AP Schema is a plugin I have developed to help out Internet Marketers with Rich Snippets on review sites.
For those of you who aren’t aware, you can use Schema (also known as microformats – see www.schema.org) to add extra information to your Google SERPs results. This is especially useful for review type sites as you can add a star rating that will be seen in the serach results page!
As a lot of people don’t have a coding background and find all this quite off putting, I have developed AP Schema, which will add a review box to a post or page of your choosing, and will also add the stars to the SERPs results for you (so long as you have a Google Plus account).
The plugin is available at the WordPress Plugin Directory.
- Settings Step 1 – Your name
- Settings Step 2 – Google ID
- Settings Step 3 – Pick a star
- Settings Step 4 – Styling
- Settings Step 5 – Save everything
- Settings Step 6 – How to include a review box
- Known bugs
Installing the plugin is really easy as it is the same as all others.
Either search for the plugin via your WordPress dashboard and install and activate, or download the plugin to your computer from the WordPress Plugin Directory and upload and activate in your Wordpress dashboard. You can also upload the plugin files directly to your plugin folder on your server, should you wish to.
It is very important to check the settings out first before you add any review boxes to your posts/pages.
Step 1 – Your Name.
Straightforward one, simply add your name, nickname or pseudonym here. This will be displayed on all the review boxes, and is important as it will link to your Google plus page.
Step 2 – Google ID
Really important! Without this the SERPs stars will not appear. Simply go to your Google plus account, click your own photo. In the URL/address bar of the browser you will see a lot of numbers in a row. That is your Google plus ID. Simply copy and paste it to the plugin option field.
Also important! You will need to make sure that your website is linked to your Google plus account as well. Again, without this the stars in the SERPs will not work. You can read up how to do this via Googles own help system here.
Step 3 – Pick a Star
Either pick one of the pre-installed star options, or if you have your own images you can upload them to wordpress and add the urls to the fields. Note that you will need 3 images, a full star, a half empty star and an empty star.
Currently the plugin displays in text whatever number you put between 0 and 5. The stars however are only in full or half. So if your rating is 4.1 it will show 4 stars, if its 4.8 it will show 5 stars, as the plugin rounds it up or down appropriately.
Step 4 – Styling
The plugin comes with a base style, which isn’t exactly beautiful, but will get the job done. Due to there being a million and one different themes and layouts out there, I have added a lot of options where you can change the styles from the dashboard. (Note, styles can be overridden using style.css as well).
Styles the overall review box.
Width: How wide you want the box to be. This can be in pixels (px) or percent (%). On average most main content areas for posts are about 600px wide, but obviously differes from theme to theme.
Background colour: Changes the colour of the box background, so it can either fit in with the theme or stand out from it. There is a link to Hex colour codes in the plugin to help you find the right one. A hex code is formatted #ffffff (pound/hash sign and 6 letters and/or numbers), and needs to be entered as such.
Background border: The review box by default has a border to it. You can change the border by entering css code, e.g. #000000 thin solid, will create a black thin solid border. If you enter red medium dashed, it will create a red medium thickness dashed border. To remove the border completely, simply enter the word none. More information on CSS borders.
Background padding: This will add space between the box content and the border/box edge. The format is 2px 2px 2px 2px which means top right bottom left, in that order. So adding 10px 5px 15px 5px will add 10px to the Top, 5px to the Right, 15px to the Bottom and 5px to the Left.
Background margin: Margin is similar to padding but this adds space between the border/box edge and everything around it. The format is exactly the same as padding.
Invert Image and Author info? By default the author box with the title and author info is on the left, and the product image thumbnail is on the right. Selecting this swaps them over.
Rounded corners? Turns rounded corners off or on.
The Author Box
Adds style just to the Title and Author info area.
Author box width: Normally you can leave this alone, but if your content area is a bit smaller than normal and you product image is dropping down, then add a width here. I would recommend trying around the 60-70% mark, but of course play with it until its how you want it.
Adds styling to the stars area.
Stars padding: By default the stars are centred in the box with padding, so depending on your overall box width this may be off center. Really you should only need to change the Left padding here, so code such as 0 0 0 200px would be ok, just change the 200px appropriately.
Adds styling to the product image thumbnail.
Image margin: Adds a margin around the thumbnail, the default is just 15px to the right.
Turn off image float. When AP Schema is used in a really narrow area like a sidebar (say about 200px wide) the image can go a bit crazy as its floated. Checking this option turns the float off, allowing you to use the margin option above to get the image in the right place.
Step 5 – Save Everything!
An important step, after making any changes you need to save them!
Step 6 – How To Include The Review Box In A Post
These are brief instructions for using AP Schema in posts and pages. I am going to go over that in the next section.
You don’t have to add all these settings at first, but the Author name, Google ID are vital!
Adding the review box is again quite straightforward. First, simply go to an existing or new page or post. Scroll down past the area where you type your content and look for the AP Schema box. If you can’t see it, scroll right to the top of the page and in the top right corner is Screen Options. Click it, find the AP Schema checkbox and make sure it’s ticked. Then the actual AP Schema box will appear below your content box.
Turn AP Schema Review Box On For This Post?: Turns the review box on or off for this individual post or page.
Add Box To The Bottom Of The Post? (Default is top): Makes the review box appear at the bottom of the post or page content. Default is right at the top.
Your Rating (1 to 5): Add your review rating. Currently this is only 1-5, but it will accept fractions like 4.3
Title/Keyword: This is the title of the review, so add it here. Note, the post/page title will still appear so you may want this to be worded differently.
Affiliate Link http:// required: This option will add an affiliate link (or other link) to the review box image. The http:// bit is needed.
Product Image URL http:// required: This will add an image to your review box. The http:// bit is needed.
Product Summary: A short summary/description of the overall review/product.
Always use the current date for reviews? Some users prefer to not use the post/page published date. This option will always use the current days date, so it will change on a daily basis.
Custom Date: If you wish to add a custom date you can here. Please note this will not work if the above option for Current Date is selected.
Once you have added all of this, simply publish or update the post/page and you are done. You may need to revisit the AP Schema settings page to tweak the style to fit in.
As with any piece of software, AP Schema is under constant tweaking and updating.
Version 1 Bugs:
The plugin cannot be used alongside any Recent posts or Popular posts type widgets or plugins currently as it will show the review box on all of them as well. A workaround is being worked on.
Feature Requests/Bug Reports.
Liability & Disclaimer
I cannot accept liability for any problems caused by AP Schema, use it at your own risk. Always backup your site/files before using any plugins.
As per Google “Note that there is no guarantee that a Rich Snippet will be shown for this page on actual search results.” so whilst some sites will have no issue getting the stars to show for keywords, other keywords or sites may struggle. As always we are at Googles mercy.