Are looking for effective and tested ways to improve your content readability? Well, you’re in the right place.
SEO and Readability
Importantly, you should know that Readability Score has a direct effect on the traffic you generate and the ranking you have on SERPs.
Think about it, your website should be easy to read. Make it easy to read, and you will have more visitors on your website. More visits make your website more prominent on search engine result pages (SERP).
Technically, most bloggers focus on improving:
- keyword density,
- meta tags.
- image alt tags.
- LSI keywords.
- On-page and off-page SEO.
Most of the time, they forget to increase Readability Score of the post. Don’t make the same mistake.
First of all, you should know …
What is Readability Score?
The readability score of a piece of content is based on a comparison of its reading level to that of standard English.
The readability score allows you to assess how easily a piece of content can be read.
A score of about 30 is roughly the same as the US average for adult literacy.
A score of about 80 is roughly the same as the US average for adult content.
The formula for calculating the readability score based on The Flesch formula:
R= 206.835 − (1.015 × L) − (84.6 × NH)
- R is the readability score
- L is the average number of words per sentence
- NH is the average number of syllables per word,
The Best Free Readability Checker Tool
Yoast plugin offers this feature for free for WordPress users. So, you’ll easily measure and improve your content by activating their free plugin.
Yoast also has a free web version for readability testing and real-time content analysis.
As you write web content, it’ll keep you updated with the score.
Moreover, it helps writers by pointing out how they’ll be able to increase their content readability with helpful tips.
Yoast Score Color Indicators:
- Red – Means the readability score is low. You need to improve it.
- Orange – Means the score is medium and you need to apply some tips to fix it more.
- Green – Means the score is great, but sometimes you might need slight changes to improve it further.
Yoast SEO real time content analysis tool based on years of data from the top marketers. This is everything you’ll ever need for improving readability. It calculates the parameters in real-time and makes its insights accessible quickly.
- A score above 60 means the web content is easy to read and won’t bore the users.
- Most posts ranking on the first page of Google have a high readability score.
How Flesch-Kincaid Scale Measures Readability?
The Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level formula can measure the difficulty level of a piece of writing quantifiably.
It calculates the approximate grade between 0 and 30 based on the average number of syllables per word in the text and the average number of words per sentence.
The formula basically converts the writing into word count per page and then to the number of years of schooling necessary to understand and comprehend the text, and then to a grade between 0 and 30.
The higher the grade level, the more difficult the text is, the lower the grade level, the more simple it is. Also, it is easy to make out that the Flesch formula (F–K) is very closely related to the SMOG formula.
Both of them are pretty much based on the calculation of the average number of words per sentence.
It’s pretty simple how to boost readability analysis. I’ll be giving some tips and techniques I apply while creating my content.
Does readability affect SEO?
In short, yes.
In long, readability affects several elements of your website that can affect SEO. The primary one being the user experience and the bounce rate.
If you have a higher readability score, it signals to Google that your website is a good place for users to visit and your users are more likely to read the content of your pages. This will help with your SEO scores.
On top of that, if other aspects of your website such as load times, usability, and content quality are also on point, you will see a lower bounce rate.
According to Google, a high bounce rate is a bad thing. Here is what their support page says:
“When users click on a search result and don’t end up on a page that answers their query, they’re likely to think Google gave them bad results, and then they might not trust Google search results again.”
A high bounce rate will also impact your rankings on Google because Google’s algorithm will think that your website is not a good place for users to visit and will be demoted in the search rankings accordingly.
So, both readability and bounce rate will affect how Google sees your website and can impact your search ranking.
How can I tell if my readability score is low?
You do need a tool like Similar Content to test the readability of your content to ensure it’s easy for the reader to understand your message, you only need to paste or type in your text and press the “Test Readability” button to see your readability score.
SimilarContent not only helps you to check your content readability, you can benefit a lot from using Similar Content software to create, analyze, optimize, and improve your content performance.
