If you have not yet used Rank Math, you are really missing out. Traffic is the one thing anyone posting online is seeking. Whether this happens to be on a website or a social media platform, it is highly critical to reach as many audience members as possible. This is how your business gets recognition, generates leads, and eventually turns potential customers into existing ones.
So, one way potential customers can find out about you is when your website pops up in their search results when they google any product or service you happen to be offering. Yet, appearing on the first pages of Google is very challenging, given that there are thousands of other businesses like you out there going after the exact same thing as you.
We hear you asking, “OK. What exactly do I need to appear on the first pages of Google?” Well, you need to learn Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to tweak your content to land on those first-page results. More precisely, you need to install, activate, and use Rank Math on your website, and this is exactly what we are demonstrating in this article.
Rank Math is an SEO plugin used to help you optimise the content on your website, whether that is on the Pages or on the Posts, to improve your content’s overall SEO. It is very straightforward and user-friendly and shows, in a checklist format, what your content is doing right and what it is missing to be fully optimised.
To get started, you need to install and activate Rank Math on your website. You can do this by going into the WordPress directory and downloading the plugin directly from there. Or you can go to the WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins and look for Rank Math SEO. Click Install Now and then Activate.
Once you activate it, you will be redirected to the Plugins page, where you will see the new plugin activated there. You will also see a new Rank Math tab on the left side of the WordPress menu.
Now, when you go to the Pages dashboard, for example, you will be able to see a new column on the right marked SEO Details. If you cannot see it, just go to Screen Options and tick the SEO Details.
The same goes for the Posts dashboard. The SEO Details column on the right side gives you an overview of the SEO score for each of your blogs. A post showing N/A or Not Available means it has no focus keyword, which you will know more about in a bit, and is basically not optimised at all.
Now that we have successfully activated the Rank Math plugin, it is time to understand how to use it.
On the top-right corner of any blog post, you can find a little square showing a score out of a hundred. Clicking on that will show the Rank Math details of your post. A score above 80 and a green square means your post is optimised. A score between 51 and 80 makes the square yellow (or orange) and indicates the post is doing somewhat well but is not yet fully optimised. If your post scores anything below 51, it is in trouble.
Your job, which we will show you how to do, is to get your Rank Math score above 80. To do that, you need to check as many items in the Rank Math checklist as possible, and this, without a doubt, includes all the basic items no post can be optimised without. For that, you need to understand the components of the Rank Math checklist so you can apply them to your content.
Basically, Rank Math is composed of six sections. While all of them are important, the first three are the most critical. Missing any item of these first three sections highly affects your Rank Math score. So, let’s break them down.
The first section of the Rank Math checklist is Preview. This is the snippet Google will show users whenever this post pops up on their result pages. It contains three items, Title, Permalink, and Description, which you can see by clicking on Edit Snippet.
The title is simply the title of your post. The Permalink is just the normal URL, which you take from the title. Then there is the Description, or the Meta Description, which is the small paragraph that shows up in Google search results. It tells the users what this page is about and whether or not it is what they are looking for. So, you want to write a description that accurately describes this page specifically, not the website as a whole.
Besides each of these three items is a little bar that shows you how much you are writing and if this is too much or too little. Each of them has a character limit, 60, 75, and 160, in the same order that is best to stay within. If you exceed the limit, the bar will go red as if to tell you to go shorter. Too little will also make the bar go red, indicating that it is not enough.
The trick is obviously to write within the required amount and get the bar either green or more toward the green end. Still, you must ensure that this correct amount best describes the post as well.
2. Focus Keyword
The next section of the Rank Math checklist is the Focus Keyword, which is by far the most critical one and can dramatically affect the Rank Math score.
So the focus keyword is essentially the word or words that you want this specific post to rank for. For example, if you wanted to rank for things to do in London, then your focus keyword would be London. Interestingly, you can add multiple keywords. Yet, only one is going to be the primary or focus keyword, and the other ones are secondary.
Once the focus keyword is set, your score will automatically go up. Then, Rank Math will do a better job at telling you what is going right and what exactly your post is missing to increase the score to 80 and above. This is precisely shown in the next section.
3. Basic SEO
The third section of Rank Math is basically a dropdown menu of six items, all known as Basic SEO. To increase your post’s SEO score, you must apply everything in this list to your post. Once you do this, every item in this list will get checked and turn green, and your SEO score will increase. The opposite is also true. Whatever your post is missing to be optimised will be highlighted in red and have a cross mark.
Five out of these six Basic SEO list items are related to the focus keyword. To optimise your post, your focus keyword must be used in the post title, meta description, URL, and the first 10% of your post as well, not only in your content.
This shows how vital setting a focus keyword is in optimising your post and helping it achieve a better Rank Math score. So, you want to make sure that you have at least the Basic SEO done, and then you are already in a good position anyway.
The sixth and last item on this Basic SEO list is the content length. To check this item, turn it green, and increase your SEO score, your post must be 2,500 words or above. If your post word count ranges between 1,500 and 2,499, it will be partially green. Anything between 500 and 1,500 is orange, and writing fewer than 500 will get it red. So, you need to make sure you write enough.
4. Additional Tasks
The next section of the Rank Math checklist is the Additional Tasks which can as well increase your score. Here is a breakdown of the items in this section.
This one is also related to the focus keyword. If you are using headings and subheadings in your content, mentioning the focus keyword in at least one, preferably more, of them will increase your SEO score. Whether you have H2s or H3s, do your best to include the focus keyword in them.
