Is your blog post easy to read?
Does the length and complexity of your sentences make your readers give up before they finish a single paragraph?
Well, there is one simple way to avoid being boring, confusing and ineffective: Readability.
In this blog, we will tell you all you need to know about content readability by a leading SEO Company in Mumbai.
So, let’s get started.
What is readability?
Readability is a measure of how easily a reader can understand a text. It is usually measured by the average number of words per sentence and the average number of syllables per word in the text.
The higher the readability, the easier it is to understand the content. Readability depends on several factors like:
- The length of sentences (longer sentences are harder)
- The level of vocabulary used (technical words are hard)
- The presence of passive voice (passive voice creates confusion)
Readability is not legibility.
Readability is often confused with legibility, which refers to how easily individual letters or characters can be discerned.
As best SEO company will tell you that legibility deals with the physical appearance of letters, words, or other elements in the text. Legibility can be improved by using larger typefaces, for example, but this does not necessarily improve readability unless it makes it easier to understand what the text says.
For example, if you use a condensed font (which reduces letter spacing), your text will look denser but may actually take longer to read because there are fewer spaces between words — so your eye has less time to rest between words!
What is a Readability Score?
The readability score is a metric that measures the readability of a piece of content. It uses a combination of several metrics to generate an overall score.
The idea behind Readability Score is that the easier it is to read, the more likely people will stay on your site, consume your content and take action. For example, if you have a blog post on your website and someone visits it but doesn’t read it because it’s too difficult to understand, then they probably won’t ever come back to your site again.
Why Is it Important?
Readability is an important factor when it comes to writing blogs. It makes your content more interesting and engaging, which attracts more readership.
When you write, you want people to read your blog post without any difficulty and also share it with others on social media sites or through email marketing campaigns. If you have written an article that looks good, but people can’t read it properly, then what’s the use? You will lose your visitors who are looking for good content.
Well-written content can help improve your reader engagement rate and increase your page views — which in turn will improve your rankings in search engines. This is because Google considers these factors when ranking websites within its search engine results pages (SERPs). A high number of page views (i.e., many people visiting your site) means that people like what they see on your site — they’re not just bouncing off because they can’t understand what you’re trying to say!
Factors Which Affect Readability
The writing style. Some styles are more readable than others, such as active voice over passive voice or simple sentence structure over complex sentence structure.
The vocabulary level. Using words that are familiar to your readers makes your content easier to understand. This means avoiding long words or uncommon words unless you have a good reason for using them (e.g., if they’re necessary).
The complexity of ideas being expressed in the text. Complexity affects both the technical and interpersonal aspects of communication. Technical complexity refers primarily to the amount of information being communicated; interpersonal complexity refers primarily to the relationship between communicator(s) and receiver(s).
What is your reading level? This will help determine if your writing is appropriate for your audience or not. Your reading level refers to how difficult it is for someone with a certain level of education to understand what you’re saying. If they have a high school diploma, they may have trouble understanding some words and phrases you use in your posts. If they’re college-educated, they’ll probably have no problem with these words and phrases at all.
How much effort it takes for someone to read a piece of content — something called the scanability of the text. Scalability refers to how easy it is for readers to find specific information within a piece of text by skimming through it quickly or scanning through it quickly while looking for specific information (e.g., “Where can I find stats on X?”).
Types of Content Readability Test
The eight most prevalent readability tests for the English language are described below, along with recommended writing levels.
- Cloze Test
The Cloze test is an exercise that can be used to assess the readability of your writing (and other people’s). It’s a simple but effective way to estimate the reading level of any piece of text.
A cloze test consists of a passage where some words have been removed. The reader has to fill in the missing words based on context clues provided by the rest of the sentence or paragraph. Score the responses by dividing the total number of words removed by the number of correct answers.
You should aim for a 60% or higher score. Scores in the 40-60% range indicate that your readers may have trouble reading the text. If the score is below 40%, then you should consider rewriting.
You can create your own cloze tests using our free online tool: TextCompare
- Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease.
One of the most commonly used readability formulas is the Flesch reading ease formula. This is a formula that measures the average number of syllables in each word and then calculates the average sentence length. It also takes into account words with more than one syllable and sentences that are too long or too short.
Based on a 0-100 scale. A high score indicates that the text is simple to read. Low scores indicate that the text is difficult to comprehend.
206.835 – 1.015 x (words/sentences) – 84.6 x (syllables/words)
A score of 60 to 80 should be simple enough for a 12- to 15-year-old to comprehend.
- Flesch Kincaid Grade Level.
Leading content marketing company in India will tell you that this formula uses the same factors as above, but it also takes into account how many words in a sentence are adverbs, prepositions, or conjunctions (which tend to make sentences longer). It then gives you a reading level score from 0 to 100 based on those factors.
0.39 x (words/sentences) + 11.8 x (syllables/words) – 15.59
- Gunning Fog Index
Gunning fog index is a measure of readability for English text. A fog index is a typical tool for ensuring that material is easily readable by the intended audience. A fog index of less than 12 is usually required for texts intended for a broad audience. Texts that require near-universal comprehension usually require an index of less than 8.
