In this knowledge base tutorial, we are going to discuss the General Option in the Meta Box. We explained in our last tutorial that the Meta Box is a feature in Rank Math that lets you optimize your post’s on-page SEO, without any of the complexities.
The “Meta Box” is a complex interface, with lots of options. There are too many to fit onto one page, so we’ve broken them up into several neat tabs. The “General tab” is where you will find the most commonly used settings.
This is the main tab you will work with while you write or edit your content. It constantly analyzes your text for good on-page SEO. The process starts with choosing your “focus keyword” – in other words, the main keyword you are targeting with your content.
Let’s start by understanding the various options in the General Tab.
The Preview is the first section in the General Tab. Its job is to give you a preview of how your page will appear in the SERPs. Here is what the Preview section looks like. We’ve highlighted the points of interest for you to see.
Let’s talk about each of the highlighted sections.
SEO Title, URL and SEO Description
The first highlight is the SEO Title, URL and Description. It’s the first thing you’ll notice when you open the General Tab.
What this section does is show you a how your website’s result will look in the SERPs. By looking at a realistic preview, you can optimize your them for better results.
To edit any of the fields, hover over them. A pen icon will be displayed next to them. Click the pen icon to edit the field.
Alternatively, you can click the “Edit Snippet” button which will let you edit all 3 fields at once.
Once you click the button, you’ll immediately see 3 editable fields.
The first field is the SEO title. Just type in the title as you would in your WordPress post. Rank Math will continue to refresh the preview in real time.
To use some dynamic elements in the title, you can use a bunch of variables. Click the drop-down to see a list of all available variables.
Rank Math will also guide you on the perfect title length. Notice the bright bar on the top. It stays red if the title is too short.
But it becomes green when the maximum length is reached.
Similar features are available for the URL and the description fields as well. However, you can’t use variables in the URL.
Let’s fill in the details and click the “Close Editor” button to save our changes.
Here is what we got.
You’ll notice that the URL and Title are huge! That’s because we made them the maximum length for the example. In everyday use, they will be much smaller than that.
The Preview Section
Once you’ve optimized your Title, URL, and description, the next step is to preview them.
Hey, but isn’t there a preview already available? Yes, it is, but there are a few other options in the preview to discuss.
Click the multi-direction icon to supercharge the preview.
And boom, the preview becomes even better.
You can also click the mobile icon to switch to a mobile SERP preview.
Let’s move onto the next section, the Focus Keyword.
The Focus Keyword is the keyword which your post revolves around. It’s a word or a phrase that describes the essence of your post.
Rank Math lets you enter one or more keywords in the Focus Keyword section. Once you do that, Rank Math will analyze the post and give you suggestions to optimize your post around those keywords.
It’s important to know that the focus keywords that you enter in this section are not communicated to Google or affect your external SEO efforts. Instead, they are used internally and by Rank Math to optimize your on-page SEO for this page.
Picking a Good “Focus Keyword”
Picking out good keywords is an art and a science. It’s an essential process in SEO, that is why we wrote an entire guide about it
Rank Math also has a keyword feature built in. As soon as you start typing keywords in the Focus Keywords section, Rank Math starts pulling in suggestions from Google and displaying them. This gives you access to the keywords that people are actually typing in Google, which is a powerful thing. Here is how it works.
Obviously, the suggestions should only supplement your own keyword research. Always consider the search volume, the competition, and your website’s authority before making a keyword decision.
Choosing a Primary Focus Keyword
As we mentioned, Rank Math lets you use one or more focus keywords. In the case of multiple focus keywords, you also have the option of choosing a primary focus keyword. In the example below, you’ll see 2 keywords in the Focus Keyword section.
You can also switch the primary focus keyword by dragging any focus keyword to the front of the line.
The first keyword in the section becomes the primary focus keyword and is denoted by a tiny blue star.
