Houston, We Have a Serious WordPress 4.2 Problem
WordPress 4.2, released yesterday, has a serious problem. It doesn’t show up in the WordPress 4.2 change log, which we’ve saved as a downloadable image here, and which we’ve linked below. Nor is it disclosed on the page you see when you update to WordPress 4.2. But make no mistake:[clickToTweet tweet=”Big WordPress 4.2 Problems … Broken Title Tags and Broken SEO” quote=”WordPress 4.2 Breaks SEO and WordPress 4.2 breaks the way you use title tags to show links on posts”]
When WordPress announced forced automatic plug-in activations in WordPress 4.2, The WordPress Helpers had your back; we helped get a huge WordPress Plug-in problem reversed. But a feature snuck into WordPress 4.2 that’s way worse. When you create a link in WordPress 4.2 you don’t control the title tag of the link.
It’s mind-boggling. Either the folks leading WordPress 4.2 just decided SEO is evil, or they don’t like those pop-up tags that appear when you hover over a post, or in the interest of “making things easier and better” WordPress now assumes it knows more about your content and goals than you do.
And that last choice is actually the best-case scenario. Any way you slice it we have a serious WordPress 4.2 Problem.
The picture you see at the top of this article is the box that pops up when you use the editor to insert a link while working in versions prior to WordPress 4.2. Note that there’s a field named “title” where you can type whatever you want.
The WordPress 4.2 problem is that this field has been changed. Inserting a title is no longer possible, having been replaced by an automatically-populated field named “link text”. You can change what’s in the field or what’s on the page, but A) they always match and B) hovering over the link doesn’t pop up a description of the link.
This creates a WordPress 4.2 problem for SEO, usability, and even legal compliance; for example, we use the pop-up tips to disclose when we point at affiliate links.
WordPress 4.2 makes managing all of this a lot harder. Sure, you can manually edit your links to include TITLE code, but … why the step backward, WordPress?
[clickToTweet tweet=”How to fix the WordPress 4.2 Problem with Title Tags and SEO” quote=”Unless and until the WordPress 4.2 problem is fixed, perhaps with a quick WordPress 4.21 solution, if you want to control the way your links look and how your link SEO gets done, you’ll need to manually insert the TITLE= code in all your inks.”]
This WordPress 4.2 Problem just doesn’t make sense. Has WordPress really become this convinced of the haplessness of its users?
Push this around, folks. Right now, WordPress is
a little bit broken.
It’s been years that tests proved the title is not used anymore for SEO ranking, as any “hidden” feature too easy to spam
Actually, that’s not right. EVERYTHING is used for SEO; what’s changed over time is the relative importance of elements. The TITLE tag is certainly less important than it was, but by no means useless.
We could debate that for a long time. It wasn’t even the important point.
The other thing the title tag does is create the little pop-up tag that appears when you hover over an image, or in this case, a link. That’s a usability issue and making it extra hard for the user of WordPress to make it easy for the user of a website to get that information was just wrong.
It isn’t WordPress’ job to be your Daddy. This is a genuine WordPress 4.2 Problem, just as the issue with Automatic Plug-in Activation would have been had we not gotten it squashed.
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Thanks! Good to know. WordPress released a 4.2.1 update today which hopefully fixed the issues. Could you update this post to let us know if the issues are fixed with the recent update? Thanks!
Veronica, I’m afraid 4.21 didn’t touch that and I don’t believe WordPress plans to reverse course on this one. (4.21 was a security patch, by the way; nothing more)
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What a nusiance! I didn’t even notice this feature had gone until you bought it up. Oh well.
In the meantime I guess I can quickly access the source code of posts using the TinyMCE Advanced editor. Switching from text view to code view is a bit long winded just to add a title tag. I guess I can use CTRF & F to quickly find my text anchor in code view and then add the title tag.
You’re right; It isn’t actually that difficult to deal with manually. And the rationale that I’ve gotten back from the WordPress people I’ve spoken to (besides some snarky “we know better” stuff), is that they weren’t going to add a third field to the dialog box under any circumstances. The plug-in mentioned here does exactly that, by the way, and I admit: it feels clumsy.
That said, we just plain disagree with the choice of making things a bit simpler over more functional, especially in a place like this where we NEVER heard anyone complain.
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