In this knowledge base tutorial, we are going to learn how to completely optimize your post score 100/100 with Rank Math in the content optimization process.
When you create a new post, one of your desires is to attract traffic to your post and Rank Math is here to help you with that.
With each post you create, Rank Math assists you in optimizing your post for maximum traffic potential. It does that by giving you strategic recommendations based on your content. If you follow all the recommendations, then your post will be optimized to generate the maximum traffic.
Let’s get started.
To optimize our post, we will use Rank Math’s Meta Box feature which is present in every post. Add a new post to your website by hovering over the Posts menu in the WordPress menu and then clicking “Add New”.
The Add New Post page will open, and you’ll see the familiar interface that you’ve used many times.
If you scroll below the post editing section, you’ll find the Rank Math meta box which we will use to optimize our post. Here is how it looks.
We’ll use all the options to fully optimize our post.
Writing the Post
Before the optimization happens, the post has to be written. For the sake of this example, we are going to add another Rank Math’s KB to this post. That should be interesting as the KBs are written to be helpful for you, but are not really optimized for SEO. The contrast will help us understand how Rank Math will help you out even if you have no experience in creating posts with SEO.
Choosing Focus Keywords
After the content is written, the next step is choosing the right focus keywords.
The focus keywords are the words you want your post to rank for. It can range from a single word, like “coffee”, to a whole phrase, like “play the ukulele”. A good rule of thumb is to omit less important words from your phrase like at, if, then, etc.
If you’ve ever done keyword research, you’ll have no difficulty in understanding what you should keep as your focus keywords. The words that users type in the search engines are the best focus keywords to choose from. If you’re not familiar with the process, we would recommend that you read our detailed guide on keyword research.
Another important thing to understand is why do you need to set a focus keyword if Rank Math is so powerful? The answer to that is that Rank Math can only perfect the SEO recipe if you tell it what you’re cooking.
Since we added a Rank Math’s KB to the editor, we’ll try to optimize our post for the phrase “Rank Math”. It will give you an interesting perspective on how to optimize your posts.
Primary and Secondary Focus Keyword
Rank Math lets you choose upto 5 focus keywords per post. That means you can optimize your post for 5 different keywords and attract a lot more traffic than if you were using only 1 focus keyword.
But, you might notice that you’re only able to add 1 focus keyword to your post. If that’s the case, you’ll also see this error just below the focus keyword section.
As you can see in the error itself, Rank Math lets you add upto 5 focus keywords to a post once you’ve linked your MyThemeShop account with Rank Math. If you already have an account, then you can use your existing credentials. If you don’t have an account, create one – it’s FREE!
If you already have an account, click the link in error message. The link opens in a new tab, so your progress won’t be lost.
Rank Math’s help menu will open up, and you’ll see the activation screen.
Enter your MyThemeShop username and password in the respective fields, and click the button that says “Connect Your Account”.
Your account will be connected, and the screen would look something like this.
If you don’t have an account, click the link next to the “Connect Your Account” button. It will take you directly to the signup page. Here’s the link if you want to signup directly.
Once you click the link, you’ll be taken to the MyThemeShop website, and the signup form will appear. You’ll have options to signup using Facebook, Google, or your email address.
Choose any method that you prefer and signup to MyThemeShop.
If you signed up with your email, you’ll have your credentials handy. Enter them in the Rank Math authorization page to use upto 5 focus keywords.
For social logins users, you should see an email from MyThemeShop with your credentials. Use the credentials to connect your MyThemeShop account with Rank Math. In case you can’t remember your credentials, here is a link to reset your password.
Once your account is successfully connected, you will be able to use upto 5 focus keywords on each of your posts. And, you will also get access to Google Suggestions when entering focus keywords in your posts. But you’ll to refresh your post editor or save it as a draft if you haven’t already.
To add more focus keywords to your post, simply go the focus keyword area and type in more focus keywords. The first focus keyword that you add will be considered the Primary Focus Keyword and the rest will be considered secondary focus keywords. The Primary Keyword will also have a “*” icon on top. Here is an example.
You can also change the secondary keywords to primary by dragging them to the front of the queue. Rank Math will automatically detect the change and highlight the new primary focus keyword.
Understanding the Tests from a Keyword Perspective
From a user (or your perspective), having the post optimized for more than one keyword is great. It lets you target wider topics and aim for more traffic.
But, from an optimization standpoint, it does propose some challenges.
For example, all the tests Rank Math performs won’t work well if Rank Math considers all the focus keywords. Some tests only work well if you’ve decided on a single keyword and you’ll see inconsistent results if performed with more than one keyword.
A workaround to that is obviously using only a single keyword for the test, but that’s defeating the purpose of having more than one focus keyword. To counter this problem, we’ve categorized the tests into 4 types.