The following algorithm is used to calculate the Gunning fog index:
- Choose a passage of roughly 100 words (e.g., one or more full paragraphs). Don’t leave any sentences out;
- Calculate the average length of a sentence. (Subtract the number of sentences from the total amount of words.)
- Count the number of “complex” terms with three or more syllables. Proper nouns, jargon, and compound terms are not allowed. Common suffixes (such as -es, -ed, or -ing) should not be used as syllables.
- Add the average sentence length and the percentage of complicated words to the equation; and
- Multiply the result by 0.4 to get the final result.
0.4 x ( (words/sentences) + 100 x (complexWords/words) )
- Coleman Liau Index
Meri Coleman and T. L. Liau created the Coleman–Liau index as a readability test to determine the readability of a text. Its output approximates the U.S. grade level believed essential to grasp the material, similar to the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning fog index, SMOG index, and Automated Readability Index.
Coleman–Liau, like the ARI but unlike most other indices, uses characters rather than syllables per word. Although opinions differ on its accuracy in comparison to the syllable/word and complex word indices, computer programmes can count characters more easily and accurately than syllables.
The Coleman–Liau index was created to be calculated automatically from hard-copy text samples. It does not require the character content of words to be examined, unlike syllable-based readability indices, but merely their length in characters. As a result, it could be used with potentially simple mechanical scanners that only needed to distinguish letter, word, and sentence boundaries, eliminating the requirement for full optical character recognition or manual keypunching.
5.89 x (characters/words) – 0.3 x (sentences/words) – 15.8
- SMOG Index
The SMOG grade is a readability indicator that determines how many years of education are needed to understand a piece of writing. SMOG is the abbreviation for “Simple Measure of Gobbledygook.”
SMOG is widely used, especially for verifying health-related communications. With the grades of readers who had 100 percent comprehension of test topics, the SMOG grade gives a 0.985 correlation with a standard error of 1.5159 grades.
Harry McLaughlin devised the formula for computing the SMOG grade in 1969 as a more accurate and easier to calculate substitute for the Gunning fog index. To make evaluating a text’s readability as simple as possible, an estimated formula was proposed: count the words with three or more syllables in three 10-sentence samples, estimate the count’s square root (from the nearest perfect square), and multiply by three.
1.0430 x sqrt( 30 x complexWords/sentences ) + 3.1291
- Automated Readability Index (ARI)
The Automated Readability Index (ARI) is a readability measurement that uses a formula to determine the reading grade level of a piece of text. The ARI score can be used as an indicator of how difficult or easy a piece of writing might be for people to read.
The ARI measure is based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence (SPW). Both variables are used to calculate an ARI score between 0 and 100. The higher the score, the more complex the text is considered to be.
According to this method, texts with more than 50% of simple words are considered readable by everyone. Texts with less than 10% of simple words are considered too difficult for most people to understand without effort and training.
4.71 x (characters/words) + 0.5 x (words/sentences) – 21.43
Tools to Check Content Readability
- SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant
SEMrush has a tool called SEO Writing Assistant that provides you with a score based on the readability of your text. It works by using Flesch-Kincaid grade level and SMOG indexes to analyze your content for readability.
As leading SEO services providers will tell you that when you enter text into the tool, it will give you a grade level and SMOG score at the top of the page. A higher grade level indicates that your text is easier to understand, while a lower grade level means it’s more difficult to comprehend. The SMOG score indicates how difficult it is to read each sentence in your text. To improve the readability of your content, you want both of these scores to be as low as possible.
- WebFX Readability Tool
The Readability Tool, as its name implies, is primarily concerned with the readability of your text.
You can either directly enter stuff you’re working on into the tool or utilise a URL for content that already exists (yours or your competitor’s).
There will be six readability scores in the report, including:
- Flesch reading ease.
- Flesch-Kincaid grade level.
- Gunning Fog Score.
- SMOG Index.
- Coleman-Liau Index score.
- The Automated Readability Index score.
- Readability Analyzer
This content readability test only considers reading level and assigns a readability score to your content based on Flesch Reading Ease, Gunning Fog Scale Level, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, SMOG Grade, Fry Readability Level, and other factors.
It will not only give your total content a score, but it will also give each piece of material a score.
- Text Optimizer
You can paste a webpage into the Text Optimizer, and this content readability tool will check its health.
If you’re new to SEO or content strategy, this is an excellent tool to start with because it doesn’t take any technical skills to use and create great content.
This tool will provide you suggestions for words to add to your content and words to remove from your content to boost your ability to rank, in addition to measuring the word count, sentence length, and verb use in your content.
Text Optimizer claims that 70% of their users improve their SEO rankings within five weeks of utilising the product.
We hope that you found this article useful in finding out more about readability in content. In addition, you can use some of these tools to know your content’s readability. The right readability score can increase your chances of getting shared and linked to your blog, which helps in increasing the search engine ranking of your website. There’s an another with which your content can get shared and get links from other website and that is social bookmarking, if you want to learn about it check out our blog social bookmarking: the best way to increase backlink & visitors (90+ bookmarking websites).