A Better ‘pre_get_posts’ Search for WooCommerce

WPSSO and WooCommerce

I recently wrote a plugin to provide missing GTIN, GTIN-8, GTIN-12 (UPC), GTIN-13 (EAN), GTIN-14, ISBN, MPN, Depth, and Volume values for WooCommerce Products and Variations. As part of that plugin, I extended the WordPress search feature to include metadata from WooCommerce products (and their variations). The standard way to extend the WordPress search feature is to hook the “pre_get_posts” action and modify the WP_Query to include additional posts / products in search results. There are some serious drawbacks to doing this – with or without WooCommerce – but especially with WooCommerce.

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GTIN, UPC, EAN, ISBN, MPN for WooCommerce

WPSSO and WooCommerce

There are several ways to create additional product information in WooCommerce – the most common is by creating Product Attributes, either as an Attribute taxonomy term or individually for each product, and then using those Product Attributes for variations. This is great for selectable variation attributes like Color, Size, etc., but does not work well for unique / singular information like GTIN, UPC, EAN, ISBN, and MPN (Manufacturer Part Number). What is required instead is a different way to manage this unique / singular information on the product editing page, which is then shown on the WooCommerce purchase page under the “Additional information” tab.

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Google Schema for COVID-19 and More Free Features!

On March 17th 2020, in response to COVID-19 self-isolation trends, Google published new Schema Event properties for virtual, postponed, and cancelled events.

The latest Premium version of WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup provides several customization options for these new Schema Event properties in the Document SSO metabox.

This past month, the Free / Standard versions of WPSSO Core and its WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on have also received several new features — most notably, almost all customization options in the Document SSO metabox are now available in the Free / Standard version of WPSSO Core (except those options that require an integration feature in the Premium version to implement, like the video service APIs), and the Free / Standard version of WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup now includes all 495 supported Schema types!

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LinkedIn Now Prefers oEmbed Data Instead of Open Graph

When you share a URL on a social site like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., that social site crawls the webpage in background to read the meta tags and structured data markup (aka Open Graph meta tags, Twitter Card meta tags, Schema JSON-LD, Schema microdata, etc.).

Social sites like LinkedIn generally require an image, a title, and a description to display a share. A few social sites like Pinterest and Twitter can also display additional information for products, recipes, mobile apps, videos, and more.

Until recently, the LinkedIn crawler read only Open Graph meta tags to get the webpage image, title, and description, but recently they’ve started reading oEmbed data as well, and if oEmbed data is available, LinkedIn prefers those values over the Open Graph values.

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Google Limits ‘aggregateRating’ and ‘review’ Properties

Google has recently updated their Review snippet structured data guidelines to limit the Schema ‘aggregateRating’ and ‘review’ properties to only a select handful of approved Schema types.

The upcoming release of the WPSSO JSON v2.10.0 add-on will follow these new Review snippet structured data guidelines, instead of conforming to the official Schema standard, as the current version does.

If you notice a “not a known valid target type for the itemReviewed property” error in Google structured data validator results, the ‘aggregateRating’ and/or ‘review’ may be included in a non-approved Schema type.

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Schema Article AMP 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9 images for Google

The latest release of WPSSO Core v6.3.0 and the WPSSO JSON v2.9.0 add-on include new image sizes in Schema Article AMP markup for Google.

A few months ago, Google quietly updated their AMP structured data guidelines to suggest that:

For best results, provide multiple high-resolution images with the following aspect ratios: 16×9, 4×3, and 1×1.

Quote from Google’s AMP with structured data

Since WPSSO Core and its add-ons already use a variety of image sizes for different markup standards (ie. Open Graph, Twitter Cards, Schema, etc.), it was fairly easy to add support for Google’s new Article AMP image sizes. You can find the new images sizes, along with all other WPSSO image sizes, under the WordPress Settings > SSO Image Sizes settings page.

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[Solution] Sharper Thumbnails for Facebook, Google, Open Graph, Pinterest, Schema, SEO, Twitter, etc.

Pop quiz! Did you know?

1) WordPress creates thumbnails automatically?

WordPress uses the larger / full-size image you upload to create smaller thumbnail images (see your WordPress Settings > Media page for the complete list of sizes).

For example, a photo gallery page will show small thumbnails of the larger / full-size images you uploaded. Themes will often include the featured image you selected in a predefined image size and location in the webpage.

2) All images must be sharpened after resizing?

This is such a standard process that Photoshop, for example, automatically applies a default amount of sharpening when resizing any image — you must specifically uncheck an option in Photoshop to avoid sharpenning an image during the resize process!

3) WordPress does not sharpen resized images?

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[Solution] Better Schema for WooCommerce

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and/or Google’s Search Console for site owners may report the following errors for the default Schema JSON-LD markup offered by WooCommerce:

  • The aggregateRating field is recommended.
  • The brand field is recommended.
  • The review field is recommended.
  • This Product is missing a global identifier (e.g. isbn, mpn or gtin8).

I’ve written a simple Step-by-step Guide for WooCommerce and WPSSO that explains these issues, and offers a quick and easy solution.

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