In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to set up Rank Math completely on your website using Rank Math’s easy-to-use setup wizard.
If you haven’t installed Rank Math yet, then we would recommend that you first do so by following this guide.
Once Rank Math is installed, it automatically brings up the setup wizard. We recommend that you set it up then and there, but you do have the option to dismiss it. If you dismiss the wizard (accidentally or intentionally), then you may bring it up again by following the steps in this article.
Once the setup process begins, you will be greeted by the activation screen, which would look like this.
If you didn’t skip the activation wizard, then Rank Math will ask you to activate your copy of Rank Math. Don’t worry, Rank Math is free, but if you activate your copy, then you have several advantages. Support, better keyword suggestions, and other features work the best if Rank Math is connected to your account.
If you have skipped the activation wizard once, then you can head into Dashboard > Help section and use the activation button there to activate Rank Math.
Once you click the button, the login screen will appear.
You can create a new account, or sign in with an existing account with Facebook or Google. Once you log in, you will be automatically taken to your website’s dashboard, where you will see that Rank Math is activated.
At this point, you can run the Setup Wizard again from the tab above, which will take you to the following page.
In order to make it easy for people of all skill levels to set up Rank Math, we’ve divided the setup process into 3 parts.
- Custom (Pro – Coming Soon)
The modes are not drastically different. The Advanced option lets you configure all the settings, while the easy mode lets you configure only a few settings, and the rest are configured based on best practices.
In this tutorial, we will use Advanced Mode as a reference, and we will highlight which of the steps are available to the easy mode and which are available in the Advanced step. You can choose any method, as you can switch between them. Even after setting up Rank Math one way, you can always come back to the setup wizard (or use the settings) to change how Rank Math works on your website.
Rank Math also performs a compatibility and plugin check on your website to make sure that it can work without issues.
Once you’re ready, click the Start Wizard button to proceed. As mentioned, we’ll be using the advanced mode.
This is how the next screen will look for you, regardless of the mode that you chose. On the top of the page, you’ll see a progress bar, using which you can identify where you are in the setup process. The progress bar is also clickable, and you can use it to go back to any step that you desire during the setup process.
Now let us explore the steps one by one to understand how to configure them.
Step 1 – Import Data From Other Plugins
Rank math can import SEO settings from many SEO plugins. This makes the transition from any other SEO plugin to Rank Math seamless, and it doesn’t affect your SEO rankings at all.
Rank Math will automatically detect which SEO plugin you’re using and allow you to selectively choose which settings you can import. For example, here is how the Import Data screen appears when your site is set up using Yoast SEO.
You have the ability to customize the import process by importing only selected data from your existing SEO plugin. To check which data will be imported, click the dropdown button on the edge of the Import Data field.
You can select or de-select the data you want to import or not imported. But, a fair bit of warning. **Once the import process begins, the other SEO plugin that you’re using will be disabled (to avoid conflicts), and if you don’t import some of the data, it may be lost forever. That is why we recommend that you select all the data to import. ** It will make the transition smoother.
The import process will begin immediately. Rank Math will give you updates about the various settings that are being imported. The time the process takes to finish will depend on how many posts your website has. Once the process is complete, press the continue button.
Step 2 – Choosing Your Website Type (Easy and Advanced)
Here is how the screen for this step would look like.
The first step in the process of setting up Rank Math is to tell Rank Math what type of website you’re trying to operate. There are several options to choose from, and here is the list of options that you should see in the dropdown menu.
Although there are several options, they can be categorized into 2 types. Personal or Business. If you choose any of the Business options, you will see some additional options on the screen.
Before showing you how to configure Rank Math for various types of websites, it would be wise to understand what each of the settings means.
Choosing the right type of website and business category (if applicable) is quite important. It doesn’t change Rank Math’s recommendations, but it does affect your ** website’s metadata**. Rank Math includes *structured data* about your website in the website’s code so that search engines like Google can read it and understand what your website is about. It is already very important to do this, and it will become even more important in the future. Therefore, we recommend that you configure this step optimally.
Let us take an example of a Small Business Site and show you how to configure all the options.
As we mentioned, here you choose the website type. Choose the type that is the closest to your website type here.
As I mentioned, we will use the Small Business Website option for demonstration.
