SEO Keywords: The Avalanche Effect – Start Small

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Don’t dismiss specific keywords with low search volumes. Use them to your advantage!

SEO Keywords: Why you should choose less searched keywords for your recipes | Another great tip from Food Bloggers Central | A FREE resource food bloggers

Earlier this week, I did a post on How To Find the Best SEO Keywords for Your RecipesThe idea to write up this post stemmed from a chat I was having with a blogger about using keywords to make the most of a post.

The approach I apply to SEO is the same approach I take to all aspects of blogging and photography:

Start small, think BIG

Using Keywords – Starting Small, Thinking Big

When you are choosing keywords for your recipe, it’s easy to dismiss keyword combinations that are only searched a few hundred times a month, thinking it’s not worth it because it won’t contribute much traffic to your site. Here’s why I challenge that.

Best-SEO-keywords-for-recipes-food-bloggers_300px1. The obvious reason is this: Less searched words = less competition = better chances of ranking well in search results. I would rather rank first for words with low search volumes than on the 50th page for highly searched terms.

I explain this more in this post: How To Find the Best SEO Keywords for Your Recipes

2. You need to start SMALL but THINK BIG. Think of it this way:

a) You post twice a week;

b) For each recipe, you choose very specific keywords that are only searched 1000 times a month, which, in the context of this world-wide-web, is low;

c) You have a better chance of ranking well for all your recipes;

d) Each month, you have 8 posts with good prospects of ranking well for keywords that are searched 8,000 times a month (i.e. 8 posts x 1,000 search volume). In a year, that grows to 104,000 per month (2 posts per week x 52 weeks x 1,000 search volume). But not only that. There’s an avalanche effect. As your recipe starts indexing better, the search engines will start ranking you better for less specific word combinations with higher search volumes.

The Avalanche Effect

Truly Crispy Oven Baked Wings

This recipe for Truly Crispy Oven Baked Wings is an example of a recipe where I benefited from the Avalanche Effect.

Here’s a real life example of the avalanche effect that I experienced with one of my recipes. I posted a recipe called Truly Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings with Honey Garlic Sauce in November 2014.

The keywords I chose were “crispy baked wings”.

It started indexing quite well for the specific keywords I selected and variations thereof e.g. “Crispy Oven Chicken Wings”, “Crispy Baked Chicken Wings”.

And as the post grew in popularity, it started to rise in rankings for broader search terms that are searched much more. Here are the search frequency and rankings of this post in Google for various keyword combinations (Search stats are monthly averages per AdWords, rankings are using Google on Safari Mac in Australia so results will differ depending on location):

  • Crispy baked wings (keywords I selected) (monthly searches 7.5K) – #1
  • Baked crispy wings (8k) – #1
  • Crispy wings (13.5K) – #1
  • Chicken wings in oven (15k) – #1
  • Oven wings (38k) – #2
  • Baked chicken wings (60k) – #3
  • Baked wings (80K) – #3

These are the rankings as at May 2015.

The total search coverage just off these combinations of words (there are many others!) is 222,000 searches each month where my recipe ranks 1st, 2nd or 3rd. (PS I do not get 222,000 views from Google for my wings! I am not sure what the % click through rate is from searches but I do know that Google is the highest referrer for this recipe and it is one of my most popular recipes).

When I first posted the recipe, it would never have ranked well for searches like “baked chicken wings” and “baked wings”. But the specific keywords I used – “crispy baked wings” – that is NOT searched frequently is how I built the foundation for this post’s popularity so it started indexing better for more frequently searched words. This post did OK on Pinterest and other social media platforms, but where it “took off” was on Google search.

And as a post gains popularity, it indexes better for broader search terms. ie. The Avalanche Effect!

The holy grail for this recipe? Ranking #1 for the search term “chicken wings” which is searched around 250K times every month! One can only hope 😉 (I’m currently on page 10 or thereabouts!)


I hope this helps gives you some more direction for using and selecting SEO keywords! When I started, I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea where to start, which is why I started out choosing very specific ones and discovered it worked! 😉

Remember: Start small, think BIG!

– Nagi xo

PS If you found this useful, share it with your friends!

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PPS In case you missed it, here’s the post for How To Find The Best Keywords For Your Recipes and tag them to your recipes. :-)

Food Blogging Tips: How to find the best SEO keywords for your recipes. | Another Great Tip from Food Bloggers Central

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  1. says

    Hi Nagi, are you still seeing great results from keywords you’ve chosen that aren’t in the right order in your title or alt tags etc? Like your title being ‘crispy oven baked chicken wings’ instead of crispy baked chicken wings? I’m curious because it’s sometimes really hard to name recipes using keywords together, I never knew it was an option not to.

    Another thing I was wondering is the competition. I’ve found it really hard when choosing keywords because either there are zero search results or the first page is full of all the huge sites like food network. I would’ve thought that a recipe like crispy chicken wings even although it has low searches would still be hard to rank high for because the big sites would have done chicken wings in some form to rank high first? How did you beat those sites in the rankings? I thought it was near impossible.

    Thanks so much and sorry for a looong question lol

  2. says

    I have asked before but can you pleeeease host a blogging event in Syd @Nagi? I would pay money to just sit at your feet and write down everything you say about everything to do with blogging #guru

    • Nagi says

      Hi hun! There are definitely plans in the works!! I just don’t know as many food bloggers as I do in the US which is why it’s actually HARDER for me to organise something in Australia! I can’t figure out best way to spread the word :) N x

  3. says

    I noticed on your oven baked chicken wings the URL does not have the words “truly” and “with”. I always have my title match the url. Is it best to remove the irrelevant words in the url, I have never thought of doing that.

