In 2021, these are the two most popular SEO plugins and both are great tools that can help you set your site up for success in Google’s rankings.
However, there are some notable differences between Yoast SEO and Rank Math, so you’ll want to understand what those are so that you can pick the best tool for your situation.
In our hands-on Rank Math vs Yoast SEO comparison, we’ll dig into the important differences to help you decide.
Quick Introductions – Popularity and Ratings
To kick things off, let’s turn to the wisdom of the crowds and see how Rank Math and Yoast SEO compare when it comes to popularity and user reviews. This isn’t especially hands-on, but it does provide some useful context for why I said that both of these plugins can be excellent choices in their own rights.
Yoast SEO is the big name in WordPress SEO. It’s been around forever (since 2010) and it’s become synonymous with “WordPress SEO” in a lot of people’s minds. It’s by far the most popular SEO plugin and it’s also just flat out one of the most popular WordPress plugins ever.
Launched a few years ago in 2018, Rank Math is the comparative newcomer in the WordPress SEO space. However, it does come from a well-established WordPress company in MyThemeShop (our review), so the Rank Math team has plenty of experience to bring to bear. Since its launch, it’s quickly risen to become the second-most popular WordPress SEO plugin*.
Here’s a table comparing the two plugins as of June 18, 2021:
|Metric||Rank Math||Yoast SEO|
|Last 7 days download||349,847||2,333,715|
*All In One SEO technically has more active sites than Rank Math, but Rank Math’s new download count is ~3X All In One SEO’s new download count (~349k vs ~111k), which is why I say Rank Math is more popular.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s compare Rank Math vs Yoast SEO in terms of the features that they offer. To make this easier to scan, I’ll do this in table format. Here’s what the icons in the table mean:
- ✔️ – this feature is available in the free version of the plugin at WordPress.org.
- ✔️💰 – this feature is available, but only if you pay for the premium version (more on pricing later).
- ✔️✔️ – this feature is available in both plugins but one plugin does it notably better. E.g. both plugins support schema markup for rich snippets, but Rank Math’s feature is more advanced, so I would mark Rank Math with the double checkmark.
- ❌ – the feature doesn’t exist in either the free or premium versions.
This is not a complete list of every single feature in each plugin – I just tried to pull out the features that most people will care about.
|Feature||Rank Math||Yoast SEO|
|Set SEO title||✔️||✔️|
|Set SEO meta description||✔️||✔️|
|SEO title/description templates||✔️||✔️|
|Focus keyword analysis||✔️||✔️|
|Multiple focus keywords||✔️||✔️💰|
|Focus keyword suggestions||✔️||✔️💰|
|Social media graph control||✔️||✔️|
|Sitewide schema markup||✔️||✔️|
|Per-content schema markup||✔️✔️||✔️|
|Google Search Console integration||✔️||✔️|
|Google Analytics integration||✔️||❌|
|Basic WooCommerce SEO||✔️||✔️|
|Advanced WooCommerce SEO||✔️💰||✔️💰|
|Single-location local SEO||✔️||✔️💰|
|Multi-location local SEO||✔️💰||✔️💰|
|Internal link suggestions||✔️||✔️💰|
|Advanced Video SEO||✔️💰||✔️💰|
|Advanced Image SEO||✔️💰||✔️💰|
|Keyword rank tracking||✔️💰||❌|
|Role manager for SEO access||✔️||✔️|
|SEO reports (white label)||✔️💰||❌|
|Full Elementor integration||✔️||✔️💰|
As you can see, Rank Math is the pretty clear winner both in terms of the number of features that it offers and the number of features that it offers for free.
In fact, in terms of features, I think the free version of Rank Math might even have more features than the core paid version of Yoast SEO.
Of course, having more features doesn’t automatically mean a plugin is better – it depends on whether you actually find those features useful.
For example, if you just want a plugin to set SEO titles and meta descriptions and make some basic on-page optimizations, both are pretty much equal in that respect.