The Business Type field is where you select the kind of business you operate. There are a lot of options available to choose from, so we would suggest taking the time out to pick the one that is closest to your actual business. You can also search your business type by typing it on your keyboard. If your business type is not listed, you can select the “Organization” option, as shown in the animation.
Here is a glimpse of all the options.
The Company Name is where you enter the legal name of your business. Please note that this can be different from your site name.
Logo for Google
Here you would upload a logo for your website to be used by search engines. This can appear in knowledge graphs, rich results, and any other type of snippets. The ideal aspect ratio is square, as it is preferred by search engines. The minimum resolution supported is 160×90 pixels, and the maximum resolution that you should upload is 1920x1080px.
To upload an image, click the Add or Upload File, button.
The WordPress media gallery will open up. There you can either upload the logo file that you want to use or choose an already uploaded file.
After the image is selected, it should appear on the page itself, like this.
Default Social Share Image
Here you can upload an image that will be made the default for social sharing for your website. Once Rank Math is set up, you’ll have the option to choose a specific image to be used while sharing for each post. If you don’t specify an image, the image you upload here will be used instead.
Similar to the operation above, you will have to click the Add or Upload File button here as well to open up the WordPress media gallery.
Select or upload the image, similar to the step above.
The default social sharing image should be visible on the page now.
Reminder: If you chose a personal website type, you will not see the Business Type and Company Name fields on the page, you just have to fill in the rest of the information.
Once you’re ready, click the Save and Continue button.
Step 3 – Setting Up Google Search Console (Easy and Advanced)
In this step, you’ll set up Rank Math to work with Google Search Console. If you don’t know what Google Search Console is, here is a brief introduction.
Google Search Console is a set of tools created for webmasters or website owners. Once a website is connected with Google Search Console, website owners can access information about how Google is viewing, fetching, and indexing their website. It helps them set up their websites in a way that Google can understand all the content on the website, including structured data. Inside the Search Console, website owners can see their current index status, crawl status, and any issues that Google might be facing with their website. The Search Console also holds information about all the keywords that your website is ranking for, and it is the most accurate data as it comes directly from Google.
When you connect your Search Console account with Rank Math, Rank Math uses Google Search Console’s official API to fetch important statistics about your website and display them right inside your website’s admin area. This saves you hours of manual time, and you also get access to actionable, real-time data when you’re working on your website.
Here is how the configuration page for Google Search Console looks like.
As you can see, the toggle to enable the extension is disabled. Simply click the toggle to enable the extension. You will see some additional fields appear on the page.
Setting up Google Search Console with Rank Math is a 3 step process.
- Ensure that your website is added to the Search Console
- Authenticate Rank Math to connect with Search Console
- Choosing the right property for Rank Math to fetch data for
Let us understand each of these steps in detail.
Ensure that your website is added to Search Console
If you’re installing Rank Math on a brand new website, then it is likely that you haven’t yet connected your website with Google Search Console. Obviously, if your website is not connected to the Search Console, then Rank Math cannot fetch any information about it. That is why this step is the first step in the process.
If your website is already connected to Search Console, then you can skip this step and head over to the next one.
To connect your website with Google Search Console, you start by heading over to Search Console’s website. Click the “Start Now” button to log in.
A login screen will show up, and you’ll need to use a Google account to sign in. Enter your credentials and hit next. If you already have one or more Google accounts signed into your computer, then you might see an option to choose one of those accounts to log indirectly.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the Search Console in all its glory. Here is an example of how it should look like.
Since you don’t have any website connected inside Search Console, your Search Console would look somewhat different. Click the dropdown button in the property selector to see all the options.
Depending on how your search console is set up, you will see some options in the dropdown menu. Most importantly, you will see a “Add New Property” option. Click it to add a new property.
You should see 2 options on the screen, a domain-based property, and a URL based property.
A domain-based property offers more comprehensive coverage, but it is only required for websites with multiple sub-domains and the like. It is also harder to verify a domain-based property. We will use a URL based property to verify our website instead. If you’re interested in knowing the difference, here is what Google has to say about the topic.
Enter your website’s URL in the field under URL prefix, and click the continue button.
Google will attempt to verify the ownership of your property. If it is not already verified, you will be presented with some verification options.