  4. says

    Hey Nagi! This is a great idea! I do have a question though. Usually on my blog I will break a title down into many separate keywords. (For example: French Strawberry Tartlets is transformed into “french” “strawberry” “tartlets”). Is that the same thing as choosing really general search terms? Should I instead combine the three into one to take advantage of the avalanche?

    • Nagi says

      Hi Shelby! Not sure what you mean – I only have one box to insert my keywords so I would put in all three words in the same box, with a space in between each word. Does that make sense? N x

  5. says

    why am i so blonde? I still don’t get it. haha. so if i wanted to make a dairy free strawberry chocolate milkshake recipe. Is it best to use more words or switch to “shake” instead? i have SEO plug in but it never really helps. Gah, sorry for this.

    • Nagi says

      Hi Lindsay! So what you do is search the words “dairy free strawberry chocolate milkshake”. Find out what the search volume is. If you’re happy with that, stick with it. If not, starting checking out variations. If you use “shake”, it will have many more searches BUT it means it is more competitive which means it will be harder to rank higher.

      It comes down to using your judgement. Not an exact science I’m afraid!

  6. says

    This post is awesome! And you’re awesome Nagi!
    I just found out, I did everything wrong! Now I’m going back to all my old posts, about 200 of them, one by one. I need to correct keyword setting and set things straight.
    Many many thanks for this. To speak the truth, I’ve read many books and posts about SEO, but none of them answered the question like yours. This is GOLD!

  7. says

    Even though I have been using the seo by yoast, i couldn’t decode how to use it 😀 I was going with more popular searches. Thank you for sharing this tip, Nagi.. You rock!!!

  8. says

    Nagi… You are great! I agree with everything Maureen said!!! Love this site and your tips! If I could reach half your success I would be a happy girl!!! So glad I got the opportunity to meet you!

  9. says

    May I solicit your opinion? Keyword: Cucumber Sandwiches –> 22,200 Avg monthly searches. Cucumber Sandwiches Recipe –> 2,400 Avg monthly searches. Which would you pick?! And I’m with Maureen here on both points. 1). Your greatness, and 2). Most people would not spread this good news. XXO

    • Nagi says

      Bah, I’m ignoring the 2nd part of your comment 😉

      That’s a tough one! Because you will have that option with EVERY SINGLE RECIPE! Don’t make me answer. :)

      Me personally, I don’t include “recipe” in anything. But not because I’ve asked the question you’re asking. You need to make a call!

      • says

        I appreciate your input! Not including “recipe” will certainly make things easier in most cases. In the case of the Cucumber Sandwiches (sounds like a new mystery novel), I decided to leave as-is (cucumber sandwiches) since I’m already on Page 5 in Google. I would rather keep the same keyword and try to improve my position rather than picking a new one. If I were on page 105 that would probably change things. So I guess I got lucky in that instance! Thanks for your help!

  10. says

    Great post! I wrote a post today that is publishing tomorrow using the Adwords tool for the first time thanks to your original SEO post. I did actually choose something that isn’t searched a ton, but has low competition. Fingers crossed!!

  11. says

    Again, THANK YOU for all your awesome tips!

    Question: When I chose my keywords SEO by Yoast marks it “not appearing in the title” if the words are not directly together. For example, I have a post titled “Handmade Russian Pelmeni” and when I chose the keywords: handmade + pelmeni, I get a big red (0) after page title, page URL, etc. On the other hand if I choose “russian pelmeni” it’s OK.

    You seem to have been able to choose “Crispy baked wings” even though your title has the word “oven” separating the words. Am I missing something? Should I ignore the red? I’m getting it across all my recipes unless I DIRECTLY choose keywords that appear together back when I chose the title of the recipe.

    • Nagi says

      Hi Natalia! I actually started writing about that but then deleted it, thinking it was going to far! You are absolutely right. To be “perfect”, the SEO plugin wants (recommends) you have the chosen keywords next to each other in the title. So in fact, I have big NO’s next to the check for the wings, but it still indexed well :) So to me, that is proof that it is OK to ignore the red “No”.

      I hope that makes sense?

  12. says

    I am hanging on to every word you say, It’s like giving eyesight to the blind, no kidding. I need to SEO my every blog post because I had no clue how to do it before, and all my keywords were exactly the long titles of each post. Seriously, how sad , I have over 300 pages and I should be on the map by now. Thank you again for this enlightening article! Xo’s

    • Nagi says

      It’s not sad! You just didn’t know. How could you have? It took me time to figure it out and it was only because recipes “got on the map” that I was able to work backwards to figure it out.

      I think it’s a GREAT idea to go back and SEO optimise all your recipes. I should do that. :)

      • says

        Oh yes! That has been my project and it will be for weeks to come while trying to keep a new recipe schedule as well. But wow, it could really pay off, all that work, so many hours and hours and hours of work, I’m sure all of you guys can relate to the hustle !

  13. says

    Hi Nagi, this may be a silly question, but I use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast and down the bottom where it says: ‘focus keyword’ i’ve just been writing the whole title of the post. Should I only be putting in the 2-3 keywords? Same with SEO title – I’ve been using the whole post title. Is that right? Thanks!

    • says

      Nevermind!!! Just ignore me! I just read your previous fabulous post which totally answers my question!! I’ve just signed up of the newsletter so I don’t miss anymore of your awesome little tips. Absolutely loving this website! Thanks gorgeous lady xx

      • Nagi says

        No worries!! OH and PS – there are no silly questions. Never ever. I used to think widgets were a type of toy robot. :)

  14. says

    I used good adwords for the first time TODAY before I posted my newest recipe. I’m definitely going to make a habit of that. Thank you very much for the advice, here’s hoping for an avalanche affect 😉 Have a great day Nagi!

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