Enhancing image preview: core proposal

For many years search engine results have shown various images size publicly made available by site owners. Last year (September 2019), some extra controls over the content preview was introduced to Google Search followed by Bing who announced similar capabilities for their Search Engine earlier this year (April 2020).

In practice, this means that many sites do not get the benefit of large image previews, and may be losing out on traffic. Today, WordPress sites do not opt-in to large image previews by default even when “Search Engine Visibility” setting is turned on.

Below is an example comparison of Discover content for small image preview vs large image preview:

Proposed Solution 

This proposal is to opt-in to large image previews by default when “Search Engine Visibility” setting is turned on allowing search engines to display large images resulting in an enhanced user experience and CTR (click-through rate).

Theoretically, this is as simple as conditionally injecting <meta name="robots" content="max-image-preview:large"> in the HTMLHTML HyperText Markup Language. The semantic scripting language primarily used for outputting content in web browsers. head of all pages.

WordPress may already inject a “robots” metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. tagtag A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses tags to store a single snapshot of a version (3.6, 3.6.1, etc.), the common convention of tags in version control systems. (Not to be confused with post tags.) into a page, for example when a site is set to disallow search engines from indexing it. To facilitate large image previews as well as exposing a central management layer for the “robots” meta tag, a new function wp_robots() should be introduced. The function would include a filterable list of values to include in the “robots” meta tag and render the meta tag only if necessary. Having this centralized layer will streamline robots management and interoperability between plugins.

By default, the list would cover the following values:

  • noindex, to be included when search engines are disallowed from indexing the page or due to certain other circumstances
  • nofollow, to be included when noindex is provided when search engines are disallowed from indexing the page
  • follow, to be included when noindex is provided due to certain other circumstances
  • max-image-preview: large, to be included when search engines are allowed to index the page, and when large preview images may be used for the page

This would only be the default behavior and could be expanded or modified by plugins, for example to add additional robots tag directives.

The function would be hooked into wp_head and other relevant actions, and it would essentially supersede the existing noindex() and wp_no_robots() functions.

What’s next?

Your thoughts on this proposal would be greatly valued. Please share your feedback, questions or interest in collaboration by commenting on this post. After that we can create a tracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress. ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. and kick start development.

#images, #proposal, #seo