New WPSSO Google Merchant Feed Add-on

Just released, the new WPSSO Google Merchant Feed add-on retrieves product information from WPSSO Core Premium and provides maintenance free XML feeds for each WordPress language (aka locale).

There are no add-on settings to configure — the WPSSO Google Merchant Feed add-on automatically retrieves all product information in the language (aka locale) requested.

A supported e-commerce plugin, like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads, is suggested but not required — the WPSSO Google Merchant Feed add-on can also retrieve custom product information entered in the WordPress editor Document SSO metabox. WooCommerce variations and additional WooCommerce product attributes are fully supported.

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SEO Plugin Performance Report for Q4 2021

In June of 2021 an SEO plugin for WordPress boasted they were “one of the fastest SEO plugins” available, so using the Query Monitor plugin, we tested the performance of several SEO plugins to see if their claim was true (spoiler alert, it wasn’t).

In the months since that article, there has been a new version of WordPress and new versions of several SEO plugins, so we were curious to see if the SEO plugin performance results had changed for Q4 2021. The WPSSO Core plugin, for example, has integrated their Schema JSON-LD add-on into their Core plugin, so the features of WPSSO Core have increased significantly – would it also affect its performance?

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WPSSO Core Integrates the Schema JSON-LD Add-on

Years ago, when support for Schema meta tags was added to the WPSSO Core plugin, an add-on was created to express more complex Schema markup using JSON-LD encoding. At the time, most WordPress themes still offered Schema markup using RDFa and Microdata in their templates, and in those cases, adding JSON-LD markup automatically in the webpage would only create duplicate and confusing markup. Google was also one of the few (if not the only) search engine capable of reading JSON-LD markup, and still promoted the use of meta tags, RDFa, and Microdata (read by most social sites and other search engines at the time).

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How Fast Are WordPress SEO Plugins in 2021?

An SEO plugin recently boasted in their change log that they are now “one of the fastest SEO plugins“, which made us wonder – did they really measure their plugin performance before stating this, or is it just wishful thinking on their part? :-)

To see where this SEO plugin’s performance stood in contrast to others, we imported the WP Test data and installed the Query Monitor plugin on a WordPress test site, then proceeded to check the performance of the most popular SEO plugins. The only plugins active were the SEO plugin being tested and the Query Monitor plugin. The “Tiled Gallery” post from the WP Test data was used for testing since it contains both text and images (a featured image was selected and a post excerpt was also entered). After reloading the webpage a few times to prime the PHP opcode cache, the following performance results were noted. Green denotes plugins with the best performance, yellow with average performance, and red with poor performance (relative to each other).

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Is WPSSO the Best Alternative to Yoast SEO for 2021?

The Yoast SEO plugin is currently active on over 5 million sites, which means that its features are also limited by the most common and basic needs of those 5 million site owners — content creators and SEO experts often require more control and fine-tuning than Yoast SEO can deliver.

Before considering any Yoast SEO alternative or enhancement plugins, we should clarify what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is, how a plugin like Yoast SEO helps, and how an alternative plugin like WPSSO Core and its add-ons differ from Yoast SEO.

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Shipping Delivery Time for Google Rich Results

WPSSO + WooCommerce logos.

In September 2020, Google announced support for shipping details in Schema Product Offers and how shipping details would be presented in search results. Adding the new shippingDetails property to your Schema Product markup is especially important if you offer free or low-cost shipping, as this will make your products more appealing in search results.

In October, Surnia Ulula announced support for shipping details in the WPSSO Core Premium plugin, to provide both the Google recommended Schema OfferShippingDetails shippingDestination and shippingRate properties for WooCommerce products. Although these two properties are enough to satisfy Google’s recommended shipping details markup, the Google validator now warns that an additional deliveryTime property is recommended.

The deliveryTime property should be a Schema ShippingDeliveryTime type that includes businessDays, cutoffTime, handlingTime, and transitTime properties. The data for these four properties can be managed with a new WPSSO Shipping Delivery Time for WooCommerce add-on.

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Google Shipping Details for WooCommerce Products

WPSSO + WooCommerce logos.

In September 2020, Google announced support for shipping details in Schema Product Offers and how shipping details would be presented in search results. Adding the new shippingDetails property to your Schema Product markup is especially important if you offer free or low-cost shipping, as this will make your products more appealing in search results.

WPSSO Core Premium can now retrieve shipping information for WooCommerce products, including shipping zones, methods, rates, and locations (continents, countries, states, and postal / zip codes). If you’re using postal / zip code wildcards or ranges for shipping, WPSSO Core Premium can also create the proper PostalCodeRangeSpecification markup suggested by Google.

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A Better ‘pre_get_posts’ Search for WooCommerce

WPSSO + WooCommerce logos.

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 search 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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