As a content creator, you know how to craft an article and include important aspects such as best-fitted keywords and data-driven insights. However, before submitting the article you need to check its readability, something many content teams overlook.
If you want your written article to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you should take your article’s readability seriously.
Two common questions regarding readability:
So the quick answers are, yes, readability does affect your SEO and, no, search engines don’t have special features to check readability. Readability is considered an indirect ranking factor but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. This article discusses what readability is, how it affects SEO and why it matters.
Readability refers to how easy the content is to read and understand. Excellent readability means your content is easier and clearer to understand for the larger audience segment. Focusing on your content’s readability helps to target visitors who enjoy online reading. What’s more, by producing content that is easy to consume the reader is immediately engaged and they will spend more time on your page.
Here are a few reasons why readability should be prioritized when creating new content and in your content marketing strategy:
Content that is difficult to read and full of wordy sentences is not ideal for search engines. When visitors struggle to understand your content, they ignore it and try to seek out content they can quickly get a grasp on. Thereby, readability helps to improve the effectiveness of your content.
When writing new and unique content make sure you have a predetermined idea of who your audience is and the reading age you’re trying to match. Interestingly, the average reading age is lower than your expectation. Both Grammarly and the Hemingway App give you an idea of the reading age of your content – both of these editors are well worth using to ensure your content is high quality, unique and consumable. Overly complicated language will distract and often, disengage your user no matter what their reading age was.
If your content maintains a readability score of grade eight or lower you can rest assured at least 85 percent of the public can read it. That number will increase if the content readability is improved to grade five. Most experts encourage online writers to produce content with a readability level of age nine. By not addressing the readability of your content you could be considered to be discriminating against your readers and their ability to learn.
Most of the search engine algorithms track the behavior of website visitors and engaging content is a website element that keeps visitors on your site for longer. This sends positive signals to the search engine, indicating your website is considered a high-quality site with good information. Copy that is highly technical, convoluted, or verbose makes your website non-accessible for visitors.
When considering your content’s readability be sure to look out for lengthy sentences and chop them up for easier reading. Also, try to use active voice rather than passive voice.
Any avid reader will tell you their way of absorbing information and working through text differs between reading online and offline. Studies show, many of your website visitors just scan the web page and only read around 18 percent of the text. This is mostly because online readers are searching for specific information. So if the sentences are too long and too wordy, your visitor will become impatient and likely to bounce from your website to move to the next site.
Improving the readability of your content will improve your SEO. Readability ensures your website benefits from the following:
When you improve your content readability, you improve your user’s behavior on your website. Online readers don’t have the patience to work through long and complex content. They read to get the information and they want it in the fastest and simplest way possible.
If your content’s first few sentences are hard to read or make use of complicated language, nobody will read it. Make sure the information you want to share is accessible, simple and concise.
Improved dwell time and a reduced bounce rate mean Google will rate your website as valuable and useful and include it in the SERPs for key terms associated with your content. This results in a better ranking of your website and is a great boost for your overall SEO strategy.
Your website copy should be created with your audiences’ preferences in mind. In your content, they must be able to find the information they need, uncomplicated solutions and the answers to the questions they searched. Your content must be optimized with keywords, contextual content and directed for user intent for it to work in alignment with your SEO practice. If you are meeting all of these requirements with your content you’ll find your users will have a seamless experience with your site.
Google can quickly recognize quality content. In fact, the latest algorithm updates allow the search engine to identify synonyms and predict what the audience wants to read. From the search query, the search engine can make an educated guess about the search intent and then deliver content related to that query. When your content matches that search intent Google will favor your content and it will rank higher on the SERPs.
Voice search is growing in popularity and Google, as well as other search engines, present results constructed in a voice-like-manner. If your content contains long sentence, hefty paragraphs and difficult words, imagine how it sounds in voice search. Plain language content has a better chance of being read out loud by Google for voice search purposes.
⇨ Yoast SEO
⇨ SEMrush SEO writing assistant
⇨ WebFX Readability Tool
⇨ Readability Analyzer
It’s not an easy job to optimize your content for readability but it’s worthwhile as it has a huge impact on your SEO rankings. Make sure you fully understand the readability concept to improve your scores as well as your rankings on SERPs.