In this section, we’re going to introduce the SEO analysis tool. As the name suggests, it analyzes your site’s SEO and points out what you’re doing right and the issues you need to fix.
Analyzing your SEO is the first step to making it perfect, so you should run this tool as your first step. It’s a fast process, and it puts you on the right path.
You may have used SEO tools in the past – many of these tools check your page as you type and tell you if you’re optimizing it properly. Rank Math does this too – but it does much more.
Checking a page as you type will detect “on-page” ranking factors – factors that influence the rankings for individual pages. But that only covers a single piece of the SEO puzzle. Although on-page factors are extremely important, there are other details that affect your site’s rankings.
These include technical and performance issues, like caching, URL structure, and pagination.
Before you dig into every post and page on your site, you should fix any site-wide issues. But you have to identify them first – and that’s where the analysis tool comes into play.
You have better things to do than spend hours poring over settings and working through checklists – that’s why Rank Math has a built-in SEO Analysis tool. It scans your site in seconds and gives you a detailed breakdown of any issues it locates.
The tool also gives you instructions on how to fix each issue it finds – whether it’s changing a setting or installing a simple plugin, you’ll know what to do and how to do it.
Running the analysis is easy – just visit the “SEO Analysis” page under the SEO menu:
… then click on the “Start Site Wide Analysis” button at the top of the page:
Rank Math will start analyzing your site instantly. It only takes a few seconds – Rank Math will keep you updated during the process:
When it’s done, you’ll see a screen like this:
The charts at the top of the page are a quick summary of any found issues. The first point is the SEO score – this is a number from 0 to 100 – higher scores are better.
Next, there’s a bar chart showing the number of passed tests, warnings and failed tests.
Tests that pass are great – they mean there’s nothing to fix.
Warnings are issues that are not very severe, but you should give them attention and do something about them.
The red bar represents failed tests – there are 27 failed tests in the screenshot above.
When a test fails, it means there’s something seriously wrong that needs to be fixed immediately. These aren’t site breaking issues – your site still works. But they’re a disaster from an SEO perspective.
Moving down the screen, you can see more detailed feedback. Here, you can see what the tests are – what they’re measuring, and why your site passed or failed each one.
The results are broken down into multiple sections:
Basic SEO covers the bare essentials – if your site fails any of these tests, then there are serious issues that will hurt your rankings.
Let’s take a look at each entry, and explore what they mean and what you can do about them.
Comments are a great feature for any blogging platform – they increase reader engagement and collect valuable feedback. While we love comments, there are some issues with the way they work on WordPress (at least with the default settings).
“Pagination” is the process of breaking a large list of items into several pages – like how Google takes thousands of results and bundles 10 on each page.
Popular blog posts can get lots of comments – maybe even hundreds. WordPress’s default settings paginate these comments, creating new pages in the process.
That sounds great – less comment clutter and your visitors can read as many comments as they want. So, what’s the downside?
Duplicate content. When two or more pages on your site are almost identical, that’s duplicate content. And that’s what happens when WordPress paginates your comments – you end up with multiple URLs with large sections of identical content.
Google hates duplicate content for several reasons – it’s usually low value, and often it’s outright web spam. Having too much duplicate content on your site causes these problems:
- It makes it harder to get new pages indexed, as Google’s crawler is more cautious (why crawl pages that have low value?)
Sometimes the wrong page is served in Google’s results – instead of displaying the main page for your article, a comment page will show up instead.
- Duplicate content filters can block results from your site.
- None of these are things you want for your site, so preventing duplicate content is a high priority.
If Rank Math detects comment pagination, it’s easy to fix. You can follow the instructions in the “comment pagination” section – you only need to change a single setting in the “Settings > Discussion” menu.
The site tagline is meant to describe what your site is about in a few words. WordPress uses it in a couple of places – usually in the header of each page, and in your RSS feeds.
When you create a WordPress site, the tagline is set to “Just another WordPress site”, which is bad for several reasons. First of all, it’s not very complimentary. It hardly looks professional, does it?