Currently, we’ve set a limit of 3 focus keywords per post. That’s because optimizing a post with multiple terms can easily look spammy. And, if you have more than 4 focus keywords for a post, maybe it’s a good idea to do individual posts for them instead of just one?
“This post is a Pillar Content” Checkbox
The idea behind pillar posts is that they form the basis of your blog. Just as a building needs pillars to stand on, your blog or website would stand on pillar content?
So what is pillar content?
The closest we can describe pillar content is to call it evergreen content. Once you write it, it should answer a question that your niche will have for years to come, and it should answer it in sufficient detail. For example, if you had a photography blog, a pillar post on your website could be “What is white balance?”. It’s a question most amateur photographers have and definitely search for.
All niches have questions like these, which can be once answered and they (hopefully) bring you traffic for eternity. The best part about a pillar post is that the answer to the question rarely changes. So if you’ve produced a good piece of content, you might never have to update it again.
So what does the checkbox do? Actually, it only does one thing. If you check the checkbox, Rank Math will suggest you to link your pillar post whenever you are publishing another post in the same category. It will do it in the link suggestion box in which is present to your right.
You might be thinking, that’s it? Is that all this checkbox does?
You’re right, it doesn’t sound like much but think about the bigger picture. Pointing internal links to your posts is one the easiest ways to increase the ranking of your posts. And while you’re creating internal links, why not do it to pillar posts which are designed to bring you traffic for the foreseeable future?
The next section in the meta box is the content analysis section. As you type in your content and set a couple of focus keywords, Rank Math gets to work and analyzes your content. It then gives you tailor-made recommendations on optimizing your content based on your focus keywords. Since there are a lot of recommendations, Rank Math groups them into their own sections, which looks something like this.
The sections are:
- Basic SEO
- Title Readability
- Content Readability
Before we jump in and discuss each section, we should tell you that we’ll be giving a brief overview of the recommendations in this section, and not take a deep dive in. That’s because this is more of an introduction post for the Meta Box, rather than a tutorial on optimizing your content. The good news is that we have a separate, complete guide on the very topic of using the Meta Box and optimizing your post. [It’s linked right here]. We suggest that you check that out as well. Let us now get into each section individually.
The basic SEO section is where you’d get the bread-and-butter SEO recommendations. If you have any experience in SEO, the tips in the basic SEO section might even be obvious. But, we’ve designed Rank Math to be used for everyone, so even if you know these tips, they can be a reminder of what you’re already doing right with your post’s SEO. Here is the list of recommendations you would get in the basic SEO section.
The Additional SEO tips are like the toppings on the pizza. The pizza can be great without them, but toppings make it way better. Similarly, following the Additional SEO tips will make sure your post has the edge when it comes to on-page SEO. Here is the list of recommendations you’ll find in the Additional SEO Section.
The title is the most important part of your article because the most number of people will read it. In the advertising industry, it’s a common thing to say that once you’ve written your headline, you’ve already spent 50 cents. That means publications used to spend as many resources crafting the title as they used for the article itself. That’s insane! But, it’s also a great lesson on how big publications work.
Rank Math analyzes your titles and gives you precise suggestions to improve your title so that it appeals to a majority of your audience. Here is a preview of all the suggestions you’ll see.
After you’ve attracted a visitor with your title, the next step is to engage them with your content. Keeping visitors on your page is as important as getting them there, as Google sees the time spent on site as a quality signal. If you a user visits your website, reads the content, and then reads a few more, that’s a sign that your website is high quality and Google will reward you for that. Contrary to that, if a visitor comes to your website and jumps back immediately, that’s a sign that your content is not valuable and Google will punish you for that.
Rank Math analyzes your content and gives you specific suggestions for your content length, readability, and more. Here is a preview of all the recommendations.
We hope that you were able to grasp the power of the Meta Box and the impact it can create for your posts. It’s simple to understand, and the recommendations are also easy to perform since Rank Math makes everything so easy. If you have any questions, or face issues while using the Meta Box, feel free to contact the support team. They’ll help you out with any problem you have.
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