To successfully drive organic traffic to a WordPress website, it must be SEO optimized. This means your decision on which SEO plugin to use has likely boiled down to Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO.
Rank Math SEO and Yoast SEO are two of the best WordPress SEO plugins available. The real question to ask is, which of these SEO plugins should you choose for your website? Yoast or Rank Math?
Let's find out.
WordPress SEO Plugin Rankings
When you compare Rank Math vs Yoast, you want to look at a few important metrics of success. Some of the criteria to look at comes directly from the WordPress plugin repository located at WordPress.org.
Let's compare some of the metrics for these two powerhouse SEO plugins. Rank Math SEO has over 1 million installs whereas Yoast SEO has over 5 million. Yoast has been around much longer so this is not a shock.
Both plugins have been updated within the last two weeks. Ensuring a plugin is kept up-to-date is vital for success and security.
One interesting point to note is that Yoast SEO still shows the PHP version to be 5.6.20 or higher and Rank Math SEO shows it to be 7.4 or higher. Any version of PHP older than 8.0 is no longer supported so Yoast should probably make this update.
In terms of ratings, Yoast has over 25,800 five-star ratings, while Rank Math has 5,158, which is up from 4,300 five-star ratings when this comparison article was first written.
Keep in mind, when it comes to search engine optimization, ratings don't mean nearly as much as the tangible benefits one receives from using the software.
Summary and Overall Winner
Choosing a winner between these is not easy and you'll receive many differing opinions. Here is our classification based on the use case and overall for 2023.
Best SEO Plugin Overall: Rank Math SEO
Best SEO Plugin for Businesses: Rank Math SEO
Best SEO Plugin for eCommerce: Rank Math SEO
Best SEO Plugin for Schema: Rank Math SEO
Best SEO Plugin if you want to spend more: Yoast SEO
What do we know?
We've used these SEO plugins extensively over the past 7 years. Yoast was founded in 2010, so we latched onto it during the early days of WordPress SEO plugins. Rank Math SEO launched in 2020, so it hasn't nearly Yoast's history. But we use Rank Math exclusively now for many reasons.
We'll explain why we use Rank Math SEO across all our sites and recommend it to others in the rest of this article.
Our areas of comparison are as follows:
If you're in a hurry or just looking for a comparison in a certain area, you can click on any category and jump to that section.
- Setup and essential needs
- Keyword analysis
- Content optimization
- Usefulness “out of the box”
Which SEO plugin provides a better setup and essentials?
SEO is complex. Therefore, finding a WordPress SEO plugin that is not complicated and easy to understand is incredibly valuable. A very complex plugin, even if packed with SEO tools, will, in most cases, not be a good option.
Let's see how Rank Math SEO and Yoast SEO stand up regarding setup and covering essential needs.
Rank Math SEO – setup & essential needs
The Rank Math SEO plugin is easy to configure with the automated Rank Math Setup wizard that launches as soon as you activate the plugin.
Log in to Rank Math using your Google, Facebook, or WordPress.com account data to avoid creating an additional account.
Once you've set up the plugin, you will be greeted with additional customization options via the dashboard and via WordPress navigation.
Some essentials that Rank Math solves immediately are XML sitemaps, 301 redirections, and content indexation control. There is a section from which you can manage the advanced XML sitemap settings, which is unavailable in Yoast SEO.
You can also integrate Rank Math SEO with popular page builders like Elementor or the block editor, track keyword rankings, create breadcrumbs, monitor 404 errors, and more easily.
Rank Math SEO offers an easier-to-navigate interface than Yoast SEO to make settings adjustments and offers more instructions on what to do for advanced setup.
Yoast SEO – setup & essential needs
Yoast is easy to install and configure using the automated setup wizard. It's important to note that Yoast made significant updates to the user experience and plugin's setup, much resembling how Rank Math works.
This was revamped in early 2023 as Rank Math continues to eat up some of Yoast's business.
The new dashboard is much more user-friendly than the walkthrough of the previous versions.
And once you've skipped or gone through the tutorial, the dashboard looks eerily similar to Rank Math's.
Yoast covers the essential needs through this dashboard. You can enable and disable certain features and then use the left-column menu for further customizations.
Yoast's setup is fairly straightforward but may challenge new users who might not know how to set up the tool to maximize success.
Yoast also has a content optimization tool to conduct an SEO analysis of a web page or post and suggests actionable steps to improve the SEO score of your content. This is fairly straightforward and intuitive.
Yoast automatically generates an XML sitemap for each post type, which you can send to Google Search Console. You do not have the granular controls for XML sitemaps as you do with Rank Math SEO.
