WordPress.org Meta Team fixes a search snippet issue with the download page promoting WordPress.com – WP Tavern
Last night Chris Klosowski, Development Partner and CTO of Sandhills, tweeted an issue with the way the WordPress.org download page appeared in Google search results snippets when searching for “WordPress “. Below the link, the preview text referred to WordPress.com hosting:
WordPress.com is the easiest way to start a free website or blog. It is a powerful hosting platform that grows with you. We offer expert support for your WordPress site.
Other reported see the description provided when searching on Google, which is referred to in the Schema.org tag in the head tag but not printed on the page:
“Download WordPress today and start building your website with one of the most powerful, popular and customizable platforms in the world.”
The reference to WordPress.com is from the hosting providers listed at the top of the page, where it displays two randomly each time the page is refreshed. The Download button was previously at the top of the download page, but since mid-January 2021 it has been pushed lower below recommended hosts. This is probably intended to help people who want to start a self-hosted site but don’t know where to start.
“Google was skipping our set page descriptions in favor of certain content on the page,” lead WordPress developer Dion Hulse mentionned, regarding the problem with the search results snippet.
The WordPress Meta team was alerted to the issue and quickly implemented a solution to get Google to look elsewhere on the page for the main content.
“The download page has information on mobile apps and hosting for WordPress,” wrote Corey McKrill, senior contributor, in the validation post. “These are in
section container elements, which could be the reason why Google uses hosting container content for its search result snippet, instead of the description meta tag. By changing these containers to
aside items, I hope Google will get the message that they do not contain the most relevant information for this page.
The meta-team has also marked the hosting recommendations on the download page as exempt from being included in the Google search result snippet, so it does not extract text from them.
This is what the updated search result snippet looks like after the changes are implemented:
Klosowski’s tweet highlighted the perpetual tension that stems from the confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The recommended hosting page has always been a controversial topic on WordPress.org, but especially now that hosting companies are featured prominently on the download page as well.
In this situation, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, executive director of WordPress, quickly recognized that the search snippet promoting WordPress.com was in fact a problem, pushing back those who might promote the idea that it was intentional. The Meta team acted quickly to resolve the issue and revert the snippet to its old meta description. It is not known how long ago Google pulled the text from the sections of the recommended hosts to populate the snippet, but the code is now more explicit that these companies are not the most important content on the download page. .