Cleaning Up after the Yoast SEO plugin

Cleaning Up after the WordPress SEO plugin

photo found on Unsplash

With more than 1mio active installs am I the only one who gets irritated by all the nonsense the Yoast SEO plugin adds to my WordPress backend?

I simply cannot believe that!

And what about our clients? You feel great delivering a brand new website to your client that comes with a whole bunch cartoons, popups about a tour to take and 3 columns with not too useful data on all edit Posts/Pages screens?!

And then I’m not even starting about that about page that is rammed in your face every time the plugin gets updated. Unfortunately when the Yoast SEO plugin gets updated it is mostly in a series of 2-3 updates that follow each other shortly, one after the other, because squashing one bug more often than not means opening up a beehive of other bugs…

This bad practice by the way is called click-jacking or click hijacking and many of the negative reviews the plugin has gathered in the first few months of this year complain about exactly this!

It seems that a popular plugin like Yoast SEO doesn’t need to adhere (anymore) to the plugin guidelines. From the Detailed Plugin Guidelines (emphasis mine):

5. It’s perfectly fine to attempt to upsell the user on other products and features, but a) not in an annoying manner
7. things like banner or text link advertising should not be anywhere in a plugin, including on its settings screen.
11. Any form of “nagging” is absolutely prohibited.

Time to do something about this!

I could leave a negative review, but I’m pretty sure Team Yoast cannot care less about it. I actually did sent the Plugins review team an email about the click jacking, but the person replying told me it was probably not on purpose… Uhuh…

So I decided to instead release a plugin that cleans up after the Yoast SEO plugin: SO Hide SEO Bloat.

The (quite obvious) purpose of the plugin is to clean up all the unwanted things.

As per the 1.7 release, the plugin removes and/or disables the following unwanted items:

  • removes sidebar ads on all Yoast SEO settings pages
  • removes the Yoast SEO settings from the Admin Bar
  • removes updated nag
  • sets plugin-intro-tour user_meta to true (means done)
  • removes the keyword/description columns on edit Posts/Pages pages
  • removes the overview dashboard widget that was introduced in version 2.3 of the Yoast SEO plugin
  • removes GSC (Google Search Console) nag that was introduced in Yoast SEO 2.3.3
  • remove yst_opengraph_image_warning nag that was added to Yoast SEO 2.1, but we never noticed it before. In the changelog it has been described as “validation error”, which of course is nonsense, because the world is larger than social media. The nag manifests itself by placing thick red borders around your Featured Image as well as a red-bordered warning message when your Featured Image is smaller than 200×200 pixels.

The plugin is available at the WP.org Repo and over at Github.

It is of course no coincidence that I have used the tulip for the plugin’s banner!

Let me know if you want the SO Hide SEO Bloat plugin to have more features!