Named after the author Rudolf Flesch who devised this technique, the Flesch Reading Ease Formula is a simple approach to assess the grade-level of the reader.
Flesch Reading Ease – What It Is & Why It’s Important?
Created in 1948 as a test for readability, the Flesch Reading Ease scores determine the level of education any person needs to have to ensure that a piece of text is read easily. The scores are placed between 1 and 100. Do note that it is possible to get scores above and below these limits.
A conversion table as given below is then used to interpret this score:-
90-100 : Very Easy
80-89 : Easy
70-79 : Fairly Easy
60-69 : Standard
50-59 : Fairly Difficult
30-49 : Difficult
0-29 : Very Confusing
The Flesch Reading Ease test originated in the education sector thanks to the research done there. Teachers needed to ensure that the texts chosen can be successfully comprehended by the student. Now, the Flesch Reading Test is employed by digital marketers, research communicators and policy writers, amongst others. These tests are used to understand how easily a text can be engaged with.
The formulas are based on two factors:-
1. Sentence length as judged by the average number of words in a sentence
2. Word length as identified by the average number of syllables in a word.
The point here is that sentences with fewer words are easy to absorb and follow as opposed to those which contain a lot of words and obscure too. Also, if there are a lot of syllables in a sentence, the reading becomes more intricate.
Before you start writing your text, think about the structure. What are you going to tell your audience and in what order? Is that a logical order of topics? Will your audience be able to follow your arguments, your examples, your message and on the whole is the article readable and a pleasant read?
Why should the Content be made readable?
This is because many of search engine’s ranking algorithm is based on human behaviour on a page. By improving your content readability, you improve the visitors’ behaviour on page, e.g. their page on time, exit rate, bounce rate, social signals will all improve and that tells search engines that people like your content and thus, your content will be approached more.
What is SEO and why is readability so important for SEO?
An article that has good content readability will make the readers stay longer on page because they will have no problem reading through the whole text. Consequently, it will improve the bounce rate and exit rate which will be good for your SEO.
How many times have you exited a page after reading the first few sentences because the text is just too hard to read? Nobody likes to read a difficult text. People read stuff online to get the information they want, and they want it the fastest and simplest way possible. And it is your job to make all this information available to them as easily as possible.
How To Lower Reading Level of the Article
1. Use Short and Simple Words
This is the most direct way for improving your Flesch-Kincaid readability score. There is no reason for you to use long and complex words when there are short and simple words. People go to an article is seeking information, not for English lessons. Keep it simple, silly.
2. Use Short Sentences
Don’t be afraid to break long sentences and use contractions to shorten your sentences. If you want to rewrite a passage to get a higher score, you’ll have to cut the average sentence length. This means you’ll have to break up long, complex sentences and change them to two, three or four shorter ones. In other words, sprinkle periods over your piece of writing.
3. Write conversationally
When writing your blog posts, just imagine that you’re talking to someone else in real life. You’ll notice that it’s a lot different from how we normally write making it more relatable and readable. When you write in a conversational tone, you’ll naturally use shorter and simple words, along with shorter sentences.
Besides the vocabulary and syntax of your content, the visual aspect of it is also really important. Typography has a great impact on this. Everything from the font to the line height and line length can greatly impact the speed of your readers reading through your content.
Pick a font that is easy to read. For the font size, make sure that the size is not too big or not too small. For line length, the optimum amount of words in a line for the best readability would be between 9 to 12 words or between 50 to 60 characters. Leave adequate spaces after paragraphs and sentences.
5. Use Images
You might think that images has nothing to do with content readability but that’s not true. Images can help break the monotony of only text, segment your content into different parts and make your content interesting. The golden ratio of image to text is 1 image for every 100 words. When choosing images, the best practice is to include images that will add value to your readers. The image should be relevant to your content, explains what you’re trying to say or at the very least entertain your audience.
Best Flesch Reading WordPress Plugins – UPDATED 2018
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2) Yoast SEO
SEO is a big deal, and even though a lot of what we know about what SEO is has changed, a lot of things have stayed important — like creating content that is optimized for Google search. However, creating that content correctly can be of a hassle if you don’t know what you’ve done right and what you’ve done wrong. That’s where the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin comes in. Instead of being left to guess if you’ve optimized your content correctly, the plugin helps you every step along the way.
3) Google XML Sitemaps
Believe it or not, even if you’ve done everything you can to optimize your posts for SEO, your site itself might be what is causing the biggest issues for it not ranking. The likely solution is a sitemap. And the Google XML Sitemaps plugin is one of the top WordPress plugins for giving your site just what it needs. By creating an XML sitemap, your site is much easier for Google to crawl and read, thus helping your site rank higher.
4) Jetpack by WordPress.com
There is a lot to love about the JetPack plugin, making it another must have WordPress plugin. Jetpack has a sort one-and-done idea that it is built on. There are over 30 modules that you can activate to help you run a tighter and faster ship.
WooCommerce is the WordPress blog plugin that revolutionized eCommerce plugins for WordPress.
It took the more difficult aspects of creating and running an online store with WP and made it about as easy as humanly possible. Though it does take some learning, the ease of use and the many other plugins and companies that support the plugin add a lot to its popularity.
Content readability does influence your search rankings in one way or another. So do make sure that your blog has the optimum readability to prevent your readers from exiting and leaving your page before they even read your content. Improving your content readability will not only improve your reader’s reading experience but prove to be beneficial to your overall SEO as well. Cheers!