Rank Math SEO for WordPress: Installation and Configuration Guide

Rank Math SEO for WordPress

When we talk about the best SEO plugin for WordPress, yes or yes we have to mention Rank Math.

I know that until very recently Yoast SEO was the undisputed winner in this category, but all the features offered by Rank Math in its free version have turned this situation around 180 degrees. The Rank Math team is really doing things very well to position itself as the best WordPress plugin for SEO.

If you want to know a little more about Rank Math SEO and how to configure it in WordPress, you are in the perfect place. Next, I am going to explain what Rank Math is, I will make a brief comparison between Yoast SEO VS Rank Math and, most importantly, a very complete guide on the installation and configuration process of Rank Math.

Go for it?

What is RankMath?

Rank Math is considered by many to be the best SEO plugin for WordPress. Despite being a very young SEO plugin (it is barely 3 years old) it has been able to sneak into more than 500,000 WordPress installations and it seems that it can unseat Yoast SEO from the first position.

The recipe for this success? Very simple, Rank Math has positioned itself as a very complete plugin, easy to use, and, even more so, totally free.

One of the main features of Rank Math is the ease with which you can manage all the on-page SEO aspects of your website: main keyword, secondary keywords, SEO analysis, titles, meta descriptions, structured data, etc.

And you know the best? That includes for free many necessary features for WordPress SEO that in other plugins, such as Yoast SEO, you can only get if you subscribe to the Pro version.

Therefore, Rank Math is much more complete and advanced than other SEO plugins and, in addition, it has a very modern and easy-to-use interface.

And yes, it’s totally free! At least, at the moment the version that is available in the WordPress repository and the one that is currently available for download in Rank Math has no cost, but they have already announced that they are working on a more advanced and professional-oriented pro version, although we will still have to wait a few months for it to come to light.

Main features of Rank Math SEO

Here are some of the features of Rank Math that WordPress users are falling in love with:

  • Very intuitive: Rank Math has a very manageable, clean, and easy-to-use user interface. This makes it perfect for users who are still starting out in WordPress or in the world of web ranking.
  • Modular design: by having a modular design of its functions, we only have to activate the ones we want and leave the ones we are not interested in deactivated.
  • Integration with Google Search Console: By integrating your accounts, you will have access to a simplified view of your website data in the WordPress administration panel.
  • XML Sitemap: If, in addition to a good SEO plugin, you want to create a WordPress sitemap, Rank Math does it for you in just one click.
  • Schema Structured Data: provides you with everything you need to perform the schema markup of your content for books, courses, job offers, recipes, videos, services, and many more, without the need to use third-party plugins.
  • 404 error monitor: you can monitor all 404 errors on your website and access a record of them.
  • Google Web Stories: Google recently launched Web Stories to temporarily share content (such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook…), well, Rank Math already has a module so you can share content on Google News and Google Discover, improve your ranking and gain traffic to your website.
  • Integration with WooCommerce: Rank Math is also ready to work and improve the SEO of your online store.
  • Local SEO: You will have a module available that allows you to correctly configure your company’s contact information so that local clients can find you and claim your business in Google Business if you have not already done so.
  • SEO analysis: this plugin automatically performs a content analysis and gives you an SEO score (from 0 to 100) based on the content, security, and performance tests it performs.

And for the undecided, here is a little Rank Math vs. Yoast SEO comparison that will help you make a decision if you still don’t know which SEO plugin is best for your website.

Rank Math vs Yoast SEO

As I told you at the beginning, Yoast SEO was considered one of the best, if not the best SEO plugin for WordPress, but in recent months things have changed a lot. The use of Rank Math is growing at breakneck speed.

But what has happened to Yoast SEO? The functionalities are the same as always and it is a good plugin, but the latest updates of this plugin have taken their toll. Some bugs and incompatibilities have caused errors in many web pages, something that many users have not taken very well and has chosen to uninstall it and bet on an alternative that would give it more stability. And this is where Rank Math came into play.

