In episode 428, Ty Kilgore teaches us the 5 biggest mistakes food bloggers make in their SEO journey.
We cover information on how bloggers copy and model the wrong examples from other bloggers, how domain authority is important in your strategy, be sure to write for the end user with your unique point of view front and center and how to leverage internal and external links.
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Bio Ty Kilgore has been geeking out on SEO and Digital Marketing for over 14 years. He loves getting results and has successfully increased rankings for over 150 major sites in over 40 industries.
He founded Everything Digital Marketing in order to share his passion and to clearly instruct, guide, and help influencers overcome the frustrations related to SEO and Digital Marketing.
He’s been married for 12 years with 3 awesome children and is enjoying life with them in Austin, Texas.
- 3 buckets of SEO: Technical, Relevancy, and Authority.
- Generic SEO advice can be valuable but basic.
- Modeling and copying are mistakes in an SEO strategy.
- Every keyword has a strategy.
- Make a holistic SEO plan for your blog.
- The first paragraph in a recipe post tends to be adjective throw up.
- You have to be prepared to coach your audience: did they land on the right page, what emotional connection can you help them have – it’s the POV paragraph.
- Your reviews are a hook to your post so share them!
- You cannot write a post like it’s a chapter in your book. The audience wants to see things from their point of view.
- Write the post to your reader. When someone reads your first sentences, make them want to read what’s next. Did their question get answered so they want more?
- Write to a 10-year-old reader.
- Is your post skimmable? Can they easily find the information they came for?
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EBT428 – Ty Kilgore
Intro: Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
We are all always looking for new spins, new takes, new opinions on the topic of SEO, am I right? In this episode, Ty Kilgore from Everything Digital Marketing joins me and he shares the five biggest mistakes he feels food bloggers make in their SEO journeys. He talks through some really great tips and topics. As you may know, I’ve been a food blogger for approximately a million years and some of these things I was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve never thought of this. I wrote crazy notes while he was talking. So I think you’re going to find a lot of value in this episode as well. It is episode number 428, and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Hello, my favorite people. Let’s chat quickly about some ways Eat Blog Talk can help you ditch the overwhelm, manage your time, feel connected, and prioritize that seemingly never ending stream of tasks, platforms, and algorithm changes we’re faced with.
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If you are ready to learn, grow, and build relationships in person, join me and a handful of your fellow food bloggers at an upcoming Eat Blog Talk retreat. This is a great opportunity to convene in an intimate setting to learn, collaborate, and connect. These retreats involve mastermind style peer to peer collaboration and are incredibly powerful and fun experiences. Go to EatBlogTalk.com/retreat. To get information about all Eat Blog Talk services, go to eatblogtalk.com/services, eatblogtalk.com/services. Now back to the episode.
Megan Porta: Ty Kilgore has been geeking out on SEO and digital marketing for over 14 years. He loves getting results and has successfully increased rankings for over 150 major sites in over 40 industries. He founded Everything Digital Marketing in order to share his passion and to clearly instruct, guide, and help influencers overcome the frustrations related to SEO and digital marketing. He has been married for 12 years with three awesome kids, and he is enjoying life with them in Austin, Texas. Hello, Ty. Thank you for being on Eat Blog Talk. How are you today?
Ty Kilgore: I’m doing fantastic. How are you?
Megan Porta: Good. So great to finally meet you. I feel like I’ve heard so much about you, so welcome. It’s so good to have you here. We’re going to talk about your five biggest mistakes for food bloggers when it comes to SEO, but first we want to know if you have a fun fact to share with us.
Ty Kilgore: A fun fact. So I enjoy working out actually. So I work out about six days a week and Cammy and I, my wife, enjoy that aspect. That’s something that dictates a lot of our life as much as food and work does. So it’s fun.
Megan Porta: Amazing. What’s your favorite form of workout?
Ty Kilgore: So fun fact, Cammy is a Body Pump, Les Mills body pump instructor. So if you’ve never heard of that before, it’s a full body workout, about a 50 minute, 60 minute routine, and they do different, what they call releases. That is typically three days a week. So we typically do that. So that’s one of our go-tos right now.
Megan Porta: Does it involve weights and cardio?
Ty Kilgore: Yes. I call it death by reps. So you’re doing squats, but you’re doing five minutes of squats and no breaks type situation. Then you switch to chest and then back and then triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, and then abs. Then you finish with a cool down. So anyway, if you’ve never done it, I absolutely recommend it. Typically like local YMCA’s and other places have some form of this. If it’s not Les Mills, it’s a similar competitor of that. Yeah, it’s a fun class. We really enjoy it so it’s really helped us.
Megan Porta: I love that. That’s right up my alley. I love working out too. I just started a new program. So I do Beachbody on demand. I’m sure you’ve heard of that.
Ty Kilgore: Yes, we’ve done that for years.
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah. All the different programs on there. There’s a new one that I just started a few weeks ago and when you said death by reps, that’s the first thing that came to mind. Because, oh my gosh, this program, it’s endless reps. The first time I had a leg day, I couldn’t walk for three days. My kids were making fun of me. Mom, what happened? I literally had to walk on my tiptoes around my house for that whole time. So it’s painful, but wonderful, strange, painful, right?
Ty Kilgore: Yes. You hate it, you love to hate it.
Megan Porta: Yes, exactly. Awesome to learn that about you. Thank you for sharing that. Now let’s get into your mistakes. So five big mistakes that you feel food bloggers make when they’re doing SEO. Why don’t you talk about your first one?
