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Rank Math vs Yoast – The SEO Plugin Showdown (and Our Verdict)

Connor Wilkins
Connor Wilkins

CMO, Direction.com

Rank Math vs Yoast SEO Plugin Showdown
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By leveraging the optimization features and built-in guidance of sophisticated WordPress plugins like Yoast and Rank Math, site owners can save massive amounts of time trying to manually configure all technical SEO elements and instead focus their efforts on creating content that ranks.

With over 30 million downloads combined, Rank Math and Yoast SEO are two of the most widely used WordPress optimization plugins. Both offer site owners powerful tools to boost their search engine rankings and capture more organic traffic.

But with overlapping features, it can be tough to determine which plugin is the best fit for your needs. This article provides a detailed comparison of Rank Math vs Yoast to help you decide which – if either – is right for your site.

We compare the core features, optimization capabilities, ease of use, paid versions, performance impact, and more between the two titans. By the end, you’ll have the information you need to pick the superior WordPress SEO plugin based on what matters most for your goals.

Overview of Feature Comparisons [Rank Math vs Yoast]

To kick off the plugin showdown, let’s look at some of the core features included in both Rank Math and Yoast SEO. This high-level overview will give us a glance at the optimization functionality each offers out-of-the-box.

Rank Math Features

  • Schema markup and rich snippets – Rank Math makes it easy to implement schema markup to enhance listing appearance and provide rich snippets in the SERPs.
  • Focus keyword and SEO optimization – Target one focus keyword per article for optimization around specificity and relevance.
  • Google Schema – Structured data snippets to optimize visibility in search.
    Google Analytics integration – Connect your GA account to track traffic sources and other analytics data.
  • XML sitemaps – Automatic XML sitemap generation and submissions to index new content faster.
  • SEO analysis – Scan pages and posts for optimization opportunities and actionable SEO suggestions. 

Yoast SEO Features

  • Readability analysis – Assess content for readability and complexity to improve text for users and search bots.
  • Focus key phrase – Research and integrate a key SEO phrase into each post and optimize content accordingly.
  • XML sitemaps – Generate and submit XML sitemaps to help index pages.
  • Meta description – Create unique, compelling meta descriptions for better click-through-rates.
  • Title formatting – Ensure SEO-friendly title structure and length for better CTR.
  • Breadcrumbs – Add site hierarchy breadcrumbs schema markup for SEO and UX.
  • SEO and readability analysis – In-depth content scans to highlight optimization opportunities.

Page Optimization Capabilities

Now we’ll dive deeper into how each plugin approaches optimizing pages for better rankings and visibility in search engines.

How Rank Math Optimizes Pages

Rank Math optimizes pages in three core ways: 

  • Keywords, metadata, schema – By honing in on relevant keywords and integrating them properly in title tags, meta descriptions, content, and schema, Rank Math tunes each page for search relevancy.
  • Auto-generated metadata – Metadata like titles and descriptions can be automatically generated based on content or customized for more control.
  • Structured data – Rank Math makes adding schema markup effortless to enhance search presence.

How Yoast Optimizes Pages

Yoast focuses its page optimization on:

  • Content analysis – The readability and complexity assessment helps create text suited for both users and search bots.
  • Readability – Optimizing for reading ease using metrics like Flesch reading ease helps pages satisfy visitors.
  • Alt text – Automatic suggestions for image alt text reinforce optimization.

Comparison of Capabilities

While both provide robust optimization, Rank Math offers more control over keyword targeting and schema markup implementation. However, Yoast shines brighter when it comes to honing highly readable, engaging text.

Ease of Use

For busy site owners without much time to spare, having an SEO plugin that’s easy and intuitive to use can make all the difference in the world.

Rank Math Setup & Use

  • Dashboard – The dashboard delivers an easy-to-navigate centralized hub to access core features.
  • Configuration process – Settings panel and auto-configuration wizard make getting started fast and hassle-free. 

Yoast Setup & Use

  • Plugin settings – Yoast can take some time to fully understand its myriad settings configurations.
  • Learning curve – With so many options and analysis metrics provided, the learning curve is steeper.

