If you use our Content Analysis Tool in the Yoast SEO plugin, you must have encountered the Flesch reading ease score. Our Content Analysis tool checks — using this Flesch reading ease score — whether or not your text is not too hard to read.
How do we measure this Flesch Reading Ease score? And why is this score important for SEO? In this post I would like to explain the importance of readability for SEO. Next to that, I want to explain some more about the Flesch Reading Ease score.
Why is readability important for SEO?
It is unclear whether readability is used as a organic ranking factor explicitly. We thus do not know whether or not Google uses something like the Flesch score (or a variation for that matter) as a ranking factor in its algorithm. Either way, from a holistic SEO perspective readability is very important.
If the difficulty level of your text is too high, the text is too hard to read for your audience. Your audience then will not stay on your website and search for information elsewhere. A difficult text will result in a high bounce rate and this will lead to lower ranking in the long run. So, you should definitely make sure your texts are well written and not too difficult.
How is the Flesch reading ease score calculated?
Flesch reading ease measures textual difficulty of a reading passage in English (note: in languages other than English, Flesch is seriously unreliable). The lower the score, the more difficult the text is. The Flesch readability score uses the sentence length (number of words per sentence) and the number of syllables per word in an equation to calculate the reading ease. Texts with a very high Flesch reading Ease score (about 100) are very easy to read, have short sentences and no words of more than two syllables. Usually, a reading ease of 60-70 is believed to be acceptable/ normal for web texts.
|90 – 100||easily understood by an average 11-year old student|
|60 – 70||easily understood by 13-15 year old students|
|0 – 30||best understood by university graduates|
Upcoming changes in the Yoast SEO Content Analysis
Last week, we announced some major changes in the Content Analysis Tool. In one of the next updates the Content Analysis will be live: while you type your text, the analysis is done. The bullets of your content analysis can turn green (or red) while you are writing, giving you instant feedback. This will allow you to monitor your writing process in much detail.
Updating our Content Analysis allowed us to really look critically at our own work and made us aware of the need for some changes regarding the Flesch reading ease. Most important reason for this is that a text that is written at too low a level will just as well lead to a high bounce rate as texts which are too difficult. If your audience feels that the text is beneath their level, they will quickly leave your page after scanning the text. The level of your texts thus should not be to easy. That’s why we will warn our users if their Flesch Reading ease score will rise above the 90 from now on.
Upcoming changes in Yoast SEO Premium
For some websites, a higher Flesch reading ease score is more desirable than for others. If you are aiming your website on children, your reading ease score should of course be very high. However, if your website focusses on post-graduates, you should definitely aim for a lower reading ease.
Applying a holistic SEO strategy would mean that you should adept the readability of your text to your audience. In one of the next updates of WP SEO Premium we will offer you the possibility to fill in your desired reading ease score. Our plugin will than check whether or not your text is written according that reading ease score. And… we are also working on some other text analysis checks for our Content Analysis Tool. So, keep posted!
The Flesch Reading Ease Score of this blogpost was: 70.8.