Until a few months ago I was a big fan of Yoast SEO plugin. But now I have changed my mind. Because Mythemeshop recently released a new SEO plugin. The plugin is that Rank Math WordPress SEO Plugin. This plugin is awesome. In the Yoast plugin, only a few features are given free. But in Rank Math, all the features are given free. There are also features like 404 monitoring, Redirection, SEO analysis, Role Manager and Rich Snippets in the Rank Math.
So I strongly recommend you to use the rank math plugin for new websites. If you want to convert the old website from Yoast SEO or any other SEO plugin to Rank Math, there is an option to import all the data from those SEO plugins as well.
Here is a screenshot of all the features available in Rank Math plugin.
Don’t get overwhelmed by looking at all those options. I am here to help you the way. Today I’ll show you the best settings of Rank Math for your website or blog. Each section shown in the above image contains a few sub-sections.
So why to wait?… Let’s get started.
Before moving to all the plugin settings I just want to explain little about setup wizard in Rank Math. When you install and activate the plugin it will ask you to run a setup wizard. This will guide you through the plugin configuration.
Just click on ‘Start Wizard’. It will guide you through to configure the basic configuration.
Now let’s start looking at all the options and capabilities that Rank Math has.
In this general settings tab, you’ll find list of settings that Yoast SEO plugin offers only in premium plugin. These settings are very easy to configure and most importantly it’s just one-time setup.
So let’s start looking at each module separately.
This tab contains the options related to links and URLs.
Strip Category Base: Only keep “On” this option if you want to remove the word “category” from the category archives page’s URL. Otherwise, turn the option “Off”.
Ex: searchenginecall.com/category/my-category/ becomes searchenginecall.com/my-category
To be honest with you I am not a big fan of this option. The reason is pretty straight forward. Sometimes we put multiple images on a blog or webpage right.
Why?… Let’s see
Add missing ALT attributes: This option will add alt attributes to all the images attached in that post. We don’t know if the added alt attribute suits the image or sometimes the entire post. For this reason, I strongly recommend you to add alt attribute on your own.
Add missing TITLE attributes: The title attributes are the text shows when we hover over to that image. But here it will show up the title of the post as the title of the image if you enable this option. So I recommend you to keep option “Off”.
Use this option only if your theme doesn’t support the breadcrumb functionality. For example, all Genesis themes come with breadcrumbs enabled whereas Generatepress theme doesn’t come with breadcrumbs. So, you need to add them manually to the theme.
Rank Math gives two options to add them to your theme. You can use shortcode to add breadcrumbs or add PHP code to your website theme files.
Here you can add the verification codes for Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, Baidu Webmaster Tools, Alexa Verification ID, Yandex Verification ID, Pinterest Verification ID and Norton Safe Web Verification ID.
Here you can edit the virtual robots.txt file. Leave the field empty to let WordPress handle the contents dynamically. If an actual robots.txt file is present in the root folder of your site, this option won’t take effect and you have to edit the file directly, or delete it and then edit from here.
Here you can edit the contents of your .htaccess file. This file is mainly used by WordPress to control permalinks and redirections, but it may be useful to edit it in a number of cases.
Note: Be careful when editing the .htaccess file, it is easy to make mistakes and break your site. If that happens, you can restore the file to its state before the last edit by replacing the .htaccess file with the backup copy created by Rank Math in the same directory (.htaccess_back_xxxxxx) using an FTP client.
Here you’ll find the options like Usage tracking, Auto Update & Show SEO Score. We recommend you not to change any of those options.
404 Monitor Settings
All the details about 404 monitoring and it’s uses explained in 404 Monitoring module below.
Here in the 404 Monitor settings module select the ‘simple’ tab as shown in the image.
Here you can authorize Google search console to show up data in your WordPress dashboard. Before making an attempt to authorize Google Search Console(GSC) make sure you already added the website to GSC.
If you are facing any problem with redirection module turn “On” the Debug Redirections option.
Keep the other settings as shown in the image below.
Titles & Meta
This module is extremely important. Because all the SEO information that you provide here will determine the ranking of your website in the future. Here we listed all the sub modules available. Please make sure to add the appropriate information according to your business model.
Here you can control the settings that apply sitewide. These settings will be used as default settings for page, post and other social media settings. Of course, you can edit them individually at the post level.
Here is the screenshot of best settings for Global Meta.
This option is useful to show up knowledge graph in Google about your business. I recommend you to select the organization instead of person unless it is your personal blog.
If you are a local business consider adding email, address, working hours, phone number and other details as shown in the image below.
This sub-module contains settings related to social networks and feeds. Social page URLs will be displayed in the contact shortcode and added to the pages as metadata to be displayed in Knowledge Graph cards.
Here I am attaching the image of social meta added to this website.
Here you need to add the title and description to your home page in case you are not using any page as front page. Because if you set the home page as latest blog posts you must add a title and description here.
This sub-module is for the authors of the blog. If you are running a news website or if you have many authors consider enabling the option. Otherwise, I would recommend you to turn off the author archives.
Here you’ll find the various different options are left but don’t deserve to have a separate section. I recommend you to disable the author archives and put it to no-index if you don’t want to disable.
We are using the settings shown in the image for our website.
Posts & Pages Settings
These modules are extremely important because these settings will decide the title of the posts or pages that you post regularly on your blog/website. Don’t worry you can overwrite these settings at post/page level in each post.
Here in the image, you can see the settings I am using for posts. The important part is the article schema type. I recommend you to select Blog Posting for posts because only organizations can post with Article or News Article schema.
Here you can control the attachment pages. Please don’t get confused. These settings are for attachment pages not for attachments itself.
Yes, you heard it right!
WordPress creates pages for every media file on the website. So make sure not to give the choice for Google to index them. So, simply put it to No Index.
Categories & Tags Settings
This is another very important settings page. Here I recommend you to leave the settings to defaults.
Most of the time we don’t want Google to crawl the archive pages. Because they contain duplicate information. But here I recommend to put categories to Index and put Tags to No Index.
Why doing so?
Usually, we will have one category for each post but may contain several tags added to it. So it is always a good idea to put tags to No Index.
I strongly recommend not to make any changes here in sitemap settings. Because Rank Math will automatically create sitemaps according to settings you’ve given in the above modules. But they still give the option to edit the settings just in case if you want to make any changes.
The only thing to remember is to turn on the Include Featured Images option.
404 monitoring is an underestimated feature that most people overlook. Because it won’t directly help you gain any kind of rankings. But it is very helpful in finding the pages that are people are trying to land on but got 404 error. These kind of problems are very common when you remove some pages or articles fro your website.
So, what you can do with it?
The answer is very simple. Just redirect all those URLs to the relevant live pages on your website. You won’t lose traffic for those pages and your visitors will be happy!
How you do it?
Hover over to the URL you want to redirect then you’ll see an option to redirect. Click on redirect, it will take you to the redirection module. Then give the new destination URL and click Add Redirection.
This is very unique feature by Rank Math developers. Just click on the “Start Sitewide Analysis” then in no time it will automatically fetch all the information from our website and provides the possible optimizations.
Here is the screenshot for the module after analysis.
Conclusion: Rank Math is an awesome plugin if you are not using the Yoast SEO Premium. Because whatever Rank Math offering can only get with Yoast Premium. Please note that the plugin is still young and of course you might sometimes get some weird errors but most of the time they don’t cause any issues to your website. So I strongly recommend you to try Rank Math plugin.