Connect with us


WordPress Response to Rogue Plugin Updates


on issued a statement to plugin developers to respect user decisions on automatic updates. The reminder comes after the publishers of the All in One SEO Plugin turned on automatic updates without asking for permission.

The statement warned that those who violate users express wishes with regard to automatic updates will continue to be flagged by

WordPress Automatic Updates

Automatic updates are a feature in the WordPress content management system (CMS) that empowers a user to select to allow a plugin to automatically update.

The feature was made easily accessible with the release of WordPress version 5.5.

This feature also allowed publishers to select to not receive automatic updates

Automatic update for plugins has been a hidden feature for many years. Publishers who previously wanted to enable automatic updates had to change code in their configuration files.

What auto updates does is to make it easier for publishers to have the latest version of their plugins. This can be important because some updates contain vulnerability fixes. Failure to update some plugins can result in a site being taken over by a malicious hacker.

The downside of auto updates is when an update goes bad and causes unintended conflicts with other plugins or themes.


This is why many publishers prefer to update their plugins in a controlled manner so that they can become immediately aware of any problems.

All in One SEO Auto Updates

Back in late November 2020, the publishers of All in One SEO plugin updated to version 4 and at some point unilaterally turned on automatic updates for their plugin without asking for user permission.

See also  7 Dos & Don'ts for Taking Charge of Your PPC Program (Again)

This happened even for publishers who vigorously insisted they had not turned on automatic updates.

More information here, WordPress All in One SEO Auto Updates Cause Backlash

WordPress Issues Warning on Auto Updates

While All in One SEO may not be the only plugin to turn on automatic updates, it may certainly be the most popular plugin maker to do it since WordPress 5.5 was introduced.

WordPress issued a formal statement reminding the plugin software development community that they must not turn on auto updates without express permission from users.

According to WordPress:

“You may offer a feature to auto-update, but it has to honor the core settings. This means if someone has set their site to “Never update any of my plugins or themes” you are not to change those for them unless they opt-in and request it.

The reason for this is that plugins should not over-reach their authority.”


The announcement also stated that automatic updates can cause unexpected outcomes on publisher websites and can affect the trust that publishers have with the plugin developers and with WordPress itself.

In what appears to be a nod to the recent All in One SEO Plugin issue, the WordPress statement called it sad.

“Sadly, this happened recently to a well used plugin, and the fallout has been pretty bad.”

The statement went on to note that there are no plans to make a formal guideline about this issue but that WordPress will continue to “flag” plugins that violate user trust and wishes with regard to automatic updates for plugins.


Reminder: Plugins Must Not Interfere with Updates


Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster



Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”



Continue Reading Below

Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.



Continue Reading Below

But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.


But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.


One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.


Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

See also  Google Is Creating A New Core Web Vitals Metric
Continue Reading

Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address