Ty Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that I see again and again is this concept of modeling and copying that happens inside the food blogging world. A lot of strategies that are formulated come to be formulated by Facebook comments inside Facebook groups. I get a lot of questions via email and the people that I work with, what is your opinion on this? Or what is your opinion on that? So what happens is that it’s very much this person is doing it this way, so I’m going to follow and do it similarly. Because this person in my eyes is successful, right? One of the things I wanted to bring up is that SEO is a lot like a body and working out. If you have somebody who’s worked out their entire life or for 10 plus years, their regimen is going to be very different than somebody who’s just starting to go to the gym for the very first time ever. Oftentimes there is some generic SEO advice that you need to have. Such as, yes, you should have an SEO title filled out in your plugin that you choose to use. But that’s a very basic understanding of it. When it comes to, Hey, somebody put this information inside of Facebook and they said they saw a positive result of doing it, then they themselves think, okay, that’s what I need to do where it could be very different for you. SEO is a lot different. Your website is at a different place than that website is. So the thing that worked for them is not necessarily going to mean that it will work for you. I see this a lot. So this whole concept of modeling is that, so and so writes their introductory paragraph this way, so I’m going to write it this way. So and so writes their next paragraph this way, so I’m going to write it this way. So a lot of times I get these questions, Hey, I’ve learned, or I’ve heard that you should do this. Is this true? What I would like to share with you is that SEO is really broken down into three main buckets. You have the technical, you have the, what I call relevancy or what’s on the page, and then you have the authority. Let’s say I have a website and I have a post about how to make crepes. Megan, you have a website and a post about how to make crepes and we write it very similarly. So the search engines looked at that and they say, okay they’re very similar types of content. I guess we’ll just give the nod to whoever has the highest authority. This is where a lot of bloggers, especially if you’re not sitting at a high spot for authority, currently lose because they make it an authority race. What I try to help bloggers realize is that in order for you to be in the top five, in order for you to be in the top three, you have to provide a unique set of circumstances, any unique value thats different. You can’t just model what somebody else has, because then you’re basically going to be in a situation where it’s an authority race. If you’re on the losing end of that, to be honest, no matter where you are in your blogging life, there’s always going to be somebody that has higher authority. So if you constantly model, and you create the same type of thing that everybody else is making, then you’re basically telling Google, go ahead and rank this person ahead of me. Even though I’m doing the same thing they are, right? It’s a great strategy to always be number two, or always be number three.
So modeling and copying, for me, really comes down to, yes, you can take the outline that you love. Because most bloggers at this point, if you I’ve been blogging for more than, let’s say a year, you have some type of template that you created where this is what I do for my first paragraph. This is what I do for my next one. This is how I put the ingredients together. This is how I put my process information in there. This is how I answer the questions after the post or after I’ve made it. So most people have some form of template. So what I like to do is take that template and say, Hey, I like this part, but I want you to tweak it. I want this portion to be written a little differently and I want you to completely delete that section. Because as I’ve read a ton and a ton of blogs over the course of doing this I’ve learned that Google likes things a certain way, but you can’t just keep doing what everybody else is doing. Or formulating your opinion based on Facebook comments and Facebook suggestions on what your strategy needs to be. You need to look at your site from a holistic standpoint and say, here’s where I currently am at. What am I going to need to do to get me to the next level? What am I going to need to do to get me to the next keyword? In order for that to happen, you have to look, okay what’s already there? And what is currently being ranked ahead of me. If I was Google, why are those people ranking ahead of me? Is it an authority issue? Is it a relevancy issue? Is it a technical issue? Then diagnosing that you can then approach it and say, okay, I’m lacking relevance. My relevancy is bad because yes, I’m explaining how to make a crepe, but I’m not doing it in a unique way that’s different from what’s already there. So then I’m losing because of authority. So that’s just an example. So my first number one mistake that I think people make is they model and they copy what everybody else is doing online. Then expecting that’s a winning strategy for them, right?
Megan Porta: Not taking into account the other factors and not doing their research. I feel like some of those Facebook groups can be detrimental for that reason, right? You just go in and you’re like, Oh X blogger said that I need to do this. Then that could be a massive fail because like you said, you’re not the same blogger as the other one.
Ty Kilgore: Exactly. I think it’s similar to diet and exercise, right? Everybody needs a different thing. If somebody is training for a marathon, that’s going to look very different from somebody that’s going to be trying to improve muscle mass in the gym, right? Or someone that’s trying to lose weight, that’s going to look very different than someone who’s trying to increase athletic performance. Those are very different regiments and very different goals attached. Every blog post has a strategy and every keyword has a strategy.
So many times I get questions like, Hey, I saw that Google came out and said I need to resize my images, right? So I need to go out and redo that. I spent four hours resizing all my images. I was like, okay in 2000, in 23 with hosting and plugins and themes and the way things are built now, is that really the top priority for you? Probably not. There are probably four or five or maybe even 40 things that I would do ahead of that because your plugins are taking care of that. Your theme is already built to resize those for you. That’s not what’s bringing you down. I understand the black box mentality that is SEO and the unknown that is there and this is what I need to do. But I think people need to take that next step where it says, okay, I know I want to lose weight. So how would I do that? I need to make sure that I take care of the things in the kitchen and I need to make sure I take care of things while I’m working out. Not just those, but what do I do for each, right? On Monday, what do I eat? On Monday, what’s my workout? Planning it out that way and sticking to that plan instead of saying, Oh, I read on Facebook, this is what I’m supposed to do. So I’m going to spend the next week doing that. Then next week I read on this and then I’m going to spend the next week doing that. So instead of having a direction, instead I compare it to having a sail and being blown just the way the wind blows as compared to having a motor and going exactly where you want to go.
Megan Porta: So how do you recommend people figure out what is right and when?
Ty Kilgore: So when it comes to SEO, majority of the time, people are underutilizing their internal ability to change what’s on the page. So when you write your content, you write it in a way, and this actually leads me to my second point. Most people when they write an introductory paragraph, they write it with what I call the adjective throw up. So they tell me about the amazing thing. Let’s go with the crepe example. So if you tell me that your crepes are amazing, you’re going to say these amazing crepes are, they taste, whatever the adjective that you want to use. Put five of them in a row. So think of it from this perspective. If I’m going to Google and I’m putting in how to make crepes, and I land on a page, and you tell me what a crepe is, it’s like having a conversation with a neighbor across the street that you’ve known for five years. You walk up to them, and you knock on their door, and they say, oh, hey, Megan, what’s up? You go, Hey, my name is Megan Porta. I wanted to introduce myself. Bill looks at you like, I know who you are. Thanks so much for that weird conversation. It’s the same type of thing. When I had gone to Google and I said, this is what I want and then I landed on your page, you don’t need to reassure me that’s what I want, right?
