The recipe website AllRecipes.com recently relaunched, and the new design shows the way that search and social have merged to offer a new look that brings them together in an interesting way.
The look is similar in many respects to Pinterest. In fact, like Pinterest it is something of a niche search engine in disguise. Allrecipes averages more than a billion visits each month, of which a large number are referred by search engines.
Esmee Wiliams, the VP of Brand Strategy for the site, explains that they are looking for a way to differentiate themselves from standard search engines by having their own content that is a rich collection of not just recipes but also reviews and other data. They offer a guided experience which helps to inspire people and takes them through the discovery process, so they can ask focused questions along the lines of “What can I make with what I have right now?”
When people start searching for recipes, the results that they are shown are things that were posted by other users. AllRecipes is very community-based and socially focused. It has been that way since it was first launched in 1997, before social media was as popular as it is today.
The expansion of the social features – adding user profiles, video content and location-based content – is something that the site hopes will appeal to a younger millennial audience. This audience wants more control, more engagement and a more personalized experience from day one. One particularly interesting feature is the addition of a search feature that will show products on sale within a certain distance of the user, opening the door for more sponsorship opportunities for local brands. Google is placing increasing emphasis on brands that offer cross-screen experiences, and AllRecipes is working towards that with its mobile-friendly options.
These latest developments are a great example of how an established brand – one almost 20 years old – is evolving to stay relevant as the internet changes and a new generation becomes interested in their niche. A decade ago, we were sceptical of user-generated content and the difficulty involved in policing it. Today, it is an integral part of the web. If you want your website to bring visitors back, then adding social features is a must for building engagement and connecting with your customers and fans on a deeper level.