Over the last couple of years, WordPress SEO by Yoast has been the number one plugin SiteCare has relied on to optimize our WordPress-based websites. Understandably so – when it was first released, there wasn’t another plugin like it to deliver the same results. Not even All-in-One SEO for WordPress was as comprehensive as Yoast at the time.
Today, however, we’re introducing a newer WordPress SEO plugin: Rank Math. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the plugin does, how it compares with other SEO plugins, and explain how to install and set it up for your WordPress website.
What is RankMath?
Rank Math is an SEO suite-style plugin packed with features to ensure your website is optimized with search best practices in mind. If you have ever used any other WordPress SEO plugin, you should have a basic understanding of how Rank Math might work.
The critical difference between Rank Math and other SEO plugins (like Yoast) is that it’s a freemium plugin, which means it offers more features in the free version than other plugins do.
When was Rank Math founded?
Understanding a plugin’s history should allow us to determine if it’s safe or not. Rank Math (the company) was started in 2018 and is headquartered in India. The Rank Math plugin boasts over 850,000 active plugin users and has risen in popularity among WordPress users in just three short years. The team behind the plugin is 27 members strong and remotely located across the world. A global team allows Rank Math to create and optimize a plugin that constantly considers search changes and ensures the plugin remains updated.
What are some of Rank Math’s features?
What are some of the features that set this SEO plugin apart from the rest? Let’s take a closer look.
Ease of use
Many of our clients don’t have the time to sit and make changes to or set up every little aspect of their WordPress sites. Fair enough – they have businesses to run! This is what makes Rank Math great – it’s easy to use, even when installing it with the Setup Wizard. The step-by-step setup process guides you on how to configure settings that are best suited to your website.
Data integration comes standard
SEO is all about understanding data – how users find, visit and interact with your website. Rank Math accommodates this by including Google Analytics and Google Search Console modules within the free version; if you opt for the paid version, even better, as you can track weekly rankings and have that much more data at your fingertips.
Schema or rich snippets are included
As search engine algorithms evolve, it becomes more critical to include schema markup in your SEO efforts. Schema is a type of HTML markup that helps search engines, such as Google or Bing, better understand what the page is about and how it should be presented in the search results pages.
An example of how Google displays results on a search results page is the ‘Direct Answer’ and ‘People Also Ask’ boxes, pictured below for the search query, “What are core web vitals?”
Having schema integrated into your site increases your chances of featuring in these or other featured snippets.
To implement schema across your site, you generally need to install a couple of plugins. Rank Math, however, includes a rich snippet module within the free version of the plugin. This means that you have access to 14 different types of schema that you can use straight out of the box. This is important to stand a chance of having your content included in Google’s SERP features, which always rank on the first results page of most search queries.
Configurable and modular-based
At SiteCare, we want to have the ability to tweak and personalize the plugins we use to meet our business website’s needs. Rank Math’s modular system allows us to do just that, as we can configure and set up which modules we need, and ignore the ones we don’t.
A modular-based system means that you can use some of the features on offer as and when you need them. Unfortunately, several SEO plugins don’t give you the option to decide which features or add-ons you want to use based on your changing needs. Rank Math has several modules turned off at installation (such as the schema module, the image optimization module, and the redirects module), which can be turned on when and if you need them.
Built-in SEO audit
Another thing that stands out for this plugin is its one-click SEO audit module. In the freemium version, the plugin’s analysis tool indicates your SEO score and what you need to do to fix and improve it. (Think of it as having your very own SEO auditor on stand-by).
While this feature is excellent, we need to highlight that it only covers the fundamental aspects of SEO and not all fixes you should implement on a website if you want to see great SEO results.
Automated SEO basics
As SEO evolves and content generation and link building require more effort, we rely on tools or features to get SEO basics implemented. One such automation feature is Rank Math’s image optimizer module, which allows you to set the plugin to add in image ALT text and the image title automatically.
Alt text in images is important because Google and other search engines don’t know the graphics or elements your image contains. Google cannot “see” as you and I can. We use ALT text to describe the image to search engines. From a web accessibility perspective, it’s imperative to include ALT text for those with visual impairments, relying on screen readers to understand the content on a website.
Is Rank Math better than Yoast?
If you search online for “Rank Math,” the search results mostly include blogs comparing Yoast SEO and Rank Math as SEO plugins: “Is Rank Math better than Yoast?” Who should win? It’s a tricky question to answer.
The challenge of comparing the two plugins lies in understanding their most significant differences. Yoast is a standard WordPress SEO plugin; it’s not an all-in-one SEO suite, while Rank Math is. So is it that realistic to compare the two? As SiteCare’s SEO strategist, I don’t think so.
Rank Math includes a host of features and modules that make it an exceptional add-on. As a result, RankMath is a much better-looking alternative to Yoast when it comes to comparisons, as it has everything you need in a single, lightweight plugin.
Let’s take site speed as an example. Google (and your target audience) are looking for fast-loading websites on mobile and desktop. Unfortunately, to access the same features that Rank Math offers out-the-box, you need to install multiple plugins alongside Yoast. The irony here is that fewer installed plugins mean a lighter site that loads faster anyway. This alone is one of the most important attractions that Rank Math has for me and other SEO specialists.
Additional features that don’t come standard with other SEO plugin offerings, but do with Rank Math, include Rank Math’s built-in data modules. Yoast needs another plugin like Monster Insights installed with it to provide the same level of data analysis.
Schema markup and implementation is another aspect where Yoast falls short. While Yoast includes the standard web page, organization, article, and other schemas as a standard offering, we often need to install other plugins to have the schema we require for our content pieces. One example is the Frequently Asked Questions schema on our site, facilitated through the Helpie plugin.
Rank Math is a powerful tool that takes your WordPress SEO to new heights without having to install multiple plugins to get the job done. There is a strong case to move over to this tool to elevate your WordPress SEO efforts. However, the main factor to consider before changing WordPress plugins is WordPress compatibility.
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