- Tests that run on all Focus Keywords
- Tests that run only on the primary focus keyword
- Tests that run only on the secondary focus keyword
- Tests that run only on the content
Let us explain what the differences between each of them are.
Tests that run on all Focus Keywords
These are the tests that work only on the Focus Keyword and ignore the rest of the keywords altogether. We’ll mention this behavior in the test itself when we discuss the tests individually.
Tests that run only on the Primary Focus Keyword
These tests can only work with one focus keyword at a time, but they can work with the primary and secondary keywords, just not at the same time. By default, these tests will run based on your primary focus keyword, and you’ll have to change the keyword manually to see the results for the other keywords.
You do that by simply clicking the keyword that you want the test to run on. In the focus keyword section, click on the keyword that you want these tests you want to run on, and you will immediately see the results change. Here is an animation that shows how to go about doing that.
Tests that run only on the Primary Focus Keyword
These tests use all the focus keywords that you have entered in the focus keyword section. As you might have guessed, you don’t need to configure these tests at all as they’ll just work.
Tests that only run on the Content
There are several tests in Rank Math that don’t depend on focus keywords and analyze the content in different ways. For these tests, you don’t have to pay attention to the focus keywords, just follow the recommendation Rank Math gives with the test.
Making Sense of Rank Math’s Recommendations – The Color Codes
We’ve kept the recommendations’ language as simple as possible so everyone, even if they are not familiar with SEO, will be able to understand and follow the recommendations easily.
To help navigate the recommendations faster, we’ve used basic color codes to tell you what tests you’ve passed and what you still need to work on. Here is what the colors mean.
Green Tick: A Green tick in front of a test means you’ve passed with flying colors.
Yellow: If you see the color Yellow on a test, that means your post isn’t optimized for the test, and you should spend some time fixing it.
Red Cross: If you see a Red Cross icon then that means your post has performed poorly on this test. We would recommend that you do not publish your post with any Red tests as they might not attract much traffic. And what’s the point of a post if nobody reads it?
Color Codes for the Overall Score
Apart from the individual tests, Rank Math also gives you a cumulative score on how your entire post is optimized. The score is visible in 2 locations.
Right next to the Focus keywords…
And just above the publish button.
You might have noticed that this score is also color coded. Depending on how you score, it might appear in Red, Yellow, or Green.
Green [81+ Score]
If your overall score is over 80, then the score will appear Green. When you see a green score, that means the post is ready to publish. If you’re just above 80, we would still recommend you to optimize your article further and get a score closer to 100.
Yellow [51-80 Score]
You’ll see a Yellow overall score is your post scores somewhere between 51-79. It means that your post is not fully optimized and there is plenty of room for improvement. We would not recommend that you publish a post with a Yellow overall score.
Red [Below 50 Score]
If your test score is Red, that means it scored below 50 – which is bad. As you can understand, that means your post is terribly optimized for your focus keywords. If you see Red, that means that your post is not even following basic SEO practices, let alone advanced optimizations. Obviously, we won’t recommend you ever publish a post with a Red score.
Color Code in the Focus Keywords
A great way to quickly understand how your post is optimized for individual keywords is by looking at the focus keywords themselves. As you improve your post and optimize it for certain keywords, those keywords themselves will change color to represent how well the post is optimized. Let’s take an example.
In the image above, the post is optimized moderately for the focus keyword “Rank Math”, therefore, it is now in a Yellow color. For contrast, the post is not optimized well the focus keyword “SEO plugin for WordPress,” and that is why it is in Red color. The overall SEO score is 54, which is above 50, and that brings the ratings also in the Yellow range.
Now that you understand how to read through the tests and recommendations, it’s time to get into the optimizations themselves.
The Basic SEO section gives you some basic SEO tips to optimize your content. Just because the section is called Basic SEO doesn’t mean that the tips aren’t powerful. It’s basic SEO because it reminds you of SEO basics.
You should know that there are different tests for primary and secondary keywords and you have to pass all the basic SEO tests for your keywords to achieve a 100/100 score in Rank Math.
Focus Keyword in SEO Title – Only Works on the Primary Focus Keyword
The first test is about the focus keyword being in the SEO Title of the page. This test only checks for your primary keyword in the SEO page title as it’s not practical to have all your focus keywords in the title.
As you already know, the presence of your primary focus keyword in the title of the page is an important ranking signal for Google and other search engines. Also, Google displays around 60 characters of your title on desktops and around 50 characters on mobile. Therefore, it’s important to add your primary focus keyword within 50 characters to be displayed on both desktops and mobile devices.
Most of the time, you would have included the focus keyword in the title already, and this test will automatically pass. However, if the test fails on your post, head over to the title of the page and re-word it so that your primary focus keyword appears in the first 50 characters.
