A Setup Guide for WPSSO

WPSSO Core works great "right out of the box" — 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 rates. ;-)

If you use WooCommerce or BuddyPress, don't forget to review the Documentation and Resources section bellow for additional integration notes. ;-)

Business Social Accounts (Optional)

If you haven't already done so, create a Facebook Page and Twitter account for your website / business. You can enter all 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).

Related information:

Author Social Accounts (Optional)

Ask your authors to enter their Facebook 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 social profile markup for Google.

Related information:

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.

Review 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.

Do not forget to submit a few example posts / pages to the validation tools mentioned bellow. Some markup formats, like Pinterest Rich Pins, must be requested / enabled when submitting an example post / page to their validation tool.

Schema vs Google Rich Results

Schema (aka "Schema.org") is a collaborative, community lead standard for structured data. Schema is classified by type, each associated with a set of properties. The types are arranged in a hierarchy and the core vocabulary consists of 598 types, 862 properties, and 114 enumeration values. The Schema vocabulary can be used with many different encodings, including RDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD. WPSSO Core adds Schema properties to webpages as meta tags for Pinterest, and other social and search crawlers that can read Schema markup.

Google Rich Results are a set of minimum requirements for some Schema types, which includes specific images dimensions (example, a 600x60px banner "logo" image for article publishers), limited selections for some properties (example, product conditions), specific Schema types for some property relations, and much more. Google Rich Results require several layers of Schema markup (aka a multi-dimensional array) that can be expressed using JSON-LD scripts in the webpage header or footer (preferred by Google), or with RDFa or Microdata markup in theme templates (older standard).

If your theme templates do not include RDFa or Microdata markup for Google Rich Results, you should enable the WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on. And if your theme templates include incomplete or incorrect RDFa or Microdata markup, you should enable both the WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on and the WPSSO Strip Schema Microdata add-on (to remove the incomplete or incorrect markup from your templates).

Not sure if your theme templates support Google Rich Results? Submit an example post / page URL from your site (not the home page) to the Google Structured Data Testing Tool, and compare the results before / after enabling the WPSSO JSON add-on. Between checks, don't forget to clear the cache of any caching plugin or service you may use, along with clearing the WPSSO cache in the SSO > Tools settings page.

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 specific 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 tab.

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 and Search Image Sizes

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 can double-check that all images requested from WordPress match the desired dimensions. This insures that images (which are too small, tall, or wide) for social sites are rejected in favour of larger and more suitable images. You can enable / disable the image dimensions check using the "Enforce Image Size Checks" option under the SSO > General > General Settings > Images 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 Premium 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 the SSO > Advanced > Integration > Upscale Media Library Images option.

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 an example 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. If you haven't already requested / enabled Rich Pins support from Pinterest for your website, you can request Rich Pin support when validating an example Post / Page from your site (that uses a known Rich Pin type).

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 sites 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, 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

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. ;-)

BuddyPress Integration

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

WooCommerce Integration

The WooCommerce Integration notes are useful to include additional product information in meta tags and Schema markup, like the product brand, color, condition, material, size, etc.

The WooCommerce plugin provides incomplete Schema markup for Google's Product Rich Results -- luckily the WPSSO Core Premium plugin and its WPSSO JSON Premium add-on provides extensive, complete, and correct Facebook Product meta tags and Schema product markup for Google, including additional product images, product variations, product attributes (brand, color, condition, EAN, dimensions, GTIN-8/12/13/14, ISBN, material, MPN, size, SKU, weight, etc), product reviews, product ratings, sale start / end dates, sale prices, pre-tax prices, VAT prices, and much, much more (see an example test product).

Developers and WebSite Designers

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

  • 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.

  • If your theme uses custom fields to manage additional image, video URLs, embed video HTML, product details, etc., you can enter their custom field names under the SSO > Advanced > Custom Meta tab.

  • 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 this meta tag to prevent the Robots option from being shown on post editing pages.

  • WPSSO Core creates Schema WebSite, Organization, and Person social JSON-LD markup in the front page for Google's Knowledge Graph. If your theme does not include proper Schema markup for your post / page 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 to your webpages (Schema Article, Place, Product, etc.).

  • 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 in your wp-config.php file to simulate image upscaling. Other constants and filters are also available to upscale all images (not just the WPSSO Core image sizes) and adjust the maximum percentage.