Yoast Media Bug Indexing the Image URLs as pages and forum spam caused 80% traffic loss!

In March last year due to Yoast Media Bug (which caused images being indexed as a page with nothing but one image without any additional text) the traffic on my website dropped 80%!
- https://yoast.com/media-attachment-urls/

The cause of this traffic loss was identified in the end of December last year which makes almost 10 months of low traffic and thousands of indexed pages (URLs which should never be indexed) instead of hundreds (real number).

Another problem was the "forgotten" phpBB board installed on the same domain which started to have a lot of spam posts which probably contributed to additional traffic loss later in the summer.

All this made a lot of first page search result URLs virtually non-existent - they do not appear up to 5th or 10th search result pages.

Now, everything is fixed (phpBB uninstalled, sitemap has only hundreds of high quality URLs, and the unwanted URLs respond with 410 and 404 error codes) but the traffic is the same low for 3 weeks after fix already.

How long do you think it will take to recover?

And is there anything more I could do?
LVL 3
winintsoftAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
No way to even guess at state of your site.

Post your actual site URL, so people can test + provide recovery suggestions.
winintsoftAuthor Commented:
The client wanted me not to share the website address to avoid the competition to know the details.

I just wanted to ask here if anybody got hit by this Yoast bug and if he recovered and how long did it take?
David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
The problem is the Yoast bug + other similar bugs will manifest differently, based on site tooling.

Best to hire someone who fixes problems like this every day + have them fix the site.

Alternatively, you can do this yourself by fixing all Search Console messages + ensuring your sitemaps are correct now + then waiting till index resolves itself.

Tip: You must correlate what you thing should index by actually what does index (every URL) to ensure the index will eventually recover.

Not really difficult, just tedious + time consuming.
OWASP Proactive Controls

Learn the most important control and control categories that every architect and developer should include in their projects.

winintsoftAuthor Commented:
Sure, the sitemap has only the high quality links with a rich content.

No Wordpress tags links, forum links, internal webpages links,...

Just asking if anybody know if it really takes up to 3+ months to recover or if it will gets sooner.

Having 80% traffic loss on website for more than 12 months is disastrous for the business.
David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
3 Months seems long.

Sites normally recover in a few days + this depends greatly on site tooling.

Just to many variables for a guess.
David FavorLinux/LXD/WordPress/Hosting SavantCommented:
Tip: Normally recovery should take a few hours to a few days.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.