Getting Started with Rank Math SEO in 2022 – is it really that good?

Rank Math is a WordPress SEO plugin that I’ve been hearing about a lot. With over 1 million websites using it, it is also the SEO plugin with the best growth rate (according to wordpress.org stats). Let’s see together what the hype is all about.


Video Transcript

Rank Math SEO is the third most popular search engine optimization plugin for WordPress. It is used on more than 1 million websites and comes in two versions, free and premium. There’s a lot of hype around this plugin.

Let’s begin.

Rank Math SEO Plugin Cover on WordPress.org

Rank Math SEO Installation

When you first activate it, you are offered to connect your website to a free account. I will skip this step.

Next, you can select the desired configuration process, easy or advanced.

Screenshot of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO WordPress Plugin

The plugin will check if you have previous configuration from competing plugins and will suggest importing that configuration.

Next, select the general category of your website.

Screenshot of Step 1 Screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

After that you will be offered again to connect your website to a free Rank Math account in order to connect to Google services. I’ll skip this step.

Screenshot of Step 2 Screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

Next you can enable XML Sitemaps and include or exclude images, post types and taxonomies. It’s curious that post tags taxonomy is not even offered as an option.

Screenshot of Step 3 Screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

On the Optimization step, there are two unique options that I haven’t seen in other plugins: the option to automatically nofollow external links and to open all external links in a new tab.

Screenshot of Step 4 Screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

Continuing with advanced configuration, the Role Manager allows you to limit access to Rank Math features for different user roles.

Screenshot of Role Manager Screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

Next you can enable a 404 Not Found Monitor and Redirections. Some users tend to install separate plugins for these two features, so this could replace two extra plugins. Other SEO plugins either don’t have this feature or they sell it as a paid add-on.

Screenshot of 404 Monitor and Redirection screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

And finally you can enable Schema Markup. This helps search engines better understand the type of content on a website and might lead to more exposure in search engine result pages.
The default values are fine.

Screenshot of Schema Markup Screen of the Setup Wizard in Rank Math SEO Plugin

Modules in Rank Math SEO

Back in the Dashboard, we can see that the plugin provides a handful of modules that can replace standalone plugins.

Screenshot of Available Modules in Rank Math SEO

404 Monitor and Image SEO are probably the most universal ones. The Image SEO module can automatically add missing alt attributes to an image. However by default it will use the file name as attribute value, which is not ideal, especially when your images have generic file names.

General Settings

In General Settings we can find a lot of interesting options.

The option to automatically add rel=”nofollow” to external links becomes even more interesting. You can add a list of domains that you want to nofollow or a list of domains that you want to whitelist.

This way you could disable this option for the domains that you own or trust. This is really cool!

Screenshot of the General Settings screen in Rank Math SEO

A Breadcrumbs feature is available, which can be integrated into your theme as a PHP function or displayed using a shortcode.

Screenshot of the Breadcrumbs screen in Rank Math SEO

This is what Breadcrumbs look like in my Leonardo Theme and in my Foundation Theme.

In Webmaster Tools you can verify your website in Google Search Console and other webmaster tools. I will make a separate video about the benefits of using Google Search Console.

In the Others tab there’s nothing useful for most users.

Next you can edit your robots.txt and .htaccess files.

Titles & Meta

In Titles & Meta there are some interesting settings that I haven’t seen in other plugins.

For example you can automatically capitalize titles.

Screenshot of the Titles & Metas: Global screen in Rank Math SEO

You can NOINDEX your author archives, which is a good idea for all WordPress websites with a single author or where the author information is not relevant.

Screenshot of the Titles & Metas: Authors screen in Rank Math SEO

Next you can control the titles, description metas and robots meta for each post type and taxonomy. I would love to see here a separate option for the capitalization of titles. This might be good for posts, but not so much for pages.

Screenshot of the Titles & Metas: Post Types screen in Rank Math SEO

Sitemap Settings provide sufficient control over each post type and taxonomy.

Screenshot of the Sitemaps: General screen in Rank Math SEO WordPress Plugin

Instant Indexing

The Instant Indexing module is an interesting one. Even though the IndexNow API is not yet fully adopted by Google, this might improve the time it takes for some search engines to index or update your content. It’s a nice feature.

Screenshot of the Instant Indexing: Submit screen in Rank Math SEO

Screenshot of the Instant Indexing: Settings screen in Rank Math SEO

The Redirections module combined with the 404 Monitor is a convenient way to manage content migration and other errors that can happen over time. I really like this.

The Status & Tools page is not for the average user, but is helpful to developers during debugging.

When you’re browsing your list of posts or pages, you will see some SEO details about your content, such as the number of internal, external and incoming links. And you get an extra option to quickly submit a specific page to IndexNow. That is very convenient.

Screenshot of the Posts page in WordPress with additional SEO data provided by Rank Math SEO

Individual Page SEO Settings

Contrary to what other competitors are doing, Rank Math doesn’t add a panel at the bottom of the edit page, keeping all of its settings in the sidebar. If you have a wide monitor then it’s not a problem, but I think the Block Editor sidebar is already busy enough. I personally don’t like making this area even busier. But it is what it is.

Screenshot of the Rank Math SEO Tab in the Toolbar of the WordPress Block Editor

Pillar Content (aka Cornerstone Content)

You can mark your most important posts as Pillar Content, also known as Cornerstone content.

On the front-end it will not affect your content in any way, so this will not automagically improve anything. But it makes it easier to find a link to this post when creating other content.

Each tab has additional checklists with suggestions on how to improve the on-page SEO.

In the Advanced panel you can change the meta for this page, the breadcrumb title and even redirect this page to a different URL. If you redirect this page, it will automatically show up on the Redirections page. Really nice!

And finally there is an option to preview this content when it will be shared on Facebook or Twitter.

Rank Math SEO Premium

If you decide to upgrade to a paid plan, currently there are 3 different packages, from $59 to $499 a year.

Compared to some of its top competitors, Rank Math upgrades are valid for an unlimited number of websites, so you can buy it once and use it across all your websites.

Screenshot of Rank Math SEO Premium Price Plans

Closing Notes

In closing, I think that this plugin is better than I expected. It has some free modules that its main competitors don’t have. But it really depends on your personal preference. Some people prefer to have some features as standalone plugins, and not have everything bundled into a single one.

If you’re interested in Rank Math SEO alternatives, I have a separate video in which I compare it to its main competitors, such as Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, SEOPress and The SEO Framework.

Thank you for watching.

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