So let me explain this. One thing that I think people don’t realize is that, instead of telling me what your crepes taste you need to answer questions for me. Have I landed on the right place? So you have to tell me that you know how to make crepes without telling me you know how to make crepes. So let me give you an example. If I came to you. And I said, Megan, I’m really good at SEO. I am strategic and I am creative and I have processes. You don’t know me, you have no idea who I am, which is the majority of the time when people come from Google, they have no idea who you are. 80% of the people that land on your site or what Google classifies as new visitors. Meaning that they’ve never landed on your website before, they have no idea who you are. So a lot of bloggers write their blog posts like it’s a chapter in a book. But not realizing that when people land on their website, they land on one post and typically they leave your site. They’re not clicking around four or five links. They’re not doing that process. Returning visitors is a very different journey. But for 80% of the people that come to your website, one post is all you get. Majority of the time it’s going to be anywhere between 50 seconds and a minute and a half. That’s how long they’re going to stay, but they came for information. So you have to answer that information. So really what they’re deciding is, did I land in the right place? Is this blogger going to help me make what I came to make and what emotional connection can I have with this person?
So let me explain that for a second. Food is one of the most emotionally driven, charged items that are out there, either negatively or positively. So when you think about what somebody is thinking about, first off, if I’m Googling how to make crepes, there’s a high probability that I don’t know how to make it or I wouldn’t be Googling it. So you almost become a cheerleader. You become a coach. So in the first three sentences, you have to answer the question, did I land on the first page without telling me that you’re the best crepe cook, chef out there and I’ll talk about how to do that here in a second. The second thing is what emotional connection can you help me have with who I am putting this in front of?
If I have never made crepes before, my worry is that I’m going to mess it up. When I put it in front of the people who I care about, my relationship with them will be positively or negatively affected by the outcome of my labor of love of making these crepes. So you have to assure me that the emotional connection I’m looking for, you can help me achieve. So I call this the point of view paragraph. The introductory paragraph is the point of view paragraph. It’s something that competitors cannot replicate. If you have a unique point of view of why your crepe recipe is so amazing, I have a unique point of view of why my crepe recipe is so amazing. They’re going to be different. It’s literally the only thing that might be different between our two recipes. We could actually have the exact same thing, but share it differently and be ranked differently according to Google. So the questions that I have people answer is, okay, if I tell you I’m great, that’s going to get me a certain amount of credibility in your eyes.
If you have five people who you trust come and tell you that I’m good, then all of a sudden that level of credibility goes through the roof, right? Think of it this way. If you have a post that’s been around for a while and you have reviews, and you post a review in the first paragraph or right underneath that paragraph about what somebody said, about that particular recipe, orif you say this blog post has been made 250,000 times in the last 30 days, and now you can understand as you read more, you’ll understand why you should make it as well. It’s called a hook. You want to have people continuously read. Because you want people to, with all of the ads that are popping up every three seconds, you want people to actually stay on your content. You want people to read it in a way that resonates with them.
Instead of writing adjectives about how your crepes are fluffy and light and all of this stuff, you instead say, this crepe recipe When you put it in front of the people you love is going to make you seem like a superhero. That’s a horrible example. But the opening paragraph has to be written in such a way that when people read it, they naturally want to read the next sentence.
So many times you’re on social media and you’ll be scrolling and then you’ll read something and you’ll read the whole thing because it’s interesting, it’s engaging, right? People make decisions subconsciously within the first five seconds whether or not they’re going to continue to read or if they’re going to start scrolling. That’s just the way Pinterest and social media has trained us to be. So you have to make people stop scrolling. You have to write content in a way that makes people want to naturally read it. The other example I love to give here is I don’t care if you’re an Apple person or a Microsoft person. Each company has a unique point of view. When the iPhone 11 came out, Apple, showed a commercial of basically showing the back of the phone with a whole bunch of music, it had three cameras and nobody knew what those three cameras did, but everybody wanted it because apple had established a point of view that their followers said, Oh, my gosh, yes, I want that new camera. I want that new phone. They couldn’t tell you why they need three cameras. They just know that they wanted it.
Whereas Microsoft has a point of view where, in their unique example they’ll give is they’ll have a MacBook Pro and a Microsoft Surface on a commercial. They’ll have somebody there talking about the differences between the technical specs, like with the surface, you can touch it. With the MacBook pro you can’t touch the screen. It has a longer battery life and it’s half as much. So they highlight features of the product, whereas Apple will just show you what the color is. And they’re sold out of it. Why is that the case? So when you look at your blog post, every blog post cannot be written like it’s a chapter in a book. So don’t start off with a sentence. Our family vacation plans got thrown for a loop today, because nobody is really interested in that. What they care about is how they’re going to look. So writing it from the perspective of I’m going to help this person, be a biggest cheerleader. I’m going to help them know that my recipe is going to guide them to look good in the eyes of the people they love and I’m going to help them realize that they shouldn’t go anywhere else to make this recipe. They should stay right here. There’s people that do a really good job of this online. If I had a longer time, I’d go through some of these examples and explain why that works. So there’s people out there who, when they write the paragraph, you’re like, yeah, that’s good. There’s other people who throw up and you skim. It’s just a natural way to do it. So I think writing a unique point of view paragraph is key. Then here’s what I would always say. If somebody came to your site and only read one blog post and at the end of writing it, I asked them what’s their unique point of view, what’s their unique niche about how it is. Some people are technicians in the kitchen. I’ve tried this recipe 38 different times and I’ve made 37 mistakes, but I finally perfected this recipe so you don’t have to struggle as I did. It’s a line like that. Absolutely. I don’t want to struggle like you did. I want to make it right the first time. So many times people, when they write their introductory paragraph, they don’t spend the time necessary to write it right. Instead, they just throw up and they’re like, it doesn’t rank. Then they ask themselves, why? Nobody wants to read it because it’s not written in a way that even you want to read it and you wrote the thing, right?
Megan Porta: They gave up after five seconds. Five seconds isn’t very much time that you have to really capture someone within that time frame. Then are you talking about the couple of sentences that we typically put before our hero image or after?
