SEO is the essential aspect every webmaster must give due consideration to create a successful website. While many plugins are available out there that simplify your SEO efforts, Rank Math is the new plugin that helps you generate exceptional results.
Rank Math has emerged as the best alternative to the Yoast SEO plugin, especially after the recent incident of Yoast bug that resulted in the ranking drop of many websites.
Rank Math plugin comes with plenty of advanced features that help your website achieve superior search engine results.
The Mythemeshop team has developed the Rank Math SEO plugin. After testing Rank Math, the performance of our website has been so great that we recently had to shun the use of the Yoast plugin.
Here is the complete and definitive guide that will help you learn how to use the Rank Math SEO plugin properly. We have split this long post into three parts:
- Why use the Rank Math SEO plugin?
- A basic guide to Rank Math: This part covers setting up configuration wizard, local SEO, etc
- Advanced guide to Rank Math: This section will walk you through titles, meta, sitemap, 404 -redirection, etc
Why use the Rank Math SEO plugin?
Rank Math plugin can prove handy to your website in a lot of ways, such as the following:
- SEO optimization: The first advantage you derive from using the Rank plugin is that it works in the background, optimizes meta tags, and automatically links elements ( canonical ).
- Page analysis: You don’t need to spend money on hiring an SEO expert who can manually perform an SEO analysis on your blog posts. Rank Math does that job automatically and even suggests improvements.
- Sitemaps: Sitemaps help search bots know and navigate your website’s structure in a better and faster way. Rank Math makes it possible to do it easily while providing you the option of sitemap settings.
- Rank Math also enables you to optimize your content for social networks while providing you an option in Google Knowledge Graph.
Basic guide to Rank Math SEO plugin
Firstly, what you need to do to use the Rank Math SEO plugin is to install it. Go to Plugins >> Add New and search WordPress SEO Plugin – Rank Math. Install and then activate the plugin.
Post plugin activation, you will be routed to Setup or Configuration Wizard. What you have to do next, continue reading on…
Setup or Configuration Wizard
In the Setup or configuration wizard option, you will have to set the basic SEO settings for your website. There are many tasks to be performed under the setup or configuration wizard option. Let me explain each task involved individually.
Getting started: The first thing when you get started is that you will see a Start button. Hit the button to start your process of basic SEO settings.
Website Information – This section allows you to enter information about your website. You get five options discussed as below:
- Your website is a ….: The 1st option under the website information section asks you to choose the type of website you are currently running. For example, I chose the community blog/news site option since websiteguider.com is a community blog. Look at the screenshot below.
- Business type: This option allows you to choose the type of business your website deals with. You get a ” business type ” option in case you selected your website as a community blog.
- Company Name: Here, you are required to put the name of your company. I have entered my website’s name because all of the services that I offer are licensed under this name.
- Logo for Google: You might have noticed that when we search the term ” Facebook ” in Google, we see a box on the right side showing Facebook’s information and logo. It is just part of the schema.
- Default Social Share Image: This option proves handy, especially when we forget to add a featured image to our blog post. Default image that you upload will be used while your blog post is shared on social media platforms.
Almost all bloggers use search console, previously webmaster tools, quick indexing, analysis of search results, back-links, and many other options. You can integrate Search Console with Rank Math to work efficiently on your website’s data collected from your Google webmaster tools. Under this tab, you get two options.
- Search Console: You will see an empty box asking you to allow the Rank Math plugin to gain access to your Google search console’s data. You will need to enter the authorization code. However, if you don’t have one, click on the ” Get Authorisation Code.” A new window will open, asking you to sign in. Sign in with the account you use with the search console. Post your successful login, and you will be given an authorization code. Copy that code and paste the code inside the empty box and then hit ‘Authorise,’ and you are successfully authorized.
- Search Console Profile: After you authenticate the Rank Math plugin, you will have to select your website from multiple websites verified with the same console account.
Sitemap, stated, is your website’s content structure, allowing search engines to index your website the better way. Here are some of the options discussed.
- Sitemaps: By default, it is set on and leave it the way it is.
- Include Images: Set this option to “On.” Your images will get indexed by search engines.
- Public Post Types: Type of content you want to include in your sitemap.
- Public Taxonomies: Taxonomies is the joint name of categories and tags. It is up to you whether you want to include them or not. However, I recommend you include taxonomies.
