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Yoast SEO WordPress bug creates duplicate sitemaps


Yoast, one of the most popular WordPress plugins to boost search engine rankings, has a bug that could cause your site to be penalized by Google’s duplicate content penalty. The Yoast SEO plugin creates duplicate sitemaps which could lead to duplicate content and even penalties if left unchecked. Here’s how to fix it!


What is the problem?

If you’re using Yoast SEO plugin with WordPress, there’s a bug that could cause your site to generate too many of certain types of XML sitemap files. This leads to errors when Google crawls your site. It also tells webmasters they need to implement Noindex on thousands of URLs that they don’t want indexed. The amount of duplicated XML files was increasing significantly after installing Yoast, and it wasn’t long before the server hit its limit for XML requests per minute and started returning 500 errors on some pages.

What are sitemaps?

a file where Google and other search engines can find all of your website’s pages. Yoast SEO lets you create one for search engines, which includes page titles, canonical URLs, image alt text, meta descriptions and more. However—according to Christopher Finke—there’s a bug in Yoast’s plugin that is causing it to create an unlimited number of duplicates of your sitemap file (index.xml). This is fine if you want to create a bunch of extra files to make sure every possible URL on your site gets indexed by Google; not so great if you think you have just one copy and are trying to optimize your website with Yoast’s toolset.

How do I fix it?

There is an issue with Yoast SEO WordPress plugin v3.3.3 that causes it to generate a full set of sitemaps (according to robots.txt rules) for every post, even if you only have one single post on your site! Even worse: You’ll end up with hundreds of unecessary files in your server’s root directory. To fix it go to Dashboard > Search Appearance > Sitemap and change update interval from Automatic to never auto-update The worst part? This isn’t fixed yet… Please everyone who uses Yoast, make sure you revert that setting back when they push out a hotfix!

Next steps

After finding and fixing a bug in Yoast’s WordPress plugin that caused duplicate sitemaps to be generated, we also had to go back through our history of generated XML files. If there are any orphaned XML files, they need to be either updated or deleted. We didn’t want hundreds of old duplicates still hanging around when we change our XML file generation over to Moz Pro Campaigns later on. Most plugins will do a pretty good job of removing these old files automatically—but not all of them do (unfortunately). With Yoast, we have no way to force it to remove orphaned files.



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