How to avoid duplicate meta robots tags in WordPress 5.7

With WordPress 5.7 we will have a new API, the Robots API, which will add a series of meta tags for SEO in the header of our pages created with WordPress.

Thus, any site upgraded to WordPress 5.7 or higher will see robots meta tags added to its header like this:

<meta name="robots" content="max-image-preview:large" />
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

It looks like the WordPress Robots API will only include that guideline in the meta robots tag, and if you don’t have any other meta robots tag generation system there is no problem.

Why should I disable WordPress meta robots?

If you usually use a plugin to apply granular and specific SEO adjustments to the headers of your pages, new meta robots tags will be generated, which will not override the WordPress meta robots tags, so the result is that you will have double meta robots tags, and that can confuse the search engine bots, not knowing which one to apply, with which priority, etc.

That’s why, if you are sure that you prefer to control the meta tags for SEO through your favorite WordPress plugin, the objective is to make sure that meta robots tags are not duplicated, deactivating the WordPress ones, which seem to be less configurable at first glance.

It is possible that in future versions SEO plugins previously deactivate this WordPress meta robots tag, but for now, if you do not want to get unpleasant surprises with the positioning of your website, I recommend you to deactivate the WordPress meta robots if you use SEO plugins.

How do I disable WordPress meta robots?

There are 2 ways to disable WordPress meta robots, although soon there will be 3, I list them all:

  1. With a filter that disables the API.
  2. With a plugin that disables the API.
  3. That your SEO plugin disables the API (coming soon).

If you prefer the first option the filter you have to add to the functions.php file of the active theme or to your utilities plugin is this one:

remove_filter( 'wp_robots', 'wp_robots_max_image_preview_large' );
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

On the other hand, if you opt to use a plugin, install and activate Disable WP Robots, it has no settings, and will do the same.

And finally, if you just want to wait until your SEO plugin does it, keep an eye on the blog and its updates, making sure that when WordPress 5.7 is available, your favorite SEO plugin disables WordPress meta robots so that there are no duplicates.

I warn you that, at the moment, none of them do, all major SEO plugins duplicate the WordPress 5.7 meta robots:

So, avoid unpleasant surprises, disable the Robots API when you upgrade to WordPress 5.7 and then check if your favorite SEO plugin is updated to disable it, before generating duplicate robots meta tags.

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