very challenging because I had a schedule that was different every week almost. So it was hard to be consistent, get consistent, which I think is really important. So I kinda struggled along with that for a while.Eventually I wasn’t really involved with communities or that, but I had found someone who had shared what they were earning. Their stats, how much they’re earning, and I’m like, what is this Mediavine thing? What’s that? I had never heard of it before. It looked like she’s earning like a ton of money off this. I looked at her traffic numbers, I’m like, they’re kinda similar and she’s earning this much money. What the heck? So I was motivated to then try to apply for Mediavine. Honestly, I was actually really nervous about it because I remember applying for it. They’re like, you need to be in good standing with Google. I’m going back to oh my gosh, back in 2009 when my mother-in-law got me kicked off. Is that gonna disqualify me from Mediavine? So I’m super nervous. Is this actually gonna work out or not? Am I gonna get into this program? Is this gonna work? At that point I had exceeded the page view numbers that they had required, even more, back then, I think it was 25,000 pages. They upped it now. I think it’s 75 ,000, but I was already way beyond that. So I totally qualified for it, so I’m probably nervous for nothing.
Then I got into the program. At that point, I immediately went to work full time. I was earning more right away than I was from my other advertising that wasn’t working. So I was able to, at that point, I was ready to transition outta my job because I was just burnt out. I was constantly burnt out. I had gone through some health problems and it was just not working for our family. I needed to do something different. So I took the leap a little bit probably before most people probably would. It was like, I needed to do something, something had to change.
Megan Porta: Good for you for just seeing that you needed to do that and it wasn’t good for your mental and physical state and just making that change. That’s the hardest part I feel like, is taking that leap. Because we all know we need to do it when the time comes, but then actually doing it is super, super hard. So now here you are like how many years later? What is that? 2009?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, so it was 2009 when I started, so this would be 2017 is when I got onto Mediavine. Actually our youngest daughter, Shalee, who’s four now, was born in 2018, so I was full time by the time she was born. So for me it was kind of smart to do that then, because it was like she never had to experience daddy being gone at work like the other kids did. So that was really nice. So when I went full time, my wife was pregnant too.
Megan Porta: Oh, wow. Wow. So you jumped in. Yep. Then how do you feel like your blog has been since then? So since you got into Mediavine and you’re just full time, how has it been going?
Eric Samuelson: For a couple years it was, we were still growing pretty well. For me at the time period, I was still living a lot on, for the first couple years, living a lot on the Q4 income. Because income would incredibly increase. So I would make enough, but some of the other months you would fall short on what we needed for our budget and stuff here. So I would pull from savings I got from Q4 to pay that. So that was kinda the way it was going for the first couple years. It’d be some months where I’m making more than enough to get by, and then some months I wasn’t. So I had to work with that. Then that kind of ended with the pandemic. When the pandemic hit, the traffic went up and stayed there. Then I was like, always every month it was like, okay, I have enough and plus to save every month. But the pandemic was the next break on point. For something good to happen among something absolutely horrible. It was very great for us in that time period to really just feel really blessed by that and all the hard work we had put in over the years on the blog, really came to fruition then because I was at that point still working in a store where I’d be in the public all the time. For us it affected us of course, but didn’t affect us the [00:12:00] way other people really hurt by it. We were perfectly set up for the stay at home orders. Easter 2020, I had the best day on my blog I’d ever had. It was just ridiculous numbers. Everyone was cooking their own food for the meal that day. It was absolutely insane. Most of the time I don’t look at my real time on my Google Analytics, but that day I had the real time kinda up on my phone all the time, just kinda seeing Oh my gosh, how many how high could this possibly go? It was in the hundreds and hundreds. It was like, Oh my gosh, this is ridiculous.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. That’s the best feeling to see like hundreds of people on your blog at the same time, isn’t it? Oh, that’s awesome. Okay. Anything else about your journey since? So the pandemic was good, as it was for a lot of us. How did it go after that?