You know the deal. You jump on Google search in quest of a chimichanga recipe. You search. Google spits out 3 million results in an eye-blinking 0.70 seconds. You click on the results. You read. And read. And read. No recipe in sight so you continue to read. You start scanning the page for a recipe, but escaping the recipe’s preamble is harder than getting out of plans you mistakenly made with someone when you were drunk last week. After scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling until your fingers become sore, you FINALLY find the recipe, food preparation, and instructions in what seems is buried deeper than the bottom of the Mariana Trench. I’m trying to learn how to make chicken piccata, not read War and Peace.
Typical Recipe on Food Blogs:
1st Paragraph: “This delicious dish is easy to make and fill the dinner table with yumminess and ear-to-ear smiles.”
5th Paragraph: “My great-great Aunt Clarice made this recipe and it is in our family recipe book. See more of my family’s recipes by clicking here.”
8th Paragraph: “My grandmama (God rest her soul) loved crocheting and rabbits, and in 1942 she altered Aunt Clarice’s famous recipe passed down for generations with one special ingredient…that I’ll tell you about later.”
22nd Paragraph: “For this dish, I always use (insert food brand here), and you can buy those fine food products here (affiliate link).”
34th Paragraph: “The key to making this recipe is your blender, you need a professional-grade blender without a pro-grade price, that’s why I always use (insert blender brand here) blenders, they’re the best. Buy the blender here (insert affiliate link).”
54th Paragraph: “Now I call this dish ‘Auntie Clarice’s Chimichangas,’ but my 5-year-old son Elijah can’t pronounce the word ‘chimichangas’ so he calls them ‘chi-chi’s.’
77th Paragraph: “Elijah loves to play with our Labradoodle Sadie, but what Elijah doesn’t love is gluten. So see my recipe for gluten-free chimichangas here.”
83rd Paragraph: “The chimichanga is a Tex-Mex food, which was derived from cultural appropriation of Mexican cuisine, but I’m culturally appropriating the Texas part, so please don’t cancel me.”
97th Paragraph: FINALLY THE RECIPE.
The most infuriating aspect is that you may know the basic gist of a dish like braised short ribs and you just need to know at what temperature and for how long to cook the meat. Finding that key information in a food blog is more difficult than finding bad barbecue in Austin.
The argument from food bloggers is that they need a high word count for search engine optimization on sites such as Google. However, John Mueller, a senior webmaster trends analyst at Google, disagrees.
“From our point of view the number of words on a page is not a quality factor, not a ranking factor,” Mueller said, according to Search Engine Journal. “So just blindly adding more and more text to a page doesn’t make it better.”
“It’s a bit like if you want to present something to a client who’s walking in, you can give them a one or two-page brochure or you can give them a giant book of information,” Mueller explained. “And in some cases people will want a book with a lot of information. And in other cases people want something short and sweet. And that’s similar to search.”
So having relevant words and not 3,200 words about your family’s history of making chocolate bourbon pecan pie (the only pecan pie in my opinion) every Christmas, probably isn’t relevant to someone searching for a chocolate bourbon pecan pie recipe. Neither is writing five paragraphs about how seeing the sunset in Tuscany while eating spaghetti bolognese completely changed your life forever. Writing 5,372 words about how the author’s mother didn’t provide enough blueberry pancakes as a child, which left her feeling unwanted, isn’t helping anyone looking for a blueberry pancakes recipe.
Listen Susan, it’s fantastic that cooking helped you beat your debilitating dependence on ketamine. I’m happy for you, I really, really am. However, when I am looking for a recipe for Penang assam laksa, I am not trying to read the chronicle of your life’s trials and tribulations. Go air out your grievances on social media like everyone else.