In order not to make this very long, I am only going to list some strengths of Rank Math compared to Yoast SEO :

  • Assignment of several keywords for the same entry.
  • Configuration of the Rich Snippets or enriched fragments of Google.
  • Configuration of the content for social networks.
  • Rules to automate the Alt and Title of the images.
  • Modules to work on local SEO.

Important: this Rank Math vs Yoast SEO comparison is only valid for the two free versions of this plugin. If we take into account all the paid features of Yoast SEO, including its support and the entire community behind this plugin, things would be very different.

Hesitating between Rank Math and Yoast SEO? Then the best thing is that you carry out a WordPress installation as a test and do tests. You stay with the one that is most comfortable for you to work with and which one provides the greatest benefits for your website.

That said, now we are serious about Rank Math SEO. Here you have a complete guide to the entire installation and configuration process. And, since we do not want to condition you, we have also published a complete guide to Yoast SEO. You choose!

How to install Rank Math in WordPress

Installation of Rank Math is exactly the same as any other WordPress plugin. If you have never installed a plugin on your website or need help, in this post you have a guide in which I explain step by step how to install plugins in WordPress. Anyway, I remind you how to do it.

1st. Access the WordPress administration panel and click on “Plugins” – “Add new”.

Installing Rank Math Plugin Through the WordPress Admin Panel

2. In the search engine type “Rank Math” and click on the “Install” button. Once installed, we have to activate it in order to start working with it.

Installing Rank Math Plugin Through the WordPress Admin Panel

Once Rank Math is installed in WordPress, you have to connect it with an account to start the configuration process. Therefore, we have to register.

Sign up for RankMath

Once you have the SEO plugin installed and activated in WordPress, it will ask you to connect an account.

Rank Math SEO - Tutorial avanzado | Demui

If this is the first time you install Rank Math in WordPress you don’t have an account yet, that’s why they already give you the option to link it with your Facebook, Google, or WordPress.com account, although if you prefer, you can create a new account with your email and password by clicking on “Not a member yet? Register now”.

Link account your account with Rank Math

If you choose this option, select the option “Use email address” and enter your access data. Click on “Register” to save the changes.

Finally, accept the linking of Rank Math on your website by clicking OK and that’s it!

Rank Math Initial Setup

Now that you have Rank Math installed in WordPress and your email account linked, you can use the quick start wizard to configure the initial settings of the plugin.

1. Select the configuration mode

As you can see, the wizard offers two options, the easy option and the advanced one. I recommend that you choose the advanced mode, since this way you will have more options when configuring and improving the SEO of your website.

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How to Switch from Easy to Advanced Mode » Rank Math

Very important! If you currently have Yoast SEO installed in your application or had it installed, Rank Math SEO will detect it and you will have the option to directly import all settings. Afterward, you will have to continue the process anyway, but by default, the settings you had in Yoast SEO will be shown. It’s much faster that way!

Input data available from Yoast SEO plugin to import to Rank Math

2. Set your website information

Set the type of website you have (a personal blog, a portfolio, a corporate website…), your logo, preferably square, and the image that will be shown in the preview when your URL is shared on social networks.

Your website details - Rank Math Setup Wizard

3. Add your Search Console account

Linking Rank Math with Search Console will allow this SEO plugin to have a much more complete view of the health of your website and offer you a much more detailed report.

To do this, click on “Get authorization code”. A new tab will then open that will generate an authentication code for you. If you have more than one verified domain in Search Console, you’ll need to choose the domain you want to link to.

4. Create the sitemap of your website

It is time to create the sitemap of your website. You see that Rank Math puts everything on a plate for you. Just make sure the option is on and help Google better index and crawl all of your content. To go to the next step, click on “Save and continue”.

All The Options In The Sitemap Step

5. Optimization settings

Now we need to set some optimization settings. We have set the following configuration:

  • “no index” category and tag archives to prevent Google from indexing low-quality categories or tag pages. This does not imply that the content you publish in each of them is not indexed.
  • Outgoing “no follow” links so that, by default, any external content carries that tag and you don’t have to add it manually.
  • Open external links in a new tab, i.e. add the target=“blank” tag.
All Options In The Seo Tweaks Page

6. Configure advanced options

It’s almost there! We have the basic configuration of Rank Math, but now we can take advantage of the wizard to make three slightly more advanced adjustments. To do this, click on “Configure advanced options”.