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, things went really well. As I said, I broke my record for Easter, then I broke the record again for my daily record on Thanksgiving day that same year. So we had a really crazy [00:13:00] holiday season that year. Numbers were absolutely insane and just helped us build our savings up a lot. So it was really fun. Since then, things have slowed down. I think I’ve seen a slow down since that time period. It’s good people are all back doing stuff again. I don’t want that to continue, of course. So we’re not riding that high anymore. So now what’s the next wave, the next thing. It’d be nice to get back to where we were at that point.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thank you for sharing all of that. I love your journey.I feel like any blogging journey that’s that long has a story and you’ve had plenty of stories and themes, and you have this theme of being the go-to foodie. I love that was the case when you worked at Whole Foods and now that’s where you are now. That’s what we’re talking about because you have started putting an emphasis more on non recipe content, which I think is so smart in today’s blogging world. So can you talk to us about that? When you decided to do that and how that has gone for your blog and maybe why you think it’s a good idea?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah. So really from the very get go, I had always had non-recipe content besides, I know I said it to the gardening thing and stuff. I had that shopping aspect of my blog. So I always have had that as part of my whole game plan. I’ve always kinda mixed it up. I’ll put recipes in. But if you look at my top a hundred posts, maybe 10 of them are recipes and the other 90 or so are more non recipes. Or if their recipes are more along the lines of more of I’m teaching you how to cook a ham in the Instant Pot. But that was my viral post on Easter. A lot of the recipes that do rank well are more explaining concepts. Usually it’s with different things with the air fryer or let’s see, my third best post last week or so has been how to cook a bottom round roast. So it’s a really cheap kind of beef that you need to cook well all the way. It’s gonna be horribly tough. So that post goes on like instructions but it still has a recipe card and there’s a recipe for it too. But basically, I’m more how to cook it as opposed to just the recipe. So it’s more to give people different ideas of the recipe you can follow, but here are other ways you can cook this. So that’s kinda how I approach those kinda things.
Megan Porta: So yeah. So you really were writing that way anyway, and then when you started analyzing your content, you were like, Oh, I’m ranking for all of this really non-res content because that’s where your expertise lies and that’s what you’re interested in. So at that point, did you start doing more of it? Trying to beef up your content with that?
Eric Samuelson: Yes. Yeah. Definitely started looking at what’s ranked well. I’m doing well for this cut of beef here, so let’s write more posts. So I try to cover any cut of beef. I can come along and say, How do you cook this one, how do you cook this other one? How to cook a flat iron steak, how to do an eye round roast, all the different ways. Plus for me originally too, part of my motivation was like, I don’t understand all these beef cuts. You go in the store and there’s all these different memes for beef and those weird words on it sometimes, and you’re wondering what does that mean?
Like chicken is pretty straight forward. You got breasts, you got thighs. You got skin on, bone-in. There’s not that many choices. With beef, there’s ridiculous amounts of choices and they’re coming up with new ones. They’re finding different ways. Like the flat iron steak is a newer one that they found different ways to cut up the cow and they produce Oh, here’s a different type of steak. So it’s kinda crazy that they’re still discovering cuts. You would think that would be something that would already be established, but they’re still doing that so I personally didn’t understand all that. So I’m like, okay, if I don’t understand it then it’s likely that other people don’t understand it either. So I want to learn it myself and share with other people.
Megan Porta: It’s valuable because people search for that stuff. Like you just said, there’s so many different cuts of beef. Most people don’t know that. So we go to Google, right? We type that in. Your goal is to be on the front page so people click. Creating those non-res posts I have found is so easy compared to creating recipe posts. Do you agree with that?
Eric Samuelson: Oh yeah, definitely. For sure. If you’re not making a recipe, then that’s a whole time that’s gone. If you’re cooking it multiple times and testing and stuff here, that takes time then and then photographing it. I think too, there’s actually, I would say there’s a higher standard for photographs for recipe posts. You want it to look really good here. So a lot of my likes are non-recipe content. I’ll take a picture at a farmer’s market or a grocery store or just have a product. All I have to do is put it on a background here and take some photos of it. So I’m just doing that with my phone. I’m not even getting a camera, I’m just grabbing my phone. I don’t have an iPhone or anything like that, but I have a Motorola phone that I looked up and found one that had the best ratings on it for photos for a decent price. That’s the phone I use for most things.