Additionally, both plugins offer a modular approach to their features, which means you can disable any features that you don’t want to use. This helps you keep your site lightweight and simplify the interfaces.
Speaking of interfaces, let’s talk about that next.
Ease of Use/Interface
Both Rank Math and Yoast SEO are pretty easy to use and beginner-friendly. If I had to pick, I would say that I slightly prefer the Rank Math interface because it’s a little more modern and provides slightly more useful suggestions, but I don’t think you’ll have issues with either.
Both plugins work with both the classic TinyMCE editor and the newer default WordPress block editor. However, because the block editor is the default editor in 2021, that’s what I’ll focus on for this comparison.
Let’s go through them…
Rank Math puts its settings in a sidebar panel that’s accessible from the top-right corner. The icon to open the settings also gives you a nice summary of your content’s optimization:
Clicking that will expand the sidebar, divided into tabs.
In the first tab, you can set the focus keyword(s) for your content and view the analysis. You can also get suggestions for keywords just by typing in the box:
Rank Math’s analysis is a score out of 100, which gives you a detailed look at optimization. As I mentioned above, I also find its suggestions a little more useful and detailed than Yoast SEO, especially when it comes to readability analysis (which Rank Math lumps into the overall score – there aren’t separate scores like in Yoast SEO).
If you click the Edit Snippet button, you can control your SEO title/description and social media information in a popup, along with a live preview:
The other tabs in the sidebar let you:
- Manage technical details like Robots meta and canonical URLs.
- Configure schema markup.
- Edit social media information.
For example, in the schema tab, you can choose from different types of schema markup:
When you choose the type of schema, you’ll be able to enter the details and validate it:
In terms of the other tools, you’ll get a well-designed area where you can enable modular settings and access tools:
For example, here’s what the redirect manager looks like:
Yoast SEO gives you two ways to access its settings:
- A meta box below the editor, which is also how it works in the classic TinyMCE editor.
- A sidebar like Rank Math.
The settings are the same between the two, so it’s really just down to your personal preference:
Personally, I find the metabox to be a bit easier to work with, so I’ll focus on that.
The meta box has four tabs. In the SEO tab, you can set up the title/description and view a live preview. You can also add a focus keyphrase and view SEO analysis tips:
The analysis only gives three overall scores – red (bad), yellow, or green (good). You can also see a list of individual tips and whether your content is optimized for those tips.
Further down, you can set up details like Robots meta and canonical URLs.
The Readability tab gives you suggestions for improving your content with the same scoring as SEO optimization – I don’t find it useful but you might:
The Schema tab lets you set a page type, but the list is more limited and you can’t actually add the data like Rank Math allows:
Finally, the Social tab lets you set up your social graph information.
On the backend, you’ll get a dedicated dashboard to manage settings and access tools:
Now, let’s talk about what all the cool stuff above is going to cost you.
First, both plugins have free versions at WordPress.org that will work for most sites. However, as I mentioned in the features section, the free version of Rank Math is a lot more generous than the free version of Yoast SEO.
For example, the free version of Rank Math gives you the following:
- Multiple keyword analysis.
- Focus keyword suggestions.
- Internal link suggestions.
Yoast SEO can do all of that…but only in the premium version.
In terms of the premium versions, Rank Math is also a lot more affordable. There are two reasons for this:
- Rank Math just has one core premium plugin (with two different pricing plans). On the other hand, Yoast SEO has one premium core plugin plus pricey add-ons for certain features like local SEO, video SEO, and WooCommerce SEO.
- Rank Math’s paid plan supports unlimited websites, whereas Yoast SEO’s paid plans have very strict site limits.
Basically, if you only have a single site, Rank Math will still be more affordable. And if you have multiple sites, Rank Math is going to be a lot more affordable.
Let’s go through the premium pricing of each…
Rank Math only has two pricing plans for its premium version:
- Pro – $59 – focused on solo website owners looking to use Rank Math on personal websites.
