A Yoast Post: The Plugin Bug that Dropped Ratings

Yoast, no! We trusted you!

If you’re not new to the SEO scene, you’ve probably been hearing the murmurings (or maybe just straight up reading articles, y’know) of recent issues with Yoast. What on earth has happened? What’s all this hubbub about?

We demanded answers.

(We read articles and researched).

Debugging binary code with bug inside magnifying glass
Yes, hello, we don’t like either type of bug. Ugh.

The Boasts of Yoast

If you’re unfamiliar, Yoast is most notoriously known by bloggers especially for their well-liked WordPress SEO plugin that assists in analyzing how strong your SEO game is. The tool is especially keen for judging SEO on a per-post basis. Yoast evaluates everything from your metadata to your headings to your keyword density and just about every known ranking factor in between. Well, maybe not every, but the plugin genuinely provides astute insight into how your content will likely rank based on your content.

Additionally, Yoast is known for its simple but effective traffic light rating system that sits in the top right-hand corner of every WP post: green is good, orange/yellow is okay, and red means the content needs improvement.

A screenshot of a Yoast feature
An example of Yoast’s “traffic light” grading system.

The tool first launched in 2006 and was created by Joost de Falk, who had become especially fond of WordPress’s system but was looking for an easier way to evaluate SEO.

Yoast: What Exactly Happened?

Red lady bug on a daisy
Sadly, it was not as adorable as this bug.

BUGS.

The worst part is, we aren’t joking. We’re not talking scrambling beetles, we’re of course talking about the bugs we dread more than surprise unexpected creepy crawlies: software-related errors.

*Dramatic sting music*

Yoast SEO v7.0 Live with Bug since March 6, 2018

A professional pest control service man or do-it-yourself home owner spraying pesticide on the outside of house to keep bugs out.
You keeping out future bugs.

Coincidentally, the 7.0 update was supposed to fix a previously released error by Yoast. According to Search Engine Journal, those using the updated fix (version 7.0-7.0.2) are likely to have unknowingly dropped in search engine rankings due to the bug.

What Was the Bug, Exactly?

In a statement released from Yoast, the problem was described as follows:

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.

Was I Affected?

If you are a user of the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress and you updated since March 6th, 2018, or updated to version 7.0 through version(s) 7.0.2 and noticed a drop in your rankings since then, yes, you were likely affected.

How Do I Check If I Was Affected?

  1. Login to WordPress.
  2. On the left-hand menu, click the Yoast SEO icon and then Search Appearance.
  3. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find yourself at an interface with tabs. Click on the Media tab.
  4. Near the bottom of the interface, there’s an option that reads “Redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself?” If the setting is currently set to No, then you are likely affected.

How Do I Fix It?

Per Yoast’s announcement, the best fix is to change the option to say Yes and then download the Yoast SEO Search Index Purge Plugin. This plugin repairs the bug.

Getting SEO Back on Track

If you’re looking for reliable SEO, contact us. Whether recovering from the unintended consequences of a software bug or maybe just looking to build a stronger digital empire, consider us your go-to. We’ve got cumulative decades of professionalism, dedication, and knowledge to dazzle you with. Come chat with us today!

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