The Yoast readability analysis is thorough and offers suggestions to help make the content easier for readers. It is easy to optimize posts for social media using Yoast. The Yoast SEO user interface is easy to navigate, and you can turn on or off any feature you want.
Yoast SEO can integrate Elementor, Wincher, SEMrush, and Ryte to provide additional features and functionality.
You can easily connect Yoast SEO with popular site monitoring and health tools within Google, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
When comparing the setup and essentials for Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO, the winner is undoubtedly Rank Math. Rank Math provides an easier setup wizard and better overall customization options within the settings for beginner to advanced SEO control.
Yoast has been around much longer and only recently updated their interface to resemble that of Rank Math SEO.
Which SEO plugin offers better performance?
When it comes to WordPress plugins, performance is vital. Too many plugins mean a slow website. For WordPress, having a lightweight plugin is essential to ensure the site and pages load quickly.
Rank Math SEO – plugin performance
The number of lines needed to code the Rank Math plugin is 61.1K, so the file size is only 11.7 MB. The memory usage is +0.35 MB, and the page speed is +0.01s. Overall, Rank Math SEO is a more performance-oriented WordPress plugin when compared to Yoast SEO.
Online Media Masters has a great list of the plugins that slow a WordPress website the most. Check it out if you want to know where your plugins rank.
As far as SEO plugins are concerned, All-in-One SEO has the most negative impact. Yoast has a memory impact but not as much performance impact. Rank Math is not on the list.
Yoast SEO – plugin performance
The lines of code needed to create the Yoast plugin amounts to 97.1K. The total size of the plugin is 32.4 MB, and the memory usage is +1.62 MB. This WordPress plugin is pretty lightweight and has a page speed of +0.18s.
The plugin will consume a lot of memory but shouldn't impact the user much.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
Rank Math SEO is a clear winner in a mission-critical area to improve the potential for organic rankings. Rank Math ships with more onboard features than Yoast SEO, so less impact adds value here.
Which plugin offers better features?
Arguably, it is the features of an SEO plugin that truly make it better than another. As such, features are an important deciding factor when selecting the best WordPress SEO plugin.
Rank Math SEO – key features
Rank Math has a free version that offers many useful features for site optimization. There are 18 features in the free version, and the premium version is jam-packed with 21 features. Some features are available in the free version in a limited capacity.
Here is the breakdown of all features.
|Rank Math SEO Features||Yoast SEO Features|
|SEO analyzer||SEO Analysis|
|Redirections (upgrade for more features)||Redirections (pro)|
|Image SEO (upgrade for more features)||Additional plugin purchase|
|Local SEO (upgrade for more features)||Additional plugin purchase|
|GA and GSC integration (upgrade for more features)||NA|
|XML Sitemap generator and manager||XML Sitemap generator|
|404 monitor (upgrade for more features)||NA|
|WooCommerce SEO (upgrade for more features)||Additional plugin purchase|
|News Sitemap (pro)||Additional plugin purchase|
|Advanced schema (structured data)||Basic schema|
|Video sitemap (pro)||Additional plugin purchase|
|Content AI (upgrade for more features)||NA|
|Instant indexing||IndexNow (premium)|
|Link counter||Text link counter|
|Podcast feeds and markup (pro)||NA|
|Google web stories support||NA|
|Readability analysis||Readability analysis|
|Cornerstone content||Cornerstone content|
|Link suggestions||Link suggestions (premium)|
Rank Math offers much more than Yoast in comparison.
Keyword Rank Tracking
A useful and unique feature of Rank Math is the onboard keyword rank tracking tool vs Yoast's integration with Wincher, which comes with an additional fee. You can track multiple keywords for no additional cost.
Videos are powerful from a web traffic standpoint, and you can create Video sitemaps for Google that help provide Google with information related to video use on your website.
News Sitemap Creation
Premium users can create Google news sitemaps and submit them. Getting your content featured in Google news is a great way to gain traffic to your website.
For business owners, local SEO is very important. You can optimize your content for people looking for recommendations and services in the same area as your business location.
Yoast SEO – Key features
Yoast SEO has a feature list vital for search engine rankings. Yoast SEO provides users with standard and advanced features. There are 12 within the dashboard, some requiring an upgrade to the premium version of Yoast SEO.
Even though the free version is enough for a beginner website, once your website starts growing, you'll want advanced features only available in Yoast SEO Premium.
Internal Link Suggestions
With the premium version, you will get suggestions from Yoast to link pages or posts with relevant existing content to boost your SEO potential.