Ty Kilgore: So both have to have the same effect. Typically I call that a description right before, like a meta description almost like you’re writing to explain the post. Again, think about it. If I’ve already landed on your site from Google, I already know what I’m going to do. That’s what the search result was for. So when I land on your site, it’s almost like the conversation is already at the next phase. You need to guide me on that. So what I typically say is that meta description needs to be written, where you almost want to leave it like a cliffhanger. Where at the end of shows, they always do this at the end of episodes to get you to go to the next episode, because you want to know the answer to whatever they’ve led up to for however long you’ve been watching it. It’s the same kind of concept. It’s horrible. I’m horrible to watch TV with, because every commercial I watch, I’m analyzing. I’m like, they didn’t hit the target demographic on that. Who is their persona? They were absolutely out of line there. I can’t watch anything because my marketing brain goes on and I’m like, that’s not right. They could have done this. Oh my gosh. I can’t watch TV with you. You’re the worst. But essentially that introductory paragraph, that meta description needs to be written like a hook. Then you typically have your featured image. Then underneath that, typically a lot of bloggers will put like why you’ll love this recipe. So from there people will do different things. That’s where you have to have that unique point of view paragraph. If I were to ask you, why is your recipe better than anybody else’s online and if you can’t sincerely and concisely answer that question, then neither can your readers. So if your readers can’t answer that question after reading three sentences, then they’re probably not going to become returning visitors. I was working with a blogger and they said, I got a comment the other day. It was hey, I noticed that you don’t have a pot roast recipe on your site. They’re like there’s probably a billion other pot roast recipes. Why do you want mine? The comment that came back was perfect. It says, I know that there’s other recipes out there, but I want to know if you’ve done it first, because I’ve come to expect a certain standard that I only get from you. If I can’t get it from you, then I’ll go find it from somebody else. I honestly started like slow clapping. If dedicated readers who know your dog’s name can’t tell what your unique point of view is, then you’re being drowned out by the masses. There are too many bloggers in 2023 at this point. You have to have something unique. You have to have a unique point of view. I don’t care if it’s the same chocolate chip cookie recipe that everybody else has. Your point of view is what makes you different. If you can’t pull that out, if I can’t pull that out of you, you’re going to be a race to authority, which is an ending race and you won’t rank. So you have to be unique in how you describe what you are describing. So anyways, there’s more to that, but I gotta keep going.
Megan Porta: Yeah. No, that’s good. So you’re saying I should go back through all of my content and get rid of all of those amazing words. I am so guilty of that. This is amazing. It’s so delicious. It’s so good. It’s the best.
Ty Kilgore: When you read those from other people, the immediate thought that you have is yeah, yeah, I’m sure it is. It’s subconscious. It’s not being rude. We’re being advertised everywhere. So if I came to you, I’d say, I am the greatest person ever. You’re like, okay, dude, pump the brakes. A little high on yourself. But if you had 25 people comment separately to you about my ability. Very different concepts, right? Very different feeling, very different way about how you would view me. That’s the kind of feeling you want your readers to have. So when you write those sentences, you want to write them in a way where after you read them, A, I want to read more. B, I feel like I’ve made my right choice by clicking on your page because that’s what I’m deciding about. I’m deciding on whether or not I’m going to hit the back button and go back to the search results and hit somebody else. Because I didn’t get what I was looking for. I have a question. Did you answer my question? Now I have a question. Now you want me to go to your other post? Now you want me to listen to you talk about how amazing you are? Now you want me to learn about your family vacation? Wait, no, that’s not what I care about. I care about what I care about. So write it to the reader so that you answer their concern. So put yourself back in the beginning shoes. If you were making this for the first time. One of the things I like to share, find somebody that’s a fifth grader, 10, 11 years old, put all the ingredients to your recipe in front of them and pop open your laptop on your blog post. Sit back with a notepad and paper and say, make this dessert or make this recipe. If they can make it, Without turning around and asking you one question, then you wrote your blog post right. But if they have to sit back and say wait, how do you do this? How do you do this? bloggers who’ve been blogging for more than six months know that the people online and the comments that they leave on your recipes, they are priceless. Those comments are You’re like, you gotta be kidding me, right? You can’t be serious with this question. But yes, that’s who you’re writing to. So oftentimes people write at too high of a level. They write where they flex their literary prowess. Where you need to write to a 10 year old level. So think about fifth graders. If the fifth grader can understand it, then you wrote it right. If they need to ask you questions, you need to include that in your information. The outline, in the way you write it, the format also matters. Because people are viewing this on a mobile device. Is it easily skimmable? Can people get the gist of the information very quickly? Can they then select what information they want to read more about? Because that’s how people consume information. They get the gist, and then they decide where they want to go next. So as a content writer, you have to write in that style. You have to help people realize, yes, this is where you should be. This is what you should read. This is the next step. If you want to learn more information about what type of flour to make or how to separate eggs or what type of butter is important in this recipe, go check out my evergreen content over here about butter. But if not, keep going. Whereas most people are like, no, check out these 16 recipes. Wait, I came here for this recipe. I don’t want to check out those 16 recipes. I want to check out this one. Give me what I want. So when Google looks at who should rank where, they’re looking at, did people find the information they want? If people find it, they reward you. But if you wrote it in a way where it’s a chapter in a book, then it’s typically not going to hit. People are going to go straight to the recipe.
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During each four month stretch, I published 60 blog posts, all of which were run through the RankIQ keyword research tool and optimizer. Most were pieces of non-recipe content, so they did not require recipe development, cooking, or photography. My blog traffic is currently up 32% year over year, when comparing January 1st, 2023 through the present to the same period in 2022. Go to RankIQ.com to check it out for yourself and to free up time in your business, just like I did. Now back to the episode.
Megan Porta: Would you mind giving a quick example. You said the meta description would be like a hook. Can you give an example of what that would be?
Ty Kilgore: Yeah, absolutely. So here’s a sentence, okay? These homemade crepes are ultra thin and delicate with the most buttery crisp edges. Easy to make with just a blender and regular skillet. They’re ready for your choice of sweet or savory fillings and toppings. No special pan required for these French style pancakes. Best part of all, you only need eight basic ingredients. Have you ever made these before? Though it might seem complicated, making restaurant quality crepes at home isn’t very difficult. Today I’m walking you through the entire process, including crucial success tips, the best eight ingredients to use, why I use a blender and the multitude of filling ideas.