Of all the methods available, we will use the HTML tag method to verify our ownership, as it will be made easy by Rank Math. Click the HTML tag entry to open up some details and copy the meta tag that Google displays.
Note: This is not the authorization code that Rank Math requests to connect with Search Console. This is a different code that the Search Console uses to verify that you actually own the website you claim to.
The verification code has to be entered inside Rank Math’s settings. Once it’s there, Rank Math will generate the appropriate markup and insert it into your pages, and when Google sees that markup, the ownership of your website will be confirmed.
To paste the code, open a new tab on your browser and log into your WordPress admin again. Once you’re in, head over to Rank Math > General Settings > Webmaster Tools.
Alternatively, you can click highlighted on the setup wizard’s page as well. The link opens a new tab, so your progress isn’t lost.
The link will take you to the same settings page, which should look similar to this.
Paste your verification code in the Google Search Console field, and then save your settings.
You should see a banner on the top of the page indicating that your settings were saved.
That’s the end of step 1. Now, on to step number 2.
Authenticate Rank Math to connect with Search Console
If you’re on this step, then you have a website (or a property) verified in Search Console, which means Google is now collecting data about that property.
In this step, you’re going to authorize Rank Math to fetch that data from Search Console in order for it to be displayed right inside your admin area.
Click the “Get Authorization Code” link present on the Search Console page.
A popup window will open up, which would list all your currently signed in Google accounts. Choose the account you used to verify your website.
The next screen will show what permissions Rank Math will get after the authorization. Click the “Allow” button to continue.
Once you do, you’ll see an authorization code generated by Google. Copy the code, and then close the window.
Next, you’ll paste the code in the Search Console field and click the Authorize button.
Once you do, your account will be authorized, and you’ll see the button change to De-authorize Account, which you can use if you want to connect a different account.
You will also see your existing properties loaded in the Search Console Profile field. There you will select the correct property (if you have more than one), and then click Save and Continue button to proceed to the next step.
If you can’t see your property, verify that you’ve connected the right Google Account with Search Console. If you have, then it would be a good idea to hit the “Refresh Sites” button and try once again.
That’s the end of the third step. Once you’ve completed it, your page should look something like this.
Step 4 – Sitemaps (Advanced)
The fourth setting has to do with Sitemaps. Sitemaps are like indexes for search engines, and they help search engines discover your website’s content and index it properly. On this page, we will configure the various sitemap options. Here is a preview of all the options available.
This option turns the sitemap feature ON or OFF. The sitemap feature is turned on by default, and we recommend that you keep it that way. If you have other plugins that generate sitemaps, we recommend that you disable them. It is inefficient to keep 2 plugins active that do the same job.
This option enables or disables the inclusion of images in your sitemap. This setting is turned On by default, and we recommend that you keep it that way as well. Indexing your website images will help you get more traffic from Google Image search.
There is one exception, though. If you’re running an ecommerce store with thousands of pages, then it can be wise to keep this off. The reason being that is the crawl budget. Google does not want to overload websites while crawling, and if it tries to index all the images and pages from your website, then it likely will. To avoid this, Google slows down your indexing many times. The result is that many of your product pages are not indexed in search, which is far more important.
Public Post Types
This option controls which types of posts are going to be included in the sitemap. There are 2 options to choose from.
- Posts: Should be enabled; otherwise, your posts will not be indexed.
- Pages: Enable this setting only if you have some content on your website published on pages. You can leave it disabled if you only have simple pages like About Us, Contact Us, etc.
Please note that more options will be displayed in this section based on the type of posts you have on your website. For example, if you have WooCommerce installed, then you’ll see a “Products” option here.
This option deals with the inclusion of taxonomies in the sitemap. The options you see here will depend on the number of taxonomies that you have created on your website.
Once you’ve configured the settings to your needs, press the “Save and Continue” button to move onto the next step.
Step 5 – Optimization and SEO Tweaks
In this step, you are going to enable simple tweaks for your website that make a big impact. Here are all the options that appear on the screen.
Noindex Empty Category and Tag Archives
Many times you add many categories and tags to your website, hoping to use them in the future, but they don’t get used at all. In WordPress, each category, taxonomy, and tag has an archive page—which is a collection of all the posts in that taxonomy.