The SEO tweaks section involves the following set of options.
- No-Index Empty Category and Tag Archives: It is always recommended not to allow search engines to index empty tags and categories.
- No-Follow Image Links: Highly useful when we don’t want to pass link juice to images pointing towards external sites. Turn on to no-follow the image links.
- No-Follow External Links: Allows you to add a no-follow attribute to text links pointing towards external blogs. You set this to on for links with low authority.
- Open External Links in New Tab/Window: Helps you increase page sessions because the user stays on your blog page even though the user visits external websites.
Let’s now proceed towards ” Advanced options ”
All this was basic SEO settings. Now the setup wizard will ask you to proceed to ‘Advanced options.’ Click on it and begin to do some advanced settings.
I have put it in the basic section because it comes after basic Setup Wizard settings. So I thought to complete these settings with basic because it will save our time when doing Advanced Settings.
404 + Re-directions
I will cover this topic again in the Advanced Guide. What basically we do here is we set default values whether these settings should be applied or not.
The settings are about 404 Not Found and Re-directions. Let’s take a quick tour.
- 404 Monitor: If your site has any 404 errors, you won’t notice that. Unless you have a search console account, using the Search Console will take more time than the Rank Math SEO plugin. So when you set this option to “On,” you will get a status of 404 on your dashboard.
- Redirections: If you have lots of 404 errors and you have time to fix them. You can set up a custom or permanent address where the faulty links should be redirected.
These are the miscellaneous settings where we control the different settings of different parts of the website. Remember, all this section is about Google. We get many options, which are discussed below.
- Add Missing Alt Attributes: You may have heard that search engines don’t read images; instead, they read their alt attributes. It is true; that is why the Rank Math plugin gives us this option. If you forgot to set the alt attribute of any images, the Rank Math SEO plugin would do it for you. You can set this option to “On.”
- Rich Snippet: If you do search any term on Google, you will see a post slider. Those are called rich snippets. If you want that functionality, you can enable it here.
- Rich Snippet Type for Posts: Remember you, you get an individual option when writing any post. But if you forgot to do that setting, what will be applied. That is why this option exists. You can set a default post type here. E.g., This website often publishes articles, so I Will set it to “Articles.”
- Article Type: What type of post you publish is what this option mean.E.g; I publish blog posts, so I chose ‘Blog Post.’
- Rich Snippet Type for Pages: This option is the same as option 3 but applies to “Pages.”
- Article Type: This option is same as option 4 but applies to the “Pages”.
All this was about “Setup Wizard,” and you will be redirected to the plugin dashboard after doing settings. But we will skip that for now; we will cover that in “Advanced Guide.”
Google Knowledge Graph/ On-Page SEO
If you have used Yoast before, you may be aware of the meta-box below in the post when we create any posts. I am talking about Readability Tab. Here we name that custom meta-box as Google Knowledge Graph. Here we optimize the content for Google so that we will get better search results.
We will cover every point of optimizing the content for SEO. Also, I will show you which point matters more for better SEO results. Let’s begin.
If we look closer at the meta-box, we get 4 tabs: General, Advanced, Rich Snippet, Social. Let’s start with General.
The General tab is meant for On-Page SEO. Under this tab, you will get recommendations for making content SEO ready. We will split the tab into options. Here we go.
- Preview: The Preview option shows you how the content will look on Search Engines. You can edit the meta-description, title, permalink by clicking “Edit Snippet.” And when you click on it, you get three input boxes with box titles.
- Focus Keyword: Focus keyword means which keyword you want to rank for. You can enter 5 focus keywords if you have linked your mythemeshop account with Rank Math Plugin.
- Basic SEO: This sub-meta box is related to the focus keyword and content length. This tab will check the focus keyword you entered, and then it will look for it in content. If that is found, you will get a green light. I recommend you to follow all the recommendations in the tab.
- Additional: This sub box is related to links, focus keyword, and Keyword Density. e.g., If you point to an external link whether you have un-followed it or not.
- Title Readability: This sub-meta-box will check whether you have added a focus keyword in the title or not. Also, it will check whether you have entered any number.
- Content Readability: This tab will check the reading score of your content. Also, it will check you are using short paragraphs or not.
If you have no-index applied to the website, your website will not appear in search results. So please double-check the robots.txt. You get two options.