It’s a missed SEO opportunity, too. Using relevant text in the Site Tagline helps search engines to understand what your site is about. The text is included high on the page, and Google pays more attention to the text in critical positions.
What’s more, it makes your site a shining target for hackers – any hacker with a WordPress exploit can locate your site in seconds, and they usually attack hundreds of sites at a time.
Changing the tagline only takes a moment, so there’s no excuse for using the default value! The setting you’re looking for is in the “Settings > General” menu.
Permalinks are the URL for each post and page on your site. With a traditional blog, you can see the latest posts on the homepage. When you post new content, the old posts are pushed off the first page. If someone wanted to link to a post and they built a link to the homepage URL, people would see the wrong content when they click the link.
The solution is to create a unique link for each post – the permalink, because it’s permanent.
WordPress gives every post and page its own unique URL – which is great. But the standard format is pretty ugly. They usually look like this: http://www.mysite.com/?p=123
The number is the id for the post – WordPress uses it to find the page content in the database.
It’s ugly to look at, and there are some SEO drawbacks:
- There’s no keyword information – Google uses URLs as one of the ranking factors, so the URL should reflect what your post is about.
- People also read URLs, and that ?p=123 doesn’t look appealing. Other bloggers are less likely to discover your work or link to it.
- The question mark makes it obvious that the content is generated by a script (a program running on the server). Since the beginning, Google has preferred static content to script generated content.
Why doesn’t Google like content from scripts?
Often, scripts generate many pages of duplicate content. It’s hard to systematically crawl a scripted site because the server often generates new URLs with every page request – in other words, it looks like there’s an infinite number of pages. This situation is called a spider trap.
Sometimes, the content from scripts isn’t meant for the general public – for instance, private content for logged-on users. It’s never a good idea for spiders to attempt to access these URLs – most of the time, the server will block them. If the server has bad security, it will serve the pages and possibly leak private information.
For all these reasons, the Google bot is reluctant to crawl pages that contain a query (queries are the “?p=…” part of the URL).
Of course, for SEO purposes, it’s important to make our site’s URLs as spider-friendly as possible.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to change the permalink structure on a WordPress site – the option is built right into the wp-admin panel. Just go to the “Settings – Permalinks” menu, and select the “Post Name” option.
Now all your permalinks will look like this: http://www.yoursite.com/your-post-name/
Not only is it more enticing to the spiders, but it also gives you an opportunity to get your keywords into the URL.
When you write or edit an article, Rank Math helps you to choose a “Focus Keyword” and optimize your content for it.
A web page can rank for many closely related keywords. But a well-written article should have a common theme – it should have focus. The focus keyword is the main focus of your article.
When you use a focus keyword, Rank Math can analyze your content and calculate how well optimized it is. If you don’t provide a focus keyword, Rank Math has no way of knowing how focused the article is.
In the SEO Analysis screen, Rank Math checks that you have a focus keyword set for every piece of content on your site. If it finds any content without keywords, it will alert you, and you can take action.
Fixing the issue is simple – just navigate to your content, click “edit”, and choose a focus keyword in the Rank Math “meta box”.
Rank Math will also help you to optimize your content for the focus keyword.
On the SEO Analysis page, Rank Math checks all your articles with Focus Keywords and highlights the ones without the keyword in the title.
Post titles are a very important piece of SEO real estate. They appear in multiple places – in the page’s meta tags, in headers, in the permalink URL, and near the top of the page.
That’s why you should always aim to get your focus keyword into the post title.
The advanced section is where you get a score for Rank Math’s advanced features. They are:
Rank Math will check if it has been configured to integrate with Google’s Search console. If it hasn’t, you’ll see a warning, and instructions to fix it.
Google’s search console is a sort of back-door into Google’s internal data, which they provide to website owners for free. It gives you a number of incredibly useful insights that you can’t get from anywhere else. It’s also used to alert Google when you have changed your content or published new stuff.
What kind of data does it give you?
