If you have a business website, blog, or e-commerce store, you are probably familiar with Yoast SEO, one of the widely popular WordPress plugins. It is a useful tool that makes your site search engine-friendly so that your visitors or customers can easily find you. However, a recent post in the official yoast.com blog about a bug in the major Yoast SEO 7.0 update has shaken the web world.
Although they have proactively handled the bug before it could create havoc, some people who updated before the patch was released may have been impacted. According to sources, the bug has been negatively impacting some sites since March 6.
As a result, founder of Yoast, Joost De Valk has stepped forward to explain the problem and offer a personal apology:
“This post serves both as a warning and an apology. …We’re so very sorry. …we messed up. I myself, am sorry. More so than normal, because I came up with and coded this change myself…”
Let’s take a look at the bug and its impact, and the solution offered by Yoast SEO.
Although it was a pretty small bug, the impact was painful. So, when you updated your site from an earlier version of Yoast SEO to the versions 7.0-7.0.2, the setting for attachment URL was set to ‘No’ accidentally. As the older settings were overwritten during the update, this bug could not be reverted later on.
Although the bug was immediately identified and fixed, some people who updated their site with the latest version before the patch was released may have suffered due to the accidental error. To ensure that your site has not been affected by this bug, Yoast SEO requests you to update your Yoast SEO plugin and to check the settings for redirect of the attachment URLs and ensure that it’s set to ‘Yes.’ If you find it set to ‘No,’ make sure to click on Yes and then click on the Save Changes button. If you think your site’s rankings have been negatively impacted by this bug, there is another step that you need to take care off and that’s covered below.
Impact Of The Bug
Accordingly to Joost De Valk, while not all sites running on Yoast SEO have been impacted, some sites have really seen a setback in terms of traffic. For sites that have been impacted, the number of indexed URLs suddenly increased without any content added to the system.
As a result, lots of attachment URLs suddenly got indexed by Google, and they suffered Panda-like issues as it appears to Google that the site suddenly has many thin content pages.
Response From Google
When John Mueller from Google was informed about this bug, he said that it is unlikely that this will impact sites. According to Mueller, index pages for the site usually don’t show up in search engine results. If they do show up for standard websites, this might be due to other significant issues.
If at all your site may have been impacted by the bug, here’s a solution from Yoast SEO and it has also been approved by Google:
While changing the Yoast SEO attachment URL redirect setting to ‘Yes’ is a significant solution to the problem (the step discussed above), the results may not be fast enough. Why? Although the XML sitemaps that may have been accidentally submitted to Google for the index will be removed, it may actually take several months for Google to remove the URLs.
So, what else should be done then? You need to install a Yoast SEO search index purge plugin to your WordPress site. The primary purpose of this plugin is to remove any attachment URLs from the search engine results as quick as possible.
Installing the plugin gives you two immediate benefits. First, every attachment URL will give a 410 status code which ensures that Google removes them from search results. Second, the static XML sitemap containing attachment URLs on a site will be created. The post modified date for URLs will update the activation date and time of plugin. This will ensure that Google crawls the most recently modified XML sitemap.
What Does That Imply?
Unexpected things happen in the SEO world and a dip in search engine traffic for an extended period of time can mean a substantial financial loss for your business. Thus, if you run a business that heavily relies on visits and leads that you get through the website or blog, it is extremely important for your site to be regularly monitored.
When you work with a reliable SEO company, it becomes their responsibility to ensure that the issues like this one are quickly discovered and rectified. When you work with us, you can rest assured that we keep up to date with any critical industry news and trends!
Slavtech Marketing is an SEO company that offers authentic solutions for your SEO needs so that your site ranks higher in Google. To raise your site’s visibility, improve and maintain your search engine rankings, get in touch with us today. If you have any questions, let us know, and we will be happy to assist.