Megan Porta: So what other non-recipe content would you recommend if people wanna dig into something like this? Are there other types of non-recipe posts to consider?
Eric Samuelson: Oh yeah. One other thing I’ve done really well with is what I would call a comparison post. Where I’m comparing two different but similar things. So for example, for St. Patrick’s Day, I do really well with a post on brisket. So it’s comparing flat cut brisket to point cut brisket. So two different types of brisket or two different areas of the whole brisket. So the post is all about trying to figure out which is better for corn beef, which do you like better? Depending on your taste too. So those posts do really well and I’ve done tons of different comparisons after seeing how that one did well. So I’ll compare what’s the difference between Colby cheese and cheddar cheese or wild flour honey and clover honey, or different types of pears and apples. People seem to really like those ones and they seem to rank really well because people are just looking for that information because they’re wondering like, Oh, I have a recipe. What should I use for this recipe? So those end up doing really well. So I write a lot of those types of posts.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Then you mentioned the ham, a how-to style, which I think is really valuable for so many different types of food. Not just meat, but all kinds of things. What else? I know you do some, where to buy this ingredient type of posts. Talk through those.
Eric Samuelson: Yes. Since I love grocery shopping and from my travels, I’ve been to pretty much every major grocery chain in this country, so it gives me a good knowledge of where to find things. I think that people are trying to find out, they have some ingredients that they can’t find that they want. Oh, how do I find this out? Recently I did one on Macintosh apples. So that type of apple is grown more in the north and it’s kinda hard to find if someone has moved down south, like Texas and someone who lives in Texas and couldn’t find them anymore. So knowing that, having a blog post say, Oh, there actually is a store in Texas I know that carries this apple. So do some of those posts where I’m explaining, here’s some places you can look, here’s some ideas of storage, you can look to, to find certain things. Those seem to do pretty well too, where, so I’m using the knowledge to have from being around places. Often now it’s become easier for me in recent years, but the rise of Instacart and other types of services because now you can actually look up that information. So like I sometimes if I’m trying to compile a list. I’ll be like, Okay, Hyvee. I don’t know if Hyvee carries this here. So I’ll type Hyvee and whatever product or thing I’m looking up here and then see if it pops up on their website. Recently, I was writing about butterkase cheese. It’s a German cheese that is popular in Wisconsin, but harder to find outside Wisconsin. So I was doing some research and looked up Hyvee, cheese, and butterkase cheese. [00:21:00] Then say, Oh, there it is, showing up on their webpage, or Instacart. They’re never comprehensive cause can’t I can’t locate them. Hey, if you hit some of the major spots, and people like those kinds of things. Because I’m also informing people about those things too. So then referring them to say, Oh, check out this other content here. Do you like this? Check out the third thing out here. So you use it kinda as a point to send people to other places. So yeah, those are really good posts. But for me it’s something I can write more because I have the knowledge for that because I’ve traveled around. I’m such a grocery nerd that I go to all the grocery stores so I know that. So ‘m using my unique take to be able to give people something that a lot of people probably wouldn’t have the information for. Because you know, if they’re not Grocery nerdy as I or as travel as much.
Megan Porta: Grocery Nerdy. I like that. So I’m coming up with this subtitle for Eric. The grocery nerd is perfect, but you are, you have so much information. I am on your Apple email list and you just know so much about apples and there’s so many other things that you have knowledge about, so it really is valuable. What about Roundup posts? Do you do a lot of those? What to serve with posts?