Easy Settings Configured And Some Helpful Links

Here you can manage the WordPress roles, that is, the privileges you want to assign to each user (administrator, editor, author, contributor, and subscriber). If you are only going to manage the website, you do not need to configure any type of role, but if you are going to have people from your team uploading content or customizing the website, it is recommended that, for security reasons, you limit access.

Role Manager capabilities

Now it’s time to configure Rank Math so that it detects 404 errors on your website before Google does and establish redirects to improve the quality of your content and prevent your users from encountering a broken link.

404 Monitor And Redirection Settings In Rank Math

Finally , it’s time to configure the schema markup. Do you know those featured snippets that Google sometimes shows when we do a search? That’s what I mean.

Making our results stand out from the rest will allow us to draw the attention of users and, as a consequence, earn clicks and attract customers. But this is not achieved alone, you have to use Google’s structured data.

The best of all Is that with Rank Math it is very simple, Choose a standard configuration for pages and posts, that is, the type of schema that is most common on your website. Later, you can modify it in each of the pages, posts, or articles that you publish. For example, if you have a website with cookbooks, your pages will usually show the books you sell (vegan cookbooks, traditional cookbooks, etc.) and on your blog, you may post recipes that encourage your readers. to buy the books. In this case, we would establish this configuration:

All Options In Schema Markup Page In Rank Math

Once this is done, we can say that we have the basic configuration of Rank Math ready. Of course, if we are concerned about our ranking and visibility in Google, we can still get much more out of this SEO plugin for WordPress.

Let’s go with the advanced settings of Rank Math!

Advanced Settings Rank Math

This Rank Math quick start wizard is nothing more than a small SEO appetizer of everything you can do with this plugin to optimize your website.

I already told you at the beginning of everything, Rank Math became one of the best WordPress SEO plugins for all the options it offers in terms of web optimization. It has many more options than other WordPress SEO plugins and is also completely free.

Do we see some of these functionalities and how are they used?

Desk

The Rank Math dashboard allows you to have an overview of all the modules you have available. Of course, by default, the modules of the “easy” mode of the plugin are displayed, but you can change to “advanced” to see all the options that are available to you.

Modules available in Rank Math advanced mode

By default, the configurations that we made with the quick start wizard will be shown active, that is, the monitoring of 404 errors, local SEO, linking with Search Console, etc., but you also have new modules that you can configure depending on the type of WordPress you have. For example:

  • Module for bbPress.
  • Module for BuddyPress.
  • Module for ACF
  • Module for AMP pages.
  • Module for WooCommerce.

If you don’t use any of these tools, just leave them disabled.

General adjustments

Take your time in this section, here you can configure some of the most important settings for the on-page SEO of your website.

Let’s look at each of the options separately:

Links

Configure how you want the links on your website to be displayed or opened. This option is mainly useful for:

  • Remove “/category” that WordPress adds by default to the URLs of your website. This will allow you to create much cleaner URLs.
  • Add the rel=”nofollow” and/or target=”_blank” attributes to external links and images on your website.
Links Option in Easy Mode

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs are links that are usually placed at the top of a website so that the user knows what page they are on and how they can go back. It is an element that facilitates navigation and can improve the user experience.

There are WordPress templates that already have this feature enabled, but if this is not your case, keep in mind that you can easily activate them with Rank Math.

Breadcrumbs in Rank Math

Once you configure the breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs, you must add the code provided in the yellow box to your website template.

If you have never edited code in WordPress, I recommend that you simply leave this option disabled or check your theme’s documentation to be able to do it correctly.

Images

We know the theory: we always have to set the title and alt of the images that we upload to WordPress, Google takes it into account for SEO ranking.

But… what happens in practice? Do we always remember to add these attributes in the images? I at least not.

Well, Rank Math precisely offers us a solution for this. Automatically add the title and alt of the images. But remember, this option is useful for forgetfulness or confusion, but it is not something you should abuse.

