5 Easy to Understand Ways to Improve Your Readability Score
The readability score of your blog posts matters to your readers, as well as to Google and the other major search engines. This score measures how easy it is to read your content. The most common scale the search engines use to rank your content is the Flesch-Kincaid score. You will see it called the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease in your word processing program. The target score is between 60-70 for the chance at higher rankings.
1. Keep it Short
Rambling in the same sentence or paragraph turns readers off. Instead, get to the point right away. Paragraphs should not exceed 4-5 sentences and sentences should be a maximum of 25 words. Once you write content, go back and read it to see what words you can remove. It helps to read the sentences out loud to hear what you should remove. Of course, you should make sure that the meaning of the sentence remains the same, rather than just removing words to shorten a sentence.
2. Avoid Passive Sentences
The more passive sentences your content contains, the harder it is to read. An active sentence is one that the subject performs the action. A passives sentence occurs when the subject receives the action. Here are two examples:
John locked the door. This is an active sentence.
The door was locked by John. This is a passive sentence.
The active sentence not only gets your point across easier; it keeps your sentences short.
3. Cut the Word Count Down
We talked about filler words above, but let’s show you some examples here. Filler words are basically unnecessary words. They provide no meaning to the sentence and force it to drag on. There are typically one-word replacements for a group of words.
Here are a few examples:
That meat was very good. Instead, use the following sentence.
The meat tasted great. You cut the sentence down by one word and removed the passive voice in the interim.
The room was very hot. Instead use the following sentence.
The room felt hot. Again, you remove the passive voice and shorten the length of the sentence.
You want to avoid what is called, weak adjectives. These are words such as, very and really. These words are just fillers that take up space and bring the readability score down.
4. Connect Words and Ideas
As much as you want to lower the word count in your pieces to increase the readability score, you want to make sure you use connecting words. These words help ideas flow better. A few examples of connecting words include: first, second, however, and last. These words help give the reader something to visualize and connect the ideas together. If you avoid the connecting words, your ideas might seem choppy and you could lose the reader’s interest in the interim.
5. Use Simple Words
You want to try to write to reach the 7th-grade level audience. This does not mean only 7th graders read your content. It means that a majority of the readers that come across your content can understand it. This means using short words. There is always a shorter synonym for the long, complex words you want to use. You might think that it makes you sound smarter and will attract a more educated audience, but it usually turns people away. Keep your words to one or two syllables to keep your readability score at the right level.
These simple tips can help you improve your readability score. If you look at the top ranking websites in Google, their Flesch-Kincaid score is between 60-70. There is a huge difference between content with that score and one with a higher score. Pay attention to how often you drift off and how much you comprehend from the piece. This will help you understand the importance of short sentences; short words; connecting ideas; and use of the active voice.
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