WP Rocket Issue Blocked Structured Data to Google?

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Images have gone missing from Google’s search results pages again. The bug appears to affect recipe bloggers the most. Some are saying that WP Rocket had something to do with it. But that’s not confirmed.

The sites that were in the carousels at the top of the page lost their rankings.

The sites that were in the regular search results retained their rankings but lost the image that is supposed to accompany their SERP listing.

Screenshot of Google's SERPs showing missing images

Reports From Recipe Bloggers

Casey Markee (@MediaWyse) tweeted that he was receiving multiple reports from sites that their listings in the top of the page “recipe carousel” have gone missing.



Many recipe bloggers responded to the tweet to report their issue.

WP Rocket Suspected as Associated with the Problem

Many bloggers noticed that all of them had WP Rocket in common. They began to suspect that WP Rocket was causing the images to not be seen by Google. If that’s true then that would explain why the images were disappearing from Google’s SERPs.

WP Rocket is a plugin whose purpose is to speed up a site.

A caching plugin can take JavaScript and CSS files, including those associated with plugins and then shrink them down (a process called minifying).

WP Rocket also takes files and puts them into a cache. A cache is like a snapshot. This saves time because WordPress doesn’t have to fetch information from a database but can use the cached file.



But sometimes the process of minifying or caching can interfere with the operation of a plugin, causing the site to not work correctly.

Sometimes this happens when a plugin has updated but WP Rocket (or any other caching plugin) doesn’t automatically update the cache or minified files.

That’s why it’s a good practice to flush the cache and create a new cache as well as minify files whenever WordPress itself updates or when a plugin updates.

One would think that a plugin would do that automatically and it can. But nothing is perfect and caching plugins can be a little testy.

WP Rocket had an update, 3.6.1 on June 24, 2020. Whenever a plugin has an update, there is usually a bug fix. But sometimes an update can contain something that interferes with another plugin or with WordPress itself. That’s called a conflict.

Because WP Rocket was recently updated and that coincided with some of the first reports, it was assumed that WP Rocket might be interfering somehow to block CSS or JavaScript files, preventing Google from receiving all the web page images and resources, like the Guided Recipes and Regular Recipes structured data.

Casey Markee showed a screenshot showing how disabling WP Rocket caused Google’s Rich Snippets tool to begin seeing the structured data again.

Screenshot of Google’s Structured Data Tool

Screenshot of Google's structured data toolScreenshot showing how Google’s structured data tool does not see certain parts of the structured data.



WP Rocket released a new update on July 8th (coincidentally) and some bloggers who updated to the latest version reported having their problem solved.

WP Rocket reached out on Twitter and offered to help:

No Word from Google

Google’s John Mueller asked for URLs and many bloggers responded. Perhaps they figured the problem was solved?

What Happened?

It’s not entirely certain as in 100% confirmed that this was an issue specific to WP Rocket. It appears to be a WP Rocket issue. But it hasn’t been definitively confirmed.

It could have been something to do with caching and recent WordPress update, as WordPress recently updated and reinstated some filters that were accidentally deleted, as well as some other bug fixes.

It could have been something else. There is no definitive updated at this time of what the problem was.

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