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ACF incompatible with new update of Yoast SEO

  • I’ve been reporting this over on the Yoast SEO threads but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference yet. Thought you guys should know about it as well.

    Yoast SEO updated to 3.* version and has caused quite a firestorm of complaints. For me it completely borked and was worthless. Troubleshooting, I was able to see that if I turned OFF ACF the Yoast SEO worked – at least seemed so. Turning back on ACF rendered Yoast SEO worthless again (doesn’t recognize that posts have any word count).

    Not being a developer I don’t understand fully the issue – don’t even know whose issue this is. I was thinking that one of their developers didn’t ‘localize’ a class or function and was stomping on other’s programming. WP also has a bunch of flags that need resetting after a function is used so perhaps it’s that.

    Are you guys aware of the incompatibility issue? Has Yoast even contacted you? Reading all their complaints on the forum makes me thing there may be other incompatibilities as well but none so clear cut as this one that I’ve reported

  • In my mind, the “SEO-Score” is not lower, if Yoast SEO does not detect your content fields of ACF. While Yoast SEO catches the content out of the correct css selectors or maybe from database, Google & Co. crawl the rendered website content. The difference is, that Google & Co. detect all your Content, although the word count of Yoast SEO displays a value of 0.

    So all in all, in my opinion you do not have to raise concern over the live analysis of Yoast SEO, Google & Co. will detect and process your data correctly. I have got a complex website with a lot of custom fields but unfortunately none of these ACF are detected by Yoast SEO. Of course, it would be nice, if the “traffic light” displays a green light and the Yoast SEO Analysis shows me that is all correct but now I have to trust my entered data.

    I hope, I could help you a bit.


  • Perhaps I might have titled: Yoast SEO update incompatible with ACF. Frankly, I don’t know what has borked – clearly Yoast’s new programming has highlighted the issue.

    Also, it is NOT only the ACF fields that Yoast doesn’t have a clue of – it’s the entire post (years worth). Were working, now not. And not over the entire usership – only those who have ACF installed.

    I’m sure that Google does its own thing – however, if you read all the flack going on in their forums – people now state that Google doesn’t recognize their home page (perhaps an entirely different issue but who can tell).

    So, I think it behooves us all to try and assist in resolving issues. Not being a developer, about the only thing I can do is to report my findings, which is what I am trying to do. None of the other plugins that I’m using seem to be causing the issue – only ACF. It may not (probably isn’t) anything ACF is doing – unless they are using some function name localized (accidentally?) to the same thing the Yoast people are now using?? Or aren’t resetting some kind of index pointer???

    I would have hoped by now that Yoast’ites would have made direct contact with ACF to discuss the issue – it doesn’t look like they have. In fact it’s going on 4 weeks now since there’s been an update and they’re still getting stung hard by large amounts of “1” ratings. Both of these plugins are used by an incredible number of the community – it’s disheartening to have this happen to two such icons.

  • Hi

    Is there any news on this issue? There must be a massive amount of sites out there that use both yoast and acf. Seems to me they are two of the most used plugins in the world. But yoast doesnt recognise any acf content as far as I can tell.

    I have just made a large site that uses acf for the bulk of content with the result that the yoast seo scores are terrible for every page and post!

    Surely it is in the interests of everyone that a solution is found for this, presumably by acf and yoast working together?

    I did have a plugin that dealt with this issue, but recent updates to acf have, I think, caused it to show errors in the cms so I have had to remove it.

    Both acf and yoast seo are great plugins, pretty much essential I think, but now I have to go and tell my client the yoast is pretty much meaningless.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Actually… since I opened this thread I’ve completely removed the defective Yoast SEO plugin – then I went through wordpress to obtain the old version 2.x of the plug in and install it which went back to working as it did.

    However, subsequent to that, I’ve heard people tell me that the 2.x version of Yoast was updated because it was defective and had vulnerabilities – good grief. I’ve still got it installed and actually updated to Yoast 3.7 when it came out several weeks ago now. Nothing had changed! IT WAS STILL DEFECTIVE AND BORKED ALL OVER THE PLACE if I had ACF turned on. If I turned ACF off Yoast worked; BUT, as I said before, pretty much YOAST is fluff and I can program the stuff in the head of the templates. ACF is not because I’ve got hundreds of posts which rely on the custom fields. ACF wins!

    IN ADDITION: After a few weeks of troubleshooting Yoast, I began to notice that my Google referrals started dropping off dramatically and I found that the Yoast SEO 3.7 was screwing up the sitemap sent to Google. So, I’ve also had to turn off the Yoast breadcrumb function and install another program to handle creating the sitemap – which has fixed the Google recognition problem.

    A drawback of continuing to use the old version of Yoast is that it continually nags me to update and shows that there is one outdated plugin. Yoast apparently doesn’t give a crap about the free plugin anymore, and I’m guessing his ego doesn’t let him even consider that it might be his problem and not ACF, so he hasn’t had any bug fixes rolled out for over two weeks now!

    Until there is a version 3.8 out I won’t bother with him, and even then ACF will still win if he doesn’t fix his defective programming.

  • Addition – However I must say, I’ve never had a peep out of the ACF people either, despite having made an inquiry. So, it appears that nobody gives a crap about this incompatibility issue.

  • Hi dj,

    the developer of ACF does not get to these forums much and spends most of his time working on the plugin. This forum is basically for users helping other users.