To change the SEO title, you have 2 options. You could directly change the page title, and Rank Math will update the SEO title based on the new title, or you could change the SEO title directly from the preview area.
To do that, hover over the SEO title in the preview section of Rank Math. Click the pen icon that appears on the SEO title.
The snippet editor will open up. Change the SEO title and include your focus keyword to pass the test.
Rank Math will immediately pick on the changes and change its recommendation.
Focus Keyword in Description – Only Works on the Primary Focus Keyword
The SEO description is the snippet that appears just below the title in the SERP. Its job is two-fold.
It gives Google and other search engines a glimpse of what the post is about, which helps them make ranking decisions. It also gives the users a reason to click through to your website rather than click to any other website.
By including your focus keyword in the SEO Description, you are taking care of both, which means better rankings and better traffic for you.
To understand how to pass this test, you also have to understand how Rank Math evaluates this test. Obviously, Rank Math looks for your primary focus keyword in the SEO description, but that’s not all. If you haven’t entered an SEO description, Rank Math will create a description automatically and then test it to see if the focus keyword is included. Rank Math generates the SEO description using text from the following areas.
- Custom Meta Description Set for the post
- Description Templates set in Titles and Meta settings in Rank Math
- Paragraph with the focus keyword in it
- Post Excerpt
- The first paragraph of the content in the post
Rank Math will use the text in the order they are mentioned. For example, if no custom meta description is set, Rank Math will use the description template set in the settings. If the setting is not configured, then Rank Math will try to find a paragraph with the focus keyword, and so on.
The easiest and the recommended way to pass this test is to set a custom meta description for the post. It gives you more control, and you can optimize your description for users and search engines alike.
Here is how we achieved it.
We went up to Snippet Preview and edited the default SEO Description that Rank Math picked up from the article.
There we re-wrote it and included our focus keyword in it. We also tried to make it more attractive so that it attracts more clicks. Rank Math gives you description length suggestions to keep the description at an ideal length, which should be around 120-160 characters.
Once you do it, Rank Math will instantly give you the Green tick.
Important Note: If you’ve installed Rank Math on a website which has plenty of posts already, then you don’t have to go back and manually fix the meta descriptions of your posts. Rank Math is intelligent enough to generate a meta description based on your primary focus keyword. If a focus keyword is not found then, Rank Math will use the excerpt text as the meta description. If even that’s not set, then Rank Math will pick the first paragraph of your text as the SEO description.
You can also use Rank Math’s bulk editing features to edit all this information. The bulk editor is available in the post listing screen. Select all the posts that you want to edit, and choose the “Edit” option from the bulk actions menu to use it. Here is how it looks.
Focus Keyword in URL – Only Works on the Primary Focus Keyword
The presence of the focus keyword in the URL is another ranking signal that all search engines use. It’s also important from a user’s perspective.
As users perform a search on a search engine, they subconsciously choose to click on one result. We don’t know exactly what a user is thinking, but we can safely assume that they are looking for relevance and authority. Presence of the focus keyword in the URL is another way to show the users that the link they are about to click is about the topic they searched for. And the search engines like it too.
This test is also performed only on the primary focus keyword as it is not feasible to add all the focus keywords to your URL.
If you don’t have your focus keyword in the URL, all you have to do scroll up to the top, and click the edit button next to the Permalink field.
The post URL will become editable. Type in the URL of your choice, then hit “OK”. Don’t forget to include your focus keyword in the URL.
And immediately, Rank Math will pick it and change its recommendation.
An important thing to note is that this test will not run if you’re not using friendly URLs. Since there is no possibility of adding keywords to plain or numeric URLs, this test will be disabled.
To check if you’ve enabled friendly URLs, head over to WordPress settings and check your permalink settings. You can also check the URL that WordPress has generated and find out if friendly URLs are enabled or not. Here is an image of the WordPress Permalink settings which are located in Settings > Permalinks.
Focus Keyword in First 10% of Content
Apart from the title, description, and the URL, it’s also important to have the focus keyword at the beginning of the post. This reinforces to the search engines what your post is about and also re-assures the users that they’ve clicked the correct link.
In this test, Rank Math checks your content to see if the primary focus keyword is present in the first 10% of your post. If it’s found, you pass the test.
However, there is an exception to the rule. In situations where the post itself is under 300 words, Rank Math will check the entire 300 words for your focus keywords. Once the post goes over 300 words, Rank Math will again check the first 10% of your post.
To pass this test, just makes sure that you focus keyword is present in the first 10% of your post.
Focus Keyword in Content – Only Works on the Primary Focus Keyword
This one is kind of obvious. Your focus keyword should also be present in the content of your post apart from all the places we discussed above. Rank Math checks for the focus keyword and also its plural version for this test. Currently, the test is limited to the English language and uses a small word-base.
To pass this, make sure that include your focus keyword in the content at appropriate times. If you do, Rank Math is going to detect it, and you’ll pass the test.
