Rank Math SEO Plugin Adds WordPress Block Editor Support

The team behind the Rank Math SEO plugin released an update that includes full support for the block editor on December 18. The update includes around two dozen features, improvements, and fixes. The biggest feature update was the inclusion of a new plugin sidebar for the block editor.

Some of the new features include a filter for unlimited focus keywords, an email notification each time the plugin is automatically updated, and a warning when using the review Schema type. It also improved compatibility with the Elementor plugin’s sitemap module and added Advanced Custom Fields integration to the sidebar. A full list of features is available in the plugin’s public change log.

The team has a public demo available for end-users to test the plugin without having to install it on their sites.

Bhanu Ahluwalia, co-founder and CMO at Rank Math, said that everyone on the team had been experimenting with the Gutenberg plugin since the first beta was released. “We had some experience with Gutenberg, but working on Rank Math has taught us so many things and helped us on so many levels,” he said.

It was not always a smooth journey. Ahluwalia said the team wanted to keep the plugin lightweight and not sacrifice speed with new technologies. “We had to learn React, Webpack, ES6, etc.,” he said. “In essence, we had to re-learn patterns, practices, and pitfalls of Gutenberg, and we had to do it all with little-to-no documentation available. We had to dive deep into the code and get ourselves familiar with every line of code to ensure nothing interfered with the existing functions of our plugin.”

Testing the Block Editor Sidebar

Screenshot of the Rank Math sidebar in the block editor.
Rank Math sidebar as seen in the block editor.

Immediately upon activating the update, I noted the Rank Math button at the top right of the editor. Admittedly, I was not happy with the space the button took up or its difference in design when compared to other plugin sidebar buttons. Instead of a simple icon, the button includes both an icon and an SEO score. As more and more plugins and themes begin adding sidebars of their own, this space could become cluttered quickly. I would like to see this scaled back to simply be an icon and not take up precious screen real estate.

The plugin manages to pack a ton of options and information into a tight spot. Once viewing the plugin sidebar, it presents four sub-tabs (General, Advanced, Schema, and Social), each with custom panels or sections. While I am not generally a fan of complex SEO plugins and prefer solutions such as Slim SEO, the plugin handles the interface gracefully.

In comparison to the old meta boxes, the interface is a huge step up. The meta box system used in previous versions of the plugin or with the current Classic editor is cumbersome at best. The team had to get more creative to pull off a solution for the sidebar, which forced them to tighten up the interface.

Not all users were happy with the narrow space provided by the new sidebar. The Rank Math team was ahead of the game and included a filter hook to disable this feature. Disabling will return the old-style meta box at the bottom of the post-editing area.

“Supporting both the Classic Editor and Gutenberg at once with a single plugin is hectic to say the least,” said Ahluwalia. “We would rather put our energy into a single editing experience, but seeing how WordPress is evolving after Gutenberg, we have to double our efforts to offer a consistent user experience.”

At the moment, the team plans to continue supporting the classic editor until at least 2022. “Depending on the user feedback and the acceptance of the Classic editor, we can continue to support it even further,” said Ahluwalia.

The Rank Math also team shared a video of block editor support on Twitter:

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26 responses to “Rank Math SEO Plugin Adds WordPress Block Editor Support”

  1. Wolfard says:

    I love the new interface of Rankmath plugin. Saves me from scrolling up and down all the time when optimizing an article.

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    • Greg Hyatt says:

      Absolutely. It is much better where it is easily accessible to make quick changes to a multitude of items without having to scroll back to the bottom of the post itself to do the same thing. Since I utilize Elementor, this was a huge blessing in the way that Rank Math integrates itself into the builder making things much easier to manage.

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  2. Free is great, but… eventual pricing has not been published.

    Not knowing pricing for the forthcoming premium version, and how will the free version be affected when their premium version is offered is a show stopper.

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    • Jesus says:

      They have said multiple times that what you get for free is always going to be free :)

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    • Jafar Muhammed says:

      Hi Marcus,

      I am quoting from RankMath’s official reply here to the same question.

      “​We do plan on releasing a paid version but that will have additional features. The free version will always remain free with all the features you see in the plugin right now.

