SEO: 20 Rules to Optimize Your Web Content Using Rank Math

Plugin Rank Math - featured image
SERP

Rank Math is an SEO optimization plugin for WordPress with over 1,300,000 active installs and an overall rating of 4.9/5 on wordpress.org. With each publication you create, Rank Math will help you optimize the SEO of your articles and pages in order to receive maximum traffic. For this, the plugin gives you easy to understand suggestions based on your content, suggestions that are integrated in Gutenberg, in the classic WordPress editor or in Elementor.

Rank Math - Elementor integration
Elementor Integration

If you follow all these recommendations, your publication will be completely optimized, thus improving the probability of benefiting from a ranking of your content in the first Google results.

Keyword research

Keywords are the words you want your post to rank for. Keywords can contain one or more words, up to a sentence or part of a sentence, these are the Long-Tail Keywords. Most of these long-tail keywords are more specific and therefore have lower search volume than short-tail keywords.

The words or phrases that users type into search engines are the best keywords to choose from. The Rank Math plugin allows you to choose an unlimited number of keywords per post (also called “Focus Keywords”).

Choice of keywords
Focus Keywords

However, it’s better to add only a reasonable number of keywords so that your post looks natural: adding more keywords than necessary will do more harm than good in the eyes of Google. The first keyword you add will be considered the main keyword, and subsequent ones will be considered secondary keywords.

To help us in the search for keywords, Rank Math allows easy access to data from Google Trends. This tool analyzes the popularity of top search queries in different regions and languages. For this, Google Trends uses graphs to compare the search volume of different queries over time.

Google Trends
Google Trends
Google Trends
Google Trends

If we take the Rank Math game, we will have to pass a series of tests, classified into four categories: Basic SEO, Additional, readability of the title, and readability of the content.

Rank Math Plugin - Settings

Basic SEO Optimization Suggestions (6 Mistakes to Avoid)

These rules are relative to the main keyword you choose, as well as the length of your post:

Rank Math Plugin - Basic SEO Settings
Suggestions Basic SEO

1/ “Add Focus Keyword to the SEO title”

The presence of the main keyword in the title of your publication is obviously an important ranking criterion for Google as well as for other search engines, such as Bing or Yahoo.

2/ “Add Focus Keyword to your SEO Meta Description”

The SEO meta description is the snippet that appears just below the title on a search engine results page. To create it, you must click on Edit Snippet. This SEO description gives insight into what the post is about, not only to internet users, but also to Google and other search engines.

If you haven’t written a custom SEO meta description, Rank Math will create one automatically from the beginning of your post and then test it to see if the keyword is included. Google displays a maximum of 160 characters of your meta description on desktop and a maximum of 120 characters on mobile.

Elementor - Edit snippet
Elementor – Edit snippet
Snippet Edit
Meta description

3/ “Use Focus Keyword in the URL”

First, it seems logical to include the main keyword in the URL. In addition to the fact that Google verifies the presence of the main keyword in the ULRs, there is another advantage to implementing this practice: Google bolds the words of the Internet user’s request, which can therefore lead to think that the result corresponds to his request. For more information on creating SEO-optimized URLs, this in-depth article from ahref.com is very interesting.

Edit Snippet
Edit Snippet
Edit Snippet
Permalink / URL

4/ “Use Focus Keyword at the beginning of your content”

As seen previously, indicating the main keyword at the beginning of your content will reassure the Internet user and lead him to think that the result corresponds to his request, and Google takes this criterion into account for the same reason. To assess this criteria, Rank Math will check your content to see if the main keyword is present in the first 10 percent of your post.

5/ “Use Focus Keyword in the content”

Despite the title, Rank Math will take into consideration all the keywords you have chosen. The calculation of the total keywords will be carried out indiscriminately with the singular and plural versions of your keywords.

6/ “Content should be 600 – 2500 long”

Many studies have shown that when pages and articles have a certain length, their ranking tends to be favored by Google. For this content length criterion, Rank math performs a stepwise evaluation:

  • Less than 600 words: 0% score
  • 600-1000 words: 20% score
  • 1000-1500 words: 40% score
  • 1500-2000 words: 60% score
  • 2000-2500 words: 70% score
  • More than 2500 words: 100% score

For WooCommerce sites, Rank Math recommends a length of 200 words for product sheets, as well as the use of Product Schema.

“Additional” SEO Optimization Suggestions (9 Mistakes to Avoid)

These rules are related to the main keyword, the URL of our article or our page, the external and internal links, and the Content AI option:

Rank Math Plugin - Additional Settings
Additional SEO Optimization Suggestions

1/ “Use Focus Keyword in subheading(s) like H2, H3, H4, etc”

Including your keywords in titles helps get sitelinks in the results. Sitelinks are quick links offered by Google that appear below your search result, allowing people to quickly jump to a specific section of an article.

This test runs for the main keyword as well as the secondary keyword, and you will need to incorporate both of them into your subtitles to get the maximum score. You can always check if you pass the test for a secondary keyword simply by clicking on it.

2/ “Add an image with your Focus Keyword as alt text”

Rank Math will look for your main keyword in the Alt Attribute of your images. It only takes one image to pass this test. Both singular and plural versions of the keyword are taken into account.

Fill Alt Text
Alt attribute

3/ “Keyword Density is 0. Aim for around 1% Keyword Density”

Optimizing your post with good keyword density will give you an edge in search results. This point concerns all the keywords you have chosen to write your publication. You will get the maximum score if this density is between 1% and 2.50%. There is no ideal number in the eyes of Google, so it is best to have an article that seems most natural to your readers.

