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What is Readability? Find out How to Boost SEO with Clear, Simple Content

Readability is more than just clear writing, it’s an important component in boosting user engagement and readership loyalty for content creators. Clear and simple content not only enhances user experience but also improves search engine rankings. We will go into depth on what is readability and why embracing it will boost your SEO potential.

When your content is readable, your message shines through. When your words flow smoothly, your ideas are understood. When you master readability, you become a storyteller not just a blogger.

In this blog post we cover the factors that affect readability, strategies to improve it and some tools and resources that keep help you. Let’s dive into what is readability!

Table of Contents of What is Readability

What is Readability?

female, squinting at her laptop

What is readability defined as? It’s the measure of how easily a reader can understand written text.

Readability itself may not directly impact Google rankings, but it plays a pivotal role in user engagement, a key factor in Google’s ranking decisions. Content that is challenging to read tends to have lower user interaction and fewer backlinks, leading to poorer performance on Google and other search engines.

Improving your content’s readability will result in more visitors who read your content, share it on social media and link back to it from other websites. This, will in turn, boost your ranking position.

So, whether you’re a copywriter or a blogger, mastering the art of improving readability is crucial.

What is Readability: Factors Influencing Readability

Let’s explain briefly the factors that affect readability.

Sentence Structure and Length

keep it simple

Opt for concise sentences that are easy to read and understand. Aim to limit paragraphs to just 2-3 sentences each, allowing your readers to effortlessly navigate your content.

Not only does this approach enhance readability, but it also encourages you to present your ideas more succinctly. Embrace simplicity in your writing, striving to convey your message in the most straightforward and accessible manner.

Make your content a pleasure to read by presenting your ideas in a simple way.

Content Language

Use simple, easy to understand, language. Break down difficult concepts into simpler terms. Choose strong active verbs over passive verbs.

Write using active voice as the text is clearer to the reader and less challenging to understand.

Avoid High Syllable Words

man, confused

Avoid using long and complicated words. Remember, not all readers have advanced literacy skills, and some might be reading your content in a second language.

High syllable words are difficult to understand and can confuse some of your audience. Your objective is to effectively convey information to your audience, so opt for words that are simple and easily understood.

Fonts

Use a font that is simple and legible. Select a font size large enough that most of your audience can read it. Ensure there is enough vertical space between sentences (this is line-height).

White Space

White space is the space (normally white) between your text, headings, links, etc. It’s important to have plenty of white space to separate your blocks of text, otherwise, reading the content can become tiresome.

In your website design, make sure to incorporate space around your paragraphs, headings, subheadings, lists, and images. Your theme will provide options for specifying appropriate spacing on your website.

For WordPress users, I recommend the GenerateBlocks, which offers six additional blocks that can be used in your content, providing extra customization for spacing, as illustrated below:

spacing settings, generateblocks plugin

Be Familiar

Use words, phrases, and jargon that your target audience is already familiar with.

If you introduce a term or acronym your audience isn’t familiar with, it’s important to provide an explanation – otherwise, you’ll leave your audience confused.

Spelling and Grammar

Spelling and grammar mistakes stand out to your readers. They represent a lack of attention to detail and will undermine trust and credibility in your content.

Moreover, they can negatively impact your ranking position, as Google can detect these errors in your content.

Spelling and grammar mistakes are a sign of low-quality content. Too many pages detected by Google of this type could cause a site-wide penalty to apply to you. This affects all your content, even content without spelling or grammar mistakes.

Always proofread your content before publishing.

Use Visuals

Break up your text by including engaging visuals such as images, charts, infographics, or other visual content. This practice provides your readers with a well-deserved breather from the textual content.

Moreover, visuals have a remarkable ability to clarify and illustrate the points you’re conveying in your text.

What is Readability: Strategies for Improvement

Having explored what readability is and the factors influencing it, let’s shift our focus to improving your content’s clarity and understandability. Ready for some practical tips to boost readability on your website or blog? These actionable strategies will guide you in making your content more accessible and engaging for your audience.

Break Down Complex Concepts

Some topics can be dense or difficult to understand, especially for non-experts. Try to explain these topics in ways a non-expert can understand.

Use ChatGPT or another AI tool to help you explain difficult concepts in simple terms. For example, here I ask ChatGPT to explain how rocket engines work:

how do rocket engines work

The “eli5” at the end stands for “explain it like I’m 5”. Of course you can ask for an explanation at any level, not just 5.

Use Good Formatting Techniques

To make content readable and clear, there are several formatting rules that can be followed. Here are some tips:

  • Use headings and subheadings to break up the text and make it easier to scan
  • Use lists to organize information and make it more digestible
  • Use left-aligned text and provide the right amount of space between lines of text
  • Use bolded text to highlight key words in a sentence and to aid skimming of your content

What is Readability: Use Font Color and Contrast to Improve Accessibility

color blindness

Not everyone has perfect vision or eyesight. Color blindness is a common condition, 8% of males in Northern Europe suffer from red-green color blindness and 0.5% of females. A small number of individuals suffer from total color blindness.

Use high contrast colors on your website to maximize the number of people that can easily read your content.

What is Readability: Tools and Resources

Finally, let’s discuss tools and resources to help you improve the clarity and simplicity of your content.

SEO plugins include reading score calculators that provide a readability assessment as you write your content. If you’re a WordPress user, popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and RankMath integrate such features seamlessly.

I personally prefer the All in One SEO plugin. It evaluates various aspects of your content while you write, such as:

  • Images/videos in content
  • Paragraph lengths
  • Sentence lengths
  • Passive voice (avoid, use active voice instead)
  • Transition words
  • Consecutive sentences
  • Subheading distribution
  • Flesch reading ease

These tools are like having a vigilant editor over your shoulder, ensuring every piece of content you produce is clear, concise, and reader-friendly.

All in One SEO plugin

The free version of the All in One SEO plugin includes a readability score.

Proofreading and Grammar Tools

What is readability? Use proofreading tools to check your content is highly readable, clear and succinct.

Various proofreading tools are available to improve your content by spotting those sneaky spelling and grammar errors.

I personally prefer to use ChatGPT to proofread my content. For instance, you can provide ChatGPT with a text passage and request it to identify and correct spelling and grammar errors. Learn more about prompting ChatGPT in this article: ChatGPT prompts for writers.

If prompting an AI is not for you, no problem! Well-known grammar checkers are available, I suggest:

Grammarly – Sophisticated grammar and spelling checker

Hemingway website – A hassle-free, free-of-charge proofreader

What is Readability? Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading! Here’s a quick recap:

  • Readability affects user engagement that will affect your ranking potential
  • Aim for your content to be highly readable
  • Break down complicated concepts and topics into simpler terms
  • Use high contrast colors and easy to read fonts
  • Keep paragraphs short (2-3 sentences)
  • Don’t use long and complicated words
  • Use an SEO plugin to calculate your readability score

If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with your network by using the social media sharing buttons below. Thank you for your support!

All in One SEO Plugin for WordPress

All in One SEO Plugin for WordPress (free version has readability metrics)

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