Okay, so I just read you an example of one that I thought did a good job. Now, there’s things that I would pick apart here, but if you think about what I just read, what is the point of view this person is trying to highlight? This person is talking to somebody as if they’ve never made it before, right? Though they had adjectives in there, there was more about the method in which you need to use to make this. No special pans required, you only need eight ingredients. They’re ready for your choice of sweet or savory fillings or toppings. Has it seemed complicated to you in the past? Making restaurant quality crepes at home isn’t very difficult. Again, that cheerleader, mentor, coach, personal trainer feeling. Yes, it has seemed complicated, right? If you go to Google on how to make crepes and you’ve made it before and you’re going back to Google, you’re probably worried that you’re going to mess it up again. Today I’m going to walk you through the entire process, including crucial success tips, the best ingredients to use, why to use a blender and the multitude of filling ideas. Again, is this the best one out there? No, but is it better than probably 98% of the people out there? Yes. Because it talks to them at a different point of the journey. Most people are trying to sell something that people have already bought when they write their introductory paragraph. What I mean by that is let’s say I want to go buy a Ford truck. I live in Austin, Texas. Everybody drives trucks here. So let’s say I want to go buy a Ford truck. I walk into that Ford dealership and I say, salesman, I want to buy one of your F 150 King ranches. I want it in blue or gray. What are your options that you have available? They come to me and the first words out of their mouth is, you definitely should buy a truck. Trucks are great. They hit me with all of these adjectives. They’re durable, they’re safe, they’re economical. I’m like looking at this person, I’m like, yes, that’s why I told you I’m going to buy a truck. That’s what bloggers are doing. So let me just, for situational purposes, let me read you another one here. So here is the one further down on the search result for how to make crepes. If I can get this to load real quick. Again, I read this all the time and it’s Oh my goodness, there’s no, there’s reasons why people don’t read this. So I guess, there’s been this swing when it comes to SEO. 10 years ago, people wrote to the person and then, SEO became involved and everyone’s got to put keywords in. So people became this robotic keyword stuffing society of saying, this is how you do SEO. I’ve trained so many content writers over the years and Semantic Search teaches us that Google can understand what you’re writing about. You still need to write to the user. Let’s find a middle ground here where we can include keywords in the right areas that Google’s asked us to include, but not change a sentence around just so that we can put the keyword in there. So again, homemade French crepes, here’s the example I loaded. It Is so much fun and surprisingly easy to make using a simple blender batter and nonstick skillet. They can go sweet or savory, depending on your preference. So there’s an example of a meta description, right? I already know I want crepes. What I’m deciding on is I should make your crepe. So how are you going to assure me that your crepes, when I make them, are going to come out the way that you made them? Very different sentences than if you’re just telling me how savory and sweet they can be. Yeah, I get the basic understanding of crepes. What I’m trying to do is not mess it up. So if you started out with some type of social proof or some type of testimonial. Or I’m going to guide you every step of the way so that your crepes turn out perfect the very first time you make them. An introductory sentence like that eases me. It makes me want to continue to read. So enough about that. I can go on for days.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I was just going to say one thing, your, what you said earlier about the crucial success tips. I love that because people might not know that there’s a crucial success tip involved. So that kind of hooks them and pulls them into reading more, I would think.
Ty Kilgore: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Okay. What’s your next mistake?
Ty Kilgore: Yeah, sure. So the next thing that I find a lot is, we’ll stick with the crepe example. Let’s say you’re trying to optimize for a crepe recipe. So this is what people will do. I’ve summarized this by optimizing the wrong way with the wrong keyword. So what I mean by this is a crepe recipe, let’s just say I’ll make up a number. I don’t know how many global monthly searches it gets, but I’m going to say it’s over 200,000. Okay. Every blogger has a different level of keyword that they’re able to rank for based on where their authority is. So when you create a recipe, most people are not doing the research they need to find out what level of keyword they should target out of the gate. So what they do is they say, okay, they call their URL crepe recipe, which is the head term, the very top term, and then they’ll call their post title crepe Recipe. They’ll put H2s with crepe Recipe. They’ll put the recipe name, crepe Recipe. They’ll put the SEO title, crepe Recipe. And then they’ll sit back in three months and not receive any SEO traffic to that site, to that post, and then wonder why their SEO isn’t working. Whereas if you were to go into a crepe recipe situation, and figure out, okay, here’s some keywords that would make sense for me at my level. So I’m a big sports person. So one of the things I like to share is a sports analogy here. But let’s just say, the word crepes, I just looked it up, gets 263,000. But the crepe recipe gets 35,000. Simply crepes get 8,000. French crepe recipe gets 4,500. Best crepe recipe gets 3,300 and easy crepes get 1,700. So maybe you’re a 1,700 level blogger, but you’re optimized for the 263,000 keywords. So what I mean by this is that there are so many places. Once your URL is set, it’s pretty set. But other than that, most of the stuff on your page can and should change based on the level of keyword you’re trying to get to next. Because when you think about keywords like levels, I like to think of it like, in athletics, if you are a baseball player and you are graduating high school or college and you get drafted by a major league team. You don’t immediately go to the majors. You go to their farm system. Most people have gone to a minor league baseball game where you have what’s called single A, double A, and triple A. So when you first get drafted, you go to that single A team and then you work your way up, you show that you have ability, and then you graduate to the double A, and then the triple A. Then when a major league team needs somebody, they go to their farm system and pull them up. So many people, even when you’re in the major leagues, you have all stars. So I compare this to keyword research. So many people want the all star keyword, but they themselves are a single A baseball player. So they’re optimized incorrectly based on the value or the domain authority that their page and site has. They would see better success if they were optimized at their level and then level up for the next term. So how to do that is a little bit different for every URL and every post, but there are some common things that Google has said. Through my doing this for a little bit, I’ve seen if we manipulate this, we can manipulate that ranking. So some people like to let Google decide Hey, here’s my blog posts. Tell me Google what I’m relevant for. I don’t really subscribe to that strategy. I’m more of an aggressive SEO. Meaning I call it keyword targeting. If you want to rank for French crepes, great. Let’s go rank for French crepes. Let me point out and show what this term can do when placed in the right areas. So you have, your internal linking structure, you have the actual words on the page, you have various, what I call levers, that we can manipulate and change to get that keyword to be more prominent. So when I look at optimizing the wrong way of the wrong keywords, what I’m seeing is that everybody was optimizing for the head term and then when they get zero SEO success, they wonder why SEO doesn’t work.
