Have you ever wondered why readers often appreciate some authors but reject others?
The same is true for blogs. While some blogs grab attention instantly, some fail to retain readers below one-third of its length.
So, What Makes an Article Enjoyable?
Writing style, judicious choice of words, proper use of punctuation; there are several elements that make writing worth reading, but the one which we are discussing today is called Readability.
A coherently written and easily understandable article creates a long-lasting impression on the readers. Readers often prefer to read such articles, even though the content is not very robust.
However, many bloggers and authors overlook this important aspect.
Making an article in such a way that it answers readers’ queries and simultaneously falls straight on Google rankings is a dream of every blogger.
Readability is a key component of such content and one of the major factors affecting the quality and expectations of the reader.
Even though writers use a wide variety of techniques to rank their content on Google, like Keyword stuffing, bucket brigades, etc but usually fail to hit the nail on the head.
How to quantify readability? What software can check it automatically for you? And how a good readability score can improve the blog ranking on Google? This article will take you to a 360-degree tour of the readability concept.
What is Readability?
Readability is a measurement that determines how comfortable an article is to read and comprehend.
Rudolf Flesch introduced a mathematical formula in 1940 to measure the readability of an article.
A higher value of Flesch score means better readability. This formula takes into account of several factors like the level of vocabulary used, the structure of the sentence, and the total number of syllables.
Flesch score can be measured by using the following formula.
It varies between 0 and 100.
While a score of 30 means a very difficult article, as the score moves closer to 100 the readability of the content increases in the same proportion. An article with a score of 70 or above is fairly easy to read.
A writer should understand the mental level of the target audience. A scholarly article may have a low value of Flesch score, but a food blogger should keep the number as high as possible.
How Does Google Rank Work?
Though Google is just a search engine, the quality of services provided by them has outperformed all the competitors. At present, it becomes a synonym for the internet for many of us.
If you search anything on Google, it will present a list of all available web pages having the relevant information. Now the point is- whether the user will click on a specific page or not.
It is a harsh truth that over 90% of users end up their search by visiting the first page of results. So one can say that if you are not on page one, your presence is worthless.
When your website or blog is shown on the first page of the relevant searches, we can say that you got a high ranking by Google.
Significance of Readability in Google Ranking
It is a known fact that Google considers more than 200 factors to rank an article. While there is no direct correlation between SERP and readability of an article, it is definitely one of the passive ranking factors.
Why? Let me elaborate.
1. A Well-Written Article Improves the User Experience
Google is constantly pitching the idea of user experience. Better user experience directly correlates with improved SEO matrices such as Avg. Time Spent, Conversion Rate, and Social Sharing.
Readability can definitely affect these matrices.
No one likes to read a boring article stuffed with keywords here and there. People just ignore reading such articles and bounce back to other websites.
Google considers such negative signals and deteriorates rankings.
2. Readability Is Important for Search Engine Crawlers.
Did you ever try to translate a long, complex sentence with a translator app?
Often you will end up with a gibberish translation.
The same is true for search engine crawlers.
Despite significant improvement of natural language processing algorithms, search engine crawlers are not smart enough to figure out the meaning of long, complex forms of writing.
When such crawlers scan your article for some specific keywords, they will often fail to find out some correlation between the keywords and your writing.
Consequently, poorly written content rarely ranks for the intended keywords.
So, if you focus on better readability, it will also be easier for search bots to understand the meaning of your writing. Google will consider these signals and reward them with better ranking.
3. Readability Ensures Reader Retention
Readability plays with psychology when it comes to reader retention. The stakes on the possibilities of the reader visiting the same page using Google again is high whenever the reader finds the content interesting. It obviously makes most of the readers follow the blog/site regularly for the latest updates.
For reader retention, readability matters the most. The traffic generated by keywords may work for the first few articles. But if you want to gain a reader’s trust for a long time, stuffing of keywords will not work. Thus one should focus on the reader’s understanding and mental level.
A simple blog with a high readability score can get you several readers for life long.
Tips to Improve the Readability
Readability is probably one of the most underrated elements of writing. However, you can’t ignore this aspect as the readers always appreciate engaging content.
Below, I am mentioning some tips to improve the readability of your content.
- Readers don’t prefer long and unnecessarily elaborated sentences. So, keep them as short as possible.
- Avoid unnecessary fillers and jargon. Keep your writings as simple as possible.
- Break down complex sentences into smaller ones.
- Avoid passive sentences as much as possible.
- Use headings and subheadings to break down the article into small parts. It will structure your writing properly.
- Use bulleted lists to convey your ideas instead of long sentences and paragraphs.
- Use a bright font. Don’t make the font size tiny or huge.
- Engage the readers with the help of a relatable image. Use images, flowcharts, diagrams to improve readability.
- Think from the perspective of a reader.
- The usage of proper hierarchy in content is essential. It helps in presenting the content in a more organized way.
- Always keep a close look on the flow of the content i.e. the next paragraph or heading should have some connection with the preceding one.
- Use any expert software to check and improve the readability.
Best Software to Improve the Readability of Your Writing
Fortunately, you don’t need to calculate the readability of your writing manually as there are several grammar-checking software like ProWritingAid and Grammarly which automatically check the readability score of your writing.
1. How to Check Readability With Prowritingaid?
Once you open your document with PWA and select the Readability option, it will check your writing and provide valuable suggestions.
Apart from readability checking, PWA can check the use of vocabulary, quality of the content, writing style, sentence structure, grammatical errors, etc.
You can read this review for an in-depth understanding of ProWritingAid.
2. How to Check Readability With Grammarly?
You can use Grammarly also to check the readability of your article.
Once you type your article, readability is shown automatically at the bottom-middle of the editor. You may need to click on the drop-down menu and select the readability score.
You can read this article to avail huge discounts on Grammarly.
Writers can use software like ProWritingAid, and Grammarly as they assist them from top to bottom in writing. It is never late to learn from your own mistakes when the goal is to write and deliver better.
While writing any web content, blog, article, or a book if you pay sufficient attention to the readability then it will not only get you high rankings but a positive response from the readers as well.