I’ve just put the finishing touches on TWO major new features that will ship with next update of ClickBump Theme (Version 6.5) - Google Rich Snippets and Google Search Preview.
I’m already running the 6.5 theme (in private beta) here on ClickBump.com and on the Rdio Test Drive site.
If you are not familiar with the terms “Rich Snippets“, “Structured Data“, or “Schema.org” don’t worry about it. I’m going to boil it all down to something we can all understand – Search Results.
Far too many of the SEOs I read tend to make this way too complicated. And the examples at schema.org are not much help. Many of them don’t even validate in the Google Structure Data Testing Tool - aka The Rich Snippets Testing Tool.
These fancy terms all refer to to the same thing: a data vocabulary that can be used to mark up web pages to help better classify them for search. More importantly for web publishers, your pages get special highlighted search results listings like this:
If you have been running the ClickBump theme for WordPress (version 5.0 or better), you’ve had the ability to add “authorship” markup to your site pages and posts in order to get highlighted search results like that for some time now.
But now with automated rich snippets & star ratings…
With version 6.5, I’ve automated the schema.org markup (no need to wade through endless form fields to add data that’s already part of your post) and added the option to apply one-click star ratings to your reviews. For example, you can assign a reviewed item a star rating (from 1 to 5, including half points like 3.5, 4.5, etc). Those listings will look like this:
With ClickBump 6.5, getting search results listings like this could not be simpler. To turn a standard post into a review with star rating, you simply click on the star rating pulldown menu and choose a rating.
That’s it. Its that simple.
If you’ve assigned a star rating to the post, Google will index it as a special “Review” post, complete with your star rating and Google+ profile pic next to your review listing.
Why is this better than using a plugin? For one, ClickBump theme already maps your post titles, post/page excerpt, author title, post date, etc to your page as metadata. There’s no need to duplicate this metadata just to tell the schema markup engine something it should already know.
So we don’t.
We default in all of that data and pass it along to the schema engine so that you don’t have to duplicate efforts. Just create the post, give it a title or custom title, add a post excerpt and a rating, you’re done. You don’t have to take extra steps to tell a plugin what your post is about, that you are the author, that the post was written today, etc. etc. That’s madness!
What about articles & posts that are not reviews?
ClickBump automatically marks up your “standard” posts & articles up in the proper “Article” schema as outlined at schema.org. For example, If you have not assigned a star rating to the post, ClickBump automatically marks it up as an “Article“, with the proper schema to insure your posts validate in the Rich Snippets Testing Tool. You don’t have to do a thing other than continue writing great content.
This assumes you’ve already added yourself as a contributor to the site under your Google+ Profile page. If you haven’t done that, head there now and click on “Profile > About > Links > Edit” and add your site to the list of sites you are a “Contributor to“.
This insures that your page provides Google (and other search engines that support schema markup) with all the necessary markup code they need to properly classify your article.
Providing structured data in this manner insures your pages get maximum exposure in search results.
That’s it. No messing with complex schema markup or having to know all of the complicated jargon at schema.org. And no fussing with complex, memory hogging plugins. The Clickbump theme does it all for you under the hood.
Why not just use a plugin for this?
The core benefits of using an integrated schema tool like ClickBump vs using a plugin are two-fold:
- First, the structured data markup is applied to the semantically clean html5 tags that are already in your markup. There are no extra div containers added to your markup just to support schema. Plugins have no choice but to add extra wrapper divs and spans all around your content.
- The second advantage is that everything just works. No worrying over conflicts. And its super easy to implement. Just one click if you want to classify a post as a review with star ratings. That’s it.
I tested dozens of plugins before I decided to bake this functionality into the core theme and I can tell you, they are way over the top in the amount of data they require you to input – they make my head hurt!
Adding star ratings to your posts could not be easier to do. I’ve added a “Google Search Preview” panel to the post editor to allow you to see your search results listing before it appears in Google!
See Your Search Results Before they Appear on Google!
What about all the other Article types like Event, Person, Product, Recipe etc?
Google currently applies rich snippet markup to numerous article types like Event, Person, Product, Recipe, Organization, etc. However, for the purposes of highlighting your search results, they all look exactly the same as the standard “Article” markup in search results listings – with the exception of Review, Recipe and Event.
When and if Google rolls out a new update that expands this to provide noticeable differences in highlighted search listings for various document types, it may make sense to enhance the markup selector tools in the theme in order to classify your posts into one of these microtargeted document types.
Currently, I believe Article and Review offer the most bang for the buck, and I’m open to your suggestions for additional types you will be using.
Hit the Submit button in the comments below and let me know what you think.