- Use Default Robots Meta: Please set this option to “On” because it will get the robot setting applied to the whole website.
- Canonical URL: Don’t worry about this; Rank Math will automatically do it.
As said earlier, a Rich snippet is for search engines. You can markup every individual post. But if you someday forgot to do this, the default settings will be applied, which we set on “Setup Wizard.” We get 4 options:
- Rich Snippet Type: What type of this snippet is this. Is it an article, page, blog post, or video? Select the proper one.
- Headline: Left it blank; the default will be applied. Basically, it is the title of the post, which will be shown in search results.
- Description: Leave it also blank, the excerpt will be applied.
- Article Type: Is this post an article or blog post, or something else. The default will be applied if not set.
At present, Rank Math provides two social network options, Facebook and Twitter. You can preview the post by clicking Facebook Preview or Twitter Preview. When optimizing for Facebook, you get three options.
- Image: Add the image you want to set for it, which will be shown on Facebook. If not set, the default will be applied.
- Title: Enter the title of the post here.
- Description: Enter the description of the post, which will be shown on Facebook.
When optimising the post for Twitter, you get 2 options.
- Use Data from Facebook Tab: Set this to on because it will get the data from Tab, which we set a moment ago.
- Card type: You may have heard of Twitter Cards. The Twitter card looks like. I am setting it to “Summary Card with Large Image” because I am posting a blog post. If you are posting an app to Twitter, use App Card. If you want to submit a video, you have to set the “Player Card.”
All this was the Google Knowledge Graph or On-Page SEO with Rank Math. I didn’t mention all the things in depth because I have created another article on it earlier.
If you have any confusion regarding Google Knowledge Graph or get a 100/100 score, please read that article for in-depth knowledge.
The Advanced Guide To Rank Math SEO Plugin
We completed the basic settings. Now we will move towards an advanced one. I request you to carefully follow these guidelines because a single wrong setting will ruin your website’s overall search presence.
Exploring Rank Math SEO Plugin and Advanced Settings
In this section, I will cover all the settings Rank Math provides, and those who are of more importance will be covered in-depth.
You have a full understanding of the core features of the Rank Math SEO plugin. Let’s take a look at its main page called ‘Dashboard.’
On the dashboard, you can check which module is active and which not. Modules are like WordPress plugins; if you activate them, you get the functionality.
Currently, Rank Math provides seven modules, and there are many to come. Modules available are mentioned below.
- 404 Monitor
- Link Counter
- Local SEO or Google Knowledge Graph
- SEO Analysis
Each of them has its own function. So choose the one which you think is worth it.
Also, on the dashboard, we get a help tab for any support link or customer support.
Another tab we get is “Setup Wizard,” so when you click on it, you are referred to the page we configured earlier.
Import and export is another tab that helps us import data or settings from popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, All-In-One SEO Pack, etc.
Under this tab, we get lots of options regarding SEO settings, which are mentioned below.
Links: This tab is related to links and URL’s.
- Strip Category Base: If you don’t like the category text in the URL, you can strip or remove that by setting it “Off.”
- Redirect Attachments: Attachments like images, videos, downloads, etc., will be redirected to the post they are part of.
- Redirect Orphan Media: If you have any media like images or videos, which is not part of any post or page. Those kinds of media will be redirected to the provided link.
- Remove Stop-words from Permalinks: I would recommend setting this “Off” because it can generate 404 errors on posts whose permalinks have stop words. Because the permanent structure will change, and errors will be generated.
- No-Follow Image File Links: As said earlier, if you point out an external image, you pass link juice to that image and website. It is advised to add a no-follow attribute to all external images and links.
- No-Follow: If you want to add a no-follow attribute to specific domains, you can list them here.
- No-Follow Exclude Domains: If you applied the no-follow attribute to all external links. But you don’t want to add that attribute to specific domains. Then you can list those domains here.
- Open External Link in New Tab/Window: We have done this setting in “Setup Wizard.”
Images: If you forgot to add title and alt text to some images and automatically add these things. Yes, you can do that by enabling this option. But I wouldn’t recommend that.
Breadcrumbs: If you want to show your user where he is on the website, the breadcrumb is a nicer way. You can set this to “On/Off.”
