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!
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.
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.
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?
WooCommerce manages information on product Availability (aka Stock), Prices, SKU, etc., but additional WooCommerce product attributes must be created to provide more product information for Google.
The WPSSO Core Pro plugin (and its WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup Pro add-on), for example, include a variety of WooCommerce product attribute values in its Schema markup, including the product Brand, Color, Condition, EAN, GTIN-8, GTIN-12, GTIN-13, GTIN-14, ISBN, Material, MPN (aka Manufacturer Part Number), Size, and Gender.
All social and SEO plugins – except one that I know of – use the full size image URL from the WordPress media library when adding image meta tags to the webpage (ie.
twitter:image, etc.), and/or adding images to Schema JSON-LD markup for the webpage. This can be problematic for several reasons…
- The image resolution may be too small.
- The image resolution may be too large and the file size too big.
- The aspect ratio (width or height) may exceed a maximum value.
- The image displayed on the social / search site is center cropped.
Most social and SEO plugins can use a post’s featured image, or offer a way to select a custom social image, but do little else to make sure an image is suitable for social sharing – they assume the article author / editor is aware of each social site’s image requirements (minimum and maximum image resolution, aspect ratio, and maximum image file size) and has selected an appropriate image. For example, Facebook requires that all images be larger than 200x200px, preferably 600x315px, or (even better) 1200x630px for high-resolution displays like retina laptops and phones, have an aspect ratio no wider / taller than 3:1, and less than 8 MB in size. Twitter and Google also have their own requirements, which are different than Facebook’s.
Using a social or SEO plugin that creates resized images from the originals you upload, and checks those resized images to make sure they conform to the requirements of each social site, is only part of a complete Quality Assurance solution. All too often, themes also include a few basic social meta tags in their templates (they shouldn’t, but they often do), that prevent social crawlers from reading your webpage meta tags correctly – some meta tags should never be duplicated (Facebook, for example, can reject all meta tags because of a single duplicate), or the theme may include the full size featured image before all other meta tags, so the wrong image will be used for social shares (this is fairly common). If your social or SEO plugin does not check for duplicate meta tags, you may never realize that you have a problem.
There are several ways to add Schema aggregate rating markup, but before we discuss the “How”, let’s review what a Schema aggregate rating value actually is. ;-)
The Schema.org website defines the Schema aggregateRating property value as:
The overall rating, based on a collection of reviews or ratings, of the item.
Two things to keep in mind about this:
- That an aggregate rating value is calculated from several customer ratings / reviews for the current webpage content — WooCommerce product reviews, for example.
- Google prefers, and often double-checks, that Schema markup reflects the current content of the webpage. So, if you want to manually set aggregate rating and/or review values in your Schema markup, make sure that these customer ratings and reviews also appear in your webpage content (ie. that these ratings and reviews are visible).