Version 3.0.5 of Rank Math PRO of January 26th fixes some bugs and also adds some improvements and new features among which a few stand out.
Rank Math has revamped its “Instant Indexing” feature using IndexNow. An initiative that I find interesting.
This feature helps index content faster and more efficiently at the time of publishing. It should be stressed that this simply saves us from manually pinging the search engines that use IndexNow and does not guarantee that they will index it or index it faster, it just speeds up and facilitates the communication process. It is a crawl request that can be automated or done manually. For more details you can see the FAQ on their page.
IndexNow is an initiative by Microsoft and Yandex to efficiently crawl sites in order to reduce the crawling footprint. Several engines have already adopted the IndexNow protocol. At the moment there are two, Bing and Yandex, but who knows if Google and others will follow in the future.
and for Google?
This plugin, which can also be used even if you are not a Rank Math user, extends the “Instant Indexing” options to add the Google API. However, although they announce that there is no problem with its use, they warn us about this:
“Google recommends using the indexing API ONLY for job posting and live streaming websites. However, it works on any type of website and many of our users have already seen great results. Please proceed with caution“.
I have opted not to use this plugin and submit the notice, also manually, from Google Search Console.
how does IndexNow work?
The protocol works by allowing websites to submit URLs to the IndexNow API once, and it is shared with all participating search engines. So, you only have to submit your site changes and URLs once, and all participating search engines will be aware of the latest changes to your site, to crawl, index and reflect these changes earlier in the search results.
When you start submitting your URLs, search engines will want to verify that these submissions are legitimate and come from the website itself and not from malicious sites. Therefore, search engines want websites to generate a unique API key and verify it.
Rank Math takes care of automatically generating this API key for your page, dynamically hosts it on your blog and serves it to the search engines, so you don’t have to configure anything to make it work.
You don’t have to worry about the submission limit either, 10,000 submissions per day are allowed. Some engines don’t take too kindly to you being hit with indexing requests for the same URL for short periods of time. IndexNow recommends waiting at least ten minutes between submissions of the same URL per day. So, the best thing to do is to deactivate the types in “Settings” and do it manually when you finish editing if you are going to make several changes in a row.
The use of “Instant indexing” is very simple. In “Send URLs”, well, that’s it. You can send any URL of your page.
In “Settings” you can select the types of content you want the API to automatically report that have been added or modified.
In “History” you can check the list of submitted links, both in manual and automatic mode, and the response code of the engines.
A nice thing about IndexNow is that it can also be used to submit broken links (404 and 410) to notify search engines about new broken links.
Rank Math was already advertised as one of the lightest plugins, now, its creators claim that it is 20% faster as they are migrating from PHP to React most of its parts.
I stayed with Rank Math after trying almost all existing SEO plugins. And it was more because of their continuous development and their extra options, which I find very useful and saved me a few plugins or headaches, such as image and video maps, the move to automate the ALT and Title for images, their management of redirects and others (see review) and also because they care about performance.
But if what you want is a really light plugin, that yes, without additions and open source, I still recommend strong The SEO Framewok. I used it for a long time and it works perfectly.
Content AI improvements
Content AI was the claim of 1.0.76 for all its November 2021 releases that caused quite a buzz. And which I did a review of back in the day.
Supposedly now, their recommendation engine is smarter about suggesting changes to rank higher.
I’ve played crazy and I’ve asked them by mail about these improvements they’ve announced, but it hasn’t worked.
The answer is that they do not give details about the improvements in the algorithm they use to make the recommendations, but what they do say is that they are now convinced that with the amount of data and comparisons that are made, they have increased the chances of ranking better with this tool.
At the moment I don’t have enough elements for comparison. Although it does seem to work a little better, perhaps I still see that it lacks in the recommendations in Spanish when the search terms are in English. At least in terms of keyword suggestions for the content
Rel sponsored” tag
In the new Rank Math update, affiliate links can be treated as external links on the whole page. Although this i haven’t really tested it yet because I’m adding them by hand, as there are few of them and they don’t share a prefix.
The “rel sponsored” tag is automatically added to all affiliate links.
On the subject of this tag, recommended by Google for outbound links, when calling them “paid links” there was much debate about whether or not it replaced the “nofollow” (it is assumed that you can still use nofollow for this purpose although Google recommends “sponsored”) or if it had to be put to all paid links including affiliate links even if they were not paid as such, but susceptible to be so if a sale was made through them.
It’s supposed to inform about what kind of relationship exists with the page you link to, so beyond informing Google, I think it’s good that any reader can know about it as a simple act of transparency. I’ve already started adding the tag to the affiliate links I’ve added to the reviews.
To add it, just edit the link and select the option.
And this is how it looks when inspecting the code:
Added PHP 8.1 support
Taking advantage of the fact that Lucushost has just added PHP 8.1 I’ve been able to check that it does, Rank Math works fine under 8.1. Although I had to go back to 8.0 because Elementor was crashing when using its widget “Entries for 8.1 related posts. And I’m keeping it under observation until I find the solution.
There are quite a few known cases of Elementor bugs with PHP 8.1, some less with 8.0, but the general advice is that if you use Elementor, keep pulling with 7.4 until incompatibilities are discovered and fixed.
Anyway, if you want to try PHP 8.1, the best thing to do is always to test it first in a test environment and check that everything is responding as it should.