WPSSO Core Pro and the WPSSO JSON Pro add-on provide complete Schema markup (aka Google’s Product Rich Card) for WooCommerce products, including all variations and extensive product information (size, weight, sale prices / dates, color, condition, etc.) – far beyond the basic Schema markup provided by the WooCommerce plugin itself.
WPSSO Core Pro can also read several custom WooCommerce product attributes, if / when you create them in your WooCommerce store:
Most social and SEO plugins can use a post’s featured image, or offer a way to select a custom social image, but do little else to make sure an image is suitable for social sharing – they assume the article author / editor is aware of each social site’s image requirements (minimum and maximum image resolution, aspect ratio, and maximum image file size) and has selected an appropriate image. For example, Facebook requires that all images be larger than 200x200px, preferably 600x315px, or (even better) 1200x630px for high-resolution displays like retina laptops and phones, have an aspect ratio no wider / taller than 3:1, and less than 8 MB in size. Twitter and Google also have their own requirements, which are different than Facebook’s.
Using a social or SEO plugin that creates resized images from the originals you upload, and checks those resized images to make sure they conform to the requirements of each social site, is only part of a complete Quality Assurance solution. All too often, themes also include a few basic social meta tags in their templates (they shouldn’t, but they often do), that prevent social crawlers from reading your webpage meta tags correctly – some meta tags should never be duplicated (Facebook, for example, can reject all meta tags because of a single duplicate), or the theme may include the full size featured image before all other meta tags, so the wrong image will be used for social shares (this is fairly common). If your social or SEO plugin does not check for duplicate meta tags, you may never realize that you have a problem.
The WPSSO Core plugin and its WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on do an outstanding job of analyzing your content and pulling out information about images, videos, authors, publishers, locations, events, recipes, e-commerce products, SEO customizations, and much, much more — not just from WordPress, but from many 3rd party plugins and services as well. ;-)
The following modules are included with the Pro version of WPSSO Core, and are automatically loaded if/when the supported plugins and/or services are required.
There are several ways to add aggregate ratings — as I’ll explain below — but first, before we dive into the “How”, let’s talk about what an “aggregate rating” actually is. ;-) The Schema.org website defines the Schema aggregateRating property value as:
The overall rating, based on a collection of reviews or ratings, of the item.
Two things to keep in mind about this:
- An aggregate rating value is calculated from several customer ratings / reviews for the current webpage content (an e-commerce product review, for example).
- Google prefers — and often double-checks — that Schema markup reflects the current content of the webpage. So, if you want to manually set aggregate rating and/or review values in your Schema markup, make sure that these customer ratings and/or reviews also appear in your webpage content (ie. the ratings and reviews are visible).
Did you know that WordPress creates thumbnails from images you upload?
You may have already known this — not everyone does, but most WordPress users are aware of this (or at least should be).
Did you also know that all resized images must be sharpened?
This is common knowledge for photography and website design professionals, but probably not for the majority of WordPress users.
And did you also know that WordPress does not sharpen resized images?
I bet that you didn’t know that one… not many people do. ;-)
WordPress creates several different thumbnail / resized images by default (see WordPress Settings > Media page for details) and potentially several more, depending on your theme and plugin settings. It’s not uncommon, for example, for WordPress to create a half-dozen (or more) images from the original image you upload. And in all cases, WordPress does not sharpen or make any adjustments to the resized image it creates!
Google reads a variety of structured data from webpages, including e-commerce Product details, Recipes, Reviews, etc. — along with three standard Schema types from a website’s homepage: WebSite, Organization, and Person.
In this post we’ll focus on the Organization markup — using Google’s preferred LD+JSON structured data format — which Yoast SEO, WPSSO Core, and most SEO plugins add to a WordPress site’s homepage.
Google uses the Organization markup to enrich its Knowledge Graph information for the website’s Organization (aka Business, Corporation, etc.).
See Google My Business, Your business information in the knowledge panel, and Improve your local ranking on Google for more information on Google’s Knowledge Graph and local business markup.