Eric Samuelson: I’ve just started a little bit of that. Because I’ve been using RankIQ for the last probably, I think it’s been over a year now for sure. Over a year I think. So I’ve been using that and that’s been one of their suggestions, keywords, a lot of ’em that say what to serve with. So I’m experimenting around with some of those posts because they also, I think too, they also promote some of your recipe content. Here’s the encouragement for people. I know food bloggers don’t write their posts. They really love the recipe, which is great. I love making recipe content too. It’s fun, making something new and people love it. People love it, it’s really awesome. So I know a lot of people that might be worried about oh, Oh, I don’t really like writing that kind of content here. It’s not really my passion. But I think too with what to serve with a post, I think it’s a way to just bring people in and then you can share those recipe posts. You can share, if we’re talking about, let’s stick on the ham thing you talked about and if you have a bunch of recipes that go well with ham. If you’re sharing what to serve with him, you could share those types of side dishes and things you have on your blog or dessert so that you’re bringing people in still, it’s bringing traffic in, but you’re not losing your passion, your recipes. It can be hard if you’re not passionate about writing those types of posts that are just Oh, I’m gonna write ’em for traffic, which I think is good sometimes for some stuff for traffic, but you don’t wanna write things just for Google because you’re gonna get really burnt out. I did that before. I found something that was working for traffic and I didn’t enjoy writing it, so I got burnt out on it eventually and didn’t wanna do it anymore. At that point, it wasn’t worth it cuz it was ruining all my creative juices. I wasn’t being effective and I was like, I don’t really wanna write about this anymore. So I at times had to pull back from that. So it’s good to write for search engines with some things here, but you don’t wanna lose your full passion by just pursuing that. You wanna have a mix. I think it’s like a what to serve type of post. If you can do some of those and rank for those here you’re still getting a chance to share and maybe your recipes are your baby and something that you love passionate about. You’re still getting people funneled into those posts.
Megan Porta: So sprinkle some of these in, but don’t dive into the deep end. Because you don’t wanna get burned out like Eric did. So where do people start with this? Do you recommend starting with a roundup post? If somebody’s listening and they’re like, this sounds great. I wanna dive into some more non-recipe content, but I don’t know where to begin.
Eric Samuelson: A roundup post can be good too. In some of these posts I’ve done recently, I haven’t had all the recipes needed for it to really pull that in, so I asked other food bloggers like you, I asked you for a couple recipes that I could use for some posts. So then it’s kinda fun to bring other bloggers in and share the wealth and say hey, I got someone else here. So I think starting with a roundup post, you might look at what type of topic you’re ranking for well enough here. So you may end up finding too, let’s say you’ve written a lot of posts about it’s fresh corn season, so I got corn on my mind. Oh, I have all these corn posts that rank well. So maybe you do like a roundup type post of best summer corn recipes or best things you use while fresh corn is in season or something along those lines. Then you share some of those posts and you may find that that post out ranks the other ones. It becomes your top corn post, but then you’re still pushing up everything else too. You’re still getting people to click through and to see stuff. I think people who are coming to look for that information are probably more likely to click through because they’re already looking for recipes. So I think those are really good to write and you have the photos for it. So I think it’s easy to start with something you have. If you find you have gaps, you could reach out to other food bloggers. You definitely can make some other recipes too. If you find I don’t have a corn dessert recipe, which I have actually made corn ice cream before. It can be made as a dessert.
Megan Porta: I have never heard of corn ice cream, but you need to make that. Oh boy. So I am just gonna mention RankIQ because this is how I started digging into non-recipe content. I was looking through their amazing keyword database. Started seeing things that are kind of related to my existing content. So like you were just saying, if I had corn recipes and I was looking through their keywords and found, what to serve a sweet corn, how to cook frozen corn on the cob. I’m like, Oh, I can link to that recipe in that recipe if I make this. So I started just thinking about the webs of content that I could create an interlink within my blog by creating non-recipe content. So RankIQ really helped me to round that out and it’s been so good for my traffic. So I would say if you are on RankIQ, just start typing in those keywords that you’re known for. Or maybe that you are already getting existing traffic for, like Eric was saying, and then just see what pops up. Because sometimes things will pop up that you never would’ve thought of. Oh, that’s a keyword. I never would’ve thought to write about corn ice cream, or whatever pops up.
