Every year for the last 14 years, in late July or early August, someone in the Allrecipes.com community asks the first Christmas-related cooking question. It might be about which cookies are good for freezing, or a request for a cookie their Italian great-grandmother used to make. For Allrecipes, this is the official start of the holiday season, our busiest time of year.
What does this have to do with SEO? The answer is – a lot. Long before Allrecipes had access to, or budget for SEO services, we followed the lead of our community. They search for Christmas cookies on our site…we publish Christmas cookie recipes in response. Reviews for gingerbread recipes begin to rise…we publish more gingerbread recipes. The interest in holiday baking has generated an incredible amount of content specific to the desires of a community devoted to food and cooking—and eating!
Allrecipes’ UGC (User Generate Content) model allows us to optimize for the big terms in our category AND capture related terms. How many ways can you search for sugar cookies? Take a look at some of these recipe titles. The reality is, home cooks use a variety of terms to talk about one thing. Synonyms (eggplant/aubergine), alternative spellings (lasagne/lasagna) – Allrecipes is optimized for most of the thousands and thousands of terms making up the food category.
According to Allrecipes’ president Lisa Sharples: “Our community of millions of home cooks is the best starting point when developing our SEO strategy; reviewing their search trends is like having a focus group of millions.”
Some people call this the “wisdom of the crowd.” We call it ‘common sense.’
Strong SEO practices have contributed to Allrecipes’ growth. The site has experienced 73 consecutive months (over 5 ½ years) of year-over-year growth and 29 months in the #1 position in the Food and Lifestyle category according to comScore. Allrecipes’ 17 websites serving cooks in 23 countries and 11 languages have quadrupled in size in just 5 years. Over the past year we have been working with Optify which has allowed us to further advance our SEO strategies. Millions of savvy and engaged home cooks have contributed to our success on a global scale. Our main goal has always been, and remains, to fill the needs of this community, creating innovative content and features on its behalf. We do this first and foremost by listening to them and acting on what we learn.
Lisa Sharples, President, Allrecipes
Lisa is the president of Allrecipes.com since 2007. Prior to joining Allrecipes, Lisa held the position of senior vice president of marketing at Classmates.com, a division of United Online, where she led a sizeable team and the company’s strategy for all product development, marketing, creative design, customer retention, and customer service. Prior to Classmates.com, Lisa co-founded Garden.com in 1995, where she served as Chief Marketing & Merchandising Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for 6 years. Her other business experience includes overseeing ArtCarved, the flagship retail jewelry brand at American Achievement Corporation, from 2003 to 2005, and marketing positions with Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and Standish Mellon Asset Management.
Syd Carter, Senior Director of International Content, Allrecipes
Syd is an alumna of the University of Houston, where she studied Biochemistry and spent all her free time cooking. After a stint in restaurants and catering that started with her working alongside three generations of her Greek family in their seafood restaurant on the Gulf Coast of Texas, she joined a web startup in the mid-nineties (like everyone else), at a site called cookierecipe.com. Hundreds of thousands of recipes, thousands of keywords, and several content taxonomies later – she still works at this site, one of the great loves of her life—Allrecipes.com (the evolution of cookierecipes.com). Her other great loves are her wonderful husband, her beautiful children, and her copper jam pot.
Read more at: http://www.optify.net/seo/christmas-july/