ImageSEO Module

Webmaster Tools

From this section you can link your WordPress site to the webmaster tools of the most used search engines:

  • Google Search Console
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Baidu Webmaster Tools
  • Alexa Verification ID
  • Yandex Verification ID
  • Pinterest Verification ID
  • Norton Safe Web Verification ID

The operation to remove the verification HTML code is very similar in all search engines. In addition, Rank Math already provides you with the direct link so that you link to your account and you can add it easily.

It is normal that you do not cover all the fields. In Spain, the most used are Google Search Console and Bing, but other search engines such as Yandex are also gaining ground. You only cover the fields in the search engines that you usually use to monitor your website and in which you already have an account.

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Webmaster Tools options in Advanced mode

Edit robots.txt

As soon as you open this tab you will see the robots.txt file of your site and you will be able to modify it, but… Is it necessary to make changes? No, only if you need them.

The robots.txt file is a text file in the root of your website that helps search engines know what information or pages you want to be crawled and which ones you don’t.

Edit robots.txt with Rank Math

By default, you will see that the robot.txt file blocks the /wp-admin/ folder of your site since you obviously don’t want Google to crawl your website’s admin panel, but if there is some other section that you don’t want them to search engines index it, you can add it.

Do not forget to click on “Save changes” so that the settings are applied.

Others

In this section, you will have access to various settings to show your visitors the scores provided by Rank Math or even add a link to your website. If you want, you can skip directly to the next section: Edit .htaccess.

Other SEO settings in Rank Math

Editar .htaccess

Through this option you will be able to easily establish any change or rule in the .htaccess of your website directly using Rank Math, without having to access the cPanel File Manager or modify it through FTP.

Edit .htaccess with Rank Math

Due to the complexity of this file, for security, Rank Math makes a backup copy of the .htaccess of your website in case something goes wrong.

Monitor 404

You already know how annoying 404 errors can be for a user when browsing a website, right? Well, with this functionality of Rank Math you will be able to have a registry of errors so that you can correct them without any problem.

I recommend that you leave the default mode simple (sufficient for most cases) and exclude the query parameters since the 404 error pages derived from these cases are inevitable.

404 Monitor module

Search Console

And now you may be wondering… Why, if we have already configured Search Console in the Webmaster Tools section, do we have to do it again?

In the Webmaster Tools Rank Math section, it helped us to link our account, but now, if you want, you can authorize this SEO plugin to access our account data. To do this, make sure that Rank Math is correctly fetching the profile from your Search Console account.

You will also be able to set the cache limit, that is, the days you want Rank Math to store your Search Console data. By default, it is set to 90 days, and you do not need to change it.

Note: Since you are still starting to configure Rank Math, it is normal that the plugin has not yet been able to collect the data from Search Console. If you want to speed up this process a bit, click on “Update cache manually”, otherwise in a couple of days Rank Math will do it automatically for you.

And we continue for bingo! Now we go to the next section of Rank Math: Titles and meta.

Titles and meta

You already know how important the titles and meta of your pages and posts are for SEO (that is, for Google), right?

From this section, Rank Math will allow you to configure the global title and meta settings, so they will take effect on your entire web page. Shall we see step by step what each of them consists of?

Meta global

The first thing is to set the default title and meta description settings for all the pages and posts on your website.

The most important:

  • Make sure to set “Meta Robots” → “Index” so that Google spiders take you into account when displaying search results. Remember that if you don’t want a page to be indexed, you can do so by modifying the robots.txt file we saw above. You can also select other options, such as not showing snippets of your website in search results or not indexing images, but normally you would only enable the Index box.
  • Turn on the “Empty “noindex” category and tag files” feature. Why? So that the category or tag pages do not index, since they are usually of very low quality and with very poor content. This is the recommended setting, but if this is not your case, simply disable the option.
  • Sets the separator character. Choose the one that best suits your preferences; the most common are “-” or “|”.
  • You also have the option to capitalize titles. I would recommend that you leave this option disabled, and if at any time you want all words in a post or page title to start with a capital letter, set it manually in WordPress.
  • Set a featured image so that when you haven’t put one on a page or blog post, it automatically picks this one. Ideally, for example, you establish your company logo.
Rank Math SEO Titles & Meta settings - Global Meta

Local SEO

This section of Rank Math allows you to optimize the local SEO of your website. Therefore, only configure this section if you have a company and you want it to be positioned in your city or region.

