Does Readability Affect SEO?
If you want to hit that top position in Google ranking, you absolutely must optimize the SEO readability of your website content.
Because when your content is easy to read and understand, your website visitor is more likely to stick around. They’ll be more likely to flick through your other blog posts, check out your service pages or e-commerce store, and perhaps even hit that ‘buy’ button.
Overall, they’ll have a better experience on your website and be more likely to keep coming back if you have perfected your SEO readability.
Those Google search bots know this.
They want to ensure that every single online search experience is as enjoyable as possible and connects us with the information we’re looking for.
By playing the game and optimizing the readability of your blog posts and website content, you can improve your SEO efforts and start growing your business organically.
For this blog post, we teamed up with the language experts at the online language analysis tool Text Inspector to explain more about SEO readability.
Keep reading to discover what readability is, how it works with SEO to boost your rankings, and finally, how you can assess your website’s readability for free.
What is readability?
Readability refers to how easy it is for someone to read and understand a given text.
This depends on a wide range of unique factors, including how complex the text is, the difficulty of the vocabulary, and the number of syllables per word or sentence.
In terms of SEO readability, formatting features such as how the text is laid out on the page, typography, the use of headers, white space, images, and non-textual features also play an important role.
When we understand the readability of our texts, we can tweak them to suit our requirements more effectively. We can share our desired message more effectively, promote understanding, and, perhaps most importantly, have a greater impact upon our audience.
This is the case whether we’re writing marketing content for our businesses, such as blog posts, web content, or newsletters, or simply writing a quick email to an elderly relative. The clearer and more readable your text, the more engaging and more effective it will be.
Why does readability matter when it comes to SEO?
Readability is not just about getting your message across to your audience effectively.
It’s also one of the key metrics that Google uses when ranking a website. If your website content is difficult to read and understand, it’s more likely to be defined as low-quality content and therefore ranked lower.
But that’s not all. Readability also plays a central role when it comes to user experience (UX).
After all, if your website is complex and difficult to understand, your website visitor is less likely to enjoy the experience and find the information they want. They’re much more likely to click that ‘back’ button and head to your competitor’s website, increasing your bounce rates and damaging your reputation in the process.
When Google’s Page Experience update rolls out this year (2021), optimizing user experience (UX) will become even more important than ever. This algorithm change will incorporate new metrics called ‘core web vitals’ that aim to improve our web experience and support online business.
Put simply, if you have a website, you need to keep readability in mind at all times to reach the level of success that you deserve.
By undergoing an SEO site audit and analyzing your existing content with a professional language analysis tool like Text Inspector, you can highlight any potential issues, make essential changes to support your online visibility, and promote business growth.
How can we measure SEO readability?
Luckily, we don’t have to estimate the readability of our texts, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. We can use a variety of metrics created by linguists and language experts to measure readability accurately.
- The number of syllables in a sentence
- How many different words are used (token-type ratio)
- Average sentence length
- Readability scores like Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade, Gunning Fog index
However, language is a beautifully complex beast, and it’s impossible to use one metric in isolation to assess the readability of a text. They often aren’t as effective when dealing with shorter texts as there is less ‘data’ to sample, and different formulas can give slightly different results.
By using a trusted online language analysis tool like Text Inspector, we can combine several of these different metrics to create a more accurate assessment of the readability of your text.
These tools make it easy to analyze your text to a professional standard without needing to be a professor, and the results are presented in an easy-to-understand format. They can be as detailed as you want them to be—you can do a complex, in-depth analysis including language level for EFL learners (CEFR levels) or simply review the basics.
If you want your business to succeed online in the 21st century, you must optimize your website’s readability before it’s too late.
Otherwise, you stand to damage your website’s SEO efforts, user experience, and online reputation and lose valuable customers or clients to your competitors.
Want to boost your visibility online, attract more leads and grow your business online? Contact us for a free SEO consultation.