Introduction to JReviews

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Intro #5 - Understanding and Using the JReviews SEO Features

Alejandro Schmeichler

This is such an important topic and we’ve packed so many great SEO features into JReviews that I wanted to make sure that you are taking advantage of all of them. The SEO features in JReviews are all about letting you customize page titles and descriptions, creating optimized landing pages and ensuring you have the right structured data markup on your pages to improve the way your content is shown in Google search results and social networks.

The SEO features in JReviews are available in a number of different places so I will go through each one. Below I've put together a list of the areas I'll cover in this post:

  • Listing Types SEO Manager
  • Fields SEO Manager
  • Category SEO Manager
  • Custom List Menus

Listing Types SEO

This is a big one and it's a bit hidden so pay close attention. When you first create a Listing Type, or when editing it, under Advanced Setup you’ll find the SEO Manager tab. Most settings have their own help or description so make sure you read them carefully, but I will highlight the most important aspects here.

  • Object Type - This is how you tell Google the Object Type for your listing. The default is set to Article because that’s the most common one, but you can optimize it for your site depending on what your listings are about. You can write Book, Movie, Recipe, Event, Product and many more. Make sure you check the full list of Object Types in the definition and use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to validate your pages. It’s important to note that while JReviews already includes all the structured data mark up necessary to display rating stars in Google search results, this is not a guarantee that Google will display the stars. Google makes the final decision based on many factors known only to them, some of which include site popularity and credibility.
  • Facebook Open Graph Object - Facebook has defined its own Object Types which can also be setup for each listing type. Read the list of Facebook Open Graph Object Types. We will get more into Facebook and Twitter integrations in our next post in this series.
  • Listing Page Title - A very powerful SEO feature in JReviews is found under this section: the Page Title. Instead of having to individually customize each page title you can harness the Custom Fields functionality to automatically create keyword rich dynamic titles for all of your listings. For example, if your listing Hotels, the title of the listing would typically be the hotel name. But if you have custom fields for the city and the number of stars for the hotel, the you can automatically change the title from “XYZ Hotel” to “XYZ Hotel in New York - 5 stars”. That would be as simple as using the following format in the page title, assuming you’ve already created the necessary custom fields: {title} in {jr_city} - {jr_hotelstars}. Whenever you include field tags in the page title format, make sure you make those fields required in your listings. Download the Joomla patch to allow Page Titles to work when caching is enabled.

Fields SEO

At this point you should have already setup some Field Groups and Custom Fields on your JReviews site and assigned them to your Listing Types. Custom Fields have a very neat feature called Click2Search which hyperlinks the output of the field so that when site visitors click on it, they get a filtered page of results with all listings containing matching values for that field. So lets say you are creating a City Guide and you have a Restaurant category. If you created a cuisine custom field (jr_cuisine) and enabled Click2Search for this field then you can customize the filtered results page title so instead of just saying “Italian” it will say “Italian Food Restaurants”. To quickly set this up go to the Fields SEO Manager in the admin sidebar, find your Cuisine custom field, click ‘Edit’ for Meta Title and change the format to: {fieldvalue} Food Restaurants.

Now I will make it a bit more interesting. Cuisine is obviously a field that’s Restaurant specific. But what if you also have other categories that share a field? For example if you have a Location field group, with fields for State and City and you enable Click2Search for the City field, how do you make the title change dynamically, depending on the category, to include the keyword Restaurants and Hotels using one field? You can also include the {category} tag in the Meta Title format. So if you want the title to say "Restaurants in New York" and "Hotels in New York" based on the listing's category that is also possible. There's just one final step required here. The Click2Search results also need to be filtered by category and to do that you need to edit your City custom field and change the click2search format from tag/{fieldname}/{optionvalue}/?criteria={criteriaid} to tag/{fieldname}/{optionvalue}/?cat={catid}.

If you want to have more control over the page description and meta description in click2search pages, it is possible to add a different description for each individua field option in the Fields Manager. Click on the list of options for any field and you'll see you can add the description for each option there that will be used in the click2search pages.

I understand that you may want to have more control over the title of these pages, but given the limited information that is available via the Click2search URLs that’s the best JReviews can do with this feature. However, there’s another wonderful feature that allows you to create virtually any time of SEO optimized landing page you can imagine and that’s possible via Custom List Menus which are covered further below.

Categories SEO

The Category SEO Manager offers somewhat similar functionality to the Fields SEO Manager and provides a faster way to customize all of your category page titles without having to do it through menus or 3rd party solutions. You can also customize the page description and keywords for each category page.

Custom List Menus

A Custom List can be used to display a highly relevant page for a specific set of keywords where you can also customize the page title and description. If you review the examples I showed you before it would be difficult to have a page of the Best Italian Restaurants in New York City. You can't do that with a Click2Search page, but you can with a Custom List. To get started, just perform a search on your site with the search criteria for italian cuisine and new york and copy the parameters from the URL into the custom params setting in the Custom List menu. Read more detailed information about Custom Lists in the documentation.

For more information about the features in JReviews that allow you to improve the way your shared content is displayed in Social Networks make sure you read the next post in the series.

Read the next post #6 Taking an in-depth look at the integration possibilities with Facebook and Twitter