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Schema basics for food blogs

One of the most common questions Foodie Digital members ask us is:

Should I use FAQ schema in my recipe posts?

In SEO, there are very few black and white answers. It’s a practice filled with nuance, which is why Foodie Digital’s SEO services are hands-on and custom to each community member.

Understanding the different types of schema at your disposal, and when to use a schema type to your advantage is key to a successful SEO strategy for food blogs.

But there’s a lot of blanket advice about schema out there, and it’s tempting to assume that this advice applies to your content strategy.

If you’re confused or unsure about which type of JSON Schema to use in your recipe posts—and non-recipe posts—keep reading!

In this post we:

But first, some schema basics for food bloggers

Adding multiple types of schema to a page or post is a perfectly acceptable SEO practice.

There is nothing technically wrong with including multiple types of schema, such as FAQ schema + recipe schema in a post. But there are some do’s and don’ts for achieving the desired result when it comes to earning clickthroughs and conversions.

To grow your traffic, you must earn clickthroughs and conversions. A post can be highly ranked on Google’s first page but if it fails to earn clickthroughs and conversions it won’t earn much traffic. 

Choosing the right type of schema(s) to use on a page boils down to:

  • Relevance
  • Desired result (which in recipes is always clicks!)

With respect to relevance, Google’s John Mueller advises that the structured data on the page should always match the primary element on your page.

From our guidelines we want to make sure that the structured data you have on your page matches the primary element on your page. So if you’re saying that you can add an FAQ to a random page on your website, sure you can do that. But is this FAQ the primary part of the page? Or relevant for the primary part of the page? That’s something that you kind of need to figure out.

– John Mueller

Unequivocally for a recipe site, the primary element on the page is a recipe. That’s why recipe schema should always be output when a single recipe is published on a recipe site.

The 4 types of schema used most often on food blogs

They are:

Let’s look at each schema type individually.

1. Recipe schema

When you use a WordPress recipe card plugin, like WP Recipe Maker or Tasty Recipes, the plugins automatically generate recipe structured data on your behalf (more specifically JSON-LD recipe schema markup). This is what makes a recipe published online eligible for a recipe rich snippet in desktop and mobile search results.

2. Article schema

When you use Yoast SEO, it adds article schema to posts by default, even when recipe schema is present. Why is article schema important?

The answer is really simple—it gives basic information to Google about the content. For instance, that a piece of content is not a web page or an e-commerce product. It also uniquely identifies the author of the post, which is very important for E-A-T and authorship.

To verify that Yoast SEO is correctly configured and outputting the correct article schema for posts on your food blog, log in to WordPress and go to Yoast SEO > Search Appearance > Content Type and make sure the default article schema is selected for posts.

3. ItemList schema

ItemList schema allows a recipe roundup post and/or category archives to display as a carousel in the mobile search results. Searchers can swipe through up to 10 cards in a carousel.

Here’s an example of a Bakerita recipe roundup post that’s outputting ItemList schema in the mobile search results:

Screenshot of ItemList schema output in the mobile search results for a roundup post.

If you’re ready to output ItemList schema for a roundup post, here’s what we recommend broken down by recipe card plugin:

If you use WP Recipe Maker:

All versions of WP Recipe Maker support ItemList schema in addition to recipe schema. If you use WP Recipe Maker to output recipe schema, we recommend you use the round-up blocks that are already available in the plugin’s product offering to output ItemList schema. The plugin’s default round-up blocks can easily be customized to suit your food blog’s branding.

If you use Create by Mediavine:

Create supports ItemList schema in addition to recipe schema. If you already use Create to output recipe schema, we recommend you use the round-up blocks (called Create lists!) that are already available in the plugin’s product offering to output ItemList schema.

If you use Tasty Recipes:

Food bloggers who use Tasty Recipes to output recipe schema can use Create which is free to publish roundup posts that output ItemList schema. Or, Tasty Roundups, the new paid plugin from Tasty Recipes does the trick too!

4. FAQ schema

A word of caution! At Foodie Digital we’ve audited hundreds of food blogs. In our experience, the desire to add FAQ schema to a recipe post is pushing a lot of food bloggers to over-optimize their blog posts. This is not good and definitely not what Google wants. Answering reader questions in a post is valuable! The Q&As simply do not need to marked up with FAQ schema.

It’s easy to mark up FAQs with structured data with Yoast’s free FAQ blocks.

FAQ rich results display on desktop and mobile devices, and only two FAQs display in the search results, even if more than two FAQ blocks exist in a post.

Here’s an example of a Baby Foode FAQ rich result in the mobile search results:

Examples to help you understand/decide which type of schema to use use and when to use it

Example 1 – single recipe

If the desired result is to better your chances of earning clickthroughs and conversions for a single recipe, output recipe schema via a recipe card plugin like WP Recipe Maker or Tasty Recipes.

Outputting recipe schema makes a single recipe eligible for the featured recipe results on both desktop and mobile, which is where the vast majority of clicks for a query are earned.

As of August 2022, FAQ schema and recipe schema cannot be combined into a single rich result in the search results. When different types of schema can’t be combined into a single rich result, Google’s has to pick one of them to show in the search results. If you’re a recipe site there’s little point in muddying the schema waters or making Google choose between recipe + FAQ schema.

Maybe one day Google will introduce a recipe rich result sandwiched together with a FAQ rich result, but that day is not here yet.

For this reason, to earn clicks for a recipe output recipe schema only.

Example 2 – article or blog post with no recipe

If the desired result is to better your chances of earning clickthroughs and conversions for an article or blog post that contains no recipe or roundup post list items, output FAQ schema using Yoast’s FAQ blocks. See Baby Foode example.

Example 3 – recipe roundup post

If the desired result is to strengthen a roundup post’s potential to earn clickthroughs and conversions by displaying a swipeable mobile carousel on mobile, output ItemList schema via WP Recipe Maker, Create or Tasty Recipes’ new Tasty Roundups plugin. See Bakerita example.

Of course, there are countless ways to boost your food blog SEO and recipe SEO. Using schema correctly—and to your advantage—is just one slice of the pie!

If you’re ready to gain more valuable insights into your individual schema opportunities and grow your food blog’s traffic, join the Foodie Digital waitlist today.

Note: Foodie Digital participates in affiliate programs for select recipe card plugins and hosting providers. The opinions we share are based on our own in-depth researchand the ongoing need for our members to use SEO tools that are future-proofed, credible, professional and well supported.

Did you find this article helpful?

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Liane Walker
Liane Walker
Liane is a mom of 3, committed meal planner, wannabe saucier chef, a seasoned systems analyst and content strategist, and Managing Director of Foodie Digital.

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