Home eCommerce Readability for search engine marketing: Myths and Actuality

Readability for search engine marketing: Myths and Actuality

Readability for search engine marketing: Myths and Actuality


The “readability” of textual content refers to its readability and ease of understanding. Third-party instruments reminiscent of Flesch Kincaid and Gunning Fog Index can assign readability scores to articles, product descriptions, or some other passage.

For years, search engine optimizers have assumed content material readability is a direct rating issue. Many articles assert this.

Screenshot of Google search results for "SEO and readability rankings" showing three articles on that topic

Many articles state that “readability” is a rating issue for Google.

However the claims are misguided.

There’s no clear proof of a readability metric in Google’s algorithm. Google’s John Mueller stated as a lot in early 2018, stating readability will not be a rating issue to his data.

Research by Portent and Ahrefs didn’t discover correlations between readability and natural positions.

But the myths persist. Yoast, the WordPress search engine marketing plugin, provides to the confusion with its readability evaluation, which seems within the backend alongside each article, implying a rankings impression.

Furthermore, the myths are literally counterproductive. Suggesting a hyperlink between a software-driven readability rating and rankings forces writers to please machines as a substitute of people.

And that’s a slippery slope. Many writers have advised me their articles did not rank regardless of excellent readability scores or key phrase density or HTML headers or general phrase counts. The content material suffers as a result of it’s aimed toward search engines like google and yahoo, not folks.


Is readability essential?

In fact. Readability in a generic sense is paramount, even for search engines like google and yahoo. A simple-to-read, informative article — one that gives solutions — attracts people, who share it and hyperlink to it. They inform their pals about it.

However I choose the idea of “cognitive fluency” greater than “readability” as a result of it focuses on academic advantages slightly than ease of studying. It goes past grammar and passive sentences. An article explaining a blue circle is extra helpful with an (accessible) illustration than textual content alone.

Readability Instruments

Readability instruments are useful within the sense that grammar checkers are useful. However not for search engine marketing.

For instance, I exploit Yoast’s readability checks to catch too-long sentences or paragraphs.

Screenshot of a full Yoast readability assessment addressing areas of improvement

Yoast’s readability evaluation addresses paragraph and sentence size. Click on picture to enlarge.

And I’m all the time conscious of the viewers. An article for skilled search optimizers requires extra element than one for a typical enterprise proprietor. Medical articles are certain to have specialised phrases and sophisticated explanations.

Equally, readability varies relying on its objective. Some Google queries search explanations of unfamiliar matters. That content material ought to include fast and easy-to-comprehend solutions.

search engine marketing

Nonetheless, we wish our content material to rank organically. Adhering to fundamental guidelines is essential — reminiscent of utilizing the identical phrases as searchers and inserting significant HTML subheadings. Yoast’s plugin helps with subheadings, however I usually ignore its different strategies.

For instance, Yoast recommends utilizing “transition phrases,” however I are inclined to keep away from them. I exploit “consecutive sentences,” reminiscent of in lists the place every bullet begins with the identical phrase, however Yoast suggests in any other case.

Briefly, I don’t pay a lot consideration to an precise readability rating. It doesn’t think about the area of interest, the purpose of an article, or my very own writing fashion.



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