While I was glancing at my page’s source code recently, I noticed that there were two meta-tag descriptions. One contained strings from plugins: Share and Enjoy and Possibly Related Posts… from Sociable and YARPP. The second meta-tag description was from All In One SEO but it actually contained the description. So something weird was going on!
<meta name="copyright" content="Copyright (c) September 2009" />
<meta name="revised" content="Friday, September 4th, 2009, 6:24 pm" />
<meta name="template" content="Hybrid 0.6.1" />
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 2.8.4" />
After for looking in the settings in both plugins and coming up with nothing, I tried to look through my theme, Hybrid. Hybrid tries to offer excellent out of the box so it has a couple of SEO options in its settings panel. I found an option that was enabled, Use the excerpt on single posts for your meta description? So I unchecked it, saved, refreshed, no difference. I forgot that this is cached so, I add a ?904723 to the end of the post and it was gone!
It’s scary to think that this option had been active for more than a year because that means Google has been laughing at me while it crawled my page, “Hey that guy has two descriptions, so which do I pick? Neither!” At least it was an easy fix.
Additionally, I don’t think plugins should inject stuff into the excerpt field. That’s bad practice. YARPP could use a meta-tag like possibly-related and Sociable could use social.