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Rank Math vs. Yoast: Which WordPress SEO plugin should you use? [2024]

By Julia Borgini · February 20, 2024
Hero image with the Rank Math and Yoast logos

Yoast SEO is the undisputed #1 WordPress SEO plugin out there, and it's one of the originals. Rising quickly up the charts is Rank Math, currently the #3 SEO plugin on the WordPress download list. 

I've used Yoast on my own websites, but before diving into this article, I hadn't tried Rank Math. So I spent time with both of these WordPress search engine optimization plugins to see how they work, compare their features, and help you choose one for your website.

Rank Math vs. Yoast at a glance

Yoast SEO

Rank Math

Ease of use

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Clear instructions; good visuals

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Easy to navigate and use; clear instructions


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Good onboarding experience; easy to set up for everyone

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Excellent setup with two presets available (Basic and Advanced Modes)

Keyword optimization

⭐⭐⭐ 1 keyword per page/post; additional site keywords require paid subscription

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1 keyword per page/post; up to 5 site keywords included in free account


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ It's been #1 for years

⭐⭐⭐⭐ It's up to #3 in the rankings after only a few years


⭐⭐⭐ Free for one site; $99/year per site for Pro, with package deals available for multiple site owners

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Free for one site; $79/year ($69 for the first year) for unlimited personal sites; additional options for businesses and agencies starting at $229 for 100 websites

*The free version of each plugin can be used on one site with a single account. Of course, there would be ways around this by using different accounts for each site, but honestly, that's a lot more work than it's worth. If you're a web designer or agency owner who manages multiple sites, it's easier to go with a paid option and leave the complexity behind.

Rank Math offers more features for free

Out of the box, Rank Math offers a lot of features for free and only charges a subscription for the advanced or upgraded version of the service. With Rank Math free, you'll get to use features like:

  • SEO titles and meta descriptions

  • Social media descriptions

  • Multiple keyword analysis for each page or post

  • XML sitemap

  • Basic local SEO schema and optimization

  • Image SEO

  • Internal link suggestions

  • 404 monitor

  • 301 and 302 redirects

  • Basic WooCommerce SEO

These features are modular, so you can easily turn on/off any that you aren't planning to use. 

Rank Math free features

Yoast SEO offers many of these same features, but some are only included in the premium add-ons, such as 301 and 302 redirects, multiple focus keywords per page or post, and local SEO. And if you want to use the WooCommerce plugin, you'll need to subscribe to a separate plugin for $79/year. Likewise, the Yoast Local SEO plugin costs an additional $79/year.

Yoast does offer bundles to offset the cost of these additional plugins. But considering you can get the same functionality from Rank Math for free, it might not be much of a choice for you if your budget is $0. 

Yoast has better readability analysis features

One area where Yoast SEO excels is with its readability analysis: it breaks out the readability score from the overall SEO score, making it easier to see how your content is doing. This is an important metric because search engines use readability as part of your ranking score. The easier it is to read and understand, the better you'll do. 

Yoast SEO uses the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test to analyze your content, checking the length of your sentences, the number of syllables in the words, the use of transition words, and how much passive voice you've used. Plus, it even gives you in-depth tips on improving the score, so you'll know exactly what to change and how.

And if you've got the inclusive language feature turned on, your content is analyzed for seven factors, including age, appearance, gender, disability and neurodiversity, and socioeconomic status. 

Yoast SEO's inclusive language rating

All of these readability factors help increase your search engine ranking for a couple reasons: readability demonstrates that your content is easy to understand, and it encourages readers to stay on your site longer. Google sees this and concludes that your site is a good one to recommend to others, boosting it in the SERP. 

On the flip side, Rank Math includes the readability score as part of its overall SEO score, so you can't tell how your content is doing. And it only gives you basic notes on how to improve it.

Here's how Yoast SEO and Rank Math rank the same page I drafted on a test website:

Yoast and Rank Math readability scores
Readability scores: Yoast on the left, Rank Math on the right

As you can see, Yoast gives me a better sense of how my content reads and also gives me concrete tips to improve it directly on my site. Rank Math, instead, displays a 2 Errors message and some vague info on what's wrong. To get help to improve it, I need to click the question mark icon to read a generic help article on their website. 

Rank Math gives you more global SEO options with website builders

Setting global SEO options for all content on your website is a time-saver for any website owner or marketer. You can set the baseline SEO settings for everything at once and then change individual pages or posts as needed. And if you're using a website builder (like Divi, Elementor, or Beaver Builder) on your WordPress site, you know how configurable settings can get. Editing every page or post on your site individually because you used a builder would become a full-time job.