- Business – $199 – focused on agencies or businesses who are looking to use Rank Math on client websites.
If you want to see a detailed feature comparison between the free, Pro, and Business plans, you can scroll down to the table on the Rank Math pricing page:
These prices are technically listed as “launch prices”, so they might go up soon. However, they’ve been at these rates for months now, so Rank Math doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to start using the “regular” prices.
Even if Rank Math raises the prices to the crossed-out numbers ($129 & $429), I would still say it offers better value than Yoast SEO for most people.
As I mentioned, there are two types of premium plans for Yoast SEO:
- The core premium plugin.
- Specialized add-ons for certain use cases such as WooCommerce SEO, local SEO, news SEO, or video SEO.
For the core plugin, you’ll pay $89 but that only allows use on a single site. For more sites, you only get a tiny discount on additional licenses:
So if you have five sites, you’d pay $400.50 to Yoast SEO! In comparison, Rank Math would only cost $59 for unlimited sites. Even if Rank Math raises its price to $129, it’s still a significantly better deal if you have multiple websites.
Here are the single-site prices for the other add-ons
- Local SEO – $69
- News SEO – $69
- Video SEO – $69
- WooCommerce SEO – $69
Yoast SEO uses the same billing structure if you need multiple licenses for the add-ons:
Overall, Rank Math is the clear winner when it comes to affordability.
FAQ On Rank Math vs Yoast SEO
Now that we’re nearing the end of our comparison, let’s go over some questions you might have about these two SEO plugins.
Is Rank Math Better Than Yoast SEO?
Rank Math has more features than Yoast SEO, so it’s better in that respect. However, Yoast SEO can still do everything most people need, so this question is too subjective to declare a clear winner.
Is Rank Math or Yoast SEO More Popular?
Yoast SEO is definitely more popular and by far the most popular WordPress SEO plugin. Rank Math is the second-most popular plugin, but Yoast SEO still had ~6.5X more downloads over the past seven days than Rank Math.
Is Rank Math or Yoast SEO Better Rated?
Can I Use Two SEO Plugins?
No! You should absolutely not use two WordPress SEO plugins. Just choose one of these plugins for your site.
Do I Need a WordPress SEO Plugin?
Yes! Absolutely – every single WordPress site needs an SEO plugin, so you should pick one of these two options.
Rank Math vs Yoast SEO: Which One Should You Use?
In the end, choosing between Rank Math vs Yoast SEO should come down to what you value and what you’re looking for in an SEO plugin.
If you look at the features, interfaces, and prices, Rank Math is the pretty clear winner in all three categories. So from that perspective, Rank Math is probably the better choice for most people in 2021.
Of course, whether those things are game-changers really depends on how you’re using the SEO plugin. Personally, I just use my SEO plugin to implement some basic on-page stuff and then set the SEO titles and meta descriptions for my posts. I don’t need a redirect manager or multiple keyword analysis, or anything like that.
If you’re like me, there’s pretty much zero difference between the two plugins. Sure, Rank Math has more features, but those features don’t matter if you’re not going to use them.
And Yoast SEO does have one thing going for it – longevity. I don’t think there’s any risk of Rank Math going away, but some people do like to go with the “established” option, which is definitely Yoast SEO.
So – I guess my final thoughts could be summarized like this:
- If you want the most features and the most value, Rank Math is the pretty clear winner in 2021.
- If you just want a tool to set SEO titles and descriptions, either will be fine, so some people might prefer just going with the established name in Yoast SEO.
Wondering what we use? We use Yoast SEO here at WPKube and I also use Yoast SEO on my own sites.
Personally, this is mainly just a result of inertia (I created my sites before Rank Math was released). If I were creating a new WordPress site in 2021 and beyond, I would probably do it with Rank Math.
For some other useful tools, check out our collection of the best WordPress SEO tools.
Do you still have any questions about Yoast SEO vs Rank Math? Let us know in the comments!