Well, for one thing, you can see what your rankings and click-through rate are for each keyword. There are many third-party tools that can track your ranking for well-known keywords – SEM Rush and Ahrefs both offer this feature.
But these services don’t have the sheer wealth of data that Google has. They’re limited to the information that Google makes public.
For instance, SEM Rush and Ahrefs both have huge databases of keywords – they build this database from sources like Google’s suggest tool and the Adwords keyword planner. These tools provide information on millions of keywords, but that’s still only a fraction of the keywords that Google knows about.
Every day, people type completely new search strings into Google – ones that have never been used before. Google tracks these keywords, but they don’t publish all of them in the suggestions tool or keyword planner.
So third-party tools can only tell you about a fraction of your site’s rankings. Search Console can show you a much larger list.
And it can also tell you things that no third party can – how many people see your site in the search results, and what percentage of them click on your link.
This is incredibly useful data – you can quickly spot click-through issues and fix them. If one page is doing exceptionally well, you can work out what’s attracting people and replicate it on your other pages.
Rank Math makes the process even easier by integrating with the search console. But you need to set up the integration on both ends – with Google and inside Rank Math. Don’t worry, it’s a very simple process (we covered it in the “getting started” article).
Rank Math checks that you’ve configured the social media settings, and alerts you if you haven’t.
SEO and social media are the two biggest traffic generating channels (besides paid advertising). They also have a synergistic relationship. A strong social media presence will bring SEO benefits. And great SEO can drive more traffic (and subscribers) into your social channels.
To get the full benefit, you need to link your site to your social channels.
That’s why Rank Math is designed to make it easy to integrate every social channel with your site.
If you can recall the days of dial-up internet, performance was never a big issue. The entire Internet was slow, and nobody had any big expectations. Of course, those days are long behind us.
Today, we expect sites to load quickly.
Better performance means happier users. People do notice it when sites load slowly – many of them will leave a site if it takes more than a couple of seconds to load. That’s a great way to lose visitors!
Improving your site’s loading time will improve your visitor retention, and that should improve your revenue. But that’s not the only reason for improving performance.
Why does Rank Math measure server performance? How is it related to SEO?
Site performance has become a significant ranking factor in the last couple of years. Google doesn’t want to send users to a site that gives a “bad experience” – it makes them look bad by reflection. Put simply, it’s harder to get a top ranking for your keywords if your site loads slowly.
There are lots of things you can do to improve your site’s loading time – Rank Math highlights the simplest fixes that produce the biggest result with the least effort.
Caching is the first step to improve your website’s performance. The simplest way to explain caching is through an example. Whats 162 x 144? Never mind, it is 23,328. Let us ask you again, what’s 162 x 144? Now you know the answer already, because your brain cached it.
Server caching works similarly. Instead of fetching the parts of a page for every page load, your server caches a copy of it and uses it to server users. This option doesn’t check if you’re using caching, but it does check if your server has the necessary capability to do some sort of caching.
Just as you can compress the files on your computer and save a bunch of space, your server can compress entire web pages before transmitting it to the user. This saves a bunch of bandwidth and also helps in improving your load time, which in turn improves user experience and also helps with SEO.
Servers use a compression technique called GZip, which should be enabled for obvious reasons. If it isn’t enabled on your server, you’ll see an error here.
Flash is an older technology not used for the web today because of its many drawbacks. If your website uses Flash, then it may result in poor performance, and bad user experience as most mobile browsers don’t support Flash at all.
Rank Math tries to identify if your website has Flash elements and warns you if it finds some.
Most modern web browsers use caching to speed up the browsing experience of its users as well as save bandwidth. When using caching, one of the problems is that how would the browser know if the content is updated? The answer is expire headers. With each object, your server can attach an expire header, indicating that that element will not change for a specified amount of time.
Images are cached the same way too, and this option verifies if your images are using the Image Expires Header to improve the user experience.
Your website uses CSS or Cascading Style Sheets to style your website. For efficient access, all your CSS should be stored in external CSS files and not used within the HTML body of any page.
