Honestly, I like Yoast SEO. I’ve been using it for a long time and will continue to use it. However, after experience with troubleshooting, and also with clientele, there’s a rare occasion that the solution is completely removing Yoast SEO from your database completely before re-installing it. It really is rare, and usually is because of database issue (not caused by the plugin.)
Then, well, sometimes things go really wrong, and Yoast SEO may not be for some people. I’ve seen various cases of both. This tutorial is for those reasons. Not many people really talk about a solution to remove Yoast SEO because it’s a really useful plugin, and usually on most people’s top 10 recommended WordPress plugins to install.
The reason for writing this tutorial, is that just uninstalling and deleting the actual plugin from your WordPress backend doesn’t completely remove Yoast SEO. Some plugins completely remove everything, but Yoast doesn’t.
When the plugin is deactivated and then removed, it leaves rows in the wp_postmeta. Normally, the people asking about this are usually power users. They understand enough about WordPress and that some plugins store information in the database. If you weren’t really good at writing strings to remove things from your database, then you had to hunt down and manually remove the tables. The coding version in this tutorial gives you the MySQL string to remove it, instead of tediously browsing your wp_postmeta table.
I would suggest that before you do remove Yoast SEO completely from your website, that you seek out support with Yoast. Please be certain that it’s the solution, because once you remove the data, and you’ve previously invested quite a bit of time, you will lose all of your work. If you are a Yoast SEO Premium user, you have free access to an excellent support team. Utilize that option before making assumptions that the solution is completely removing Yoast SEO. Whether it is for a legitimate reason, or you decided to have personal issues with it, and gave up, still, seek support first.
That being said, I like to try to find solutions for both the code savvy and the non-coder. Here are two ways to remove Yoast SEO from your database.
How to Completely Remove Yoast SEO with a Plugin
There is a plugin called Uninstall Yoast SEO in the WordPress plugin repository. If you install it, and then activate it. The plugin automatically removes it.
The Uninstall Yoast SEO plugin is a one-time use, so once after you’ve activated it, you can remove it.
How to Completely Remove Yoast SEO using phpmyadmin and MySQL
If your host has phpmyadmin, this will work for you. Please note, that before fooling around with your database, make a backup. In fact, do yourself a favor and do a backup for your WordPress installation too. It’s better to be diligent before messing around in your database.
1. Log into your web host, and go to phpmyadmin
2. Find your database for your WordPress installation
3. Go to the SQL tab for that database and in the big input field, place the following code.
DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = 'METAKEYHERE';
Note: Instead of METAKEYHERE, you will use one of the following –
These are some of the ones that will be listed. So, for example:
DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_yoast_wpseo_focuskw';
DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_yoast_wpseo_metadesc';
DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_yoast_wpseo_title';
DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_yoast_wpseo_canonical';
DELETE FROM wp_postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_yoast_wpseo_redirect';
So, there you go, you’ve got a really easy way to remove Yoast SEO, and a little more technical solution.