See Google’s About Search Features and Structured Data General Guidelines for more information about the current Schema types recognized by Google.
WPSSO Core (and its add-ons) can be used by themselves, or in combination with Yoast SEO and other popular SEO plugins — WPSSO Core will warn of any conflicting plugin settings and the Pro version of WPSSO Core includes integration modules to read post / term meta from all the popular SEO plugins. The following examples were created using the Free versions of Yoast SEO, WPSSO Core, and its Free add-ons.
It’s official, as I’ve just learned from Mika (aka Ipstenu) and Samuel (aka Otto) — WordPress.org will remove the description and assets from all known deprecated plugins, so users landing on the plugin’s page will be told that “This plugin has been closed for new installs” and nothing else, leaving users to wonder what happened, why the plugin is closed, and what they should do next.
I’m a strong proponent of letting users know why a plugin is deprecated, but Mika and Samuel have taken a hard-line against this, and have told me that all known deprecated plugins will be closed (except for exceptions — see below).
It’s been a very productive two weeks of coding for both the WPSSO Core plugin, and it’s WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on.
On April 26th – just two weeks ago – WPSSO Core v4.0.0 was released, which included support for the new Gutenberg editor. Since then, WPSSO Core v4.1.0, v4.2.0, and v4.3.0 were also released (the last one just today), along with WPSSO JSON v1.25.0 and v1.26.0.
In case you missed all the update notices and posts about those versions, the following is a quick summary of the big changes and improvements in both WPSSO Core and its JSON-LD add-on. And at the end of this post, you can also find a summary of our release schedule philosophy, and why we chose to release four big improvements, in four different versions, in just two weeks. ;-)
The release of WordPress 5 and the new Gutenberg editor are just around the corner, and Gutenberg developers still have not tackled a serious design issue with the current Gutenberg notification system — notices in Gutenberg are being displayed over the content area, forcing users to dismiss notifications to gain access to their content — and in some cases, where several non-dismissible notices are displayed, users may not have access to the content area at all.
The notification system in the current version of WordPress is nothing fancy — and can feel a bit intrusive when several notices are displayed at once — but it’s a lot more flexible and functional than the proposed Gutenberg notification system. :-) As an example, here are some typical SSO (Social and Search Optimization) notifications when editing a test post in the current version of WordPress, in the Gutenberg editor, and with the upcoming release of WPSSO Core v4.2.0 that moves SSO notices into the admin toolbar.
The new Gutenberg editor for WordPress v5 may not be ready yet — and I can certainly attest to that, lol — but it’s coming soon, and WPSSO Core is ready for Gutenberg!
This latest version of WPSSO Core (scheduled for release this week) includes several key changes aimed specifically at integrating WPSSO Core with the new Gutenberg editor. The Document SSO (Social and Search Optimization) metabox is now refreshed when the Gutenberg post is saved, and any SSO notices are displayed using the new Gutenberg notification system. The notices themselves have also been improved by including more information about the dismiss button — either simply hiding the notice (Gutenberg default), temporarily dismissing it for 1 hour, 3 months, etc, or dismissing it permanently.
Have you tried the Gutenberg editor yet?
WordPress v5 is coming soon, and if you haven’t tried the new Gutenberg editor in a staging environment (contact your hosting provider for details), then you could be in for a major surprise! Many plugins will not be compatible with Gutenberg, and for those few and rare plugin authors that are still actively maintaining their plugins, updates to support the Gutenberg editor may take some time. Save yourself the headache – install the Gutenberg editor in a staging environment now, and make sure all your plugins are compatible. ;-)
WPSSO Core v4.0.0 beta is available now.
If you’re a WPSSO Core Pro user — and have a staging environment — you can select the “Beta and Up” version filter for WPSSO Core in the SSO > Update Manager settings page, to install and test the latest beta version. You can also re-select the “Stable / Production” version filter at any time to re-install the last stable / production version.