When comes to WordPress, you have to optimize plenty of stuffs to rank top in Google. By default, WordPress does not have an option to add meta description or setup redirects. Therefore, it is essential to have a plugin to do all SEO related tasks and optimize the site. When looking for SEO plugins, you will most probably end up with two options – Yoast SEO and Rank Math. In this article, we will cover Yoast SEO Vs Rank Math features so that you can decide which one is the best plugin for your site.
Yoast SEO Vs Rank Math
Yoast SEO is one of the oldest and most popular plugins in WordPress repository. In fact, the original name of this plugin was WordPress SEO and then renamed to Yoast SEO. Yoast BV is a Netherlands based company which was occurred by Newfold Digital. This is the company behind many popular brands like Bluehost, HostGator, iPage, etc. Now, you may get nervous if you already heard about EIG hosting companies. Yes, EIG group is restructured and renamed as Newfold Digital. With Yoast SEO onboard, you have to wait and see the future situation of infamous support model from EIG. You can also purchase Yoast SEO Premium from their website and get access to additional features.
On other hand, Rank Math is a relatively new SEO plugin and owned by Mythemeshop. Based out of India, Mythemeshop is popular for offering low priced themes and plugins. Initially, Rank Math was a free plugin and later there was premium version released. In summary, Rank Math simply target to attract Yoast SEO customers and is a good alternative option.
In this article, we primarily focus on the free plugin features and touch upon the premium options for comparison purpose. Both plugins offer initial setup wizard which will guide you through the process. However, you need to create an account with Rank Math site to start using the plugin which is not needed for Yoast SEO.
If you have premium version, then you need to install and activate it separately. The big advantage with Rank Math is that you can migrate all your meta data from existing SEO plugins like Yoast and All In One SEO Pack. So, if you are fed up with Yoast, then all it takes is a few minutes to migrate the entire data to Rank Math.
Note that Yoast offers many other versions of the plugin for Video, News, WooCommerce and Local SEO. You have to purchase them separately and use along with the free version.
Yoast interface is a traditional setup that you would see with any other WordPress plugin. You can navigate through different tabs and toggle the required options.
Rank Math offers a modern user interface with modular approach. You can toggle the required modules and then navigate to the corresponding settings page for customizing the available options. This will give you a clear idea of what options you are using and where are they available compared to Yoast SEO interface.
In addition, Yoast will throw advertisements for premium version all over the interface which may annoy you. Though Rank Math also show upgrade notice, it is within an acceptable limit for a free plugin.
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Adding SEO Meta Data
After initial setup, the primary task of users will be to add meta data for post in the editor. Both plugins support Gutenberg and Classic Editor interfaces, so you are covered when using custom post types like WooCommerce products. Yoast will show you the traffic signals for SEO and readability indicating whether your content is good or needs improvement.
Rank Math uses points in 100 scale and show you the status of the post.
We feel Yoast meta data editor is clearly placed below the content and making it easy to add the details. Unfortunately, Rank Math adds the meta box in the sidebar and you have to open the pop-up every time for editing the data.
Meta Box Comparison
As mentioned, you will be spending much time on the meta boxes compared to other settings. Hence, we will look at the meta boxes of these plugins in detail. At this point, Yoast has SEO, readability, schema and social options in the meta box. You have to upload the featured image, enter focus keyword and meta description and use template variables to fill up the title to save the time.
- Yoast SEO will show the SEO score based on your content and entered focus keyword. You can do multiple keywords or analysis with Semrush with the Yoast premium version.
- Check the readability to find whether your content is readable for the targeted user group.
- Change the default schema type if required.
- Facebook and Twitter previews are only available under premium version.
- In addition, you can add canonical URL, change default breadcrumb title and add meta robots tag for removing the post from Sitemap.
Rank Math offers almost all the features from Yoast to add title, meta description, schema and basic readability checks. However, there are some differences:
- Facebook / Twitter social preview is a free option.
- You will get automatic keyword suggestions and directly check Google Trends for the focus keywords.