Add your website logo, URL, contact email address, address, hours, phone, your contact page, and Google Maps address. If you don’t have your business listed on Google yet, take a look at this guide on how to get your business listed on Google Maps.

Meta social

Now it’s time to establish all your social network profiles: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Yelp… Be careful, you don’t have to cover all the fields, only the social networks where you have a presence and where your target audience is.

Home page

The most important thing in this section is to set the title and meta description of your home page or home page.

And what does Rank Math give us in this section? Well, you can set a dynamic title, let me explain. Instead of adding a single title to your home page, you can have the title change automatically based on the user’s search, the date, or the name of your site. You can also set these variables in the meta description.

If you have a travel-related website, you can make the page title vary depending on the destination users are looking for, as well as the meta description. For example The best service of the %currentyear%. Discover our travel offers and promotions and book yours now.

If you prefer to keep it static, then it is best to set the title manually (using the same separator you added in “Global Meta”) and also add the meta description without variables.

authors

You know that WordPress automatically creates author archives with the posts of each of the editors of your website or blog, right? Rank Math gives you the option to turn it on or off.

The most advisable thing is to leave it deactivated since it can generate duplicate content, something that Google does not see very favorably. In this way, all author files would automatically redirect to the home page.

Note: I would only leave it on when there are many publishers and the content of each of them is key to your marketing strategy.

Authors SEO Titles & Meta settings

Misc pages

From here Rank Math allows you to configure your website files by date, set the title of the 404 error page, the title of the search results pages (just like we did with the home page), etc.

The recommended setting for most cases is to leave the “Files by date” option disabled and set search results pages, password-protected pages, paginations, and archive subpages to “no-index”.

Misc Pages SEO Titles & Meta Settings with Rank Math

Attachments

We are back to talking about titles and goals, but this time in your blog posts. This will help you create a kind of template for all the posts you publish on your blog and they will be added automatically.

SEO Titles & Meta settings for Attachments in Rank Math

Remember that, for SEO reasons, it is often advisable to adjust these values ​​manually in the WordPress editor. In fact, Rank Math already provides you with a box at the end of each post (if you use Gutenberg, on the side) so that you can modify or add new information to the title and meta description of each page.

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pages

Exactly the same as the ones we just entered. Rank Math lets you create a kind of template so that the titles and meta descriptions of the pages of your website are automatically created, but the most recommended for SEO issues is that you adjust it manually each time you make a new publication.

Categories and tags

Although Rank Math sets it up as two separate sections, the setup is pretty much the same.

Create a template for the titles and meta tags of the category and tag pages and decide if you want them to be indexed by robots or not.

Sitemap or sitemap settings

And what’s up now? Well, talking about the settings of the WordPress sitemap or sitemap, for this we are going to focus on the most important section: General, since the global settings of the sitemap of your website will be made there.

General

The first thing you will see in this section is the link to the sitemap of your website. It includes all the URLs of your site in a structured way to make it easier for search engines like Google to crawl.

Is it necessary to have a sitemap? No, but if we make it easy for Google, they are more likely to reward us for it, right?

The recommended settings for this section are:

  • Links per sitemap: the ideal is to leave 200 and, if you have a small website, you will see that it is more than enough. If you have a very large website, it’s best to automatically create multiple sitemaps, as Google seems to respond better to smaller sitemaps.
  • Images in sitemaps: Even if you index images, it is also recommended to include them in the sitemap so that Google has all the information at its fingertips.
  • Featured Images – Rank Math recommends enabling this option if you have featured images in your content, whether they are displayed or not.
  • Ping search engines – Make sure you enable this option so that whenever there is an update to your sitemap (for example, a new blog post) it will automatically notify Google and other search engines so they can crawl it.