Be careful though, image captions are also taken into account in this calculation because they appear on your article, below your images. It is therefore better not to enter a keyword on all the images if you plan to place a large number of images in your publication.

4/ “URL unavailable. Add a short URL”

Many, many URL length studies have shown that shorter URLs are more likely to rank well in Google’s search results. Rank Math advises a maximum of 75 characters. This number applies to the entire URL, not just the part you’re going to write. This means that HTTPS characters, separator characters, your domain name are already included in the calculation of the recommended maximum URL length.

5/ “Link out to external resources”

In each of your publications, you must have at least one external link that points to another website. The existence of external links is a ranking factor taken into account by Google and other search engines, and these external links are evaluated by search engines as votes of confidence in a web page. particular. Just be sure not to externally link to any of your direct competitors!

6/ “Add DoFollow links pointing to external resources”

You must have at least one external “dofollow” type link to be taken into consideration by this test.
If you are using Rank Math’s feature to nofollow all external links, you will need to whitelist your link to be “dofollow” as an exception, or you will need to mention the value “dofollow” to the “rel” attribute if it is a link from an image. Obviously, if you have not set your external links “nofollow” by default, you have no specific action to perform, your external links will be of type “dofollow”.

rel attribute
rel attribute

7/ “Add internal links in your content”

Internal links are one of the most effective ways to improve your publication’s SEO. First, they help search engines understand the structure of your website. Additionally, internal links provide your users with better navigation between different pages, posts, categories, or tags on your website or a subdomain.

When it comes to internal linking, “Pillar Content” is a term used to describe high-quality content that is of great importance to a website, and will remain relevant for years to come. This feature is useful because it allows Rank Math to offer you to create contextual internal links pointing to these pages or articles.

Pillard Content feature
Pillar Content

8/ “Set a Focus Keyword for this content”

It is better not to write several posts using the same main keyword. First of all, it would be amazing if both of your publications had a good ranking by Google. It comes down to competing with yourself, which is called keyword cannibalization… Furthermore, this practice could lead you to produce duplicate content, at least in part.

The safest solution is to complete your old article, an action that can potentially help you get higher search engine rankings. In a previous article, I had reviewed the features of the plugin, and I had chosen the keyword “Rank Math”. Instead of creating a new post, I could have supplemented this previous article, but here I am addressing a more specific aspect of the plugin, and the main keyword for this new article will be different.

9/ “Use Content AI to optimize the Post”

The Content AI feature offered by Rank Math helps to optimize the post for a specific keyword. Depending on the version of the plugin you have, you can use a certain amount of credits for your posts.

Rank Math Plugin - Content AI
Content AI

This gives you additional suggestions for the optimal number of words, media, titles, and links for your post. You can also benefit from additional keyword suggestions, and help in identifying frequently asked questions from Internet users.

SEO Suggestions for Headline Readability (4 Mistakes to Avoid)

These rules relate to the title of a blog post or the title of a page. Depending on the language used on your website, there will only be 2 rules available (the first and the fourth). If your title is very long, be aware that Google SERPs display a maximum of 70 characters of your title on desktop and a maximum of 78 characters on mobile. It is therefore important not to create titles that are too long.

Rank Math Plugin - Title Readability Settings
Post title Readability

1/ “Use the Focus Keyword near the beginning of SEO title”

In the SERPs, you need to capture the attention of Internet users as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s important to phrase your title so that the important words appear at the beginning. Results with keywords at the beginning of the title are also slightly favored by search engines.

In this test, Rank Math will check if you placed your main keyword in the first 50 percent of the title, and not necessarily at the very beginning of the title, in order to keep some flexibility and to avoid that certain titles do not do not appear to be artificially worded.

2/ “Your title does not contain a positive or negative sentiment word”

One way to get more people to click on your website from search engine results is to write a title that evokes strong emotions, no matter what kind of emotions, but without actually writing titles. exaggerated (Clickbait).

3/ “Your title does not contain a “Power Word”. Add at least one”

This feature is available for some languages, including English and German. To learn more about “Power Words”, you can read a detailed article on the official Rank Math plugin blog.

4/ “Your SEO title does not contain a number”

A proven way to get more clicks from the SERPs is to use numbers in the title, such as “7 Christmas gift ideas” or “The 10 most beautiful places to visit in Italy”. More details in this very complete article on the subject, and containing many statistics.

SEO Optimization Suggestions for Content Readability (3 Mistakes to Avoid)

These rules relate to the table of contents, paragraphs, and images or videos of your publication:

Rank Math Plugin - Content Readability Settings
Content Readability

1/ “Use Table of Content to break-down your text”

You can use Elementor, or a specific plugin such as LuckyWP Table of Contents.

2/ “Add short and concise paragraphs for better readability and UX”

In this test, Rank Math analyzes your entire post and warns you if any of your paragraphs are longer than 120 words. A clear presentation will allow your visitors to stay longer on your website, a criterion taken into account by Google.

3/ “Add a few images and/or videos to make your content appealing”

For this test, you need to add at least 4 images or videos to your post to get the maximum score. The main image of your publication is also taken into account in the calculation. A long text without photos could discourage your visitors and make them abandon your website. However, the total time spent by each visitor on a given page is a ranking factor by Google.

When it comes to online stores, numerous studies have shown that customers think the image quality of a product is more important than specific product information, a long description, or ratings and reviews.

In conclusion, Rank Math’s suggestions help us to optimize each publication thanks to simple indications to follow in order to improve the SEO of pages and articles. Similarly, Rank Math’s assistance helps improve category SEO, and even tag SEO if you’ve opted for search engine indexing. You can view the list of Google ranking factors here.

Rank Math - Logo

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