So, if you want to be on the first page, you must follow the following 4 readability tips:
How to Improve the Your Content Readability?
The best way to improve your readability score is to focus on the user.
If your reading experience is not improved through the design, it won’t be improved in any other aspect.
Your content should be presented in a way that anticipates the needs of your reader.
This means that when a user opens your page they can find what they are looking for and they can see it immediately.
It should be easy to navigate, they have to be in control. So, make clear hierarchical structures, break the content into several paragraphs and use sub-headings to divide it.
If you use long sentences don’t be afraid to break it into several pieces of content.
The next step is apply the readability rules:
I use these 4 tips to boost content readability on a daily basis. As a result, I notice that my rankings begin to get better as the readability improves.
#1 Paragraph Size:
First of all, you need to check your content for long paragraphs and SHRINK them! If you want to achieve a high readability score, this is the first and most important step.
Let’s have an example of a long paragraph: Writing long paragraphs is really boring and looks bulky. It drives away the audience because they feel like they have a lot to read!
Most advanced blogs write shorter paragraphs and often include a question every now and then. This amplifies engagement.
Whether you have to explain or review something, go with shorter paragraphs. The user will better comprehend the text. If you make the paragraphs longer and more dramatic, it actually makes the content poor based on the readability formula. So, let the reader consume shorter chunks of information.
Not to mention that low readability scores directly affect the bounce rate!
To sum up:
Break the long paragraphs into 2-3 sentences long paragraphs to increase the readability score.
#2 Number of Words Per Sentence:
You should aim for 13-19 words or less per sentence for a higher readability score. Simply, break the long sentences into smaller ones while keeping the value.
Let’s break it down:
“Having been in school for many years now, I fully understand the importance of reading.”
You can see that the sentence is over-long. I suggest you break it down into two sentences.
“Having been in school for many years now, I fully understand the importance of reading.”
“I fully understand the importance of reading because I’ve been in school for many years now.”
Sentences which are too short will distract the reader. Sentences which are too long will also distract the reader. The key is to find the best level of readability.
The readability of a single sentence is much more important than the readability of a whole article.
Sometimes you need to write a single sentence, which is complete and perfect. An article’s whole readability is not nearly as important as each sentence’s readability.
To sum up:
The fewer words per sentence, the better the score will be and the more audience you’ll have.
#3 Filler Words:
Readability hates filler words! It’s basically readability’s worst enemy.
So, how to get rid of filler words?
- Remove unnecessary adjectives.
- Keep the sentences short, simple and to the point.
- Don’t hype the content with adjectives.
#4 Characters per Word:
Now, I know it’s hard focusing on each word’s character while writing. All I’m saying is try to focus on keeping the characters per word count 5 or fewer.
Practice writing shorter words unless the situation demands otherwise. When your pages are full of short words, including the headings and supplemental content, it will better accommodate your readers.
It will also create highly targeted attention in your message and call to action. In general, people will become a lot more interested in your brand.
Longer words will receive lower scores. Also, the more you use complicated words, the lower the score will be.
Use a Thesaurus to shorten longer words. You can simply look for synonyms. Target shorter words to replace the long ones. Fire up Google and search for “define magnificent” and check the synonyms there for any shorter alternative.
Don’t worry much about the characters per word count while writing. Just finish the piece, test it and, finally see what needs to be done.
To sum up How to Improve Readability
To improve readability, you can:
- Write shorter sentences
- Use simpler words
- Avoid passive voice
- Use first-person, present-tense
- Avoid long paragraphs
- Use lists
- Add images
- Use bulleted lists
- Add headings
- Use sub-headings
- Use a style guide
- Use a thesaurus
Start using our tips today. When Google performs its next index on your website, the algorithms will grade you better and you’ll outperform competitor websites. It will take some amount of time.
Once you’ve optimized your existing text, make sure you add something new. Make sure you use readability improvement techniques in your new content too.
Go through the written content, check the score and make it higher.
Empower your online content marketing plan today!.