With the redirect manager, it is possible to create multiple types of redirects. The redirect manager has a simple interface; you can easily set the redirect at a one-to-one or wildcard level.
With the premium version, you receive daily SEO activities as suggestions to improve the overall SEO rankings of your website. The suggestions are very easy to implement, including adding internal links, updating image alt tags, writing image alt tags, managing outbound links, etc.
Estimated Reading Time
This tool tells you how long an average reader will read your content. It is a helpful tool to optimize the content length so users don't get discouraged and leave the site. You can use this via shortcode to show on the front end to a user.
Internal Linking Blocks
This very useful feature allows you to create new blocks with internal link suggestions or the linking done automatically for you. The best part is all the internal linking performed is relevant and helpful for the search engine optimization of your website.
Multiple Focus Keywords
With the premium version, you can integrate your Yoast plugin with SEMrush for keyword research and use that to generate multiple focus keywords for a web page or blog post.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
Both SEO plugins offer versatile and advanced SEO features. However, it is noticeable that the free version of Rank Math SEO offers many more features than what is offered in the free version of Yoast.
It is essential to know which specific keywords you need to target. Too many keywords won't bring you the ideal traffic or audience type for your site.
Finding the ones that will bring the right type of traffic involves keyword research and analysis. Let's compare Rank Math vs Yoast SEO from a keyword analysis perspective.
Rank Math SEO – keyword analysis
You can accomplish multiple keyword analyses using the free version of Rank Math. Starting the keyword research process involves adding a focus keyword. Rank Math has a content AI analysis feature that lets you find related keywords to rank for.
You must create a free account to access the Content AI analysis tool. Then you'll click on the Content AI button and receive a list of suggestions for related keywords to choose from.
Content AI provides a score and suggestions to improve. Content AI suggests the ideal word count, link count, heading count, and media count for all focus keywords. The score improves as you meet the ideal counts within your content.
At the bottom, more keyword suggestions, questions, and external links are available to make the content more valuable. Free users only get 5 credits a day. If you upgrade to their paid plans, it is possible to integrate Google Trends into the plugin and perform unlimited keyword research for any focus keyword.
Yoast SEO – keyword analysis
Yoast SEO doesn't have a built-in tool that allows users to perform keyword analysis. Yoast SEO does allow integration with a SEMrush account with their premium version. It is easy to integrate but comes with a 10-keyword limit unless you purchase a paid SEMrush plan.
To search for multiple keywords, you must first provide the focus keyword. When you click on the related keyword options, a pop-up will appear asking you to connect with SEMrush.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
The winner for this Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO category is Rank Math. Even free users can conduct multiple keyword analyses, and the Content AI is very helpful for finding relevant keywords.
SEO titles, meta descriptions, and the other on-page SEO optimization factors of your website content need to be optimized to have the potential to rank in the major search engines. SEO plugins with comprehensive content optimization features make it possible to get everything right to make this happen.
Rank Math SEO – content optimization
Let's dive into the content optimization tools that you get with the Rank Math SEO plugin:
Based on title width, focus keyword density, meta description length, image optimization, internal links, external links, and other factors, Rank Math scores your content from 0 to 100. Rank Math SEO also provides suggestions on how you can improve your score.
Rank Math SEO checks both the title and content readability and provides suggestions on how to improve them.
Using the advanced content optimization feature, you can optimize the robot metadata, canonical URL, and breadcrumb title.
Using the schema settings, you can define the article type, which helps Google recognize the type of content you are posting.
The social media descriptions, titles, and images can be chosen for your posts using this feature.
Yoast SEO – content optimization
Yoast SEO offers a diverse set of tools to make it easy for you to accomplish SEO optimization of your content.
Yoast offers a detailed SEO analysis and scores your content using color signals. Factors like content length, internal links, external links, image SEO, meta title, meta description, keyword density, and more are considered to provide an accurate SEO analysis. Three color signals are used to rank your content.
- Red: Poor (needs improvement)
- Orange: Okay (improve if you see fit)
- Green: Good (no improvement needed)
Suggestions are given at the bottom about how to improve the SEO score of the content. The suggestions are very clear and typically easy to implement. Premium users get advanced features like adding multiple related keyphrases.
The readability analysis checks passive voice, sentence length, transition words, subheading distribution, paragraph length, and other factors. The same three color signals also indicate the score.
Using this feature, you can change the type of web page or article type for a particular content. The schema stores your default preferences, but if you decide to publish content types different than your usual, you can use the schema feature to communicate that to search engines.
