NGFB, WPSSO + Ext. Plugins — Variable Name Change

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NGFB version 7.7.5 and WPSSO version 2.7.5 have been released — The code has been refactored to rename the $addons array variable to $mods in order to clarify that all ‘modules’ are included in the Pro version. Added extra validation, when checking for duplicate meta tags, to remove our own meta tags in cases where a caching plugin or webserver is badly configured (ie. query arguments are ignored or removed).

WPSSO AM 1.1.2, WPSSO PLM 1.1.2, and WPSSO SSB 1.1.4 have also been released to use the new $mods variable.

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NGFB, WPSSO — Max Labels for Product Cards

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NGFB version 7.7.4 and WPSSO version 2.7.4 have been released — Both plugins include a new “Product Card Maximum Labels” option to select either 2 (default) or 4 (deprecated) Twitter Card product labels. A new NgfbProHeadTwittercard::insert_prod_label() method has been added to the Pro versions, allowing custom filters to modify product label meta tags more easily.

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NGFB, WPSSO, SSB — New Cropping Area Options

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NGFB version 7.7.3.1, WPSSO version 2.7.3.1, and WPSSO SSB version 1.1.3 have been released — All three plugins include a new cropping area selection for Image Dimension options. The cropping area selection is only shown when viewing ‘All Plugin Options’, and only if you are using WordPress 3.9 and up (previous WordPress versions did not support cropping areas). The ‘Social Preview’ feature in the Social Settings metabox has been updated to use the first Open Graph image, instead of creating a different image size specifically for that feature.

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Social SEO: WordPress SEO vs WPSSO

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In the distant past (a few years ago), most website visitors came from Google Search results. Plugins designed to optimize your content for Google Search became increasingly popular, and part of many “must have” plugin lists. Recently though, that trend has been shifting, as the percentage of visitors coming from social websites is increasing — often matching and sometimes out-pacing — the number of visitors from Google Search. Traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugins, like WordPress SEO by Yoast for example, have adapted to this change by stepping away from their designed purpose, and re-using the SEO content they gather to generate additional meta tags for social websites.

What happens when someone shares a URL on a social website like Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

To understand how social websites describe a webpage, and how you can influence its display, you have to know a little bit of what happens in the background. When someone shares a URL on a social website (either by using a “share” button or copy-pasting a URL), the social website then connects back to the shared URL to gather information about its content, such as its title, description, main image, etc. If no structured information is available within the webpage (aka schema markup and/or meta tags), the social websites must “take a guess” — and this is where things can get a little weird. Without proper guidance, social websites may use a sidebar advertisement as the main image, menu or banner text as a description, etc.

Social Sharing Optimization (SSO) plugins like WPSSO, and some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugins like WordPress SEO, can provide structured information about the webpage for social websites — providing them with a specific title, short description / summary, one or more images, embedded videos, product information (price, color, size), etc. In the case of Twitter, you can even describe the content as a photo gallery, and provide several images for it to expand the tweet as a Gallery Card (just one of seven available Twitter Card types).

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