    For anyone that is having a compatibility issue with another plugin I would suggest submitting a new support ticket. There is a message at the top of the page when you start a new forum topic that reads

    Please note that forum topics are no longer used as support tickets. Instead, please open a support ticket

    that includes a link to open a new support ticket. You can also get there by going to the support home page and on the right sidebar you’ll find a button for starting a new support ticket. You can also click this link.

    As far as yoast goes, I’ve been following what’s going on with it because I use it on many sites. One of the issues it has, from my understanding, is that when you have the default WP content editor then it doesn’t work, as well as other things.

    I have personally decided to not update to the 3.X version and I’m looking for a suitable replacement, which I’m not having much luck with. There are others, but they are incomplete as far as SEO goes. More than likely I’m going to end up building my own SEO plugin using ACF.

  • Thanks John – I will. Despite what appears to be a complete lack of willingness of the Yoast team to solve problems THAT THEY CREATE, I’d still like to avoid the hassle of figuring out all that header info and typing it myself. Although, from now on we all need to keep an eye on what YOAST actually does to the sitemap that Google crawls.

  • I am pretty amazed at the lack of support on this issue from either ACF or Yoast. Both are major plugins used by squillions of people, so the fact they don’t work well together is a major issue. I would have thought they would be working together to sort this out. Not impressed.

  • It is probably worth mentioning again, that although “Yoast SEO” plugin does not parse the content written in ACF fields in the backend, and therefore you might be seeing Yoast warnings (traffic lights, whatever), the main thing Yoast is useful for, is to write your meta titles and descriptions, as well as the handy options in the advanced settings for indexing, following and canonical settings etc on the actual posts, and the additional settings for the meta in the plugin settings itself (sitemaps, taxonomy stuff etc, and maybe the Social Media bling if your theme itself doesn’t already offer such options).

    The actual feedback advice it provides on the posts on the admin side is just fluff, it doesn’t do anything for your real SEO, all it does is offer tips based on “Yoast Best Practice”.

    The content in the fields that is displayed on the front end of the site is read by the search engine spiders (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, evilspiders, etc), and that is what counts.

    So as long as you follow the basic principles of having a permalink that matches your main keyword (as reasonably as is practical), and your Meta Title and Description, H1 Page Title, and Content hold your focus keyword then that is what matters, no matter if it is written in the WP TinyMCE editor, or an Advanced Custom Field.

    The Content that cannot be “seen” by Yoast, can most definitely be seen by the spiders, and they could care less about the Yoastie Toastie traffic lights.

    Although of course I am not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have the components working well together, it would be nice.. what I am saying, is it doesn’t really matter in real terms, as long as you follow the basic principles of SEO when writing your content. The real value of Yoast is the other admin settings of the plugin.

  • Yes, thanks. Most all should know that Yoast SEO critique is fluff and not in any way binding on google or the like.

    However, Yoast SEO does in fact make all kinds of non-fluff additions to the <head of every page and for some does take over the entire sitemap which IS very important to Google.

    Additionally, it apparently has the ability to screw up other innocent by-standing plug-ins as well.

    The convenience is perhaps what irk’s people most, but not the most important.

  • I should say here in this thread too, that the latest Yoast SEO update, pushed out several months after the crash I wrote about, has – as far as I can tell – finally solved the incompatibility.

    I can find no explanation of the problem from the company – or even acknowledgement that they even were aware of any incompatibility.

  • I appreciate what people are saying about the Yoast “Fluff”, however for me the fluff is important.

    Most of my clients have heard that SEO is “important”, but they do not really know what it is. They like to see SEO featured in the cms. Yoast provides that, and also gives them a useful set of hints on how to improve their SEO on a page by page basis.

    It may not be ideal, but it gives them a starting point for thinking about SEO, and it makes sure they don’t ignore the essentials.

    Also, I have had many many clients who, the minute their site goes live, get contacted by various dodgy “seo specialist” companies trying to instil fear and doubt in them about their SEO, in order to poach the ongoing site maintenance and basically steal my work. Therefore it is important to demonstrate to the client that SEO is already a feature of their site.

    However, if Yoast ignores ACF fields it can give them wildly inaccurate “scores”. It is too much to expect non technical clients to get their heads around the fact that this does not really matter, or to explain why, they want things to “just work”. It undermines the clients confidence in their site.

    I am not aware of any other plugin that does what Yoast does, imperfect as it is, and I feel they have invested so much in their product that surely they will eventually come out of the awkward patch they seem to be going through at the moment.

    If anyone does know of other SEO plugins that might be a good alternative, I would be keen to know. It may be that the problem with Yoast is precisely a lack of competition, no one snapping at their heels.

  • This topic now veering off to the south a bit. It probably should be closed. The initial issue; namely, that Yoast SEO completely borked after their update when ACF (and many other plugins) were used, seems to have now been fixed with Yoast’s latest update.

    Also, thanks for the reference to “content analysis.” that plugin seems to have been developed even before the Yoast foul up in order to get Yoast (when it worked) to recognize key words which were used and “injected” (thus not in the “main stream” content for Yoast to count) by the ACF plugin.

    It’s only purpose is to “enhance” Yoast not be alternative to it so doesn’t fit what I asked in the original thread post. Now that Yoast is back working again (seemingly) it’s good to know that there is something that makes them useful together.

  • I recently had a client complain about the same… Yoast doesn’t work at all with ACF Pro active.

    Anybody seen a cure for this yet?

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