With social optimization, you get social previews and the option to change the title and social media descriptions. You can also set a default image for particular pages or blog posts for social sharing.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
Rank Math offers slightly more advantages to users regarding content optimization, making it the better SEO plugin in this category for our Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO showdown.
Effectiveness is one of the key criteria to check for an SEO plugin. A wide range of SEO features won't mean much if they don't work together to improve your website's SEO.
Rank Math SEO – effectiveness
Rank Math is a very effective and capable WordPress SEO plugin. There are so many features and options that some might be overwhelmed, but the way the features are mapped out and integrated into WordPress offer a truly engaging experience.
Once you are familiar with how Rank Math SEO works and its capabilities, you will find the tool exceeds expectations.
Yoast SEO – effectiveness
Schema markup, sitemap generation, internal linking suggestions, content optimization, breadcrumb controls, SEO workouts, snippet preview, a setup wizard, and other useful features make Yoast a very effective WordPress SEO plugin.
Yoast's features can be accessed from the Yoast SEO dashboard, and you can manage all your SEO settings very effectively using the tool. Even with the free version, you get integrations that enhance your SEO capabilities.
Rank Math SEO and Yoast SEO are very effective features for your website's SEO growth and management. Both provide top-notch options for beginners and pros who want to use the system and tools effectively.
SEO Plugin Extras
When it comes to SEO plugins, extras are always welcome. It is always better to have more features than fewer, so we compared Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO extras.
Rank Math SEO – extras
The Rank Math free version offers much more than Yoast's free version. Features like internal link suggestions, Google Search Console integration, Google Analytics integration, image SEO, 404 monitoring, local SEO, and keyword research are included in the free version.
You'd need to purchase bundled packages to access features like news SEO, WooCommerce SEO, and local SEO in Yoast. No additional bundle is required with Rank Math to use these features.
Premium Rank Math SEO users get features like Google schema for video and video SEO sitemap creation, Google news SEO sitemaps, advanced WooCommerce SEO, local SEO for multiple locations, automatic social media watermarking, and Google Trends integration, to name a few.
Rank Math also allows you to adjust your metadata within the quick edit window of the page or post, which is one of the best extras to aid in the easier facilitation of optimizing content.
Yoast doesn't offer this feature. You have to make your adjustments in bulk or within the editor of each post or page.
Yoast SEO – extras
Features like automatic sitemap generation, breadcrumb control, schema markup, webmaster tools integration, and cornerstone content are included in the free version. The content optimization tool also provides extensive analysis, which is very helpful for ranking your content.
Premium features include integrations with Elementor, Zapier, Wincher, and SEMrush. Related key phrases, internal link suggestions, Advanced WooCommerce SEO, local SEO, video SEO, and news SEO, are additional add-on plugins that can be purchased to add functionality in these areas.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
Whether using a Rank Math SEO free version or a Rank Math SEO pro, you get more. Either version has the edge over any Yoast SEO version.
The Google Analytics and Google Search Console integrations are invaluable to see the data within the WordPress admin. Also, users can access video SEO, local SEO, and WooCommerce SEO without purchasing bundles.
Both Rank Math SEO and Yoast SEO come with a free version that can satisfy the requirements for a website that doesn't fully rely on obtaining organic traffic. The pricing of the paid plans and the features included with them is what's important to compare.
Rank Math SEO – pricing
Including the free plan, Rank Math offers four plans for users.
Free Version: $0/year
- Free tools for basic SEO
- Limited tools for advanced SEO
- Limited technical tools for SEO
Pro Version: $59/year
- Unlimited personal websites
- Advanced tools for SEO
- 24/7 Support
Business Version: $199/year
- 100 client websites
- Advanced tools for SEO
- 24/7 support
Agency Version: $499/year
- 500 client websites
- Advanced tools for SEO
- 24/7 support
Yoast SEO – Pricing
Yoast SEO offers three pricing options. One of the pricing plans is free, and the others are paid.
Free Version: $0/year
- Basic tools for SEO
- Basic technical SEO features
- Access to 6 free academy courses
Premium Plugin: $99/year
- Advanced tools for SEO
- Premium features
- Full access to the Yoast academy
Bundle Plugin: $229/year
- 5 premium plugins
- SEO training and full access to the Yoast academy
- Advanced Tools for SEO
Winner: Rank Math SEO
You can run unlimited personal websites with a Pro Rank Math SEO plugin. The agency plans are also much more affordable and have better features than Yoast SEO, making Rank Math the clear winner in this category.
It doesn't matter how much of an expert you are; with a WordPress plugin, there will come a time when you will need help. Having reliable resources and a support team is essential for an SEO plugin.
