A Setup Guide for WPSSO

WPSSO Core works great "right out of the box" — and you can keep the default plugin settings as-is — but taking a few minutes to review some basic options can help maximize your social presence, Google ranking, and click-through rate. ;-)

Business Social Accounts (Optional)

If you haven't already done so, create a Facebook Page, Twitter account, and Google+ account (or Page) for your website / business. You can enter your website / business social account information on the WordPress Settings > SSO WebSite Pages settings page. The social account URLs are used by WPSSO Core for Open Graph, Schema, and other meta tag values — including the Organization social profiles in Schema JSON-LD markup (which may appear in Google Search results to highlight your website / business social pages).

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Author Social Accounts (Optional)

Ask your authors to enter their Facebook, Google+, and Twitter contact information on their WordPress user profile page. Each author's contact information can appear in various meta tag values and Schema JSON-LD markup — but only if they complete their user profile. All URLs found in the author's contact methods will be listed in the author / Person social profile markup for Google.

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Authors should take a moment to update their Facebook Follower Settings to enable a Follow button on Facebook. In this way, authors can publish both private (for friends) and public (for friends and followers) content on their Facebook wall. When an author allows followers, Facebook will also link an author's name in shares to their profile page.

Essential Settings

Review the site description on the SSO > Essential settings page and select a default / fallback image ID or URL. The default image is used for index / archive pages, and as a fallback for Posts and Pages that do not have a suitable image featured, attached, or in their content.

Interface and General Usage

On most WordPress admin pages you'll find a Screen Options drop-down tab on the upper right-hand side of the page. You can use these options to include / exclude certain WPSSO Core metaboxes and columns from the current page. For example, when viewing the Posts or Pages list you can use the Screen Options drop-down tab to hide / view the "Schema" and "SSO Image" columns. You can also enable / disable these columns globally under the SSO > Advanced > Columns settings tabs.

When editing a Post, Page, category, tag, etc., you'll find a Document SSO (Social and Search Optimization) metabox below the content area, where you can edit various social texts and image values. The "Preview" tab shows how this webpage might look like when shared on Facebook, the "Head" tab shows a complete list of meta tags created by WPSSO Core, including additional Schema markup and LD+JSON for Google, and the "Validate" tab allows you to submit the current webpage URL to a number of test and validation tools.

Social Image Dimensions

Review the WordPress Settings > SSO Image Sizes values. If your original images are large enough, you should set the Open Graph image dimensions to 1200x630px cropped or larger. Images that are 600px and wider are displayed more prominently on Facebook, and 1200px or better is required to avoid upscaling (stretching) images for retina / high-PPI displays — so it's worth taking the time to make sure all your original images are at least 1200px wide, along with setting an Open Graph image dimension of 1200x630px cropped.

Cropped or Uncropped?

The difference between cropped and uncropped image dimensions is important to understand — when resizing and cropping an image, it will be resized so that both sides meet or exceed the image dimensions required and the excess width or height is trimmed. The resulting image will match the required dimensions exactly (having sacrificed parts of the image). When resizing without cropping, the original aspect ratio is preserved, and no parts of the image are sacrificed. The image will be resized so both the width and height fit within the designed size — so only one side of the image has to match the required size.

Verify Dimensions?

WPSSO Core Pro can double-check that all images returned by WordPress match the dimensions it requested (as WordPress can return smaller and/or inaccurate images). This also insures that images which are too small and/or tall / wide for social sites are rejected in favour of other larger (and more suitable) images. You can enforce the image dimensions check by enabling the "Enforce Image Dimensions Check" option under the SSO > Advanced > Integration settings tab.

Upscale / Enlarge Images?

WordPress does not upscale / enlarge images — WordPress can only create smaller images from larger full size originals. Upscaled images do not look as sharp or clear, and if enlarged too much, will look fuzzy and unappealing — not something you want to promote on social and search sites. WPSSO Core Pro includes an optional module that allows upscaling of WordPress Media Library images (up to a maximum upscale percentage). For example, a full size image of 100x200px could be upscaled up to 150x300px using a maximum of 50%, but resizing any larger would fail. If you feel strongly that upscaling small images is something you require (instead of uploading larger full size originals), you can enable this feature under the SSO > Advanced > Integration settings tab.

Validation Tools

Submit a few sample Posts, Pages, etc. to the Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger to verify your Open Graph meta tags. A link to the Facebook debugger is available under the Validate tab in the Document SSO metabox (on post, term, and user editing pages). Submitting a URL to the Facebook debugger can also be used to clear Facebook's cache (after clicking the "Fetch new scrape information" button). If you're validating older posts / pages, pre-dating the activation of WPSSO Core, Facebook may continue to use the old meta tag values from its cache even after fetching the new scrape information.

