Opened 21 months ago

Closed 19 months ago

Last modified 19 months ago

#6480 closed defect (bug) (fixed)

Google search for "wordpress themes" returns Nigerian Pidgin as default site

Reported by: bengreeley's profile ben.greeley Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Component: Theme Directory Keywords:


When I perform a Google search for "wordpress themes" (or any other variation of words), the top result is . This is incorrect, as my region/language should be US English.

The source code hreflang information and html lang tag looks correct, so this is confusing that the default version of the x-default version of the page is being returned. It's possible this is specific to my own browser/search experience, but after testing on other browsers, in Incognito, etc, I can reproduce the issue.

Looking at Google Analytics, it appears this possibly started happening around February 2022 and grew exponentially since. Prior to February 2022, the page was averaging fewer than 10 pageviews per month and in July it received 26,000 pageviews in a single month. This seems off to me (though there could be another reason the PCM theme page is getting exponentially more traffic that I'm not aware of).

Change History (11)

#1 @codente
21 months ago

I do see the same thing @bengreeley and I'm also in the U.S.

#2 @mrfoxtalbot
20 months ago

I see the same and I am in Spain @bengreeley.

#3 @zoonini
20 months ago

I'm in Canada and get the English-Canada Themes page as the top result:

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #meta by dufresnesteven. View the logs.

20 months ago

#5 @dd32
20 months ago

In 12080:

Locales: Sync file with the upstream version of GlotPress.

See #6480.

#6 @dd32
20 months ago

In 12081:

Locales: Update the list of languages not supported by hreflang tags.

See #6480.

#7 @dd32
20 months ago

In 12084:

Locales: Papiamento (pap-*) is also not supported by hreflang tags.

See #6480.

#8 @dd32
20 months ago

100% not sure if it was related, but pcm is not a valid hreflang language, as it doesn't have an ISO 639-1 language code.

In an attempt to find out if it was related, I've updated the list of locales to exclude from the hreflang tags, and corrected a few other invalid hreflang tags as part of it.

In my testing, with a Langauge header of Australian english and a VPN, I was able to trigger en-au, en-gb, en-ca, and pcm subdomains, pcm appeared to be being returned as the "generic english" response. Looking elsewhere, it appeared that Google had correctly identified as being written in "American English" (aka, generic english :() and I suspect had as a result linked it to being en_US. There are a few other things that may have been playing into it, for example, a lot of links from other sites to the pcm subdomain perhaps - or a specific large site linking to it accidentally.

If I'm right, the above changes might work as a workaround, purely out of it forcing search engines to regenerate their locale mapping..

I've also observed some interesting results on bing

  • AU VPN: listed as a result, AND with listed as an additional result
  • US VPN: only listed as some kind of "rich embed" not a standard typical search result.

In both cases, a lot of other companies are ranking higher than us for those terms, and they're not necessarily even theme companies / listings.

Last edited 20 months ago by dd32 (previous) (diff)

#9 @dufresnesteven
19 months ago

@bengreeley It's working for me now.

Can you confirm and close the ticket if solved?

#10 @ben.greeley
19 months ago

  • Resolution set to worksforme
  • Status changed from new to closed

Thanks, everybody for looking into this. I'm now getting results as I would expect 🙌

#11 @dd32
19 months ago

  • Resolution changed from worksforme to fixed
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