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Important Information for Webmasters
If you are the webmaster of a site containing recipes, please read the information below or at least scan it for any information you might find useful. There are details on how to control our recipe robot trawler, how recipes are recognized and how to improve the ranking of your recipes in our search results.
Robots.txt and our Recipe Robot
We use a robot trawler to find recipes on websites. Our robot uses a self learning algorithm to determine which links to investigate. The robot learns which links should be followed and which should be ignored to maximize the probability of finding recipes without wasting your or our resources scanning pages of no interest to us.
Our robot will honor your robots.txt file. To add an entry specifically for FoodFerret, use a user agent name of 'foodferret.com'. To specifically ban our robot from all pages in a comments directory you should add the following section to your robots.txt file.
If you want to reduce the impact our robot has on your website you may try to limit our access to only retrieve recipes. Be careful that we can find the relevant pages to navigate to your recipe section from the homepage though. It's very easy to allow access to where your recipes are, but ban us from the pages that would allow us to follow links to find your recipes. Bear in mind that because we use an intelligent robot we do not believe you will need to restrict our access to your site.
Unfortunately we do not currently support sitemaps of any type.
We only scan websites every few months. Recipe resources are a fairly static resource so that there is little benefit to either party for regular trawling of your website.
Recipe Recognition: How Many Recipes will be Added to our Database
When we scan a recipe site we add as many recipes as possible to our database. We may not always display a recipe in our search results if there are many copies of that recipe on several sites, the recipes we display will be picked randomly in this case. We also impose a quality control on the recipes we list, mostly down to how well we think our recipe robot trawler has been able to interpret any particular recipe. If our interpretation is considered low quality, that is the robot is not sure it has processed the recipe correctly, then the recipe will be rejected from our search results.
If we have scanned your website or one that you would like to see added to our search engine and we don't add many recipes to our database, you should check the information below.
Our robot trawling software is by no means perfect and no where near as good as a person reading your website is in interpreting your recipes. If you have a clear ingredient list followed by a clear list of preparation instructions then the recipes should be recognized. We are improving our recipe robot trawler all the time, but to ensure that a recipe is interpreted correctly the following criteria should be met as completely as possible.
- A clear concise ingredient list should be generated with a heading such as 'Ingredients'.
- Try to list only one ingredient per line, but a clear comma separated list should not be a problem, such as '1 apple, pear and peach'. Ensure commas are used to separate items correctly.
- Please avoid using other ingredients to describe the primary ingredient. '1 apple cut into cherry sized pieces' is very problematic. We are as likely to reject the recipe or list apple and cherry as ingredients as we are to correctly interpret the ingredient list as 1 apple.
- Avoid adding too much text to describe the ingredients. The more text in the ingredient list you add the more likely our software will determine that it is not sure what ingredients should be listed.
- Try to avoid too much preparation detail with the ingredient. '1 sliced onion' is fine, '1 onion sliced, pureed and then fried in sesame oil' is not so good, particularly since another ingredient is also listed in the line.
- A clear heading similar to 'Preparation', 'Method' or 'Instructions' directly above the recipe preparation instructions will also help in the recipe recognition.
Improving your Recipe Search Ranking
Recipes returned to the user are ordered primarily against user entered parameters, including ingredients, diet restrictions, title keywords and recipe type. When there are multiple results equally well matched the results are ordered based on the following criteria.
- Picture availability of the food or drink
- Quality of links from recipe website back to FoodFerret.com
Having good quality pictures of a recipe on your website is the best way to promote your website on FoodFerret. This may also help with other search engines, such as google and bing. We will show a thumbnail of your picture against any recipe we list whenever possible. Showing recipes with pictures makes our website look better and improves the probability that our users will follow the recipe link to your website. Having pictures is not essential though, many of the recipes in our database do not have associated pictures. As a user enters more detailed search parameters our search engine will start to return recipes that do not have pictures.
Links to FoodFerret
Adding links from your website to FoodFerret will help your own website in two ways.
- When all else is equal, those websites that have links to FoodFerret will be promoted above other recipe search results. The best quality links are considered to be where there are links on each recipe page to FoodFerret. A single link from your website to FoodFerret on a page indexed by search engines will give good benefits though, the closer to your homepage the better as far as FoodFerret is concerned.
- Once we verify links from your website to FoodFerret.com we will generate recipe link pages solely for your website. The basic details of up to 600 recipes will be listed with links for each recipe back to your website. This ensures search engines will find a good number of high quality links on our website back to your website. This should help your ranking in search engines such as google and bing.
Notes About Links
Please be aware that you should be careful which links to external websites you add to your website. There are sites that encourage link exchanges. You put a link on your website to someone else's and they return the favor in the hope that your ranking in search results on google, bing and other search engines will be better. Because this is an artificial way of improving your search ranking the search engines are good at picking this up and can actually reduce the ranking of your website significantly if they detect this. The odd link should be fine, many such links can cause a problem.
Should you link to FoodFerret: If you like our website and think your sites users will find it useful, then of course you should and the search engines actively encourage this. If we link to your recipes and you link back to us, such that it looks like a possible link exchange, this is also fine. Our sites cover the same topic, recipes, search engines will recognize this and expect to see links between sites such as ours. If you were to link to an insurance company and they link back to you though, this may seem suspicious. It's unlikely an insurance company would be interested in linking to a recipe site and that the recipe site would want to link back to the insurance company unless there was some mutual benefit. These sort of links look suspicious to a search engines. Don't get paranoid though, a few such links will not cause a problem, many such links, particularly through a link exchange program should be avoided though. If you use a link exchange program you should try to ensure any links added to your site are relevant and of interest to your users.