This option checks for any inline CSS present on your website and warns you if it finds any.
When optimizing a website, every little bit counts. This option checks if your stylesheets are minimized (compressed) and warns you if they are not.
Tables are a way of presenting information on the screen, but they are often overused. What’s worse is that if nested tables are used, they can lead to some nasty problems. This option verifies that there are no nested tables used on your website.
Embedded objects on your pages like YouTube videos, social sharing buttons, and many others can increase the total number of requests that your page has to make, slowing down your website. This option checks for all the embedded page objects and
A small page will download fast and give your users a good user experience. This option checks the size of your pages and compares them to the average HTML page for analysis.
A big cause of slow websites is slow server response time. This open checks your server response time and notifies you if it is poor.
Rank Math checks for a caching plugin, and alerts you if it can’t find one. So, why is it important to install a caching plugin?
Installing a cache plugin is the simplest way to speed up your web server. Without a cache, WordPress has to rebuild each page every time a new user visits it. The data for the page comes from several sources – from the database, and various files.
Just collecting the data isn’t the end of the story – WordPress then has to process it, running thousands of lines of PHP code (including the code in your themes and plugins).
With a cache, WordPress only has to do that job once. The next time someone requests the same page, the complete page is pulled from the cache and sent down the wire.
We currently recommend 2 cache plugins – WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
A canonical tag is a special tag that should contain the true URL of a page. For example, if you have a page on your website with the link
website.com/cat1/page1/, the same page can appear with different URL when accessed via tags, archives, author pages, and more. This causes duplicate content issues on your website. But when a canonical tag is present with the correct URL of the page, search engines understand that the page is a duplicate of the actual URL.
This option checks your pages for canonical tags and warns you if your website doesn’t use them.
As the web changes, web standards have to keep up. This option checks if your website is using outdated HTML tags, and warns you if it detects any.
IDs and classes are ways to identify elements in a page where classes are mostly used for multiple elements while IDs are mostly used for single elements. This option checks if your content is using duplicate IDs and warns you if it finds any.
HTML frames is an outdated way of loading a page within your page. While useful, it was often abused, and therefore, not used anymore. This option checks if your website is using HTML Frames and warns you if it finds any.
A Nofollow Meta directs the search engines to not follow the links on the page. While useful, this tag is not used on all pages. This option checks your website to see if any posts or pages contain Nofollow tags and warns you if it finds any.
Similar to the Nofollow Meta tag, the Noindex tag directs the search engines not to index the page it is present on. This tag is also very useful but shouldn’t be used on regular posts. This option checks your website for the presence of Noindex Meta tags and warns you if it finds any.
www.website.com may sound the same to you, but for the search engines, they are different websites altogether. To avoid confusing search engines, you generally redirect the www version or the non-www version of your website to the other one, based on your preferences.
OpenGraph Meta is a special piece of code that helps Facebook understand your content better. These become useful when your post is shared on Facebook. This option checks and reports if any of your pages are missing OpenGraph Meta Tags.
Robot.txt is a file in the root folder of your website that directs the search engines on the content they should or should not index. For example, you wouldn’t want Google to index the admin section of your website, right? This option checks if your website has a robots.txt file and warns you if it doesn’t.
The Schema Meta Data is an important code segment that helps search engines understand what your content is about. Rank Math supports a variety of Schema Meta, and you can add them to your posts in a single click.
Sitemaps are like indexes for your website, and they help search engines discover content on your website more effectively. This option checks your website’s sitemap and warns you if a sitemap is not found.
An SPF Record file is a text file lists a collection of hostnames and IP addresses that are authorized to send email on your website’s behalf. This option checks for the presence of an SPF Records and warns you if it’s not found.
This option simply lists the most common words used on your website.
The meta description of your website is a crucial piece of text that helps users identify what your website is about. This option looks for the presence of a meta description, and then gives you feedback if it finds it.
A Doctype is a simple declaration of the type of the document that the browser is going to encounter. This option checks if the Doctype is declared on your website and warns you if it isn’t.
