Last Updated on December 11, 2019
When the process of search engine optimization was first being utilized, the only way that meta titles, descriptions and keywords could be implemented into a site page was done through HTML and it was a tedious procedure. It was also less accurate, and results were sporadic most of the time. However, sites that focused on optimization always outranked those who didn’t and because of that, SEO became a priority for companies starting their first business sites or individuals trying to rank new blogs or portfolios. As SEO became more popular, plugin authors began developing plugins that were specifically designed to take away the tediousness of the optimization process, while at the same time making changes more accurate and, in result, increasing rankings.
For those using WordPress as their primary platform for business or personal sites, Yoast SEO is a popular optimization plugin that is sure to have been noticed by most users browsing the plugin list. With over 5 million downloads, this plugin is not just popular but has quickly become the standard SEO plugin for developers and marketing teams working on websites. However, recently a new SEO plugin “Rank Math SEO” has entered the fray. It boasts an arsenal of features designed to get the most out of optimizing sites while also making itself easy to manipulate to get the best custom results. Yet, Rank Math is still new and doesn’t have even a portion of the current population Yoast enjoys. For those trying to decide which plugin to use when handling search engine optimization, or if just looking for an alternative to the traditional Yoast plugin, this comparison should help identify some features & drawbacks.
Which SEO Plugin is Worth It?
When searching for new plugins, one key factor, if not the most important factor is, “Is it Free?”. A lot of WordPress plugins are free to use but hide certain features behind a “Premium” paywall, making them less effective than their advertised features. While Yoast is free to use, it does offer more functionality in its Premium version. Even without premium features, you can get enough out of Yoast to please Google in terms of optimization. The premium version just allows deeper modifications and prevents you from having to include other plugins to complete the functionality desired.
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Rank Math SEO is completely free at the time of this posting. Not only does it cost nothing to access all its features, it also doesn’t have a “Premium” version, meaning that the version you get is the full version, and all its features are available without greeting that paywall. However, as mentioned earlier, Rank Math SEO is a new plugin and not so popular at the moment. As plugins grow in popularity and demand they tend to steer towards the “pay for functions” model, as the chances of the developers earning a profit becomes a priority. Yet, as of now, it hosts a ton of features all for free.
Which is a Wizard at Setup?
WordPress has made it extremely easy to install and immediately activate most plugins made for the platform. Yet some plugins can be very complex or written up in such a way that configuration can be disastrous. It is immediately obvious that this is not the case with either of these plugins. Both are very easy to install and get set up with configuration wizards that guide you step by step through the process. But there is something to compare here, mainly migration. Being that Yoast is so popular, they don’t tend to anticipate a user migrating to another SEO plugin alternative and have no functionality for importing settings and content from other plugins. This is not the case with Rank Math. At all times, within the dashboard, you can find the simple widget that will import settings, content (Titles, Descriptions, Focused Keyword, etc…) from the most popular SEO plugins, namely All in One SEO and Yoast. This is extremely important as a large amount of time can go into the optimization efforts of a site before this decision is made.
Focusing on Multiple Keywords at Once? Is That Possible?
Yes, it is! Larger pieces of content often can rank for multiple keywords on the page, especially with long-tailed keywords and variations. Both plugins will allow you to focus on multiple keywords at a time which is an important feature. The difference is that this is a premium feature with Yoast. The free version will only allow you to focus on one keyword at a time. However, the workaround is to optimize for one keyword and once satisfied, switch the focus keyword to another and optimize further without touching the main points of the first chosen keyword. Sounds a little confusing right? Imagine working with three focus keywords! Rank Math SEO allows up to five focus keywords at a time and will give you tips as to how to get the most Google benefit out of them.
So Which Search Engine Optimization Plugin is Really the Best?
Answering that question will largely depend on the person using the plugin and what they are trying to get out of it. The most obvious factor that Yoast has over Rank Math SEO is its popularity and longevity as the standard SEO plugin for WordPress sites. Even All in One SEO plugin has popularity over the Rank Math plugin as they have been the only constant competitor to Yoast for years now. Yet anyone serious about search engine optimization and digital marketing knows that Google is an ever-changing beast who frowns upon stagnation and rewards innovation. While Yoast has decided to hide many of its important features behind a premium paywall, Rank Math has not only included those much-needed functions and features for free (eliminating the need for more third-party plugins) and also host other tools that Yoast has failed to include. Some of these extra functions include:
- org Integration
- External Link Manager
- Redirect Manager (Free)
- Video Rich Snippets
- WooCommerce SEO (Free)
- Customer Support (Free)
- Site Auditor
Having search engine optimization done on a website already puts your website on the right path towards better rankings on SERPs and increased traffic to landing pages. Using an SEO plugin is a sure way to increase productivity and accuracy when implementing meta information into pages. Determining the best plugin is dependent on the expectations of the user. Is plugin popularity and longevity on the market the deciding factor? Or is it features and functionality that pulls the trigger? And where does value come in to play? Is a premium fee worth the added availability of the useful tools these plugins offer? Or is the enticement of getting that extra functionality and more, for free, enough to make even Yoast’s popularity an undeciding factor when browsing?
The image to the right displays, even more, features of Rank Math SEO that weren’t mentioned in this posting. If you are already using another SEO Plugin and this post has convinced you to switch to Yoast instead, that is great, however once you uninstall that plugin and activate Yoast, you will find the lack of an “Import from other Plugin” option a pain as you will then have to reimplement all of your optimizations from scratch. If this reading has convinced you to switch to Rank Math SEO, you will not have this issue and will keep all your changes and gain a lot more. Choose wisely.
Authorship: Kevin P.