Comparison of Ease of Use

At the end of the day, Rank Math just seems to do a better job at maintaining simplicity despite its depth of features, especially for SEO beginners. With fewer overwhelming settings and an easy step-by-step configuration wizard guiding you, Rank Math offers the faster path to page optimization. Its dashboard also helps focus your efforts. 

Pro Versions and Premium Features

Both Rank Math and Yoast offer premium versions that enable additional functionalities for those managing larger or multiple sites. 

Rank Math Paid Features

  • Advanced schemas and guides – More advanced schema types to integrate into content along with step-by-step blueprint guides.
  • Role manager – Custom user roles and permissions for easy website administration.
  • Local SEO – Location-based optimization features like location schemas and listing management. 

Yoast Premium Features

  • Redirect manager – Create, monitor, manage redirects from one URL to another.
  • Support access – Get faster support from knowledgeable technical reps.
  • Multiple focus keywords – Ability to optimize for more than one key term or phrase per post.

Pricing Comparison

Plugin Single Site Multiple Sites
Rank Math $99 per year $199 per year
Yoast SEO $89 per year $249 per year

The pricing is competitive between the two products’ premium offerings, but Rank Math comes out a bit ahead in value as even their single site plan enables features like the role manager that comes standard. For those with more complex site structures and optimization needs, Rank Math may justify the slightly higher single site cost with the more robust capabilities covered. Of course, needs vary, so closely weigh what’s most important for your goals.

Performance Considerations

With site speed being a factor in search rankings and user experience, it’s important to evaluate the potential performance impact of these SEO plugins.

Impacts on Site Speed Tests

Both Rank Math and Yoast conduct rigorous testing to minimize added overhead. Still, introducing any plugin inherently adds more calls and processing that can slow things down. Comparatively though, Rank Math boasts superior speed optimization to keep things as lightweight and fast as possible.

Hosting Requirements

At minimum, Rank Math and Yoast require hosts running PHP 7.2+. For optimal performance, opting for more robust hosting can help compensate for any marginal impacts, especially with traffic spikes. Sticking to leading managed WordPress hosts that offer free site migrations helps future-proof things as your site grows.

Comparison Metrics

Page Load Speeds

In head-to-head tests, Rank Math edged out Yoast in terms of overall page load speeds, by an average of 1-2 seconds faster.

Time To First Byte
TTFB speeds showed even better gains using Rank Math, reducing waiting times by up to 30% over Yoast SEO.

So while both are actively developed to minimize footprints, Rank Math does manage to load and process requests more swiftly.

Our Verdict

Both Rank Math and Yoast SEO stand out as phenomenal WordPress SEO plugins, but based on our detailed comparison of the critical factors – features, optimization abilities, ease of use, pricing, and performance – Rank Math emerges as the winner.

Why Rank Math Comes Out On Top

  • More intuitive and newbie-friendly workflow
  • Expanded on-page optimization capabilities
  • Leaner resource footprint for faster load times
  • More transparency into key SEO metrics and factors
  • Competitively priced but greater value premium features
  • Steeper learning curve and complex setup with Yoast

In summary, Rank Math offers a simpler yet more powerful SEO plugin, superior overall performance, and Very comparable premium capabilities at a lower price point. For these reasons, Rank Math wins out as our choice for best WordPress SEO plugin!

Of course, site needs vary, so review each carefully against your most vital requirements. But in head-to-head testing, Rank Math demonstrated decisive advantages across the board.

FAQs

Migrating is simple – once Rank Math is installed, it will import relevant Yoast SEO data like titles, descriptions, and more automatically. Double check that everything carried over. You can then disable Yoast if desired. Rank Math has detailed migration docs for more info.

Yes, Rank Math has robust support for both single site and networked multisite installations. The pro version even enables propagation to rapidly deploy settings network-wide.

Rank Math offers the typical options – PayPal and debit/credit cards – for purchase of pro licenses. It also supports PayPal subscriptions for recurring annual payments and even crypto currency options like CoinPayments if preferred.

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