A favicon is a logo-like icon that is used in the bookmarks, tab-icon, and several other places. It is more of a branding tool than anything else. This option checks if a favicon is uploaded on your website and notifies you if it isn’t.
SEO friendly links are useful for users and search engines. To both, they communicate what the website is about. This option checks if your website has SEO friendly URLs and warns you of any links that don’t.
Google Analytics is the most popular analytics solution available online, and this option checks if your website has the Google Analytics code installed or not.
Apart from the URL and the title, the H1 or Heading 1 is the most important signal to the search engines about your page’s topic. This option detects if any of your pages or posts are missing an H1 heading and notifies you about it.
The H2 heading is the next signal that the search engines use to understand your content. Unlike the H1, there can be multiple H2
Search engines are still not perfect at understanding what your images are about. The Image Alt attribute act as an assistant to the search engines by describing your image. This option checks if all your images contain ALT attributes and warns you if some are missing.
This option simply displays a cloud of the most common keywords found on your website’s pages.
Most posts that you create will be with the aim of getting traffic through search engines. An important signal that the search engines look for is the presence of your keywords in the post of the title and its description. This option detects any posts that are not optimized this way and warns you about them.
All your posts should have a healthy mix of internal and external links. This option detects if you have the appropriate number of internal links and warns you if you have too few or too many.
Media queries are the tools that are used to design websites for multiple screen sizes. In common words, responsive web design heavily uses media queries to support multiple devices. This option detects if your website uses media queries and warns you if it doesn’t.
This option shows a snippet of how your website may appear in the search results on a mobile device.
This option shows a snapshot of how your website looks on a mobile device.
Redirections can be a useful tool to manage your website, but there shouldn’t be a redirection on your homepage. This option checks if there are any redirections on your homepage and warns you if it finds some.
This option shows you a preview of your website on how it may appear in the search engines.
The length of your title shouldn’t be too short and neither too long. This option checks the length of your title and warns you if it is too long or too short.
If your website has potential security issues, then Rank Math will highlight those in the security tab.
All servers have built-in capabilities to respond to requests with the list of directories on the server. It’s an essential function that is critical to managing your server.
But, if the directory listing access is open to everyone, it can give hackers enough information about your website to find a vulnerability and go in.
Libwww-Perl is a Perl module (Perl is a programming language) that can give access to your server, if enabled. If left unchecked, savvy hackers and send commands using this library and take control over your server, as if it was their own.
Emails in plain text on a website is like candy to scrappers. Scrapers, or robots, whatever you want to call them, scan websites and make a note of all the email addresses to the website to spam them.
This is not exactly a security threat, but if you have emails listed on your website in plain text, you’ll get a warning.
Google’s first priority is the user experience. That includes keeping users away from malicious websites. If you’ve ever visited a website and are greeted with a giant red warning screen, then you know what we’re talking about.
If Google detects malicious activity on your website, it will be flagged as unsafe, and you’ll be able to see it here as an error.
The most common way hackers find exploits is by looking at signatures. Signatures reveal details about your tech stack, your server and more. By using that information, and looking for known vulnerabilities, hackers can find a way to penetrate your site.
To discourage hackers at the first step, its best that your server and tech setup does not give away any signatures. If it does, you’ll see it right here and how to fix it.
Using a secure connection (https) is becoming important day by day as consumers are becoming more aware of the security of their data. On top of that, Google is also preferring secure sites and plans to give them the edge in the search results. For these reasons, you should switch to https, if you haven’t already.
The social section deals with all the social optimizations for your website.
This option checks if there is a Facebook Page connected to your website and warns if you if it isn’t.
This option checks if there is a Google Plus Page connected to your website and warns if you if it isn’t.
This option checks if there is an Instagram Page connected to your website and warns if you if it isn’t.
This option checks if there is a LinkedIn Profile connected to your website and warns if you if it isn’t.
This option checks if there is a Twitter account connected to your website and warns if you if it isn’t.
This option checks if there is a YouTube Page connected to your website and warns if you if it isn’t.