One thing that you should keep in mind that it’s easy to overdo this. Your ultimate goal is to attract visitors and encourage them to read your content. If your content has too many keywords, then it will look un-natural to your readers. Even if the search engines find it better and send you marginally more traffic, your readers will be put off by excess keyword usage. To avoid this, pass the test then read the content on your own. If you feel that the post has excessive use of keywords, then you should reduce your keyword usage and make the post sound natural.
Numerous studies have proven that content length plays an important role in rankings. Generally, longer posts perform better as they give the writer the opportunity to address the query in detail, which helps answer all the users’ questions, resulting in better user experience.
In this test, Rank Math scores your content based on its length. Here is a simple reference guide to remember.
- More than 2500 words: 100% score
- 2000-2500 words: 70% score
- 1500-2000 words: 60% score
- 1000-1500 words: 40% score
- 600-1000 words: 20% score
- Below 600 words: 0% score
This rule has an exception, which is product pages. Product pages on eCommerce websites rarely have thousands of words of content on them per page. Rank Math understands this and excludes any product pages from this test automatically.
To pass this test and score a 100%, make sure that your content is at least 2500 words long.
Passing All Basic SEO Tests
Once you pass all the basic SEO tests, the screen should look something like this.
Once you see all Green ticks in the basic SEO section, your overall score should reach over 50 at least. That means your score color should be Yellow or Green at this point.
Way to go! Let’s discuss the Additional SEO section and its recommendations.
The Additional SEO Section is where Rank Math gives you specific SEO recommendations. Some of the optimizations may sound like the basic ones, but here the recommendations will be more specific. When done right, following the Additional SEO tips will give your content the edge that your competitors won’t have. Let’s see the individual recommendations.
Multiple URL length studies have shown that shorter URLs have a higher chance of ranking in the SERPs. Short URLs are simple, to the point, and specific enough to drive clicks. Just think about it. Which of the following URLs look better to you?
The difference is clear and obvious.
Long URLs are also known for keyword stuffing – which Google hates. We would avoid it at all costs.
In this test, Rank Math will check the length of your URL and give you a 100% score if it is less than or equal to 75 characters. Please note that the total number of characters include all the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS), the domain name, the post name, and the separator characters as well (“/”, “_”, and “-”).
To pass this test, make sure your URL is less than or equal to 75 characters including separator characters and domain/sub-domain names.
However, there is an exception to this test. When Rank Math checks your URL, the total length it checks includes your domain name as well. So, if your website’s domain name is really long, you may never pass this test – even if your URL length is just a single word. In those cases, you can safely ignore this test and focus on the other tests.
Focus Keyword Present in Subheadings
An often ignored on-page SEO factor is the presence of your focus keyword in the H2 and H3 tags. While the H1 tag is where Google and other search engines pay most attention to, they do not ignore the H2 or H3 tag. The keywords in these tags might not give you earth-shattering results, but they are great for building relevancy. Because of their nature, the H2 and H3 tag are a great place to include your secondary focus keywords.
In this test, Rank Math will analyze your post and look for your focus keyword and its synonyms in your H2 and H3 headings. If the focus keyword is found, the test will pass; otherwise, the test will fail.
Focus Keyword in Image Alt Attribute
Adding your focus keyword in image alt attributes is a great way to optimize your post for your keyword. But, there is a fine line between adding your keywords and spamming your keywords for rankings.
Google is vigilant and will drop your page from the SERPs immediately if an over-optimization is found. Our recommendation is that you should only add your keyword as an alt keyword when it appears natural. Since the images you add to the post will be related to your focus keyword, that shouldn’t be hard to do.
For this test, Rank Math checks all your images’ ALT text for the presence of your focus keyword. Both the singular and the plural version of the focus keyword are considered when performing this test. Also, this test works only for the primary focus keyword.
To pass this test, all you have to do is edit one of the images and add your focus keyword to its ALT text. Here is how we approached it. We opened detail’s from the post by clicking the “edit” button that appears when you click the image.
We wrote the following text “match types for redirection in Rank Math” in the “Alternative Text” field and then hit update.
And Rank Math immediately gave us a thumbs up.
Please note that sometimes Rank Math is unable to read the image’s alt text if you add the alt text after the image is already in your editor. In that case, just save your post as a draft and Rank Math will update its recommendations.
Presence of Outbound Links
You already know that links from other websites pointing to your website are great for your website’s SEO. What you might not have known is that links from your post to other websites are also, albeit small, a ranking factor.
Think about it this way. When you write a post, it’s natural to reference other articles, tools, websites, and research available elsewhere – just like we did in this article. Referencing them in your post just makes your copy look natural to the search engines and the users. Just make sure not to link out to your direct competitors if you want to keep an edge in the SERPs.