- Readability is very basic which checks for images, short paragraphs and not comparable with Yoast readability analysis.
Ranking and Speed Impact
This has been a big debate in WordPress community whether SEO plugins really impact your ranking and speed. The answer is yes, it directly affects your site’s frontend and backend loading. The reasons are simple that both plugins add large number of entries in the standard postmeta table and create additional database tables. This can slow down queries on slow servers and affect the loading speed. You can notice this especially with Yoast when loading the post editor. Recently, Yoast also started using the feature called indexable that will bloat your database size with each hyperlink on your site. This may be useful for internal linking suggestions (for premium version) but not much for the free version.
From ranking perspective, both plugins closely follow suggestions from Google and updates the settings accordingly. However, plugin update from Yoast can cause you trouble. They have biweekly release process to push updates without appropriate testing. Using auto-update or immediately updating the plugin will break your site and affect the ranking. We highly recommend having a localhost or staging site to test the plugin updates before deploying in live site.
Yoast and Rank Math offers FAQ and How-to blocks in common. While Yoast has a breadcrumb block in addition, Rank Math has a schema block.
Support and Documentation
You can click on the question marks anywhere in the interface to get help regarding the item or open the documentation website. However, Rank Math offers most inline help while Yoast will open the link on their documentation site. Both plugins offer heavy documentation that will explain each topic in detail for beginners. There are also some free courses available in Yoast SEO academy that you can make use for learning.
As you can see in wordpres.org plugin page, the support from the developer is good for both the plugins.
Comparison of Major Features
With the above understanding, here is a comparison table of complete features from Yoast SEO and Rank Math.
|Feature||Yoast SEO||Rank Math|
|404 Monitor Log||No||Yes|
|Add Content in RSS Feed||Yes||Yes|
|Bing Instant Indexing||No||Yes|
|Breadcrumb||Yes, need PHP code insertion||Yes, need PHP code insertion|
|Cornerstone or Pillar Content||Yes||Yes|
|Edit Robots.txt and .htaccess||Yes||Yes|
|External Link Count||Yes||Yes|
|Facebook / Twitter Preview||No, premium||Yes|
|Google Analytics Integration||No||Yes|
|Google Snippet Preview||Yes||Yes|
|Internal Link Count||Yes||Yes|
|Keyword Suggestion||Premium with Semrush integration||Yes, and Google Trends|
|Meta Robots Tag||Yes||Yes|
|Nofollow External Links||No||Yes|
|Open External Links in New Windows||No||Yes|
|Primary Category in Breadcrumb||Yes||Yes|
|Redirect Attachment Pages||Yes||Yes|
|Redirection Setup||Premium||Yes, with automatic redirection for slug changes|
|Template Variables Available||Yes||Yes|
|Webmaster Tools Verification||Yes||Yes|
|XML Sitemap||Sitemap index with URLs and image count. Automatic control of 1000 URLs per Sitemap.||Sitemap index includes video and news. Possible to adjust number of URLs in each individual Sitemap.|
Note: Wo do not consider integrations with third-party plugins like AMP, WooCommerce, Elementor, etc. in the above table.
Yoast SEO and Rank Math are undoubtedly two of the best SEO plugins for WordPress users. When you look at the features list, Rank Math will have added advantage over Yoast SEO. However, Rank Math misses the original creativity to simply copy all features from Yoast SEO and started manipulating around that. For example, making a cornerstone content (pillar content in Rank Math) and assigning a primary category in breadcrumb are unique features introduced by Yoast guys. For other features like AMP, Schema and redirections, we recommend using dedicated plugins instead of minimum features available with Rank Math or Yoast SEO.
- If you are already using Yoast SEO and not having big problems, continue with the plugin as long as the Newfold acquisition does not have any impact in near future.
- If you are having problems with Yoast like slowdown or Sitemap errors, then migrating to Rank Math is the best option you can try. However, remember that it is not possible to go back to Yoast SEO and the only option is to manually create or upload meta data.
- If you are setting up a new site and do not bother much about originality, then go with Rank Math as it offers handful of additional features not available with Yoast SEO.
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