Yoast SEO Update Causes Search Rankings to Drop in Google

Have you heard the Latest SEO News?

The number one SEO plugin for WordPress, Yoast SEO, accidently created a bug in the 7.0 update which caused some websites and blogs to tank in the search results.

How did this happen to the Premiere SEO Plugin?

Mistakes happen, especially when major updates are done to large code basis. Even with talented teams at the helm and with years of experience in the WordPress space. It’s that experience that enabled Team Yoast to respond so quickly with a multi-pronged fix which is only made more impressive by the fact that John Mueller from Google was consulted and approved of the strategy to right the wrong.

Yoast SEO Official Statement

Instead of paraphrasing, here’s a quote from Yoast.

The bug was simple yet very painful: when you updated from an earlier version of Yoast SEO to Yoast SEO 7.0-7.0.2 (specifically those versions), we would not always correctly convert the setting you had for the old setting into the new one. We accidentally set the setting to ‘no’. Because we overwrote the old settings during the update, we could not revert this bug later on.

This meant that a websites url’s could have quintupled since new pages were added to the google index with extremely thin content. These links were for the media attachments which typically would have been redirected and not indexed by Google.

Thin content on a web page can cause Panda Like Issues, especially if the number of pages with thin content numbered more than the pages with high quality, substantive content.

What Did Google Say?

Sites generally shouldn’t be negatively affected by something like this. We often index pages like that for normal sites, and they usually don’t show up in search. If they do show up for normal queries, usually that’s a sign that the site has other, bigger problems. Also, over the time you mentioned, there have been various reports on twitter & co about changes in rankings, so if sites are seeing changes, I’d imagine it’s more due to normal search changes than anything like this.

Yoast SEO is a Top 10 Recommended WordPress Plugin

If you’ve been reading this blog and following my YouTube Channel, then you will know that I always recommend using Yoast SEO. You can check out the full list of WordPress Plugins that make the list from one of my previous articles Top 10 WordPress Plugins -2018.

You can also view the video that shows you How to Setup Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin.

Also, checkout the Top 10 SEO Plugins for WordPress and take your website to higher rankings in the search engines.

The Personal Apology and the Fix

The mark of a great leader, is one who shares glory when times are great and moving up, while taking full responsibility when something goes wrong. Joost de Valk issued a personal apology and recognized his role with the issue that caused search engine heart ache for the few who were impacted.

The Joost de Yoast Apology

I myself, am sorry. More so than normal, because I came up with and coded this change myself…

Taking responsibility is what needs to be noted. Some might hide behind the large team of developers typing away at their workstations with a vague apology without identifying the root, not Joost. He demonstrated how agencies and firms should be run.

The Fix

The remedy is actually quite simple. Just follow a few steps and if needed, use a plugin to expedite the process of correcting what should and shouldn’t be indexed by Google.

Step 1 – Google Analytics

Check your google analytics for any signs that traffic might have taken a sudden drop since the Yoast SEO 7.0 update, released on March 6, 2018. If your traffic stayed the same or increased, then congrats, you haven’t been impacted by the bug. Still, move on to step 2.

Step 2 – Check Yoast Settings

Login to your WordPress Admin dashboard, go to your Yoast SEO settings section, then to the Search Appearance. From there, click on the Media Tab button. Then, make sure your setting is set to Yes. If it’s still set to Yes, then you’re good. If not, then change it and save changes.

Step 3 – Search Index Purge Plugin

This step is only needed if you’ve been impacted by the bug and have seen a drastic down turn in your search engine traffic and lower rankings in google search.

Team Yoast created a plugin that helps to expedite the process of correcting the search index. You can find the plugin on the WordPress Website Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge.

The plugin is very easy to use. Just install it from your WordPress Dashboard via the Plugins section, then activate it and done. Here’s some information on what the plugin does.

This plugin makes all your attachment URLs return an HTTP 410 status. It then creates an XML sitemap with a recent last
modified date, containing all those URLs. The XML sitemap with recent post modified date makes Google spider all those
URLs again. The 410 status code makes sure Google takes them out of its search results in the fastest way possible.

Team Yoast & the Google Connection

It has to be noted that Team Yoast is so highly respected in the SEO Community and by the actual search engines themselves, that they have what seems to be a direct line to some prominent people at Google. Once the issue was noticed, Team Yoast reached out to John Mueller from Google to discuss the issue and ensure that the response/fix, would be approved by Google and not cause any issues for websites and blogs.

This is one of the main reasons why you should continue to use the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin which is used by over 5 million websites and is extremely well reviewed with over 19,500 5 star reviews.

The Takeaway

Follow the steps outlined in this article and in the video Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin Update Causes Search Rankings to Drop in Google and you should be fine.

You can read more about the issue directly from Yoast The Official Yoast Statement

Hopefully you enjoyed this article and the video. If you did, subscribe to this blog and my YouTube Channel. Also, share this with friends. Thanks for reading.

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