The focus keyword must also be found in image Alt attributes. These are alternative texts used to describe the images, either those within your content or the featured image used for the entire post—this is the primary picture that appears at the top of your blog post as it appears on the website.
The easiest way is to add the focus keyword as the Alt Text for your featured image. Go to Settings and then Post. Scroll down until you find the featured image. Once you click on it, you will find the Alt Text bar to add your focus keyword. Even this alone will count as Alt Text containing the focus keyword, and you will get this item checked.
Another point to mention is the keyword density. This is basically how many times the focus keyword appears in the post. Using the focus keyword frequently in the post will help it rank higher on Google pages. However, that does not mean you bombard the post with the focus keyword. Overusing the focus keyword actually reduces the SEO score.
So Rank Math uses a secret formula to compare how many times the focus keyword is mentioned in the post with the total number of words in it and then gives you a percentage for the keyword density. A keyword density between 1% and 1.5% is what you need to check this item of the list and increase your score. Anything higher or lower than that is not going to do your post any good.
If the keyword density is low and, for some reason, you cannot add more of it in the post, you can add secondary keywords to increase the percentage. The real challenge is when you need to get a high keyword density down. In such a case, try replacing the keyword with pronouns and phrases to reduce the percentage. However, you must do this in a way that does not mess up with the coherence of the post.
In the Preview section we mentioned at the very top, there was a part dedicated to the URL length. Well, it is added again in the Additional Tasks section, most probably to emphasise its importance.
The optimal URL length should be either equal to or less than 75 characters. While not exceeding the range is what we are saying here, it is highly recommended you keep your URLs short, precise, and to the point.
External and Internal Links
Linking your post to other ones on the web was found to increase its SEO score. First, you need to include external DoFollow links to your post. DoFollow links point back to your website, which increases your authority. Linking to external pages in general, such as other websites and social media pages, increases your SEO score.
You also need to focus on the internal links. These are the links that will take users to other parts of your website as opposed to other websites on the web. So, this could be linking to another blog post or page, such as the contact page, for instance. They all count.
We have emphasised enough the importance of using a focus keyword and where to add it to optimise your post to increase its SEO score. However, another important thing regarding the focus keyword is its novelty.
It is highly critical to use a new focus keyword every time you add a new post to your website to help Google distinguish between your different posts. Come to think of it. If you use the same focus keyword for multiple posts, which one should Google show on its search results and which one of these different posts addresses what the user is looking for?
Using the same focus keyword usually tends to happen with broader keywords. So, try to make your focus keywords as specific as to best describe the post’s main point.
5. Title Readability
The next thing you want to focus on is the title readability, which indicates how much your post title is understood by and makes sense to the users. We can break this readability factor into the following items.
The first thing to check to ensure your title is readable is whether or not the focus keyword appears at the beginning of the SEO title. Remember that you want to catch the user’s attention real quick, and mentioning the keyword at the beginning of your title will ensure that.
Secondly, your title must contain a positive or negative sentiment word. What that means is, does your title have a word or phrase that evokes strong emotions from the user? This really encourages the user to click on the blog post or the page.
The third item requires your title to contain power words. These are all the words that essentially entice the user a bit more to click on your content. Power words, then, increase your Rank Math score.
The fourth point to mention here checks whether or not your SEO title contains a number. Numbers were found to make posts more clickable. They generally add authority to the posts and give them weight. They also hint at the value users are going to get from reading this post.
6. Content Readability
After you have successfully optimised your title, you need to check for content readability. This describes how easy your content is for users to read and digest. Content readability on the Rank Math checklist comprises three items.
The first is to add a table-of-content plugin to help break down the text and give the user an overview of what the post is about.
Second, you have to use short paragraphs. Users tend to feel discouraged by long paragraphs and are more likely to ignore them altogether. Short paragraphs, on the other hand, are easy to read and comprehend and encourage users to keep on reading.
Last but not least, using images or videos. Well, we have heard the quote, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Pictures and videos are much more descriptive and easy to consume. So adding several media forms to your content is going to capture users’ attention and keep them engaged.
Each of the points we have mentioned so far has a little question mark beside it on the Rank Math column on the post page. When clicking on any of these question marks, you will be taken to the official Rank Math website, precisely to the section that explains this point more elaborately.
Rank Math Pro
Every single point that we mentioned above is included in the Rank Math basic form, which is free. You can download as many copies of the plugin as you want and put it on as many websites as you need to. That said, Rank Math does offer a Pro version with different features and different payment plans.
With the free version, you can only add keywords to your pages, but you cannot track any of them. The paid plans, on the other hand, enable you to track up to 500 keywords, see how they are doing across the websites and how well they are ranking. They also show you if there is a better keyword to use for a specific post and provide you with more advanced schema generators.
Additionally, Rank Math Pro tracks losing keywords and winning keywords, so you can see exactly where you are getting most of the traffic, where you are losing it and where the opportunities to get more of it are.
Using Rank Math SEO to optimise your website content is precisely what you need to increase your reach and drive more traffic. Understanding and applying the different components we mentioned in this article will make your posts rank in the first Google pages.
If you are still starting off with Rank Math, it is better to stick with the free version for the time being. Make sure all of your posts and pages are optimised, and monitor your progress using Google Analytics. Then, when you feel like you can do more, it might be good to advance to Pro.