Megan Porta: So how do you recommend going around that? I imagine you’re talking about just covering a range of keywords or just focusing on where you’re at.
Ty Kilgore: So determining what level you’re at is a process. So I have a process where I look at your Google search console and I pull up the last 12 months of information. I look at the queries that you’re currently getting SEO traffic for. Then I pull that keyword research volume and a couple of different tools. So whether it be SEMrush, Ahrefs, Keywords Everywhere, Keysearch whatever tool you’re currently subscribed to. I look at those volumes and I say, okay, these are the top terms that are bringing in SEO traffic. Here’s the volumes associated with those terms. So I get an average. Then what I do from that average is I take 5, 000 below and 5, 000 above, and I say, that’s my sweet spot for terms that I should be targeting. So if that average is 10,000 to 20,000, then that’s where I’m at. But does that mean I can’t target a term of 40,000 global monthly searches? Of course not. Yes, you can. It just might be a little harder for you because your site’s not quite there yet. That range is important. So as I’m determining what keywords to target in my outline and what keywords to manipulate and put into the key areas on the site, I’m looking at that range and then I’m placing them where I think they’ll have the best impact. Because most people understand this concept. If you change an SEO title, that has a pretty significant SEO weight attached to it. Compared to if you were to change an alt text in an image of one of 20 images you have on that blog post. That’s not going to have as much SEO impact as changing the SEO title. So there’s a range that you can operate within. I like to think of each of these ranges and the things that you can do on a site. Like chess pieces, if you ever played chess. So your queen can do a lot, but your pawn also can do things. But used together, they have a very good strategic ability if they’re used right. There’s more to that as well, but basically utilizing the right keywords in the right places to help your site lift to the keyword that you’re trying to obtain and target the keyword that you’re trying to go after in the right way. Not just blanketly put one keyword everywhere and think that’s going to work. It’s not. If you have a super high authority, then the rules are different. Then yeah, you can do that and get away with it and publish and just get SEO traffic. But for the 98 other percent of the world, that doesn’t work. That’s where I would say remember my next point. My most common mistake that I see is I can see what you were trying to optimize for, and I can see why you don’t get SEO traffic for it. You’re trying to rank for chili when you can’t rank for chili yet.
Megan Porta: So a little strategy is involved for most food bloggers, I would say. Then what do you think about those kinds of anomalies? Posts that do really well that I think we all have them where it’s I don’t know why that did so well, but it’s doing great. Why does that happen, do you think?
Ty Kilgore: So two different factors. Typically the fact that oftentimes you get a backlink that you didn’t know about. Most people aren’t checking backlinks when it comes to their site. So you might get a pretty important backlink they didn’t even know you got, that can be helpful. There’s a variety of factors. I’m just trying to highlight some that I’ve seen. Now, again, this is where a lot of people get frustrated, but also why I love SEO is that there’s a lot of answers. But so many people don’t want to invest that time because you have so many other things that you’re thinking about when it comes to your business. You have so many other things that you were, I’m thinking about this. I’m thinking about that. So becoming an SEO expert wasn’t something that you’re like, I need to do this. You don’t have a passion for it. I get it. I’m an entrepreneur myself. I understand. I don’t love accounting, but I have to do the books. I don’t want to know all the tax code. I want to hire somebody for that. I don’t want to do that myself, as food bloggers and entrepreneurs always tell everyone I’ve talked to, you guys are crazy. I came from the corporate world. I had 15 people that each specialized in different areas. I had two email people, two designers, two developers, three copywriters. All of these people specialized in their craft. As entrepreneurs, we wear all those hats. They’re like, yeah, I got to do this. I got to do this. So you want to do it enough so that it works. But when you start getting into, why didn’t it work, that’s where you’re like, I don’t have that time to devote to that. So I would say the biggest to answer your question, the biggest thing is backlinks. Typically that’s what I find. You’ve got a backlink you didn’t know about. I hear all the time, I guess I’m this person. I didn’t want to be this person, but Google says I’m this person. So now I’m this person.
Megan Porta: Someone else thought you were that person apparent
Ty Kilgore: I’m the lemon butter chicken person. I didn’t want to be a lemon butter chicken person, but that’s the only thing that ranks.
Megan Porta: I’m the Candied Lemon Slices person and I did not try to be.
Ty Kilgore: See? Exactly. So most people, when you look at the SEO traffic they’re getting to their site, it’s between anywhere from five or fewer to 15 blog posts that bring in 85 to 90 percent of the SEO traffic. So it’s a very unhealthy SEO position to be in because if something happens to one of those blog posts, you feel an impact. So that means that the other 85 to 90% of traffic or blog posts on your site do not receive SEO traffic. It can’t just be spaghetti against the wall or dartboard luck. There’s got to be a reason why those 15 rank and the 85% of the other ones don’t. Typically what I find is that they’re not optimized correctly. They’re not really understanding the power of links and how to use links for their advantage. They’re copying and modeling the people that they’re trying to displace. Therefore, it’s a race to authority, which they lose.
Megan Porta: It is like a giant chess game, isn’t it?
Ty Kilgore: Oh, you hit the nail on the head, which is why I love what I do. Because I love chess. I love being that, that dive into the data and make informed decisions. In my corporate world, I used to have this saying called the highest paid person’s opinion and basically whoever was the highest paid person, that’s the opinion and the strategy that you went to. In digital marketing, because of analytics and the onslaught of data you have available to you, I would often challenge those people in those scenarios saying, I understand that’s what you think. The data says this and I can show you why. They’re like, okay, I didn’t think about that. Okay. Let’s go this direction. Thank you. Yeah, we’ll go this direction. All right. Great meeting guys. So I’ve taken what I’ve learned in the corporate world and applied it to the food bloggers I work with now, and it’s great because most creative types are not technically also driven. So it’s a good partnership because I’m not a creative person. I tell people all the time, I don’t know about food. I don’t know the difference between things that I should know. What’s the difference between this and this? I don’t know. But I do know how to get it to rank. I can help you by learning what’s there. So the technical spreadsheet, data driven person typically isn’t your food blogger. Not to say they aren’t out there, they are. But in my experience, that’s not who I’m dealing with.
