The Review and the Reviewer
Rank Math make what we at Helter Skelter Digital consider to be the best SEO plugin for WordPress. They have been very active in supporting the plugin and answering wider questions about SEO. Now, in an entirely logical step forward, they have decided to launch the Rank Math SEO Course.
I’ve been delivering SEO Consultancy for around seven years now, working with a variety of clients, mainly in the tech sector but also including fashion, education, security and the arts. We were an early adopter of Rank Math, we always install Rank Math on our client’s and our own websites and I was delighted to be invited to review their upcoming SEO Course.
I have to say I thoroughly recommend it. So lets dive right in.
Table of Contents
What to Look for in an SEO Course
When we deliver SEO training for our clients we always start off with the basics.
- What is The Search Engine’s Perspective?
- Who are Google’s Customers and What do they Want?
- Making Life Easy for Search Engines
- Technical SEO
- Content Architecture
- On Page and Off Page SEO
- How to Compete with Bigger Sites
These bullet points are built on sound business practice and in many ways, common sense. There is nothing profoundly difficult about SEO once you appreciate the Search Engine’s perspective.
It boils down to a single question. The question that we as website owners should be asking is “How Can I help someone today?” rather than “How can I drive my site up the rankings?” This single change in approach leads to a much better web site, more traffic and ultimately more business.
What to Avoid
Tricks and Shortcuts. SEO has always been prone to delivering short term value via tricks and hacks. This unfortunate tendency spawned what is known as “Black Hat SEO” and should be avoided at all costs. Not least because Google actively penalises sites that use these techniques by ignoring them.
How the Rank Math SEO Course Lines Up
The Rank Math course is fronted by Jack Cao, YouTuber, Marketer and Mentor, now a fully paid up member of the Rank Math organisation. Those of you who have seen his videos will know what an excellent teacher he is.
The first thing to say is the course is built on common sense. In the main, it is not specific to Rank Math, most of the content applies to widely accepted best practices in SEO.
The course covers SEO Foundations – the anatomy of a URL and setting up a WordPress site. The instruction for setting up a WordPress site are specific to one US based hosting company but you’ll find they are more or less common to all. If your business is in Europe you’re probably going to want to host in Europe. Check out our post on choosing the best hosting company.
After the foundations there is a module on understanding Search Engines which includes detail on how search engines work, what is meant by search engine optimisation and how to interpret the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), which includes some real world stats on the probability of clickthru being achieved at various positions in the results page.
This is followed by a series of practical lectures on How to Get your Pages Indexed Fast which is invaluable. This includes instruction that is general to all – setting up site maps, registering with Google Search Console and how to request indexing manually, and follows with a module specific to Rank Math and Google concerning the set up of instant indexing across Google and the other search engines in the Rank Math console. Then follows more useful information – how to check to see if your page is indexed and things to double check if it isn’t. Remove all the technical obstructions and you’re left with one remedy – write better content.
The next section deals with keywords, going into the function of keywords, how to choose relevant keywords and understanding search intent. This last item is so totally crucial to effective SEO that it should be engraved on the forehead of every website owner! It’s about the customer. Always.
After understanding keywords the course goes into detail about keyword research and this section is pure gold. Jack knows how to find viable keywords and describes exactly how to do this manually (with the help of a spreadsheet, Google search and some competitors) and with paid for software. He recommends LowFruits, a reasonably priced software that helps identify long tail keywords with search volume and low competition, saving hours of valuable time.
Finally there is a section on Architecting Site Authority. If the last section was worth its weight in gold, this one is worth double.
The problem it addresses is this. Given the choice, which site would you be more likely to click on if you saw them both in the search results for a query “What is the best approach to SEO?” – RankMath.com or SimpleSEOStore.com? The answer of course is Rank Math, because you’ve never heard of Simple SEO Store for the very good reason that they don’t exist. Customers (and Search Engines) are biased in favour of reliable sources of good information.
The challenge for new website owners is how to raise the profile of your site – the prevailing wisdom is to do it by using long tail keywords with significant search volume and low competition. Finding these can be like searching for a needle in a haystack which is why Jack’s modules on identifying and optimising for similar keywords is so useful at post level and more strategically, the use of information silos and hub and spoke architectures are invaluable methods of making your new site competitive in Search.
What Stands Out
This course delivers real quantifiable value. Where many courses (and consultants) skate along the surface of the subject, this course dives right in deep and delivers useful advice, good recommendations and real world answers to the perennial problems facing all website owners at some stage.
There are no tricks and hacks of the type I mentioned earlier. SEO is a medium to long term game and the course makes now attempt to gloss over this fact. Instead it focuses resolutely on best practices underpinned by useful information.
I would think that new website owners will want to revisit this course as they progress in their SEO journey. The reality is it takes several weeks if not months to get a site ranked by Google, the Maths say there are 1.13 billion sites out there, the front page of Google can only list ten!
The foundations of the course are strong, it has been very well designed to deliver evergreen nuggets of information. New things will happen in SEO, but I very much doubt if there is much in this course that will date quickly. It will be updated, but the foundations are designed to last.
The course is subscription only.
The yearly cost is $197 for the first year and then $227 per year from the next year onwards. There is no monthly option.
Included in this are new monthly videos which will keep the course current and access to the Rank Math SEO Q&A sessions.
Because the course covers so much ground, I think the price is reasonable. SEO is a journey, Google issue updates and SEO adapts. Because it is a moving picture, the chance of a newcomer reaching expert level in one year is vanishingly small.
All of the content is delivered by video. Although there are onscreen notes, there is no transcript. This would be a useful addition and a great help for people with different learning styles.
I can recommend this SEO course without reservation. Well structured, authoritatively delivered and containing real value, this course contains information that would take many hours of Google searches to retrieve and the best bit – there is no superfluous fluff. If you’re investing in the Rank Math plugin for your WordPress site or simply want to learn the fundamentals of SEO, then this course is an excellent investment.