Did you know that the way your blog is written is an integral part of on-page SEO? Did you also know that there is something called Readability SEO?
For those who are not aware, “readability” is one of those signals which Google uses for ranking your site. A poor readability level is something I suggest you always avoid.
What is Readability Level?
Readability has different meanings, but let me put it into blogging terms:
- It’s the “easy-ness” of reading an article.
According to Wikipedia:
Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood. Various factors to measure readability have been used, such as “speed of perception,” “perceptibility at a distance,” “perceptibility in peripheral vision,” “visibility,” “the reflex blink technique,” “rate of work” (e.g., speed of reading), “eye movements,” and “fatigue in reading.”
There are many ways to calculate readability levels of text and online articles. Here are some of the most commonly used readability measurements:
- Flesch Reading Ease
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
- Coleman-Liau Index
- Gunning-Fog Index
All of these tests have a different formula to check the readability level and calculate the readability score. For example, here is the description of each Flesch Reading Ease score:
- 90.0-100.0: Easily understood by an avg. 11 yr. old student.
- 60.0-70.0: Easily understood by an avg. 13-15 yr. old student.
- 0.0 – 30.0: Best for university graduates.
I have shared two “Readability Calculators” below. Use them to calculate the reading score of your article based on different reading indexes.
How to check your readability levels?
You should always check your website’s reading level (and consistently work on making it better).
Go to this site and type in your blog’s URL. You will see a result like this:
Online Readability Calculator:
If you are using MS Word or Outlook, you can refer to this knowledgebase to enable the readability check option. For now, MS Office only supports the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores.
You can use it to test the readability based on different indexes (and it’s free).
Just copy and paste your text, or add a URL, and you will get scores based on:
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
- Coleman Liau Index
The results will look like this:
The best part about this tool is it will also suggest which sentences can be re-written to improve your score which will create a huge difference in the long run. Moreover, your article can be understood by a larger audience if you have a better reading score.
Tools to improve readability scores:
English is not my native language and my blog writing would not be the same without Grammarly.
This Chrome add-on (there’s also a web app) lets you check your writing for grammatical mistakes. It also suggests alternate words which can make your writing more powerful.
It’s a free tool (the paid version offers advanced features) which you can start using right now.
Watch the Grammarly review here:
After discovering the Hemingway tool, I believe every blogger should be using it.
This tool offers a free online editor, which shows how easy/hard it is to read certain content. It also shows the reading grade of an article. Before I edited this article, you can see the reading score in the above screenshot.
Here are some other articles which will help you in proof-reading and improving your content:
If this is the first time you’re hearing about “Readability for SEO“, I suggest you not only work on on-page optimization and writing high-quality articles, but put a little stress on the reading level of your articles.
A little bit of focus in this area will take your good site and make it great.
How are your reading scores? Share them below in the comments!