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5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

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Not all website elements are created equal.

Some matter – and some matter a ton.

So what are your site’s standout elements? Here are five:

  • Customer reviews.
  • Ratings.
  • Product pricing.
  • Recipe ingredients (if your website is about cooking).
  • Your company’s operating hours.

It’s pretty obvious to you how important these elements are to your site.

But how can you make search engines understand that?

The answer is with schema markup and rich snippets.

What Are Schema Markup & Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets are the extra pieces of information that appear around your website’s link.

Schema markup is HTML code used to create rich snippets.

Take a look at this example.

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

Let’s say you want to buy a Darth Maul toy lightsaber.

You go on Google and type “Star Wars Darth Maul Lightsaber.”

The photo above shows you the results.

As you can see, you don’t only get links to the different websites selling the toy.

You also get a bunch of additional information to help you decide which link to click.

Amazon shows you star ratings and reviews.

Entertainment Earth includes the toy’s price, length, height, and weight.

Valuable pieces of information, right?

These are your rich snippets.

And if you add them to your site, you’ll naturally boost it higher on Google’s SERPs.

How Rich Snippets Boost Your SEO Ranking

Technically, rich snippets don’t directly affect your site’s ranking on Google’s SERPs.

However, they can still get you ranked higher on Google.

For instance, let’s say you want to bake a Black Forest cake for a loved one’s birthday.

You go on Google and type “Black Forest Cake Recipe.”

Here are the results you get:

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

As a busy cake-lover, which recipe would you most likely click? One that is rated 5 stars and takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to bake? Or one that is rated 4.9 stars and takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to bake?

Naturally, you’d choose the first option.

The star rating, votes, and description (all rich snippets) encourage you to go to livforcake.com for your recipe.

This is how your rich snippets increase your click-through rate.

And the higher your click-through rate, the more likely Google will notice you.

So how do you add rich snippets to your site?

The Top 5 Schema Plugins for WordPress

The great news is if you’re using WordPress, you don’t have to touch a single line of code.

Simply choose a schema plugin, and creating rich snippets will be easy.

Here are the top five marketers love.

1. Schema Pro

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

Schema Pro makes adding rich snippets to your site fast and easy.

In a matter of minutes, you can add your preferred configurations to all your pages and posts.

Schema Pro supports 13 useful schema types. These are:

  • Reviews (music, movies, products, books, etc.).
  • Services.
  • Recipes (you can create your own attractive schema rich card that’ll boost your click-through rate).
  • Software applications (add reviews and star ratings to give your applications a boost).
  • Video objects.
  • Books.
  • People.
  • Products (give searchers detailed information on what you’re selling).
  • Local businesses.
  • Articles (news, blogs, etc.).
  • Courses.
  • Job postings.
  • Events.

Price: $79/month or $249/lifetime

2. All in One Schema Rich Snippets

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

All in One Schema Rich Snippets is one of the simplest plugins you can find for schema markup.

Although it’s simple, it provides you with snippets for reviews, ratings, events, articles, and software applications.

One great thing about this plugin is you can use it for free.

It doesn’t have a ton of fancy designs to select from, but it does have the basics you need for rich snippets on your site.

The downside of using this plugin is it doesn’t support automation.

You’ll have to add schema markup to each page of your site manually.

What’s interesting about All in One Schema Rich Snippets is it’s made by the same maker as Schema Pro.

In fact, its dashboard heavily advertises Schema Pro.

So how to choose between the two?

Use Schema Pro if you’re running a bigger online business.

The price will be worth it for the automation, unique designs, and schema markup support for local businesses.

If you’re just starting out and want to try something for free?

Go with All in One Schema Rich Snippets.

Price: Free

3. Schema and Structured Data for WP & AMP

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

Schema and Structured Data for WP & AMP supports 33 schema types.

Three unique ones include:

  • How To (list the steps in your how-to article to be featured in your rich snippets)
  • Q&A (if your article is in a question and answer format, you can feature the most relevant questions and answers in your rich snippets)
  • Audio object (add details about audio you upload like date of upload, length, etc. to your rich snippets)

The best part? If the schema type you’re looking for isn’t part of the 33 this plugin offers, you can request a customized type!

Here are other features this plugin offers:

  • Reviews pulled from over 75 sites.
  • Your own customized review rating boxes with schema markup.
  • Compatibility with other schema plugins like SEO Pressor and WP SEO Schema.

Price: Personal: $99, Webmaster: $149, Freelancer: $299, Agency: $499

4. WP Review Plugin

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

If you run an ecommerce site, WP Review is a good plugin option for you.

This is because its main focus is increasing your consumer interaction with product and service ratings and reviews.

If you’re a blogger, this plugin is also great because you can use it to rank and rate tools, software, recipes, or anything else you review.

Here are the top features you’ll get with WP Review:

  • Rating systems using points, percentage, or stars.
  • Unlimited color changes for individual reviews.
  • Lightweight, won’t slow your site down.
  • Supported by most WordPress themes (both free and paid).
  • 2 templates for review boxes to choose from.

WP review is easy to install and configure, making schema markup simple for the least tech-savvy person.

Price: Personal (one site): $49/year or $236/lifetime, Developer (more than one site): $149/year or $596/lifetime, Agency (affiliate marketer): $299/year or $1,196/lifetime.

5. WP SEO Structured Data Schema

5 Essential Schema Plugins for WordPress

WP SEO Structured Data Schema is a free plugin that contains all the basics you need for schema markup and rich snippets.

It supports schema types including organizations, local businesses, videos, events, and ratings.

You can also add geo coordinates, people’s names, logos, business descriptions, working hours, and more.

Price: Free

How to Find the Schema Plugin for WordPress That Fits You

Schema markup and rich snippets are essential to your site SEO.

They make your site look attractive.

They encourage people to click your link.

They help you stand out in the sea of other websites.

So how can you choose the one that’s right for you?

It’s simple.

All you must do is determine your needs.

Do you have a simple site that doesn’t require detailed rich snippets? Go for a free, user-friendly plugin.

Are you an affiliate marketer with five websites and blogs? An investment in a plugin with the latest features will be worthwhile.

As soon as you’ve chosen and installed the right plugin, you’re ready to use a powerful tool that’ll make your click-through rate soar.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, December 2019

Searchenginejournal.com

GOOGLE

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

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Student writing on computer

With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

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Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon

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Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

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