Update III: Read my review before buying the All In One SEO Pack PRO plugin.
Update II: Just so we’re clear, this post only applied to the 1.6.2 version of the All In One SEO Pack. However, I believe new installations of the plugin noindex category and tag pages by default which I highly recommend against.
Update: There is another update to the All In One SEO plugin that I am told will maintain the settings.
However, if you made the previous update and have not yet made sure your category pages are indexable by search engines, the newest update will maintain the noindex tag on your category pages.
Basically, if you updated the All in One SEO plugin prior to today (July 14th) this post still applies to you.
With the release of WordPress 2.8.1 last week, several of the most popular plugins are being updated as well.
And, just like upgrading WordPress’ core files, upgrading plugins has become an automated process as well, most requiring only a couple of clicks.
Unfortunately, if you’re not paying attention, the recent All-In-One-SEO plugin update could wind up costing you BIG time.
After upgrading to the new version you’re informed that the plugin is not active and you’ll need to adjust your settings to activate it.
That’s unusual for a plugin, but not a big deal. I jumped over to the plugin’s admin page. From there I was told that I needed to update the database options.
Again, not a big deal. I clicked the button (since I’d already backed up the database prior to upgrading to WordPress 2.8.1), and everything went smoothly. I clicked the checkbox to activate the plugin and very nearly made a critical mistake.
Had I left it at that, and assumed everything was fine, I would have instantly put a large percentage of my traffic at risk. For one of sites, I would have lost 90% of my traffic when Google noticed the noindex tag and began dropping my category pages from their index!
What was the problem?
Apparently upon upgrading the plugin, All In One SEO decided that it would be a good idea for me to put a no-index tag on my category archives!
Now, as I mentioned in my SEO Guide for WordPress, many SEOs recommend putting the noindex tag on archive or tag pages. I vehemently disagree with that approach and to carry it over to your category pages is completely ludicrous!
Worst of all, since updating the All In One SEO plugin apparently overwrites your previously selected options without alerting you, thousands of blogs that are using the plugin could be losing organic search engine traffic as we speak.