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Are you looking to boost your WordPress blog’s SEO for a small budget?
Then this Rank Math review is worth a read. As I’ll be covering in detail exactly how this WordPress SEO plugin works. Along with details on the included features. What’s missing, and how it compares to other popular plugins. Such as Yoast SEO.
By the end, you’ll have a complete understanding of the benefits and cons of using Rank Math as a WordPress SEO plugin. As well as whether it will work for you.
Before we get into that though. Let’s look at how to get Rank Math installed and what’s involved to get it configured for your blog.
How To Install Rank Math
Go to Plugins > Add new.
Search for Rank Math.
Click Install > Activate.
A screen will pop up for you to use your Rank Math login. If you already have your Rank Math login details you can simply enter them on this screen.
If not you can either skip this step or click on Create new Rank Math account’. Which will redirect you to a page where you can create your login account.
Once done, Rank Math will send you an email with your login details, including your password. You can then use these to login to the screen you had open previously.
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Rank Math Settings Wizard & Configuration
Since it is your first time loading Rank Math in WordPress. Rank Math will check if there are any problems with the plugin running on your blog. The plugin will also offer to let you run a wizard so you can setup Rank Math’s most important settings.
Click on Start Wizard.
If you have Yoast SEO installed on your blog. Rank Math will offer to import the data from Yoast.
You can even click the dropdown arrow. To customize exactly what is imported from Yoast SEO in more detail.
It is recommended that if you have Yoast SEO already installed. That you select Start Import and leave all import options ticked.
But for the sake of this tutorial. I clicked on Skip, Don’t Import Now. So those without Yoast can see all the setup settings in Rank Math.
It is also important to note that Rank Math will automatically disable any other SEO plugins. That you have installed to avoid conflicts.
If you’ve run through the Yoast SEO wizard when setting it up. Then some of Rank Math’s settings within the wizard will look familiar. As the setup of either plugin is similar in many ways.
General Site Settings
On the next screen, as part of this Rank Math review let’s look at your general website settings to
Where <Name of your blog> is a… you should set to the type of website you are using your WordPress blog as. I selected the option Small Business Site and then Organization. As my blog doesn’t fit into any of the other business types.
Make sure to enter your Company Name if it wasn’t filled in automatically for you.
You then have the option to Upload a logo for your blog. That Google can use when it displays more information about your blog in search results.
As well as a Default social share image. That will be used whenever a featured image hasn’t been set for your blog posts or pages.
Click Save and Continue once done.
Connecting Google Search Console
Next, Rank Math will ask you to
If you do not have Google Search Console setup yet. I recommend doing this first.
To connect Google Search Console to Rank Math. You’ll want to start by clicking Get Authorization code. This will prompt you to login to your Google account that is setup with your Google Search Console.
Once logged in you should be asked to authorize Rank Math to connect with Google Search Console. Click Allow to give Rank Math the needed permissions.
Google will give you a code to copy. Paste it into the Search Console box back in the Rank Math settings wizard and then click Authorize.
The Search Console Profile should automatically select your blog’s URL. But double-check and ensure you select the HTTPS version of your blog.
If you haven’t got HTTPS setup for your blog yet. Then you should do this as a priority.
Click Save and C
Rank Math Sitemap XML
On this next screen, there will be several settings to setup your Rank Math plugin with a Sitemap file. These settings impact on what Google will display in search results.
By default, the settings Rank Math has selected will usually be correct. As your Sitemaps should be set to On and Include Images should also be On.
For Public post types, both Posts and Pages should be selected. As you can always hide certain pages from Google on an individual basis later on.
Public Taxonomies makes sense to have Categories selected. As they are useful to help find similar content.
Tags are usually best not to include in Sitemaps. As they are most useful for the internal website search you can add to your blog.
If for any reason you want to hide certain resources from Google. Feel free to deselect them on this screen. Just remember once finished to click Save and Continue.
Final SEO Tweaks Using Rank Math SEO
The following page looks to use Rank Math to review some final SEO tweaks.
Firstly, the Noindex Empty Category & Tag Archives should be left as On. This will prevent any empty categories from being included in Google.
Nofollow Image File links – Change this to On. Unless you prefer to set nofollow to external links to image separately.
Nofollow External Links – This is a personal preference. As setting this to On will save you from having to add nofollow to your external links. However, if you ever want to set external links to DoFollow then I would leave this setting off.
Open External Links In New Tab/Window – For this setting. Consider what you would like to happen. When your readers click on an external link somewhere in your blog post.
Would you like it to open in the current tab taking them away from your blog?
Or allow them to keep their exact place on your blog. Whilst the external link opens into a new tab for them to browse separately. (I would have this set to On personally.)