Megan Porta: I wish I was that, but I’m not either.
Ty Kilgore: That’s okay. We all have our strengths.
Megan Porta: Yep. So you mentioned links and how important those are. I think that’s one of your next mistakes, correct?
Ty Kilgore: Yes, it is. Okay. So understanding the power of links and how to use them for their own advantage. The main thing that I’ll talk about on this one is the power of internal links. I have seen internal links be one of the biggest lever pullers that I have been able to see move the impact and move the needle, more so than a lot of things. What I mean by that is most people, when they drop internal links in their body of their content, they’re doing so with the post title as the anchor text. Google actually on their documentation came out and said, use very specific anchor texts as internal links to help us understand what your post is about. So remember those keywords that I was talking about before? If you’re wanting to level up, one of the things that you can do is take the leveled up keyword that you’re trying to get higher rankings for and use that as your anchor text for posts that you want to move up. So let’s say you’re trying to rank for best crepe recipe. I would take that one anchor text six to 10 times, and find places on other sites. Use that as the anchor text back to my crepe recipe. I would rinse and repeat and do that again and utilizing the internal links, most people will do it, but they do it as a, okay, I’m publishing a new site. Here are all the internal links I’ll add. They use the post title of all those pages. They don’t use the level up anchor text keyword. Then they never go back to the post they linked to and link back to the new post. So all they’re doing is you’re just putting a whole bunch of links and nobody’s going to click on the post title. The post title already has the keyword there. So you’re using the post title. It’s the same concept. Create recipe is the internal link for every term that you use coming back. When you look at it, you should look at it from, what’s the next term I want. Those internal links should rotate about every six months. Because at that point, those links should be moving up, right? So utilizing your internal linking structure, most people do it, but not the way I would. The idea of body pump at the beginning, right? Most people are going to work legs, but not the way I am. Like you said, you can’t walk. Most people are like, Oh, I did an air squat. Oh my goodness. That was too much. But you’re like, no, I can’t walk the stairs. That’s where I’m at. So similar type of concept and strategy. When I work internal links, I work them at a different level than most bloggers do. It’s just utilizing the internal links to their advantage. I’m not even talking about external links, that’s a different topic. Internally, this is something you can control, something you can do. Use internal links to your advantage.
Megan Porta: I never thought of revisiting and changing, because you’re right, as time goes on, you’re going to probably rank for different keywords, so to change those up, that seems like such a great strategy. But I honestly would never make the time for it.
Ty Kilgore: Sure. It’s time consuming.
Megan Porta: Yeah, but it sounds like it would be a good strategy and that it would be effective.
Ty Kilgore: Yeah, I like to look at it like running. I’m not a huge runner, but I see the value of cardio. Yes. Is running a mile the first thing I want to do every day? Probably not. But should I do it because I know it’s going to help my overall health? Yeah. So I think a lot of times you get to that point of how much do I want to do versus how much results am I going to see? So a lot of times that decision is made where you want to do something, the value of it, but you just run out of time.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Is there a number you go to like how many times you link internally for each recipe or does it just vary?
Ty Kilgore: So let me give you an example. Let’s say you have a site that has a thousand blog posts. Okay. You drop one internal link from a post that you want to rank to a post that needs more SEO traffic. That’s one link for a thousand posts. You can do the math pretty fast. That’s equivalent to throwing a pebble into an ocean and expecting something to happen. You need to have a little bit more ratio to that. What if you put 60 links? That would be a little bit more impactful. But not 60 exact match anchor tech. Vary up the anchor text knowing the keywords that you want, a lot more valuable, right? If you only have 200 posts and the ratios are going to be a little different, depending on it. But so it’s always an experience thing for me. Knowing when I look inside something’s back end, you have this many posts. Okay. This is the amount of internal links we should use. But on individual blog posts themselves, that would be something where the number varies pretty consistently. Hopefully that answered your question.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that does. Okay. So the power of internal linking. Then what is your last mistake?
Ty Kilgore: So one of the things that I see a lot is that people think that SEO, if they do a single thing, then their SEO will grow, will improve. It’s equivalent to going to the gym and I’m going to do a bicep curl and therefore my abs will get stronger. So here’s some of the things; resizing images, that was an example I gave earlier, or if I go through and I do this one thing, then it was my SEO silver bullet. I understand somebody from the outside who doesn’t know it as intently as I do to think that. I just want this to work. You just want the outcome. Yeah. So I understand the desperation and the desire to say, this is what I’m going to invest in. Therefore it will yield me this. So many times I get questions like this: Ty, I know I need to work on my site speed, but I also know I need to work on my backlinks. I also know and so as they get started, they learn about these things and then they try to prioritize. Where should I get the best return? Just today I went to a test where I could get in depth information about my body. BMI, all of that stuff, the physical world, right? Where I can know exactly how my body is absorbing proteins. Now I have a much clearer understanding of what diet and what proteins I need to make instead of just chugging more protein. The other thing is that some people will see a result and be like, that’s what I gotta do more. You have to look at it just like you were a car or your body. You have to really understand how it all works together so that way you can learn what your site needs. So I like to compare SEO to a buffet. Some sites, all they need is a light appetizer, a light entree and a light dessert. Whereas other people, they need a seven course meal because they get nothing going through for them for SEO. So your site has to be looked at from a trained eye and say, this is where you should spend your time. Yes, that’s important, but not as important in these five things. So oftentimes, people get reports or they get on these SEMRush reports where it will tell them something that they should be worried about. I’m looking at that and I’m like no, you shouldn’t worry about that. That’s a trained program. That’s a written program. It spit something out, right? They’re not thinking about it from a holistic standpoint. Yes. I understand what the report says. That’s not going to work. It’s not going to be impactful. The amount of effort it would take to make that report move is not going to yield you the results that you’re hoping for.
