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 me 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, I 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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GTIN, UPC, EAN, ISBN, MPN for WooCommerce

WPSSO + WooCommerce logos.

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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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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