By default, these archive pages are indexed, which is fine. But, for the categories and tags that do not have any posts, having them indexed is a waste of Page Rank.
This option, when enabled, automatically “no-indexes” the categories and tags that do not have any posts in them, thus saving your SEO juice. We recommend that you enable this setting.
Nofollow External Links
Normally, you can nofollow any link by adding the
rel= "nofollow"attribute to it by using WordPress’s link manager. But, if you’re adding a lot of links to your posts, no-following them individually can be time-consuming. Enabling this setting will make all external links nofollow by default, , which will save you quite a bit of time. Rank Math has the option to whitelist or blacklist specific domains to nofollow as well, and you can use that for more control over your links. For the time being, we recommend that you enable this setting.
Open External Links New Tab/Window
It’s generally a good practice to have external links open in new tabs by appending the
target=" _blank" to the link. Rank Math can automatically perform this for all external links with this setting. The setting is On by default, and we recommend that you keep it that way.
Once you’ve configured all these settings, click the Save and Continue button to go to the next step.
Step 6 – Showing off Your Optimized Website
Congratulations. By following all the steps in this tutorial, not only have you successfully imported your current plugins’ settings, but you also have set up your website for SEO success. Take some time to show off your website’s prowess.
Apart from the social sharing aspect, we’ve included a bunch of other links for you to explore. There is a link to our Facebook group where we post updates and also provide support. We’ve added links to our support area, this knowledge base, and also the guide to optimizing your posts with Rank Math.
If you notice, there is also a button to set up some Advanced Options. Let us explore these advanced options out. Setting these up is not mandatory, but the Advanced Options do have some interesting options that will make your life easier, so it is highly recommended.
Setup Advanced Options
Once you click the Setup Advanced Options button, you will reach a page similar to the page below.
So, based on previous experience, you can understand that there are 2 settings in the Advanced Settings. Let us explore them one by one.
Step – 404 + Redirection
Here are the options that you will see on the 404 + Redirection page.
404 errors happen when a page being accessed is not found. It is similar to going to a store and not finding the product you were looking for. The problem is, WordPress does not have any functionality to report 404 errors. The good news is that Rank Math has a capable 404 Monitor that can capture all the 404 errors on your website and report them to you. Once you know the problem, you can implement a solution, which brings us to the next option.
The most common solution to solve 404 errors is to redirect those pages to other pages. Redirects have many other important uses, and they should be present in the arsenal of any good WordPress website manager. Again, WordPress does not have a way to natively manage redirects, and that is why we created one in Rank Math.
Monitoring 404 errors and managing redirects are essential things that you will need in your day to day life, and that is why we recommend that you enable both these options.
Once you’ve done this, click the Save and Continue button to proceed to the next step.
Step – Schema Markup
The next step deals with Schema Markup. If you don’t know what it is, here is a brief introduction. Schema is metadata about your website and your posts that you can add to your website to give context to the search engines. For example, if you have a page about a widget, Google and other search engines don’t know if you are reporting news about the widget, talking about the widget, reviewing the widget, or selling the widget. By adding Schema to your post, you can help search engines understand your page better.
Schema has been gaining importance for the past few years, and it will become even more important in the coming years. Rank Math includes a comprehensive schema manager that allows you to add schema metadata to all your posts, and on the page, you will configure some defaults. Here are the settings on the page.
As you see, Schema is enabled by default, as it is very important. Apart from that, you get to configure the default schema for posts, pages, and custom posts (if you created them). There are plenty of options available, and with each schema type, you can configure the details inside the post.
Keep in mind that these are simply the default settings that apply to each post when you create it. You can obviously go into the post and change the schema type and the different settings for the schema. We won’t get into those details here as we’ve already covered it comprehensively in an article about Schema Markup. We suggest that you go through it understand the schema options better. For now, you can leave the settings at the default values.
Once you’re ready, click the Save and Continue button to finish the setup and return to the dashboard.
We hope that you now understand how to set up Rank Math from scratch and also what the various settings mean. We’ve tried to keep this tutorial as simple as possible, and even included a simple mode in the setup process that will help you out if you’re a beginner. If you still have questions, help is just a click away. Create a ticket on the support forum, and one of our helpful staff members will reach out to help.
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