Rank Math SEO – support
Rank Math SEO offers premium 24/7 support to their paid users. Free members can submit their queries by submitting a form, and the support team will reply back.
There is an extensive knowledgebase with over 300 articles to support using the Rank Math SEO plugin.
Yoast SEO – support
Yoast SEO's blog supplies articles for SEO beginners, SEO experts, and developers. You can also learn about the nuances of SEO and read SEO guides on the Yoast blog.
Free members get access to 6 courses in the Yoast Academy, while premium members can access all available courses in the Academy.
The help centers and webinars held by Yoast are also very helpful for users who desire to learn more about SEO. There is 24/7 support available to premium users. Free members can also email support but should expect a delayed response.
Winner: Yoast SEO
The winner in this Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO comparison category is Yoast. Yoast offers support to its users through multiple channels and offers a support team of WordPress experts ready to answer your queries. Yoast has been around longer and, as such, has built up more resources than Rank Math at this time.
Out of the box
The most successful and popular SEO plugins are the ones that continue to innovate. But a plugin should be useful right out of the box.
New innovative features might give you the competitive edge that you need to rank higher on search results but ensuring you have the essentials is critical for success.
Rank Math – out of the box
Direct integration with Google Search Console and Google Analytics is a great feature only Rank Math SEO offers. They also offer a built-in keyword research tool. The WordPress plugin comes with many standard features, more than Yoast offers, and at a lower cost.
Installing Rank Math SEO using the automated setup Wizard is very easy. With Rank Math, managing internal and external links with content optimization tools is also easy.
The dashboard allows complete content control and toggles SEO options based on your needs. AMP, bbPress, and BuddyPress support, a new content AI tool, instant indexing, link counter, and more.
Rank Math is a free SEO plugin with a Pro option that offers significantly more features and functionality than Yoast.
Yoast SEO – out of the box
Yoast SEO is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin because its developers regularly add new updates to it. Yoast has features that are very useful and can enhance your content value organically from day one.
SEO workouts, estimated reading time, stale cornerstone content finder, and orphan content finder are handy tools only Yoast provides.
Winner: Rank Math SEO
Both provide best-in-class SEO frameworks and features out of the box, but Rank Math SEO is the clear winner in this category as it provides more standard features and support for more SEO essentials right from the dashboard and costs less than Yoast does.
Who should choose Yoast SEO?
Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin, and for good reason. Sometimes, choosing Yoast SEO over Rank Math SEO might make more sense. But overall, Rank Math has surpassed Yoast regarding being the SEO plugin you should use to get more value.
Here are a couple of use cases in support of using Yoast SEO.
The features offered by Yoast are great but can be difficult to understand based on the setup of the plugin, and compared to most other SEO plugins, it is not always easy for beginners to connect the dots. For veterans in the field of SEO, Yoast is a very good option as they can use the full functions offered by Yoast to rank their websites.
By purchasing Yoast in a bundle or purchasing the add-ons separately, the cost of Yoast adds up. Therefore, companies without larger budgets may frown on spending more to get the same functionality other plugins provide for less.
Who should choose Rank Math SEO?
Overall, Rank Math SEO has emerged as the superior SEO plugin. We've used Yoast across many sites and for many years, but Rank Math has certainly changed the SEO plugin game.
Whether you choose a free Rank Math SEO or a Pro version, the plugin does more and provides more value.
It is very easy to complete the setup with the automated wizard. The features can also be accessed easily from the dashboard. Not only does it offer many features, but it also makes them easily accessible and accomplishable, so users don't feel overwhelmed.
The content analysis tool is very intuitive. You get suggestions on how to optimize your blog posts, which is very important for bloggers. You won't need to purchase a keyword research tool separately if you use Rank Math's Pro plugin.
Additionally, updating within the quick edit window is a game changer and major time saver that only exists with Rank Math.
With local SEO, WooCommerce SEO, and video SEO features included when you set up Rank Math, it's a great choice for business owners. The paid plans are affordable and come packed with features necessary to grow your business online.
If you want to read more about how Rank Math SEO can help you achieve great success, check out our complete Rank Math SEO review.
Rank Math SEO vs Yoast SEO Wrap-up
Compared to most other SEO plugins, Rank Math SEO and Yoast SEO offer better features, but which is better?
For us, the answer is resoundingly Rank Math. It is easy to use, offers much more in the free version, and has a better suite of features and tools and a better user experience and ease of use factor.
We hope this comparison guide helps you decide which SEO plugin or premium option would be a good fit for you. Whether you decide to download Rank Math SEO or Yoast SEO for your WordPress SEO needs, we wish you all the success in your journey ahead.