Google released a new “Guided Recipes” feature without giving the recipe blogging community advanced warning. WordPress plugin makers and recipe site publishers are scrambling to update their plugins and websites in order to comply with the new structured data requirements.
For most publishers this won’t affect visibility on mobile and desktop. This change provides an opportunity to be seen and heard on Google Assistant devices. The problem lies in how this might affect mobile and desktop visitors.
What are Guided Recipes?
Guided recipes is a way to expand the reach of recipe content to voice search via Google Assistant.
Google Assistant is available on mobile devices, on smart displays, smart clocks and many more devices.
The new guided recipes feature will allow users to ask for recipes and have it read back to them with accompanying images and videos.
While this is convenient for Google Assistant users, it may result in less positive user experience for users on traditional mobile and desktop devices.
Guided Recipe Announcement a Surprise
Google’s surprise announcement caught the entire recipe blogging community off guard.
Google’s guided recipes requirements trigger a structured data warning.
Guided Recipes and SEO
I asked Casey Markee (@MediaWyse), an authority on Recipe Site SEO about this new structured data.
Casey remarked on how much work this is going to make for recipe publishers:
“Publishers woke-up this morning and found HUNDREDS of new schema warnings in Search Console that they now have very little feedback in how to address.
This may cause a lot of consternation on the part of publishers. Especially if those same publishers now have to go back through hundreds of recipes cards and move process shots and video thumbnails from the post down into the recipe card.
But with Google now introducing a new recommended structured data attribute with “contentUrl” now, in addition to “thumbnailUrl” and “embedUrl” for videos, that seems to be the direction they are pushing publishers.
I’ve done countless focus groups. A growing crowd of users tell me they are not fans of thumbnails and video clips in recipe cards.
Worse? Many of them tell me they won’t print-out a recipe card with photos and video clips because they don’t need a multi-page document. But with this change, Google seems to be saying “you need to be putting an individual thumbnail or video clip with each step in the recipe card.”
And if publishers are to have any chance at optimizing for Guided Recipes on Google Nest and Google Hub devices, the more attributes you fill-out, the better.
Bottom line, this is just more work for the recipe plugins and for publishers. But I’m unsure if it’s going to be a change actual recipe users are going to embrace.”
Casey sums up the problems with this new Google feature. Site visitors will not print out a recipe card if it has videos or images in the actual recipe card.
Additionally, site visitors do not like thumbnails and videos in the recipe card sections.
The conflict arises in that in order to comply with the new guided recipes enhancement, recipe bloggers may have to add structured data mark up to photos and videos for each step of the recipe card. That situation may result in dissatisfied site visitors.
Recipe Plugin Publisher Responds
One plugin maker, WP Recipe Maker (@WPRecipeMaker), responded to the announcement in record time and published an updated plugin version that will accommodate the new guided recipes structured data.
Users of WP Recipe Maker are encouraged to update their plugin in order to take advantage of new opportunities in expanding the reach of their recipes.
WP Recipe Maker commented:
“We immediately released 6.0.4 to get rid of the warnings we could take care of automatically.
There will be another update later this week that will also allow people to manually set the “Name” property for instruction steps but it’s already possible to have a completely valid “Guided Recipe” right now. For most people the biggest change will be having to add an image or video to every single instruction step.
It will remain to be seen what Google does with this new information and if Food Bloggers should actually worry about it.”
Rough Takeoff – Smoother Landing?
It’s going to be a rough couple days for recipe bloggers as they familiarize themselves with the new guided recipes feature. Guided recipes represents an opportunity for recipe bloggers to expand their footprint. Failure to move adopt may result in competitors filling enjoying the new users. This is not something that can be ignored.