So the fifth thing is thinking that a single thing will do their SEO. Why am I still not getting SEO traffic? So every post has this strategy. Every post has the next thing that should be done for that keyword. But a lot of times, because of people churning out information. Most bloggers enter food as social people, meaning that they’ve used social media before, so therefore they have to produce a ton of content in order for them to stay relevant and social. Then the barrier of entry into SEO comes about six months into a year when they learn that there’s this thing called SEO that typically gets a higher RPM and they should invest in it. But because they don’t know it as well as socially, there’s this barrier of entry. So let’s say instead of producing 12 new pieces of content every month, why don’t you produce three and do 11 updates of old posts. I like to share with people your SEO is like fashion. It’s never dead. You can’t just say okay, I rank for this term. Great. How long is it gonna stay there? because I’ve worked with some people that have worked and ranked really high for a lot of terms. Then the very first thing out Of their mouth is I’ve lost a lot of traffic to other bloggers. How do I stop the bleeding? So it doesn’t matter where you are in your SEO journey, whether you don’t have any SEO traffic, you’re losing SEO traffic, or you get SEO traffic from five posts. You want more. You want more period. So how do you get more? Every post has a strategy. Every category page has a strategy. So investing in that strategy is going to help you get the outcome that you want in three to four months, or a year. You’re going to have a blog in a year, so why not start learning SEO now?
Megan Porta: Yeah. The theme of every single point you talked about is that this is not one size fits all, meaning your business isn’t, your blog, each post, each keyword. Nothing is one size fits all. So to dig into what’s working for that individual component, and to see it more as an overall strategy, which is such a cool concept. I love it.
Ty Kilgore: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great estimation. I think it’s absolutely important. You look at your site. If I wanted to improve my site 50% SEO wise in three months, how would I do that? What posts would I single out as these are my money posts? How would I look at my post differently if I knew that one post got an 80 RPM and another post got a 20 RPM. How would that impact my decision on what posts I optimize? Or how would I know if a 2,000 global monthly searches in a post got 200. How would that impact the next post that I put publish on in my site? So the data drives decisions. It’s not this spaghetti against the wall. I hope it works. I think when you first start your site and you first start your business, that’s what you’re hoping for, that’s the strategy. You just got started. But as you learn, and as you grow, you realize that you want to be more strategic. Being more strategic is fun because the data does help determine what to write. If you came to me and you’re like, Hey, I really want to create this recipe. I looked at the research and I’m like, that recipe only gets 500 people looking forward to a month. So even if you were ranking number one, you’re only going to get 27% of 500. Why don’t you write me a post that gets 3000. So then, what post to optimize? So I had a person I worked with and I love this note she wrote. I went to a function and I told people that I had only written two posts for the year. People laughed at me. You can’t be serious. Then I told them that I’ve made more money optimizing old posts this year and I’ve had the best year my blog has ever had with me only publishing two posts this year. Because she’s focused on SEO. So obviously I’m the SEO person. Obviously I’m biased. Obviously I’m going to tap and wave the SEO flag. But for me, it’s all about the return. If I put in effort here, I can expect this return. So how to replicate that, how to put a process in place that I know that 80% of the time it’s going to work. If I knew that if I optimized 10 posts, 8 of them got more SEO traffic than I would do it again the next month. Of course you would. Most people say, yeah, that makes sense. So again, driving decisions with data. Most people when they look at the data, I analyze it for them and I say, here are your options, A, B, and C. I recommend A and they’re like, yep, I recommend A too. But some people, Hey, I actually want to do C because this was a sponsored post or this was a post that I did back in the day from my brother in law and I don’t even care about it anymore. I don’t want to be known for that. I’m actually deleting it or, whatever. It just depends on what the goals are, but most people want just more SEO traffic because it brings in higher page views, which then in turn brings in higher RPMs and higher dollar amounts.
Megan Porta: So valuable. Thank you for all of this, Ty. I love your perspective. It’s a little refreshing and gives me a lot to think about. I took a million notes, so I don’t know that I’ve taken this many notes in a while. So to wrap up, I like to ask my guests if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share.
Ty Kilgore: I think the biggest thing for Cammie and I, is don’t be afraid. In our experience, don’t be afraid to change your strategy. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard is, you have an end goal. I think it was Tony Robbins who said this, like you have an end goal. Sometimes how you get there is going to change, but the end goal remains, right? Did I think that we weren’t still going to have an Everything Food Conference? Probably not. I didn’t think that was going to really go away. But it has, and it’s gone. So how do we then pivot? How do we then change to achieve our desired goal? As entrepreneurs sometimes adapting and pivoting is part of the fun. So I guess for me, it’s okay to fail, failing means that you learn something. It’s more important to me that you pick yourself up after a failure than failing to begin with. I don’t care if you fail. It’s what you learn from it and not failing again. As a parent, I try to teach my kids this. I don’t care that you failed. I’m actually happy you did. But what do we learn from this so that we don’t fail next time, right?
Megan Porta: That’s so good. I was saying to my son the other day, he said something went wrong at school and I was like, Oh, good. And he looked at me like, what? That’s awful mom. But I love that because we don’t learn or grow unless we’re failing. Obviously as a kid, you don’t get that at all. Amazing thing to teach entrepreneurs and kids and just know ourselves.
Ty Kilgore: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Thank you for that. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, and if anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/TyKilgore. Ty, I know you have a resource to share, and why don’t you just tell everyone where they can find you if they’re looking for you.
Ty Kilgore: I am on social media, but I’ll be honest. I have not really updated that very frequently. But everythingdigitalmarketing.com is the best place. I know there’s going to be a link provided about a keyword research course that I have to teach you how to do keyword research. So it’s a great course. It helps you walk through the value of what keyword research can do for you. Then I have some people who have done it and they can share with you what they think. Then also just email me at [email protected]. I do offer one on one consultations and a lot of people have enjoyed that. So I’m happy to explain more in detail what that is and what that looks like. That’s how you can find me.
Megan Porta: Awesome. I’ve heard many great things about your services and what you provide for food bloggers, by the way. So if you’re interested, go check that out, send Ty an email. Just thank you so much for being here, Ty. Thank you for listening, 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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