Eric Samuelson: I found that too. Recently I had, so I didn’t think about writing. I think I was looking up shrimp. I think shrimp is where I started. One of the keywords there was like Kirkland Air Fried Shrimp. So buying the Costco Kirkland brand air fry shrimp, and then air frying it. Actually, I found I rank really well for Costco things. I have Costco guides to different types of food. One of my top posts is a Costco beef guide, which goes through and tells you what kind of cuts they have at most Costco stores. Then I refer them back to other posts and that one does really well. So I’m like I already rank well for Costco here, so I’m going to then write the post. That post is simply just me buying the frozen breaded, panko fried shrimp at Costco. Then I just test it in the air fryer to figure out, how long is it gonna take me to cook it in the air fryer? I published that recently and it’s a top 40 post last month. It got into Discovery too, so I got a little bit of Google juice. I got a little bit of traffic for that one. So that was one that I wouldn’t have thought about, right? I’m like, this makes total sense. It’s pretty easy to write.
Megan Porta: Here’s a little added tip that sometimes works for me. So if you create a non-recipe post, or really, I mean like any content right now and you want to give it a nice boost, Create a web story at the same time, and even if it’s a roundup. So I think this is why some of my roundups have really taken off because we create Roundup web stories, Roundup posts, publish them around the same time and they seem to really boost each other. So that’s another little tip you could consider. Okay, so we’ve talked about comparison, how tos. Roundup posts where to buy. Anything else? Any other types of posts to consider?
Eric Samuelson: Yeah, other things I would look for doing too are blog posts that are specifically related to the Q4 holidays, really focusing on those types of things that come up during that question type posts. That’s what did really well for me during that time period, because you got one of my top posts during Thanksgiving is, should my pumpkin pie be jiggly in the center? Those types of posters do really well because you’re like addressing an issue. So that one brings in quite a bit of traffic during that time period. So those types of question posts I think work. When you’re solving someone’s conundrum, and that one itself, I think like those types of posts, I’m not expecting people to stick around really with those ones. Because you’re worried about your pumpkin pie right now. You’re probably gonna get your answer and get back to your oven or put it back in the oven or whatever you need to do at that point. Whatever stage your pie is at, so you know those, I’m not really counting on people to stick around. Those have a high bounce rate. People come there, they see you and then they leave. But still, if I have enough of those posts and because RPM thanksgiving time and Christmas are very high that it’s still worth it to write those posts.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Absolutely. Because they’re still helping, they’re solving a really dire pain point.
Eric Samuelson: So I’m sure people do come back after that still. May have remembered, oh, that was helpful. If my advice worked, of course they probably will never talk to me again, but in normal circumstances you would think that those would work.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I think it’s worthwhile to just sprinkle those in too because why not? See if they take off. Then do you keep a close eye on Google Analytics just to see what’s working, what’s not, and then do you take what’s working and make more of that?
Eric Samuelson: Yes. That’s typically what I do is keep an eye on what’s gonna work and yeah, I’m regularly in my analytics like all the time Mostly daily basis. Not every day necessarily. If things are going great I’m in all the time cause I’m enjoying that. When things are not going well, I kinda wanna avoid it a little bit. But yeah, it’s always trying to monitor what’s doing good and trying to replicate that more. Sometimes you do that. No guarantee of success that it’s going to work. Sometimes you’ll think Okay, this worked really well. Let’s replicate this type of thing. You don’t know sometimes if it or what worked with it. So sometimes you have to look through that and decide what actually worked and what didn’t. So yeah, I usually try to bounce things off. Or if I have a new idea about a new type of Oh, I haven’t written about this. I don’t wanna experiment out there, but not go too crazy with it. I’d never written about olive oil before, so I did a couple olive oil posts and let’s see how these end ranking and see if this is gonna be a successful thing for me or not.
Megan Porta: And how did it do? How’d the olive oil do?
