In Search Engine Optimization

Yoast SEO Plugin Error causes SEO Problems

If you have a WordPress site, are using the Yoast SEO plugin (isn’t everyone?) and are maintaining your website yourself, then listen up.

A few months back, Yoast made a coding error in an update to the Yoast SEO plugin.  Although he did catch the problem and fixed it in a later release, this did not fix the problem on the sites that were affected, which may be causing a drop in your site’s SEO.

Those of you whose sites are being maintained by New Tricks can go on with your day since we have your backs and have fixed the problem if your website needed it.  If you’re tired of worrying about your website and want us to take care of this problem and host and maintain your website going forward, give us a shout.

Otherwise, read on to find out how to go to the settings for your Yoast SEO plugin, check to see if you have a problem and if needed, fix it.

Now I’ll explain what happened, why it’s important, and how to check your website and fix the problem if necessary.

Did you know that each time you upload an image into your media library, WordPress creates a webpage with a URL complete with header and footer and only that one image on the page?

WordPress image attachment page

Although you probably didn’t know about these image URL pages,  search engines crawling your website will index them when they find them and label them as having low-quality content. When too many of these thin content pages get indexed, it will trigger Google to apply the Panda algorithm which can drop its ranking in the search results.

The Yoast SEO plugin has an important feature in that it automatically redirects these attachment URLs to the post or page that the image was uploaded to. When it is the image does not have its own page and when viewed looks like this image below.

 

This setting was changed in the Yoast update so that it no longer automatically redirected these attachment URLs to the pages they were uploaded to.

When Joast discovered and fixed this problem in another plugin update, the sites that had already been affected did not revert to the automatated redirection of the attachment URLs. This allowed many of these pages to inadvertently be indexed, triggering the Panda SEO penalty for many sites.

How to Check and Fix The Redirect Attachment URLs to the Attachement Itself

By default the answer to the question “Redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself?”  was and should be set to Yes. This prevents these image URLs from being indexed and negatively affecting your SEO.

Now to be safe, you’ll have to go into the Yoast SEO plugin settings and check the media configurations and if the Redirect attachment URLs question is set to “No,” then simply change it to “Yes.”

If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, you should be able to check and fix this yourself – even if you’re less than technically confident.

  1. Go to the left admin bar in your WordPress dashboard and find SEO towards the bottom of the list of links.
  2. Select Search Appearance

    3. Select Media


    4. Make sure that the option, “Redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself?” is set to “Yes.”

That’s it. Now all of those attachment URLs will be automatically redirected to the attachment pages themselves. Google will like this much better and give your website the search engine ranking that it deserves.

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