Possible Explanation Behind the CH Redesign (Cross-posted on Hungry Onion))

I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this earlier (and I’m really wishing I’d done it before the redesign in order to compare the two - does anyone know what it read before? [Edit from the original post on HO - @ernie_in_berkeley tracked down the info from 2014: Ernie’s information ]), but I just looked at two elements of the new site’s SEO coding.

  1. The title for the main landing page now reads, “Recipes, Cooking Tips and Resources - Chowhound Food Community”

  2. The meta content description now reads, “Chowhound allows food enthusiasts to discover the best recipes and resources for cooking, eating, growing and making food. Find tips, tricks, and support by connecting to a community of food contributors.”

Notice what’s missing? Anything mention of review and discussion about restaurants / bars / markets / etc. It wasn’t our imagination at play: they really are decreasing (er, removing?) emphasis on the restaurant aspect of the site.

This explains the shattering of the various regional communities.

So if they’re not competing against Y*lp, TA, etc., then who are they competing with?

(Also, the editor in me is making “grrr” sounds at the inconsistent use of the Harvard / Oxford comma in the content description, as well as the alliteration.) (And the SEO person in me is wincing at the overly-long content description text, too.)

Here’s what I posted on HO, so you don’t have to follow the link:

Archive.org (the “Wayback Machine”) grabbed this in June, 2014.

Title text: Welcome to Chowhound, where CHOW’s community of discerning eaters share information and opinions about cooking and restaurants. Before posting, you’ll need to SIGN UP (it’s free) and create a profile (it’s fast). Then simply start a new discussion or add to an existing one, enhancing the conversation with your own hard-won knowledge!

That’s from the main page, not the title bar. The title tag in the source just says “Food Forums - Chowhound”

Meta (from page source): The best food discussion site. Read regional and international restaurant reviews, ask questions and get answers about cooking techniques, find recipe advice, and discover ingredient information.

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Thanks, @ernie_in_berkeley - I wasn’t sure of the protocol in linking vs. quoting someone’s post from another site. Also, thank you for tracking this down!

No problem!

It’s fun to look at much earlier captures at archive.org. Check out the one from 1998.

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The main focus of the redesign was clearly getting more traffic from Google etc. In that realm, I think their main competitors are Yelp and TripAdvisor, and the redesign incorporates elements of both.

I came across this thread on CH

Got me thinking. It makes me think that the goal of the redesign is more insidious than I had thought. I recently noticed that I had to login even though my browser setting is set to remember my login. Then even though I have a login ID, CH tried to force me to select additional communities and tags on top of what I have based on the defaults that were given based on the boards I used to follow. I was able to work my way around this without providing any additional info. But I had try and avoid the default screens. It appears to me that they are trying to “tag” the users (not the posts) with more individualized data. Why would they do that? Well to sell more targeted ads. CH is aggregating more data about the users.

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