If you are launching a new WordPress website, or getting started with copywriting for SEO on your current website, you absolutely need to install an SEO plugin. You’ve probably already started doing research and are comparing Rank Math vs. Yoast SEO.
But with so many features to factor in, how can you choose? What if you are new and need something user-friendly? Do you have some experience and want to dig deeper? Which one is better?
Here we break down the premium version of each plugin with flexibility for every user level to help you understand which of the SEO plugin heavyweights lands the best punches.
Rank Math vs. Yoast SEO Round 1: Setup Process & Configuration
Like many SEO plugins, both Yoast SEO and Rank Math have a setup wizard that is easily to follow for any level WordPress user. This includes answering some very basic questions about your website so each plugin understands the structure from a search engine optimization perspective.
Here are the differences:
Upon running the Setup Wizard, Rank Math will first check for site compatibility.
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This tool will assess if the plugin works with whatever version of WordPress you are running, if there are any conflicting plugins that might hinder the performance of Rank Math, and any other issues that might get in the way of set up.
Once the site compatibility is complete, the of rest Rank Math setup process is simple. With different modes to run the Setup Wizard, Easy, Advanced, and Custom, any user regardless of SEO experience can get started.
Once you walk through the Setup Wizard by answering some basic questions, the appropriate code will automatically be added to the backend of your website for search engine optimization purposes. You can set it and forget it, with the option to come back later and make tweaks as you gain more SEO knowledge.
Do you have multiple users working on your website? You may want to take advantage of the Role Manager functionality that Rank Math offers. This is helpful if your organization works with freelancers or agencies. You have total control over what each user has access to on your plugin.
Setting up Yoast SEO is simple and straightforward. One difference is at the end they provide information about Yoast Academy, which has both free and paid courses to learn more about search engine optimization. This is a helpful tool for users who are brand new to SEO.
Round 1 Winner: Rank Math
Rank Math vs. Yoast SEO Round 2: SEO Content Optimization
When it comes to Rank Math vs. Yoast SEO, both offer a clean, easy-to-use interface for on-page optimization. Start writing content and the sidebar tool will provide SEO suggestions as you go.
The interface will show color-coded bullets for you to easily see if your content is meeting the criteria for search engine optimization best practices. The criteria includes meta titles, meta descriptions, keyword usage, internal links, and more.
Both also come with a keyword tracker to help ensure you have not used a focus keyword before. This is important because you do not want to compete with yourself for a position on Google, an issue known as keyword cannibalization.
So what are the differences in Content Optimization?
Rank Math’s content optimization features provide an SEO score of up to 100 points, with 81 and above as a passing score. The interface categorizes Basic SEO tests and Additional SEO tests. For beginning SEO writers, completing the Basic SEO tests will yield powerful results for your website. For more experienced SEO writers, the Additional SEO tests provide extra recommendations, but these suggestions don’t necessarily have a greater impact on your rankings.
Google Keyword suggestions are also an added feature that comes with Rank Math. When you start typing in a focus keyword, suggestions will appear as you type, straight from Google search.
It is well known that 404 errors can impact your search rankings, although the details aren’t quite clear. But does impact the users experience on your site. Chances are you’ve felt frustrated landing on a 404 page when trying to find important information. You probably just left the site altogether and tried another site on your Google search.
While the free version of Rank Math has a Redirect Manager to help you fix 404 errors, Rank Math PRO takes it one step further by capturing detailed information in their 404 Monitor. Whenever a website visitor lands on a 404 page, the event will be logged showing the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier which represents the URL that the user tried to access), the number of hits to that URI, and the time it was accessed. For beginning users this should be more than enough information to formulate a fix in your Redirect Manager. But should you need more data, Rank Math offers an Advanced 404 Monitor section.
Sitewide SEO Analysis
Additionally, Rank Math features include a Sitewide SEO Analysis. This tool will assess your website as a whole based on 40 important SEO factors, giving you a list of passed tests, failed tests, and warnings. The failed tests are not an indication that your site isn’t working, but they are important factors to fix from an SEO perspective. While the tool helps you get all the basic SEO settings right, you still need to invest in other SEO activities, like writing blog posts.
Visual searches are becoming increasingly popular. This means users are not only looking for written content, they are also looking for an image that fits their needs. For retailers, this might be a photo of a model showing a particular piece of clothing. For Google to understand what images are on your website, it’s important to have what’s called an “ALT Tag,” which is a short description of the image. What better ALT Tag is there than the focus keyword of your page or post?
With Rank Math, you can optimize your images in the Image SEO settings. This directs Rank Math to automatically provide an ALT Tag for an image that doesn’t have one. The paid, PRO version of Rank Math has added features that can also help your SEO and click-through rates, such as adding and formatting captions and descriptions to images.
Yoast SEO’s content optimization tool also gives you different suggestions with a color code showing how well you are doing and an overall score. It works almost the same way as Rank Math. However, other users have noted that the scoring criteria isn’t as diligent as that of Rank Math.
The plugin also comes with an outdated content alert, which will signal you if the content hasn’t been updated in the past six months. Many search results on Google’s SERP now show when content was published or updated. A user is less likely to click on your link if they see it is older compared to other articles or blog posts. On the other hand, if a user clicks on your and later learns it is older content, they’re likely to leave right away, which then increases your site’s bounce rate.
Round 2 Winner: Rank Math
Rank Math vs. Yoast SEO Round 3: Insights & Analytics
Data is important when implementing an SEO strategy. Why work hard if you can’t see how it affects your site? We recommend using a plugin where you can easily digest insights about how your website is performing on search engines so you know where you are falling short and where you can improve. Data also helps you understand what content and what type of content is working with your audience so you can produce more of what they need.
Which one provides clear analytics?
Rank Math has you covered with a powerful analytics dashboard. This tool uses data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics to get a clear picture of how well you are ranking without leaving the WordPress dashboard. With this advanced view, you can make better decisions about the content on your website.
To highlight a few of the SEO insight features, it can show you the performance of the top 5 keywords or top 5 posts on your website (as well as the bottom 5 of each) to give you an idea of how well the content is working to bring more traffic to your website. The dashboard also provides the position history for selected keywords so you know if your rankings are improving over a specific time period.
Yoast SEO provides a tool that allows you to clearly see an overview of your focus keywords for all your pages and blog posts. This is specifically helpful for large websites as it gives you a csv showing pages and posts that still need to be optimized.
Round 3 Winner: Rank Math
Which SEO Plugin is better, Rank Math or Yoast SEO?
In the battle of the WordPress SEO Plugin Heavyweights, Rank Math vs Yoast SEO, there is one clear winner no matter what your skill level is.
Rank Math SEO Plugin is easy to use, has better features all-around for SEO best practices, and gives you the tools you need to analyze and measure your progress.
Additionally, if you find yourself needing help with the Rank Math SEO Plugin, you have access to other users and the plugin’s developers on their Facebook User Group, at no additional cost. This gives users the opportunity to ask the creators directly for help!
Tim Woda is the CEO and founder of White Peak Marketing. He has been on the founding team of five successful start-ups and his digital marketing campaigns have acquired more than 800 million customers for his start-ups and White Peak’s client companies. Tim has been featured by The New York Times, Fox News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more. Under Tim’s direction, White Peak was selected as one of America’s Top Digital Marketing Agencies for 2021 by MarTech Outlook magazine.