Last updated: 10th May 2018
Have you ever seen those Google search listings with the fancy stars or pictures?
You know, the ones that really grab your attention when you’re scrolling through the search results?
They can look like this:
Or sometimes they look like this:
The websites with those juicy eye-magnets aren’t exploiting some loophole in Google. They’re using a very transparent method called schema markup to generate rich snippets (AKA the fanciness!).
If you want to make your content stand out in the same way, I’m going to teach you exactly how to get those same details added to the search results listings for your WordPress site.Here's how to add rich snippets to your WordPress websiteClick To Tweet
What are schema and rich snippets?
Schema and rich snippets are closely tied, but slightly different, things. Essentially, schema markup, or structured data markup as Google calls it, is behind-the-scenes code that makes it easier for search engines to understand the context and structure of your content. This markup style is maintained at schema.org, which is sponsored by Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex.
For example, schema markup can tell search engines that that number is a 5-star review rating and that other number is the price of an item in USD.
As smart as search engines have become, they still benefit from being able to rely on these contextual clues when parsing your content.
So, after Google or another search crawls your site that’s marked up with schema, search engines can use that data to create the rich snippets that humans actually see in the search results.
These rich snippets will depend on your exact content. For reviews, they’ll include star ratings, for eCommerce products they’ll include prices and availability, and so on.
If you want an easy way to remember the difference, think of it like this:
- Schema markup is for search robots
- Rich snippets are for humans
But to get to the humans, you have to talk to the robots first!
Benefits of schema and rich snippets
Ok, just from your own experiences, you probably realize how attention-grabbing rich snippets are. But, singular experiences don’t always tell the full story. So what does the data say?
Search Engine Land put together a great list of case studies looking at the effect of implementing schema/structured data markup. You can dig into the individual studies, but generally, people have noticed up to a 30% increase in organic CTR after implementing schema markup.
It’s not just about CTR, either. The rich snippets generated from your schema markup can also:
- Help searchers understand your content better by adding breadcrumbs
- Give your content a chance to show up in Google’s Knowledge Graph (those big automated summaries at the top of some search results!)
- Add a site search box below your listing
- Ensure your business listing details are correct, which is especially important for local SEO
All that aside, schema markup is just plain smart. It makes it easier for search engines to parse your content, which should always be something you’re striving towards. And with Google and all the other major search engines pushing for its adoption, you can be sure it’s not going away anytime soon.
Now that you know the what and the why, let’s get into the how.
First, I’ll show you how using a premium plugin called WP Review Pro. While the name suggests WP Review Pro is exclusively focused on star rating rich snippets, you can actually use this plugin to add schema markup for everything from recipes to movies.
But for all of the schema types, there’s still a focus on the “review” aspect. So just in case your site has zero focus on reviews, I’ll also give you a second tutorial using a free plugin called All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets.
Both plugins still add a “summary” box to your content. But All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets’ is much smaller and less attention-grabbing.
At the end of this post, I’ll also dig a bit more into the question of which rich snippets plugin you should choose for your site.
How to add schema markup to WordPress with WP Review Pro
WP Review Pro is a premium plugin from MyThemeShop that, in addition to adding schema markup, also gives you stylish review boxes complete with eye-catching CTAs.
You’ll have full control over the schema type for the “thing” that you’re reviewing and you can easily customize the criteria you use to rate your products.
There is also a limited free version, but it lacks the detailed control of the Pro version. So if you’re serious, I recommend just spending the $39 for the pro version (I’ll be using the pro version for this tutorial).
Just remember – no matter what type of schema markup you’re using, WP Review Pro always includes some sort of “Review box”.
Configuring WP Review Pro
Once you install and activate WP Review Pro, your first step is to configure the plugin’s settings. Then, you’ll actually add your schema markup in the regular WordPress Editor.
To configure WP Review Pro, head to Settings → WP Review Pro. On the General tab of the Global area, you’ll configure some nitty-gritty details about third-party reviews from your users. If you’re not planning to allow your visitors to rate products, you can ignore this.
Otherwise, I recommend choosing WP Review for the Comments Template. The rest, you can configure according to your desired functionality:
If you hop over to the Styling tab, you can configure the colors for your review box, as well as its width (as a percentage). The colors are pretty self-explanatory – and the width refers to the width of your post’s content area, not the width of your whole website.
So if you make the width 50%, your review box will take up 50% of the post area.
If you make your width less than 100%, you’ll also be able to choose whether to make it left or right aligned:
And finally, the Defaults tab lets you set, well…the defaults. You’ll be able to customize all of these settings on a per-post basis, so you’re not locking yourself into anything here. These options are just to help you save time.
