Why Your Content Needs to Have a Good Flesch Reading Score | SEOblog.com

Why Your Content Needs to Have a Good Flesch Reading Score

Vibhu Dhariwal

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In digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), there is a very popular quote of “Content is king.” But is it really true? Shouldn’t the saying specifically be “Good content is king?”

The internet is flooded with so much content on each topic, but SEO algorithms only prioritize the best content that answers the users intent succinctly and precisely. Search engines decide which content should rank for a particular keyword based on the quality, relevance and validity of the content. Let’s say two bloggers write a blog on the same topic and try to rank for the same keyword. Can both be successful in getting the first position?

Absolutely not.

Google looks at many factors while ranking content. And among all factors, content quality, uniqueness, and readability are prioritized. Even if your website has high-quality backlinks and impressive domain authority if the content is not good enough, it will fail. Creating unique and superior quality content is one thing, but when it comes to readability, many don’t even know how to measure it. For that, there is a metric called Flesch Reading Score. It helps in the same.

What is the Flesch Reading Score?

Flesch Reading Score is a formula developed by Rudolph Flesch in 1948 to determine the readability of text content. The formula helps in determining what level of education someone will need to read the particular content.

For example, if your content scores between 70 to 80, then it is most likely that someone with a grade six education can read the content. Presently, marketers use it to determine if their content is readable to the majority of their audience. The Flesch Reading Score is based on average words in a sentence multiplied by 1.015 + average syllables in words multiplied by 84.6, and subtracting the total from 206.835.

Flesch Reading Score Formula

How To Check the Flesch Reading Score

Many premium tools check the readability score of content, like Grammarly. You can also use online tools like WebFX Readability Test Tool for the same. These tools also tell you how many sentences are in your content and the word count, as well as advise on grammar, punctuation and when you need to shorten text. 

You may see the difference in the Flesch reading scores from different tools. It isn’t because those tools follow different formulas for finding the readability score, it happens because of the complex word factor. All tools don’t have the same list of common words, one may consider a word as complex while others may not.

How Does Flesch Reading Score Affect SEO?

Here’s how Flesch Reading Scores affect SEO:

  • Content Readability: The Flesch reading score determines how easy a text is to read. So, if you score well, your content readability will be considered high by Google’s standards too.
  • More Reachable: If you can reach a content score of more than 60 it will be considered easy-to-read to more than 70 percent of your readers. This helps to reduce the bounce rate on the page and increases engagement with your visitors which directly helped improve SEO. 
  • Google Featured Snippet: In an analysis by SEOJournal of 419 pages securing a featured snippet positon, it was found that 50 percent of those pages had a readability score of more than 60 percent. It is assumed that the good readability score of these pages played a significant role in Google choosing the page for a featured snippet position.
  • Voice Search Traffic: Voice search is fast becoming popular among online searchers. Google Assistant won’t offer results and answers that have been written in an overly-complicated or verbose manner. The search engine favors simple, straightforward, quality content that provides succinct answers.

Factors That Affect Flesch Reading Score

  • Average sentence length
  • Percentage of complex words in the content
  • Number of sentences
  • Average syllables per word

If you are writing a piece that is 1,500 words long, then you should aim for an average Flesch Reading Score of 70.

High Flesch Reading Vs. Low Flesch Reading Score Content

One can easily differentiate between more readable content and less readable content. Here’s an example:

“Digital marketing is all about promoting a brand on digital platforms to get more leads and engagements, which can help companies boost their revenue, which is also at a very low expense.”

The readability score of the above content is 34. 

Now, check this out:

Digital marketing is all about promoting a brand on digital platforms. It allows marketers to get more leads and engagements. Ultimately, it helps them in getting more return on investment.

The readability score of the above content is 47. 

Now, you can easily see the reason for the difference in the readability score between both examples. In the first example, the whole paragraph consists of a single sentence, while in the second example, the paragraph is made up of three sentences. It helped to adjust both the average sentence and the average word count in the examples.

You may be wondering why the score is still 47, not higher. The reason is that it is easier to maintain good readability in long content than less content.

Tricks To Improve Flesch Readability Score

  • Use bulleted points rather than writing content in paragraphs.
  • Use common and easy words.
  • Try to avoid writing sentences that are more than 10 words.
  • Use synonyms.
  • Avoid starting your sentences with similar words.

Content written for experts may not allow the writer to achieve a readability score of above 50. In the case of expert blogs or articles, writers need to add many technical terms and if you add technical terms, it affects the percentage of complex words found in the content.

However, do try to keep your average sentence length between eight to 12 words to avoid making the content score even lower.

Final Thoughts

Understandably, following all of these guidelines is not easy while writing content. Check your copy once you’ve completed the piece entirely. 

The Flesch Readability Score is how you make sure your content is readable to the majority of your online audience. However, this score doesn’t guarantee the success of your content. The main ingredient that makes any content engaging is the unique idea and quality of the content.

The readability score of this article is 70, per the WebFx Readability Testing Tool.

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