Sitemap adjustments based on the type of content and taxonomies

Once Rank Math generates the sitemap of your website (the URL we saw before), an index with several sitemaps is created:

  • Sitemap of WordPress pages: yourdomain.com/page-sitemap.xml 
  • WordPress Posts Sitemap: yourdomain.com/post-sitemap.xml

And, in each of them, all the information and URLs that makeup said pages are collected.

Having the sitemap on pages and posts is the most common and recommended configuration, although Rank Math gives you the possibility to disable the sitemaps of your pages and posts. You already know that each website is a world…

On the other hand, in the case of taxonomies (categories and tags), the most common is not to include them in the sitemap .

Role Manager

It is not the first time that we have talked to you on our blog about the importance of WordPress roles and how they can affect the security of your project, especially when it comes to large websites or when you outsource some tasks to freelancers or development agencies or design.

You have to create access for each one of them, but… What privileges do you assign? It is possible that the options that WordPress provides you do not fully fit what you need, so instead of using a specific plugin to create custom roles, Rank Math gives you the option to manage each of these profiles from your own plugin.

It is very easy to configure, just add or remove privileges with a check. Of course, do not forget to save the changes so that the configurations are applied!

404 Monitor

Ok, we have already configured the 404 error log on our website, now we just need to access this log, right? Well, here you have it.

The Rank Math 404 Monitor section collects the 404 error log from your website.

Note : It is important that you review it from time to time to see which ones you can correct and which ones you cannot. Also, since it has a limit of records, it is convenient that you delete them from time to time.

SEO Analytics

Here Rank Math allows you to run an SEO analysis of your website. To do this, you simply have to click on the “Start analysis of the entire site” button.

Once the analysis is done (Rank Math will not take more than a couple of seconds to do it) it will offer you an overview of the SEO health of your website, like the graph that I show you below:

Rank Math SEO Analysis

I recommend that you run this analysis periodically (not every day, huh!), but from time to time to see what aspects of your website you can improve and what you are doing well.

Status and tools

This section of Rank Math does not really offer you configuration possibilities to improve the SEO of your website, although you will have access to information that can help you improve the security of your website.

Version control

Three aspects to take into account in this section are:

  • Go back to a previous version of Rank Math. Imagine you just updated Rank Math and suddenly your site crashes due to some other plugin incompatibility. Well, from this section you can return to the previous version without problems. Of course, remember that, if you have your hosting with us, from your client area you can access all the backup copies of your website and perform any restoration in just a few clicks.
  • Try beta. If you are involved in the WordPress community and want to participate in setting up Rank Math, you can enable this option and try new features. Of course, this is not recommended for production websites, only on test sites.
  • Automatic update. You can activate the automatic updates option so you don’t have to be aware of every time a new stable version of Rank Math is released.

Database tools

From here you will be able to clean up some records from the database to keep it a bit more “healthy”. For example:

  • Purge SEO analytics data
  • Remove transient data from Rank Math
  • Remove transient data from Rank Math
  • Yoast Block Converter
  • schema converter
  • Clear internal link data
  • Clear redirect rules

system status

This section is merely informative and you will be able to consult some data regarding your WordPress installation, such as the version of WordPress, the theme you are using, active and inactive plugins, etc.

And the most important! You will also have access to WordPress debug mode, to check the error log.

Import and export

From this section, you can import the Rank Math data for your WordPress installation and forget about configuring it from scratch and vice versa. Export the data and import it to another website.

Help and Support

Finally, from Help and support, you will have access to the Rank Math knowledge base, through which you can find information that can be very useful to continue working on the SEO of your website.

conclusion

After seeing what Rank Math is and how is the installation and configuration process of this WordPress SEO plugin, we can say that it is a very complete and useful tool if you are working to improve your position in Google. In addition, it has a fairly intuitive panel and is easy to use, something that will come in handy if you are still starting with your website.

Now yes, we want you to give us your opinion. If we talk about Yoast SEO VS Rank Math, which one do you prefer? What WordPress SEO plugin are you currently using? Any recommendation?

And, don’t forget, if you have any questions about installing and configuring Rank Math SEO in WordPress, tell us and we’ll give you a hand.

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