For example, if you want most of your reviews to:
- Show the review box at the top of your content
- Be about products
- Include a feature called “Ease of Use”
- Allow comment ratings
Then you’d configure your defaults like below to save time:
And that’s it for configuration. Now it’s time to add some schema markup to a post and start getting those rich snippets!
Adding schema markup to content with WP Review Pro
Alrighty…now that you’re all configured, you’re ready to start adding schema markup to your content. When you go to create or edit a post, you’ll notice a new Review meta box underneath the WordPress Editor:
At first…there’s not much there. But if you change the drop down from No Review to Star (or one of the other review types), you’ll get a whole heap of new options:
These boxes are where the magic happens.
There’s a lot for you to configure, but the most important option is to choose your Reviewed Item Schema. When you click on that drop down, you’ll see a big ‘ole list of schema markup types:
The other options will change depending on the types that you choose. For example, if you switch from Product to Recipe, you’ll suddenly see the boxes for things like cooking time and recipe yield:
Fill in as much of the schema data as you have available. You don’t need to fill in everything. But if there’s a specific rich snippet that you want, you should fill in enough information for Google to get what it needs.
Further down, you can give your review item an actual rating in the Review Item box. You can either just give one overall number or break down the review by specific features:
One nice thing above that is the Display reviewed item schema data check box. If you check it, WP Review Pro will display all the relevant schema data for the item you’re reviewing. So if you added schema markup for a recipe’s cooking time, WP Review Pro will actually show that on the front-end (I’ll show you an example of this in a second).
Below that, in the Review Links box, you can add a link to the item you’re reviewing. If your goal is to drive affiliate sales to a product, this will create a nice eye-catching button (or buttons if you add multiple links). But you can also just leave it blank if you don’t want a link:
And finally, you can give your review a summary that will display in the review box, as well as choose whether or not to enable User Reviews:
Putting it all together…
Put everything that I just showed you together and you should end up with something like this when you publish your post…
You get a stylish review box complete with as much, or as little, additional information as you’d like. Everything is marked up with proper schema markup and ready to get you your coveted rich snippets.
But, I certainly understand if you don’t want to use such a bold review box on all the content you’d like to add schema markup to. In which case, you should keep on reading…
How to add schema markup with All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
If you don’t like the idea of having a review box on all of your content, All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets offers a more lightweight method to add schema markup to your WordPress content. Instead of eye-catching review boxes, it adds an unobtrusive schema box to the end of posts.
Unlike WP Review Pro, All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets’ box isn’t really designed to offer detailed reviews or CTA buttons. Instead, it’s just there to follow Google’s requirement that sites display the marked up data to visitors.
Oh, and it’s also 100% free. That never hurts, right?
Currently, it supports 8 different schema content types:
- Software Application
Below, I’ll give you a quick tutorial on how you can use All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets to add schema markup to your site.
Configuring All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Because All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets is listed at WordPress.org, you can install it directly from your WordPress dashboard. Then, head to the new Rich Snippets tab to configure it.
In the Configuration tab, you can configure the various labels that display in your snippets boxes (this will make more sense in a second). You don’t need to change anything here unless you want to:
In the Customization box, you can also change the colors of your box:
And now you’re ready to add some schema markup!
Adding schema markup with All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Just like WP Review Pro, you’ll add your schema markup directly from the WordPress Editor. You’ll have a new Configure Rich Snippet meta box. If you want to add schema markup to your content, you just need to select the relevant schema type from the drop down:
For example, selecting Recipe will give you all of the boxes that apply to a recipe:
Like WP Review Pro, you don’t have to fill out every box. But make sure you give Google enough information for the rich snippet.
Then, when you publish your post, you’ll see a small rich snippet box at the end with all of your schema content and markup:
Important – Always validate your markup!
Here’s something to really pay attention to:
You should never just enable one of these plugins and automatically assume everything is perfect. You need to make sure your content is marked up right.
Thankfully, that’s super easy because Google created a tool to do exactly that.
It’s called the Structured Data Testing Tool. All you need to do is enter your URL and hit RUN TEST to check if there are any issues with your schema markup:
Which schema markup plugin is better?
I think your choice should depend on one key factor:
How user-friendly and conversion friendly do you want the box that displays your schema markup to be?
For example, if you’re writing product reviews to earn affiliate commissions, you should definitely go with WP Review Pro because it’s going to offer you a much better conversion rate.
That’s because it’s designed to not only add schema markup to your content, but also create a user friendly review summary complete with call to action buttons to help drive clicks.
On the other hand, if your only concern is getting that schema markup for rich snippets, then you can stick with All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets. The snippet boxes aren’t especially attractive, nor will they help you boost the conversion rate on your reviews. But if all you care about is getting rich snippets, then All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets is all you really need.
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