Strip Category Base – This option should be left Off. Unless your blog is brand new with no content yet. Or you understand the impact this could have on your blog.
As it will likely break many links to your blog posts unless you setup up redirects. That could be time-consuming depending on the amount of content you have.
Click Save and Continue again once everything is setup.
Now let’s review the last page of the Rank Math settings wizard. Here’s what the screen should look like:
Consider toggling on Auto-updating for the Rank Math plugin. As automatically updating can have plenty of benefits.
Advanced Rank Math Settings
Before we get into how to use Rank Math with your blog posts. Let’s look at the advanced settings first. By clicking on the Setup Advanced Options button at the bottom of the screen.
The first option is for the 404 Monitor. Switch this On as it will give you extra useful information under Rank Math > 404 monitor. This can help you solve why users aren’t able to land on actual blog pages.
Redirections – Set this to On if you are looking for an easy way to setup redirects within the Rank Math plugin. Especially through the 404 Monitor.
Click Save and Continue.
The last advanced setting if for Schema Markup. These can add extra information to your blog. To help Google better understand the content. In turn, this can help get your content seen more and more traffic to your blog.
Set Rich Snippet to On and you can leave the rest of the settings as their defaults. Like the above screenshot. You can customize these on each post or page later.
Click Save and C
Rank Math Dashboard & Modules Review
On the Rank Math dashboard, you’ll notice there are many modules. That you can set to active or inactive. So you are only using what you need. A bit like Jetpack.
The following modules are included with Rank Math. Some of which will already be active after running through the Rank Math settings wizard.
This module keeps track of any visitors who land on a 404 page on your blog. This page is shown whenever your blog cannot find the page to display that the user clicked on.
This can happen when old links haven’t been updated. Posts have been deleted or simply a typo from the user or referring website.
This is related to the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. By enabling this module. Rank Math will include additional support and analysis for these fields.
Sometimes this plugin is used as part of your WordPress theme. However, if you don’t have the advanced custom fields plugin installed. Then you won’t need this module at all.
AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are a new image file type. That aims to improve your blog speed. By keeping file sizes even more compressed than JPEG and PNG.
So, if you decided to use the AMP WordPress Plugin to handle this. Then you’ll want to enable this module. So Rank Math can handle these pages correctly.
This is another module specific to blogs using the bbPress forum posts. So it can be better optimized for SEO using Rank Math.
Again, if you do not have bbPress on your blog. Then you do not need to worry about enabling this module.
Another specific addon for WordPress. You should only enable this if you are using it on your blog.
This module keeps track of the number of internal and external links for your blog posts. Both to and from other links inside your blog.
The number of links for your blog posts is crucial for SEO as it helps to make it easy for Google to find your pages. With this counter, you’ll easily be able to see at a glance which posts need more links added.
Local SEO & Google Knowledge Graph
This extra module will set your additional information that is important for businesses. Such as business address, telephone numbers and opening hours.
Use the settings for this module to include any extra information you want to display for your users. You can even set your contact and about page to those you have setup on your blog.
Some of this information. Will have already been setup through the settings wizard earlier.
The redirection module will help you to solve many problems found in the 404 Monitor. As well as give new link locations to any content you decide to move.
This is one of the advanced settings we covered earlier. Rich Snippets will add more information to your blog posts. So that Google can better understand it.
Allows you to set restrictions to the settings you can change in Rank Math. Based on the user roles created by WordPress.
This is mostly a beneficial security feature for multiple author blogs. So, if like me. It’s just you making changes to your blog. Then you don’t need to worry about this setting.
If you ran through the wizard explained earlier. Then this will likely already be active and connected to your Google Search Console. By having it connected you can get advanced information about your blog’s results straight into your WordPress dashboard.
This module is definitely one you want to be enabled. As it will analyze your blog for 70+ different tests. To give you customized feedback to optimize your blog.
In fact, you should click on the Settings and run your first Site-Wide Analysis as soon as possible.
The Sitemap is another must-have module for Rank Math. As it will provide you with a file that you can upload to your Google search console for quicker indexing.
It will also help keep your blog updated in Google. So there is as little delay as possible when you create new content. Or update older content as well.
If your blog is using WooCommerce to setup a shop for your blog. Then you need to ensure you enable this module. If you don’t use it, then don’t worry about it and leave it as inactive.
Rank Math General Settings
So far, we’ve reviewed a lot of different settings for Rank Math. From the basic and advanced wizard. Through
However, I want to point out that there are further settings not covered by these wizards. You can find them under the Rank Math > General settings.
I won’t cover this in detail. As Rank Math does review them. But also because if you follow the above instructions for the wizards and the modules. Then all the essential settings you need to have
I just wanted to make you aware you can make changes later on through this menu. As well as customize your Rank Math settings further with some non-essential preferences.