Eric Samuelson: I had some success, surprisingly. You think, this post is gonna be the best. And then it’s oh, it was actually this one. My best post with olive oil was using olive oil instead of butter to make a roux for a sauce, like a cheese sauce or something, and that one actually did well. It was like a substitute post, which there again, there’s another type of post you can do is different substitutes for things that work well. Sometimes I substitute ingredients because they’re better and produce a better end result than like a common recipe or sometimes it’s an allergy thing or I can’t find this ingredient or I’m in this part of the country and I can’t find this ingredient. So I think that another type of post you can do is the kind of swaps, the substitutions. I think those are good one.
Megan Porta: Another idea is copycat recipes. That’s more of a recipe post, but I’m just trying to think of alternative, original recipes. So that wouldn’t fall under non recipes content, but that’s another version that you could look into.
Eric Samuelson: Exactly. Yeah. I think those are really good too. Those can be almost sometimes better than like our recipe posts. You look at some recipe posts that, sometimes we create stuff that’s like out of our creative genius. There’s so many really intelligent, smart [00:33:00] bloggers that come up with amazing dishes and you come up with the most amazing thing. But sometimes those recipes can be hard to get traffic for because no one’s looking for them. I made a sesame seed crusted chicken where I just put tons of sesame seeds on it. I’m like, no one’s looking up sesame and crusted chicken. Maybe sesame chicken by itself, but like my type of thing, people aren’t really looking for that. So I think sometimes our ideas can be hard if there are things that people don’t even know. They’re gonna have to discover that. The kind thing you would have to find in a cookbook. Oh, here’s the cool recipe. I never thought about doing it. There was a recipe I found in a cookbook once that I really loved. It was putting fennel seeds and corn flakes as a breading for chicken and frying it. So I would never have searched up corn flakes and fennel seeds for chicken, unless I’m a food blogger that thinks I have a new idea. So yeah, I think sometimes I think our creative genius could sometimes almost make it harder for us to come up with things. At least for search traffic. Some of those things are more like, those kinds of recipes would be good for Pinterest, if Pinterest is still working for you. It’s done nothing for me at all. But if Pinterest is still something that’s you’re on, you, those are recipes probably could do well in that if you have this real unique concept and cool looking photos and stuff here that might work for those types of traffic. So yeah, if you’re, it doesn’t mean abandon those really cool things, if you’re working on that. You have a resource for that. It could work well.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So how much of this do you recommend food bloggers experimenting with? Not totally replacing their recipe creation with this whole idea of creating non-recipe content, but how much should they dig in?
Eric Samuelson: Start with trying to experiment with, start with a couple posts and just see how things go. Or a series of certain topics that you maybe wanna do. Recently I just did a bunch of cheese substitute posts of different types of cheese on and then all in the same week because it was easier to write similar type posts all at the same time because your mind’s already in that kind of flow. So it could be good.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I do the same.
Eric Samuelson: I batched a bunch of green bean posts at once. So doing that type of thing could be a good idea. But yeah, experimenting, seeing what will work, because again, you have to be able to wanna write them. People may hate writing them. I’ll sprinkle a couple in here and try to see what works, but I wouldn’t abandon the entire ship to just start writing those altogether. I would still mix in there and write what you love, but also write for Google. There’s a healthy balance between doing those things as long as I will write a post cuz I just wanna write this. So I don’t wanna just write for Google all the time either. Sometimes those posts work out and sometimes they don’t still, but I think it’s so important. You don’t wanna lose your passion for it. Cause if that happens then you’ll just dread it.
[00:36:00] We don’t want
Megan Porta: that. Is there anything else you feel like we should mention on this topic before we start saying goodbye?
Eric Samuelson: Let’s see. It’s okay to just explore different things here, and even if it finds out like, Oh, it doesn’t work, you can always no-index the posts If it finds out you don’t work, this whole thing doesn’t work, it’s not permanent. That’s the thing with blogs, we’re not writing anything in stone. Anything can be deleted, reworked. Recently, a topic I’ve reworked is, I didn’t really know it was a topic is I had a couple of posts that I found out I was looking through Google Search Console, which I recommend using that free tool too to see what kind of words you’re gonna be ranking for, like what people are actually coming for. I wrote a post about how long popcorn lasts, so I was doing a popcorn series, so talking about that and I then noticed, I’m getting some traffic to this post here, but it’s all coming from people who are looking for vacuum ceiling popcorn. I had briefly mentioned the vacuum ceiling within the post itself. So I took that post and now it’s actually about, I rewrote it, so it’s actually focused on vacuum ceiling popcorn. So it’s if, is it a good idea to do that if you’re just wanna say popcorn going bad, like you popcorn kernels? Or I tested out what would happen if I pop some popcorn, sit it in a bag for a week and then open the bag up and taste it. Would it be good? So I found different things. Another post at the same thing it was getting, it was the vacuum ceiling. Cause I was, it was the sous vide recipe, but I was getting the traffic from just people looking for a vacuum seal burger.