Webmaster Tools: If you want to integrate webmaster tools like Google Search Console, Bing webmaster tools, etc., with Rank Math. You can do it here. Just enter the required details.
Robots.txt: If you have created your own robots file, this one won’t affect anything and anyhow. Remember, all the no-index attributes can be applied within this file. Don’t edit it if you don’t know what it is.
.htaccess file: Don’t edit this file. Because a single addition of full-stop will break the website, don’t edit it unless you know what you are doing.
Others: This option is meant for usage information. You have three options to choose from with descriptions given.
Search Console: If you followed the “Setup Wizard” process, you don’t need to do it again. But for those who skipped that section, here you can connect your Search Console with the Rank Math SEO plugin. One thing worth noting here is the third option.
- Cache Limit: How many days Google will store your data. You can see the description provided.
SEO Titles and Meta
This is the important section, read and follow it carefully.
Global Meta: These are the general settings options. You can control robots meta, category, and tag archives, open-graph, etc. from here. Let’s have a look at them.
- Robots Meta: Whether you want to show any part of your website or not to search engines. If you apply no-index to the whole website, your website wouldn’t be indexed by search engines. Also, you can apply it individually as Rank Math offers you an option. I will recommend not to tick any one of these.
- No-Index Empty Category and Tag Archive: We discussed this setting earlier.
- Separator: When you write an article, and you
submit an article to Google. When you search that topic on Google, you see a character separates title and website name. That character is called a separator.
- Capitalise Titles: You can capitalize the first character of the post title by setting this option to “On.”
- OpenGraph Thumbnail: If you forgot to add a featured image to any post and it gets shared on social media. There will be no image; that is where this option comes into play. You can set a default image to get rid of that worry.
- Twitter Card Type: You can set it individually for every post but will be used by default if not set individually.
- Local SEO: This tab gives you control over contact information and other related things. Basically, this is the part of schema which shows data on Google.
- Person or Company: Whether a single person or company runs your website.
- Name: If you are one person, enter your own name. If not, then enter the name which best describes you.
- URL: Enter your website URL.
- Social Meta: You can integrate your social network here. I wrote an article on it; please read. How to Integrate Social Networks to Rank Math?
- Homepage: This tab contains information related to the front-page or homepage.
- Authors: RankMath team says this, “If disabled, the Author Archives are redirected to your homepage. To avoid duplicate content issues, noindex author archives if you keep them enabled.” So it would help if you kept this enabled.
- Misc Pages: You can control the search results, 404 pages easily here.
- Posts: If you want to edit the look of the single post for search engines. You can do it here like rich snippets, meta descriptions, etc.
- Pages: This is the same as the above option but applies to pages.
- Media: These options apply to the media files like images, videos, etc.
- Categories and Tags: These apply to categories and tags.
Here you take full control over sitemaps. Rank Math offers many options, which are as follows.
- Links For Sitemap: By default, it is set to 1000. Basically, it means how many posts or page links should be included in a single sitemap file.
- Images in Sitemaps: Set this to “On”.
- Include Featured Images: You can set this option both “On/Off.” Because it has no much importance, if you want them to be included in the sitemap, enable it.
- Exclude Posts: You get an option of excluding specific posts, pages, media from sitemaps by entering the ID’s here.
- Exclude Terms: You can exclude specific taxonomies by just entering term ID.
- Ping Search Engines: If you are a busy person, you can set this to “On” because this will let Google know that sitemap has been updated.
There are many other settings that you can do, but they are just “On/Off,” So I skipped them.
If you use the Search Console, this section will make things easier because you get the Search Console’s most important functions in one place.
The features you get are:
- Search Analytics
- Crawl Errors
- Keyword Tracker
Import and Export
Previously if you have any SEO plugin installed, you can import the settings of that plugin easily. Also, Rank Math makes it easy to export the settings. So whenever you need it, you can use it.
You can create a backup of your SEO settings and metadata if you wish. I recommend you to take backup on a weekly or daily basis. If anytime your site breaks, you can restore all data.
All these were the nicer things of the Rank Math SEO plugin. Also, I showed you how to set up the Rank Math properly. But there were a few points which I didn’t mention in-depth.
The reason is that I have already written about those points or those points are of less importance.
I hope you loved this tutorial. Suggestions and recommendations are always welcomed. Please do share with your friends because “Sharing is caring.”