Let’s start reading a perfect Guide for Yoast SEO Readability Analysis and improve our content quality rather than quantity.
Is Readability Analysis must for SEO?
As discussed in the previous article, readability determines how many people can read the content on your website with ease. Readability factor should be increased to make your website seem good. For this various readability tests have been framed that determine the readability score of your text. This is what readability analysis is.
Readability Analysis and SEO
1. Mimicry of Humans:
Readability is something that depends on humans. And search engines are designed to be as human as possible in their understanding of web pages. This is the only relation that readability currently has to SEO.
2. Readability in voice search
Mobile phones have become commonplace. With their small screens, it isn’t that easy to type every time you want to search for something. This has led to the rise in popularity of voice search which is catered by search engines like google.
Now, to answer voice search queries the voice responses need to be read aloud. These responses need to be clean and crisp and so should be your content. No one would listen to a 300 words long paragraph after a voice search. It becomes even harder if difficult words become part of the equation. A few simple sentences at best are heard in such cases.
This is why search engines give preference to simple and informative content. These condensed answers can be easily read aloud. Therefore, while writing content, not just understanding, but also the chances of it being read out loud should be kept in mind.
3. The Developments in Algorithms
Another top concern is that Google will make its algorithms more and more human as time goes on. Readability is the most relevant factor in considering website ranks. This becomes more evident with the new algorithm update in google. Optimizing quality will surely become more and more essential with every update. Now, why not just keep consistent quality from the start instead of changing policies with search engine updates?
Beyond this, better SEO due to readability can generate the following:
- More natural inbound links
- Lower bounce rate due to high-quality content
Getting shared on social media more often
Yoast Readability Analysis Scores
The original readability tests were majorly developed in the 20th century. These tests specialized in targeted fields. But now they are used for online content assessment.
1. The Flesch Reading Ease Index:
This test is based on two major factors:
- The average sentence length (ASL)
- The average number of syllables per word (ASW)
These figures are used in calculating the readability score for the text. The score represents the minimum education level of audience that will be comfortable in reading the said content.
2. The Flesch Kincaid Grade Level:
This test is similar to the Flesch index test. But this test puts more weight on words. A more differing factor is that this test describes the schooling level (grade) that the text will be more suitable for.
3. The Gunning Fog Index
This test also offers results for the schooling levels. However, it is more popular in the management area and it uses the following factors for calculation of the score:
- Calculates words in a text (W)
- Number of sentences in a text (S)
- How many ‘complex words’ with three or more syllables (D)
How Does Yoast SEO Determine Your Readability Score?
The single score displayed is based on these factors:
- Sentence length– not more than 25% of your sentences should be over 20 words long. Otherwise, you will end up losing points.
- Paragraph length – your paragraphs should be shorter than 150 words. Again, otherwise, you’ll lose points.
- Subheading usage –you need to have a subheading at every 300 words. Otherwise, you’ll lose points.
- Passive voice – less than 10% of your sentences should be written in passive voice (!). Not doing so means that you’ll lose points.
- Transition words –transition words like “and”, “because”, etc. should be used in at least 30% of your sentences. This needs to be done so you don’t lose points.
- Flesch reading ease –you should not go below 60 on the Flesch reading ease test, you’ll lose points.
Getting a Good Yoast Readability Analysis Score
Before getting frustrated over getting an undesirable Yoast score, just remember that Yoast is a tool meant for assistance in website content creation. It isn’t an authority on what is ultimately right or wrong. Imagine a car: sure, it runs faster than you, but it still is you who needs to drive it. Similarly, you need to use this tool to make changes where it seems to be necessary.
Always keep in mind that the Yoast plugin is nothing more than lines of code written by humans. Even it has a possibility of error.
For example, if you’re writing to a highly well-read audience, you’re probably never going to get a Flesch score that is high. You shouldn’t try to either. And there are actually some situations when passive voice is what makes more sense.
The rules are there to help you not restrict you. Wherever the need arises, rules can be broken.
Cheat-Sheet for a Perfect Readability Analysis:
All said and done, to increase your score, the following things matter the most (courtesy of ionos.com):
- Favor shorter sentences (orientation value: approx. 9 to 13 words)
- Favor shorter words
- Include the most important information at the start of the sentence
Express only one thought per sentence.
- Favor shorter paragraphs (orientation value: up to 90 words)
- Appropriate length of chapters under the subheadings (orientation value: up to 300 words)
Include the most important information at the beginning of the text
- Use many verbs
- Formulate actively
- Use figurative language (It is a type of language which makes writing more interesting with the use of Metaphors, similes, hyperbole etc. It makes reading more interesting by connecting the user with the sentences)
More information on Figurative Language: Thebalancecareers
- Include images and graphics to supplement the text
- In online marketing, stimulus and signal words such as ‘great’, ‘easy’, or ‘cheap’ can have a stimulating effect. For other kinds of texts, you should use these words carefully.
When considering the criteria of the Hamburg Comprehensibility model, there are some things you should make sure to avoid when writing:
- Long Sentences
- Technical terms and abbreviations
- Passive Constructions
- Modal verbs (could, might, would, should)
Concluding Readability Analysis:
Plugins and analysis algorithms help with the content. They do boost the quality of your content. But beyond this, they don’t do much.
Aesthetics also matters. How your website looks, what font you are using, at what size, what colors, what shapes. Everything comes together to make a complex and working painting.
If you have a perfect score for your content, but the text size is too small, it will still not be suitable for reading. Also if the background color and text color form a weird combination, where either the text isn’t properly visible or where the website is just painful to look at, it still isn’t a perfect reading condition.
So, for truly optimum readability, consider issues beyond the basic scoring like:
- Choosing an easily visible and soothing font
- Making sure your heading tags are sized and applied appropriately (H1 is the largest and decrease in size from there)
- Ensuring your CSS code is actually working. This includes displaying bolds and italics (some themes aren’t properly optimized and can’t do this)
Therefore, aesthetic appeal is as important as quality content to create a perfect website.
Lecture 2: Passive Voice is Killing Articles