How To Use Rank Math
The next step is how to use Rank Math. You may have noticed when going through the modules for Rank Math. That there was a module for your SEO analysis.
If you did not go through to the settings of this module and click on Start Site-Wide Analysis. Then we should do this first.
So go to Rank Math > SEO analysis from your WordPress dashboard’s left side menu. From there click Start Site-Wide Analysis. The process will take a few minutes and then show you a report overview for your entire blog. You can also get individual page analysis’ for your blog posts. But more on that later.
The overall site analysis will give you a break down of passed tests, warnings and failed tests.
Below the chart, you will find a break down of each item. So you can see exactly which areas you need to improve on.
Plus next to each failed test there is a How to fix button. That will give you suggestions on what you need to do.
Rank Math Post Content Analysis
Now, like other plugins such as Squirrly and Yoast SEO. Rank Math also includes an assistant inside the WordPress editor.
So that when you writing your blog content. You have live guidelines to help you optimize for SEO as you go.
You can find this assistant at the bottom of your blog post. Which is significantly less handy than one that sits in the sidebar.
Let’s take a look at the features it includes.
Search Snippet Previews
Under the General tab, you have options to edit the snippet that will appear in search engines. This is similar to Yoast and Squirrly.
But with one extra tool – the ability to preview your title and description for desktop or mobile devices. This is a huge insight into how mobile visitors might see your blog posts.
Next, you’ll find a place to add in your keywords. You can enter several separate keywords for each blog post. With the first keyword being the primary for the blog post.
If you need to change your primary keyword you can just drag and drop it to the front of the list.
And if you click on each keyword you set. Rank Math will give it a score for your blog post from 1 to 100.
In general scores below 50 are highlighted red. 51-80 Yellow and 81+ is marked as green. You ideally want to aim for a score of 80+ before you publish a blog post.
You can see a full breakdown below for each score you get. So you can see what is working well and where the post needs some more work.
You can also set your blog post as Pillar content. Without needing to pay for the premium plugin like Yoast SEO.
Under the Advanced tab. You can customize each blog post with things like No Index, breadcrumbs, and redirects.
Using the Rich Snippet tab within Rank Math from your WordPress editor screen. You can fine-tune the extra information included with your blog post.
For example, if you wanted a star rating to show for a review you wrote in the search results. You could select the Rich Snippet Type – Review. That would then give you options like the minimum and maximum star rating and rating for the actual post.
The last tab that Rank Math has. Are for your Social settings.
Here you can preview what you post will look like on Facebook and Twitter. As well as customize each to have their own image, title, and description.
Yoast has a similar feature but it is only available in the premium version of their plugin.
If you can’t quite find the preview. You’ll need to look for and click the ‘Facebook Preview’ or ‘Twitter Preview’ button.
And that’s pretty much it for this WordPress SEO plugin!
Recap Of Rank Math Review
The Rank Math plugin is a new SEO tool. That is still being developed, meaning many features are completely free.
This makes it a useful alternative to Yoast. As some features like multiple keywords. And previewing your blog post shares on social media. Are locked behind their premium plugin.
Overall, if you decide to follow this Rank Math review for
Once you have all the settings done. You should then turn to optimizing your site-wide results in the SEO Analysis screen. Try to fix as many issues as possible. You may need to research elsewhere on some of the fixes.
After fixing as many site-wides issues as possible. The next step is to focus on your individual blog posts.
By setting keywords and trying to get their scores as close to 100 as possible. Remember – optimize for humans first and then Google. There’s no point hitting that 100 mark. If reading your blog post is a terrible experience for your audience.
The post editor assistant is also more detailed than the free Squirrly version too. Which makes it an extremely budget-friendly option in my opinion.
Just keep in mind that it doesn’t quite cover all the features that Squirrly does. As in comparison, Squirrly looks at 200 features, including off-page SEO. Whereas if you review Rank Math, there are about 70+ features and Yoast SEO is last with about 20+.
Rank Math vs Squirrly vs Yoast SEO
So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly option with more detail. Then this Rank Math is an excellent choice.
If you want the complete SEO package to maximize the results you get out of SEO. Then consider using the Squirrly SEO plugin instead. In particular, the premium version will help you go beyond on-page. To other important factors such as backlinks and your actual keyword research.
Finally, if you want something basic and simple. Yoast SEO is still a good option. Just keep in mind that even if you 100% all the green lights that Yoast suggests. (Which are not perfect by the way.) You won’t maximize your SEO results. As Yoast only looks at a small part of SEO.
Where are you currently in your SEO journey with Google and WordPress? Are any of these WordPress SEO Plugins what you are looking for?
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