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WordPress SEO Plugin May Negatively Affect Ranking: Requires Updating

     
11:36 am on Jun 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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According to many reports, the Yoast SEO 7.0 Plugin may have resulted in ranking drops because of a setting bug in Media and Attachment URLs if set to No.

Not everyone is affected, but you'll need to check and update accordingly. Of course, it's always good practice to keep the plugins updated.

[yoast.com...]
[searchenginejournal.com...]
11:53 am on June 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the info. The Yoast plugin is also quite large. I dropped it on some sites because I thought it was slowing down my sites.
4:37 am on June 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Black hatter talked about this May 21st, ten days before Yoast released a fix.

[charlesfloate.co.uk...]

This wouldn’t of even been a blog post if it weren’t for the fact that Yoast were “considering” a public announcement, but never actually released one and the only mentions of it that I can see from them directly, is when I’ve got a bit loud on Twitter.

So this isn’t one of my normal blog posts, and not particularly long either.

...this creates a page on the site for every single piece of media you have on the site.

Here’s an example of a site’s crawl rate going through the roof then tanking due to the mixture of a quality update and this mess up by Yoast –
7:15 am on June 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yikes! Bad enough when we mess up, but to have outside help, too? (sigh)
7:47 am on June 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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this bug affects the redirection of media and attachment urls to either the media file itself or to the parent post of the media file.
if you have a photography site, for example, you might well be affected.
you may see a spike in crawling newly discovered urls, followed by a number of new urls being indexed which look like "thin content", and this may be followed by a loss of ranking and traffic.
9:20 am on June 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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All those webmasters complaining they lost "thousands of dollars", supposedly as a result of this update. Correlation vs. causation aside, when the stakes are that high and you choose to depend on a third-party plug-in to do your SEO, I have to agree with Joost (the plug-in author) that "if you’re a responsible site owner, the onus is on you to check your settings too." But no, instead of sharing the responsibility and moving on, or saying they'll do their own SEO from now on, they "threaten" to switch to a new SEO plug-in, or even to sue! LOL

[edited by: robzilla at 9:31 am (utc) on Jun 5, 2018]

9:29 am on June 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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if you’re a responsible site owner, the onus is on you to check your settings too

You can't expect that much skill from Wordpress' users. (teasing)
12:10 am on June 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The Yoast plugin went way down on my must-have list after all the decent features went premium a few years back
4:32 pm on June 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Have a look at this Yoast extension, I did it (search index purge)
[wordpress.org ]
5:02 pm on June 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It messed up my site. Lost over 50% of my organic traffic.
11:23 pm on June 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As much as this is an issue that should not be ignored and Yoast should, and I'm sure will make sure this never happens again i dont think blame can be landed at their feet for all sites and all lost traffic. I've seen drops in traffic but I've also seen unusually warm weather that would affect traffic. As site owners we all need to dig deeper
1:13 am on June 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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i dont think blame can be landed at their feet for all sites and all lost traffic.


That's correct. But it's not the warm weather that causes 50% of traffic loss. ;)

The attachment issue happened at the same time that Google was rolling out core algo updates. So some of the sites affected by the core algo updates were not affected by the Yoast plugin attachment issue.

The attachment issue appears to affect the rankings of sites with small amounts of textual content. For example, I know of a podcast heavy site that has been affected. Bill Slawski stated that his site was affected by the attachment issue but that it did not cause a drop in rankings.

As John Mueller stated, this kind of thing won't affect sites in general (or he might have said "generally" something along those lines). That "in general" is a hedge because it will affect sites that are light in textual content.

Yoast describes it as a panda-like issue and for that the founder apologized, as reported in the International Business Times. Yoast Founder Apologizes Over SEO Plugin Bug That Affected Search Rankings [ibtimes.com]

Yoast fixed the bug that caused the attachment issue within a day. But those who updated their sites quickly were stuck with the attachment issue. Yoast took over two months to fix the attachment issue. So when you see Yoast claiming that he fixed the issue "literally within a day" he is actually talking about the bug, but not the subsequent issue.

Users who updated later were not affected in any way.
9:26 pm on June 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Opps, a good number of my sites were affected by this. I just caught it during my monthly review. I am just a little late. Yes indeed a good number of attachment URL's have been indexed. A few sites of mine were affected by the page count dilution as well as UX perspective.

A bit of of damage did take effect. I did let the bad setting sit for over a month. I am not going to dig or think too deep about it. Thank god that Google's Panda is now real time. Hopefully it would not take too long for Google to pick up the changes.

It would have been devastating if Panda is run every year, if this stuff got into their system.

Yoast's intention was good. The new ability to completely remove attachment URL with redirect is a much better alternative. I always thought WP's treatment of attachment is useless.

It should note that their index purge fix was causing problems with my cache or my setup. I did not want to mess with my other setup to figure out what was causing the error. I ended up opting a simple setting correction over the "quick fix" plugin.

It's a decent SEO experiment looking at the bright side, and that only 1~2 of my smaller sites were significantly hit by this.
6:28 am on June 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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No, I don't agree with you. Seo plugin not negatively affect on ranking.
12:24 pm on June 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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it's killed one of my sites off :( trying all kinds of fixes
 

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