That's why both Yoast SEO and Rank Math allow you to set global default SEO settings for posts and pages right out of the box. You can configure it for your home pages, other pages, and posts in both plugins. But where Rank Math shines is that it lets you configure global SEO settings for even more content types and site builders for free than Yoast does—even more than the paid Yoast plugin.

Rank Math integrates with several website builders in its free version. If you use any of these, you'll get additional global SEO settings to modify more than just your home page, posts, and pages. If you have those themes or plugins installed on your site, Rank Math automatically displays the relevant settings on the main Settings page. Adjust these like any other content type, and enjoy additional SEO boosts.

For example, if you use Elementor, you can also configure SEO globally for landing pages in Rank Math. Combine Elementor with the Elementor Header & Footer Builder plugin in Rank Math free, and you can configure SEO for templates, widgets, and more. 

Rank Math global SEO settings with Elementor and related plugins

Yoast only lets you set the global SEO options for three content types in the free version (home page, posts, and pages) and one more (landing pages) if you use a builder like Elementor; there's no option to add global SEO settings for widgets or templates in Yoast if you use a site builder. Yoast SEO does integrate with Elementor, but you can only set SEO options for individual pages, not global ones like with Rank Math.  

Both plugins make it easy to see how well your pages and posts are optimized overall

Both Yoast and Rank Math make it easy to see how well your content is optimized visually. It's displayed on the main Pages or Posts page in your WordPress admin panel and when you navigate to the individual page or post.

On the main pages, both plugins show a color-coded visual telling you how things are going (green = good, yellow = needs improvement, red = bad). 

Yoast optimization notification for Pages

Yoast uses a color-coded dot to show the SEO and readability scores (the red and green dots in the screenshot above) in two separate columns. Having the two scores displayed separately is a nice thing to see and is one thing Yoast does slightly better.  

Rank Math displays your SEO score (out of 100) and color-codes it like Yoast. While it doesn't break out the SEO and readability scores, what Rank Math does differently is include the keyword, schema, and hyperlink data. At a glance, you see how well that content is optimized for internal and external linking, which is another factor Google uses to measure content. 

Rank Math optimization notification for Pages

Both plugins show you the SEO optimization level on the individual pages in various spots. 

Yoast SEO shows it in two spots:

  1. The upper-right corner of the screen with the traffic lights next to the Yoast logo.

  2. In the Yoast SEO box at the bottom of the page (scroll down from the content to find it).

Yoast optimization notifications on individual pages

Rank Math shows it on the right side of the individual page, with the overall score in the upper-right corner. 

Rank Math optimization notifications on individual pages

Rank Math has more AI features, but they cost more than Yoast

With all the talk around AI, it's no surprise that both these apps now include some AI functionality. I haven't actually tested these specific features, but here's how they differ according to the official info.

Rank Math has fully embraced AI by introducing its Content AI module. The collection of 40+ AI tools and 125+ curated AI prompt templates help at every stage of the SEO process, from generating ideas to optimizing content for search engines. For instance, you can use Content AI to:

  • Receive customized content suggestions tailored to your target audience. 

  • Gain valuable insights on meta tags, OpenGraph, and other crucial elements.

  • Improve your content using options like Write More, Improve, Summarize, and Fix Grammar.

Content AI is an add-on subscription to the free or premium versions of Rank Math, starting from $60/year ($48 in the first year).

Yoast has taken a more cautious approach to AI. Its (beta version) AI generator tool helps create optimized titles and meta descriptions for your content so it appeals to audiences and search engines. That's it—for now—but there's nothing extra to pay as it's included in the premium version.

Yoast vs. Rank Math: Which should you use?

After having used Yoast SEO for a while and testing out all the features available in Rank Math, I can confidently say that either is a solid choice for site owners. They pair well with great content, helping your site move up the search engine rankings and getting more eyes on your content. Here's how I'd break it down.

Choose Yoast SEO if:

  • You want help with both SEO and your content's readability.

  • Your site is in a different language (it currently supports 18 languages other than English).

  • You want to learn more about SEO (as Yoast has free and paid courses that can be valuable to newbies who want to learn more).

Choose Rank Math if:

  • You have multiple websites.

  • You want to try out a wider range of SEO features for free (and scale more affordably).

  • You want more global SEO options for your website. 

While Yoast SEO is the veteran player in the WordPress SEO space, Rank Math has made serious inroads into their share. It already has over two million downloads and a five-star rating. Are you considering switching to Rank Math, or are you sticking with Yoast? 

Related reading:

This article was originally published in April 2023. The most recent update, with contributions from David Hartshorne, was in February 2024.

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