Search Engine Optimization (SEO) cover a broad range of topics, that can't possibly be covered in a single guide.
We'll cover a broad range of topics here that gives you some basis to look into things further.
We only recommend and support Yoast for an SEO plugin, to provide the correct schema data and integrations with recipe cards. There are no viable alternatives.
An SEO plugin will not automatically make your site optimized - it only handles a small fraction of "SEO".
Check out the Yoast configuration guide.
Pagespeed is a small ranking factor, but important to get right.
The number one issue with pagespeed is poorly performing plugins - perform a plugin audit first to remove outdated or poorly developed plugins. This is where 90% of your performance gains will come from.
Finally, WP Rocket is all that's needed to optimize a site once bad plugins have been removed. Check out the WP Rocket configuration guide.
Your content is the #1 factor when it comes to SEO - nothing can replace outdated, or poorly keyword researched and written content.
- Use the Recipe Post Template to begin with a user-focused content guide when writing recipes
- Make sure you're properly using page headings
- Ensure your images are correctly optimized
- Make proper use of categories
Google provides some good documentation on how their algorithms work and the different things that can affect your site.
- A guide to Google's ranking systems
- Webmaster guidelines on high quality sites
- Google's SEO starter guide
- Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)
SEO for publishers
Also watch all the SEO for publishers webinars: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_RPsKmB1sQsT5lWmkWET6g
Also check out the Traffic Drop Audit presentation from Mediawyse.