      ​You can check our roadmap for more details: https://rankmath.com/roadmap/

      ​Hope that helps”

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    • Alex Panagis says:

      Hey Marcus,

      You’ll be glad to hear that Rank Math has actually confirmed that the free version will not be affected when the premium version is released. This means that all of the features that are currently available for free will remain free even when there is a premium/paid version of the plugin available.

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    • Hi Marcus,

      There are plans of introducing a premium version of the plugin down the line and since that is not completed yet. the pricing is not decided.

      When the premium version is released, nothing in the free version will be removed or restricted.

      The current free version with all the working functionalities will remain as such. The premium version will be targeted towards advanced users.

      I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further concerns.

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      • Hello Bhanu,

        Thank you for following up on my concerns about Free features once the paid Pro version is launched. This is very helpful.

        My next question concerns Yoast to Rank Math conversion.

        Will Rank Math move the Yoast five keywords in each Post and their meta over to Rank Math when installing and importing Yoast SEO settings?

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        • Jos Moreno says:

          Hello Marcus,
          How are you? wow, thank you for keeping Rank Math free – it is a fantastic tool.

          I am just reaching out I have a problem with your plugin it is not working (allow me to add keywords) on WordPress website.

          I have tried different things still not working. checked the support I could see the solution I do not want to uninstalled it.

          Any kind of help will be appreciated.
          Kind regards
          Jos

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          • Alex says:

            Hi Jos,

            So sorry to hear about that – this is obviously not ideal at all…

            The best way to help the support team get to the bottom of your issue as soon as possible is by submitting a ticket here: https://support.rankmath.com/product/rank-math-suite/#new-topic

            There you’ll be able to provide them with access to login to your site and diagnose the issue from their end which is something that we won’t be able to help you here over the comments.

            All the best!

            Kind regards,

            Alex Panagis

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      • Hi Marcus,

        Yes, the Rank Math plugins import all the data from the free and premium version of the above-mentioned SEO plugin.

        Here’s a great guide on how to set up the plugin completely and correctly:
        https://www.wpmediamastery.com/rank-math-seo/

        Here’s another take on how to move the sites to Rank Math properly without losing any data:
        https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/reviews/rank-math/

        You are free to check our KB articles which should help you further in understanding the plugin:
        https://rankmath.com/kb/

        I hope that helps. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.

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    • George says:

      Good question, yoast killed several free functionality and moved it to paid, like 301 on page etc.

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  3. WP Troop says:

    Congratulations Rank Math for adding WordPress Block Editor Support. The recent feature will help this awesome plugin to grow along with Gutenberg.

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  4. I love Rank Math. However, they should display a notice on the dashboard to let me know that they have moved the options from the bottom to Gutenberg sidebars. Was totally confused about where to look. I have several addons installed and by default, Block Editor hid Rank Math Options.

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  5. Rankmath has a lot of free features which I really like

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  6. Now, this is something great, With #Gutenberg support, it is more simple, quick and visually appealing. great work
    @rankmathseo and #Gutenberg team.

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  7. Yasin says:

    Im using RankMath for a while and i love it. I hope they keep their word and dont limit the free version when premium one is up.
    And the only thing im still waiting for upgrade is “other languages” support on seo scores. The special charachters still making beginners nervous when they get lower points.

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  8. ThaiWP says:

    I’m switched to RankMath (from Yoast) for a while and I think they’re getting better and better. I like RankMath UI which is more organized and straight to the point. The plugin also works well with Elementor.

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  9. JB says:

    Thinking of switching over from Yoast, do I need to uninstall Yoast to work with Rank Math or can I have both installed at the same time while I decide if I like it or not?

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    • It’s probably not a good idea to run two separate SEO plugins on a live site. I would recommend running Rank Math on a test install to see how you like it first.

      Both plugins can import settings and metadata from the other plugin, so you may be able to switch back and forth. I cannot say how well the import functionality works for either plugin, so use my advice cautiously by storing a backup if you go that route.

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  10. Trishan says:

    I loved the new sidebar block that RankMath unveiled. Now I can insert keywords and meta information without scrolling to the bottom. I am waiting for the keyword tracking feature in the RankMath search console dashboard which is showing a ‘coming soon’ notice for the last many months.

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  11. Atul Jaiswal says:

    Having these settings on the right side is a bit congested for me. I liked it at the bottom only.

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  12. Knut Nägele says:

    Thanks for this article about the support of the block editor. I have just started using RankMath, and am getting more and more happy sbout it.

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