Submit a Post / Page to the Pinterest Rich Pins Validator — note that the validator recognizes known Rich Pin types only (article, recipe, product, etc.) — your home page and WordPress archive pages are generally not valid Rich Pin types. Pinterest Rich Pins are an extension of Open Graph and Schema meta tags, but the Rich Pins Validator can be a little buggy, so double check any errors with the Facebook debugger to make sure they are actual / real errors.

You can also submit URLs to the Google Structured Data Testing Tool — note that Google may suggest adding more complex markup, depending on the document Schema type. WPSSO Core includes all the meta tags social crawlers need, along with Schema markup for Google's Knowledge Graph in the site home page. To express more complex Schema markup you may need to activate the WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on plugin (Free or Pro version), and some Schema types may require additional organization and/or location information from the WPSSO Organization Markup and/or WPSSO Place / Location and Local Business Meta add-on plugins.

Submit index / archive and Post / Page URLs to the W3C Markup Validation Service to verify the HTML of your theme templates. Social and search engine crawlers expect properly coded HTML markup that conforms to current HTML / XHTML standards. If your webpages contain serious HTML markup errors, social and search engine crawlers may be unable to read your meta tags and Schema markup. Report any serious template markup issues with your theme author.


Related information:

Documentation and Resources

WPSSO Core is a powerful tool and social framework that detects images and videos from a variety of sources (attached, featured, content, etc.), along with 3rd party plugins and e-commerce product information. It's worth noting some of the most common questions, to get an idea of what WPSSO Core can do, and some of the issues that may come up. Some of the most relevant / popular frequently asked questions are:

Frequently Asked Questions

BuddyPress Integration

BuddyPress is not well integrated with the WordPress core functions, so there is a specific BuddyPress Integration guide available to help you overcome some of its limitations.

Advanced Documentation and Notes

Comments and suggestions to improve the plugin are always welcome — please open a ticket if you have any ideas you would like to share with us. ;-)

Developers and WebSite Designers

WebSite developers / designers will probably want to consider a few additional settings...

  • Users can hide / unhide the "SSO Image" and "SSO Desc" columns using the Screen Options drop-down tab, but you can also enable / disable these columns globally under the SSO > Advanced > Columns settings tab.

  • If your theme uses custom fields to manage additional image, video URLs (and embed video HTML), product details, etc., you can enter those custom field (aka post meta) names under the SSO > Advanced > Custom Meta settings tab.

  • If you know that your theme header templates do not include any social meta tags, and no other plugin is adding social meta tags to your webpages, then you could disable the "Check for Duplicate Meta Tags" option.

  • WPSSO Core modifies the <head> element attributes to add a Schema item type for the <head> section only. To apply the Schema item type for the whole page instead, change the "<head> Attributes Filter Hook" value from 'head_attributes' to 'language_attributes'.

  • WPSSO Core will auto-detect two known custom post types (CPTs) as an Open Graph and Schema "product" by default — the "product" and "download" custom post types. You can have WPSSO Core detect additional custom post types values as an Open Graph and Schema "product" by using this example filter.

  • WPSSO Core adds the "link rel canonical", "meta name description", and "meta name robots" meta tags to webpage headers by default (enabled / disabled under the SSO > Advanced > Head Tags > SEO / Other tab). All three of these meta tags are disabled automatically if an SEO plugin is detected. The "meta name robots" checkbox also controls the addition of a Robots (noindex, nofollow, noarchive, nosnippet) option on post editing pages — disable the meta tag to exclude the Robots option.

  • WPSSO Core creates several Schema meta tags (name, description, image, etc.) for Google+, along with the WebSite, Organization and Person social JSON-LD markup (on the front page) for Google's Knowledge Graph. If your theme does not include proper Schema markup for your content (aka Microdata markup), you should consider enabling the WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on plugin, which can add complete Schema JSON-LD / SEO markup (BlogPosting, Article, Place, Product, etc.) to webpages for Google.

  • You can simulate the WPSSO Core image upscaling feature, to generate all the necessary success / failure notice messages, without having WordPress actually save the resulting images — define the WPSSO_IMAGE_UPSCALE_TEST constant as true, or hook the 'wpsso_image_upscale_test' filter and return true. Other constants and filters are also available to upscale all images (not just the WPSSO Core image sizes) and adjust the maximum percentage.