Today, I have Interviewed Bhanu Ahluwalia, commonly known as “Rank Math” to the WordPress community. As CEO and founder of the Rank Math SEO: Powerful and Lightweight SEO plugin for WordPress, Bhanu is a bit of a legend in the copywriting, SEO and plugin development world.
1. Please tell us about yourself?
Before everything with MyThemeShop and Rank Math started and very shortly after I graduated from the International Institute of Technology Training with a degree in Computers Technology I began working as a social media consultant at Digg until I started blogging and became a Google AdSense premium publisher.
While blogging, I realized that I consistently faced the same problem. I always struggled to find fast WordPress themes to use on our own websites which led to the launch of our own theme company back in 2012 so that we could focus on building something that not only we use but also the entire WordPress community as a whole can benefit from.
2. How did you come up with an idea to create Rank Math – The best WordPress plugin for SEO?
Very similar to the origin story for MyThemeShop, in 2015 we were coming to terms with the fact that none of the SEO plugins available were complete solutions that had everything we needed internally as well as what other WordPress users needed. As a result, we started developing an SEO plugin that was planned to be used internally. Unsurprisingly, over three and a half years later, WordPress users were consistently requesting that we release the plugin publicly so we inevitably decided to prepare the plugin and launch it on the WordPress plugin repository.
And, in short, here we are today. 😄
The plugin was clearly well-received by the community and has (at the time of writing) grown to over 100,000+ active installations in the matter of months.
3. Does Rank Math have any contributions for Drupal and other CMS’s?
No, at the moment Rank Math is only available for the WordPress content management system. Catering to other popular content management systems is something that we may look at doing in the future but WordPress alone is a huge market and we want to focus all of our resources on ensuring that the WordPress plugin gets all of the attention and support it needs to make sure that everyone’s experience with the plugin is a smooth as possible.
4. When you were first introduced to the WordPress blogging platform, what impressed you about it the most and why did you choose WordPress over other self-hosted blogging platforms like Joomla, Drupal or even Typepad?
Although this might be hard to believe, I actually started out on Blogger at the very beginning but as my blog grew and my need for customization also grew, I inevitably came across what is now the world’s best content management system – WordPress and haven’t looked back since. It is still, to this day, a flexible and powerful content management system that has served us very well at MyThemeShop and Rank Math and continues to do so as we speak.
5. What kind of expertise or education does someone need who is interested in getting into plugin development?
That’s a great question. Although I am not personally a developer, my recommendations and from what I understand from the developers that I work with and know – the best way to learn is by doing. You don’t necessarily need a computer science degree in order to learn programming.
Without trying to sound cheesy, all it really takes is a computer, an internet connection, an idea and the willpower to do all of the research and overcome all of the hurdles that you’ll run into along the way. If you have that, are dedicated and also enjoy the process, you might be able to build products that not only solve problems that you experience in your time working with WordPress but also help up to 100s of thousands of other people also building websites with WordPress.
6. Can you share some of the great content optimization strategies with our readers?
Our simple, three-step yet difficult to replicate SEO strategy:
- Find a target keyword that is suitable for your website/blog
- Create the best post or page on the internet for a given topic
- Promote this post (by link building and syndicating it on social media)
Bonus step: 4.) Maintain & improve the post over time so that it stays relevant to searchers as technology, and trends change.
This is the only strategy that I believe will yield great results if implemented effectively and on a consistent basis. For those of you who are struggling with the first step, I recommend checking out this keyword research guide we’ve put together for you. We dive deep into the different types of keywords that are worth targeting and the type of content that you should produce in order to satisfy searcher intent and outrank your competitors – something I would love to go into greater depth about but would simply be too long to go into detail in this written interview as well! 😄
7. How does Rank Math optimize the content for mobile devices?
At the moment, the main way in which we do this is through our automated SEO audit which runs through a number of checks, most of which we’ve looked at in this article about SEO audits.
When running the SEO analysis, Rank Math will not only tell you whether your website is considered to be mobile-friendly, it actually lets you preview what your website will look like in mobile search results.
8. What do you think, is SEO best way of getting more visitors to a blog?
This is a really great question and I suppose this does depend on what you would define “the best way” really means as this is something that will vary significantly from website to website. Search Engine Optimization is by far the best way to develop a consistent stream of traffic and visitors, while social media will inevitably only result in what Tim Soulo (the CMO of Ahrefs) himself refers to as the “Spike of Hope and Flatline of Nope”.
9. Rank Math is updating its features. Share some of the future updates of Rank Math SEO WordPress plugin?
For anyone interested in following along to see what features we’re releasing and how Rank Math’s development is progressing, I highly recommend checking out our public roadmap. Unfortunately, I’m not able to disclose any new features that we are still developing but what I can say is that there is a lot to look forward to!
10. Apart from your plugins which others do you see as essential and why?
The Perfmatters WordPress plugin is a lightweight WordPress performance plugin that comes bundled with a number of settings that make it easy to implement important modifications to speed up your website as well as insert header & footer code for Google Tag Manager. This is what we recommend using to insert any code into the header and footer of your website as well as setting up DNS prefetch and preconnect.
2. ShortPixel (or Imagify)
While we’re on the topic of performance, it goes without saying that we highly recommend installing a WordPress image optimization plugin such as ShortPixel or Imagify. Both of these are the solutions we trust and recommend.
The same way every WordPress website needs a search engine optimization plugin, it can also be said that sites need a WordPress form plugin. Kali Forms is a relatively new player in the WordPress forms space but we’re excited to see what’s in store for the future of this plugin especially since it’s new and built from the ground up with a focus on performance on the powerful React framework.
Caching is an important part of improving website performance. For users who can’t be bothered to go through the somewhat complicated setup with W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket is a great easy alternative that also comes with great support. On the other hand, we’re also huge fans of W3 Total Cache as it gives you granular control if you know what you’re doing and we’ve even put a great W3 Total Cache tutorial together for people new to WordPress that don’t want to spend the money on a caching plugin just yet.