Readability & SEO: Every Word Matters

When working on SEO, there are so many aspects you need to keep in mind. From readability to outbound links, Google considers all of these factors and ranks your site based on how it performs across the board. One of the most important aspects to keep in mind deals with the content on your site. How accessible is it? Does it fit with your branding and messaging? What words are you using to convey your message? All of these answers have to do with readability.

What exactly does readability measure? Essentially, readability scores how understandable your content is. Specifically, the score analyzes:

  • Passive voice: If you write most of your content in passive voice, your score will be lower. Yoast SEO, a WordPress plugin, typically flags passive voice if more than 10% of your content is written in passive voice.
  • Length of sentences: If the majority of your sentences contain more than 20 words, your readability score will go down. Your sentences need to be concise to ensure your readers don’t get lost in too many words. You also don’t want your paragraphs to be too long
  • Flesch Reading Score: This metric measures the complexity your content. A score of 100 means the sentences are short, and the words contain two to three syllables each. You want your score to be between 60 and 100 because you want your text to be understood
  • Transition words: Believe it or not, your readability score measures the amount of transition words you use. Yoast SEO typically wants to see a minimum of 30%. These words are important because they serve as a signal to your readers that something important is coming.
  • Subheadings: You won’t have to worry about this for every post. But if you do have a longer chunk of content, make sure you break it up with a subheading. These are important because they draw attention to information that’s pertinent.

Why is readability important?

Simply, you want the content on your website to be accessible while remaining informative. You don’t want your posts to be too complicated, but you also don’t want them to be too simple or too boring. Your messaging and branding needs to be delivered in the most efficient manner, and every word you use matters. In order to keep your readers engaged, you must pay attention to your readability score. Also, your readability score contributes to your overall SEO score, which we covered in this blog post. The SEO score tells Google where to rank your website in their search results. Long story short, it’s all extremely important and relevant.

So how do you go about posting content that is green-light worthy? When writing any kind of copy for your site, keep the above five aspects in mind.

To help you out, here’s a checklist:

    1. Are you writing in active voice?
    2. How long are your sentences? How long are your paragraphs?
    3. Is your text easy to read? Where do you score on the Flesch Reading metric?
    4. Are you using transition words, connecting  one idea to the next
    5. If your text is decently long, did you include a subheading or two?

If you want to check your readability score before publishing your content, we recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin. This tool is highly valuable and quite accurate. We know this is a lot to tackle, so we’ll be providing SEO tips and tricks as part of our SEO series every few weeks. Be sure to check our blog, or subscribe to our newsletter, The Meta!

If SEO seems like too much for you to handle at the moment, or if you simply don’t want to bother with it, you can hire a company like us! We believe words are crucial to any business or message. As such, we pay very close attention to content on websites, and we do our best for our clients. Contact us if we can help!