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I’m Still Using Rank Math Pro – Even While Keeping It Simple

In my last post, I celebrated keeping things simple. I’ve got a checklist of about a dozen WordPress plugins that go onto every site every time. I’ve also got just a handful of WordPress themes I use for every single site I launch. On this site, for now, that all goes out the window.

But when I’d finished writing that post, it got me thinking. While some of those plugins do specific things that help with what I want to achieve on niche sites, some of them should be on every single site.

The first thing I did was to install WordFence. It has been my security plugin of choice for a loooong time, and I’ve seen no reason to change that. Does this website need to be Fort Knox? Not really. There’s nothing worth stealing other than my time. But I figured it’s free, I trust it, and I’ve never known it to have much of an impact on site speed (which I’m watching like a hawk on this, my black and white retreat from conventional niche sites). It was worth it if it stops someone injecting some crap that redirects someone that stumbles across my ramblings to something dodgy. That goes for the visitor, who avoids said dodginess, and me, who won’t have to spend time using all my limited cybersecurity skills to fix it.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about old faithful, which I’ve only used for a couple of years. Unlike Wordfence, which I’ve used for a long time and never needed to change, I’ve been through a few different SEO plugins.

The first one I remember was All-In-One SEO. Just finding that link made me all nostalgic, although seeing the latest screenshots made me want to take it for another spin. It’s been a long time. There’s no way it’s the exact same plugin that I used all those years ago. But not today.

From there, I moved on to Yoast. I’ve got a lot of respect for Yoast still. A few client sites I still manage use this plugin, so I encounter it pretty regularly still. When I launch a new site, I go with Rank Math Pro. If Yoast is already there, I have no issues with using it and certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to change it.

Seven paragraphs in, I get to the point. I love Rank Math SEO, and I probably don’t even use it to its fullest potential. Nevertheless, I keep paying my subscription every year. I won’t bore you with the details – click the link if you want to find out more. It’s not an affiliate link, I would just honestly encourage you to try it if you’re not a pro SEO, but you’ve got a WordPress site that you’d like to see ranking higher.

Right now, as I write this, I’m not looking to rank higher. This website is a matter of hours old. I’m already on my third post. It turns out that I have quite a lot to say when the rules are mine, there’s no commitment, and all I’m doing is saying what I think with no goal beyond putting words on a page. I feel like quite the niche site rebel – as I write this, I’m already ignoring at least a dozen blue underlines from Grammarly.

Which leads me to what spurred me on to write this post. Let’s play a game of spot the difference.

If you’ve used Rank Math in already, you’ll have noticed a feature where it builds a mini SEO report bar into each post. When I’m working on a site, I’m used to seeing something like this:

The anxiety-inducing niche site SEO report

My trusty rank math algorithms tell me that the post checks most of the boxes – 91 out of 100 is certainly decent. I didn’t use Content AI for this one, but I might do if it gains traction.

The post in question is in a highly competitive topic area that the site I pulled it from has no business ranking in, so things have taken a while. In two months and two days, that post, which I spent about eight hours on, will celebrate its first birthday.

Traffic is down, but it wasn’t exactly huge to begin with. Impressions are trending upwards, indicating either that the page is climbing the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) or there’s an increased interest in what I wrote about all those months ago. It was designed as evergreen content, after all. It might do quite well, and I look forward to finding out. But it’s still quite stressful – I’d rather those eight hours didn’t go to waste.

So, we’re spotting the difference. Here’s the other picture:

The mini SEO report for the post that went up a couple of hours ago

Okay, the difference is obvious, but it supports my point. This post produced that toolbar. And it’s beautiful.

Google has no idea the post exists.

The two Rank Math screenshots are different enough in size to annoy someone.

I didn’t use Content AI. I didn’t use Surfer SEO. I didn’t use Neuron Writer.

I didn’t input a target keyword. I didn’t add a featured image. In fact, I didn’t add any images at all, meaning no alt tags. All massive no-nos when you’re trying to attract traffic. In return, I got an SEO score of a big, fat zero. And I couldn’t be happier.

But I’m not trying to attract traffic. This is, complete with a readership of one (right now – I’m not against that changing in the future). I don’t need no stinkin’ H2 tags.

Funnily enough, I’m writing this directly in WordPress. That’s nice in itself – I think the Microsoft Word toolbars are burned into my retinas. I can see as I write that I already have a score of 20 according to Rank Math. Still haven’t set a target keyword. Don’t have any targets. Do have some images. It’s cool.

The pressure is off, I’ve had a blast writing this article, and if nobody reads it, that’s ok. And, if, by some ironic twist, this article or that article become the most-read posts I’ve ever made, Rank Math’s analytics module is there to let me know.