Megan Porta: Oh, interesting. So a lot of experimentation really. A lot of just Okay, this is working. Start here and then just see how it goes and just experiment as you go.
Eric Samuelson: Part of your job as a food blogger should be, you’re also a scientist. You’re experimenting.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, that’s a great way to put it. You are doing experiments, but you’re also a food blogger. Don’t lose your focus on food, obviously, and [00:38:00] get in the weeds too much.
Eric Samuelson: But now I just added another job to food blogging. So now we have photographers, writers, and now scientists.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Thanks Eric. You just give us no… No, this is a valuable new job that not a lot of people think about. It took me 10 and a half years to figure out that this was really valuable and since I’ve figured this out and you helped me get there, Eric, by the way, my blog traffic has taken off. I’ve been around forever. So that’s saying a lot. So thank you for all of your values. This was amazing, Eric. It was such a pleasure to learn from you today and to chat with you and just thank you for being here.
Eric Samuelson: My pleasure. I love talking with you.
Megan Porta: Yes, same. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?
Eric Samuelson: I’m gonna go with the kind of simple, and, maybe corny sometimes, but it’s to never give up philosophy. Just never give up. To keep trying, if you’re struggling with your blog. I had a lot of time where I felt like it was never gonna work or I even had people tell me that Oh, you can’t do this. You can’t make enough business here. Just having doubts about it here. It’s all different life situations. Like you can’t compare yourself to another person. It’s best to compare yourself to yourself and try to improve on yourself instead of looking at others and their journeys and seeing how they go. You can be inspired by people’s journeys, but if someone made Mediavine in one year and I’ve been doing it for three years and I haven’t, again, that kind of boat, I still say, just keep trying at it, and keep finding out what works. The trial and error thing. You may find that you wrote on one topic and Google said, I don’t wanna rank for you for some reason, and other topics would work out. So just a matter of keep trying this. If this is something you really wanna do and really passionate about wanting to do and make into, whatever’s just extra money or you want to make it a career, then just just keep at it here and keep finding ways to try new things and to motivate. Be that scientist that experiments around with different things.
Megan Porta: I think that’s the theme of your journey, Eric, is just never giving up and just keep going. Keep working with what you have. So I love that you ended that way. We will put together a show notes page for you, Eric. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/eatlikenoone. Tell everyone where they can find you, Eric, online, social media, and also mention your podcast that’s coming.
Eric Samuelson: So you can find me at eatlikenoone.com. On Instagram, it’s Eat Like No One Else. Facebook, I’m not really doing much right now, so really the best way Instagram is to reach me there. Yes, as Megan mentioned, I have a podcast that’s getting ready to launch very soon. Maybe you’ll be launched by the time this podcast is on air. We’re looking for an early August launch for it. But it’s called Eat Shop Waste Not. In this podcast, I’m going to be basically reading my blog posts and putting ’em into an audio kind of format. So something that’s really super easy and approachable. Then adding little tidbits at the end. Little like 30, 36 seconds extra content that’s more focused on grocery shopping and helping people not to waste their money and waste of food. So excited about getting that going. I’ll also have a chance to talk and some guests will have some special interviews.
Megan Porta: I’m super excited for your podcast. I cannot wait. I’m gonna be a listener. I’ll listen to every episode. So yeah, that’s gonna be a fun journey for you. Just thank you for being here, Eric. It was such a pleasure. And thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.
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