How Important is Readability to SEO?

October 20, 2021
by William Carvell

By now, you know quality content is important to ranking higher on search results. But what makes quality content? How important is readability to SEO? Readability scores can affect your SEO. The goal here is to show you about the readability effect on your ranking on search engines as well as the different approaches that you can take to improve readability. 

Importance of Readability to SEO

The first thing to understand is what readability is and why it’s important to SEO. The fact is that readability is a huge factor for SEO. Readability refers to when customers are reading your content and whether or not it’s easy to understand. Reading and understanding blog posts is important because this means visitors are going to visit your website and stay longer on the site. The ultimate goal is that your content needs to be easy to digest and understand for your visitors. Because your target audience can clearly understand your content and like it, search engines will rank your page higher. 

How to Improve Readability

Learning how to improve your readability will have a significant impact on your site. There are several things that you can do that will improve your readability and give your website the boost that it needs. Here are some of the best ways to improve readability:

  • Using Short Sentences

Short sentences can make content easier to digest. This means that you should focus on using shorter sentences and even shorter words. Use contractions where possible and don’t be afraid to use more sentences that are shorter.

  • Using Transition Words

Transition words are important because it helps connect concepts and allow the readers to understand how these concepts relate to each other. Additionally, these can improve the flow of your blog post and make it a more engaging read. 

  • Short Paragraphs

Much like shorter sentences, readers tend to enjoy shorter paragraphs. This allows them to stay interested because they aren’t as overwhelmed by longer paragraphs.

  • Use Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists are great because it helps draw the attention to the list while also creating short points that are easy to read and follow. 70% of readers are more likely to pay attention to lists that have bullets rather than those without.  

  • Avoid Passive Voice

There are a few reasons to avoid the passive voice. One is that sentences tend to be wordier, making them less engaging for readers. Another reason is because it can interrupt the flow of the sentence, creating confusion.

  • Use Images

Images are a great way to improve readability because they can bring home specific points that you are trying to make in your posts. 

  • Write Conversationally

This isn’t really a rule, but it’s something that definitely helps. Write content as if you’re talking to someone. Use simpler words and shorter sentences. This keeps readers engaged with your content.

  • The Right Font

It’s important that you use the right font for your posts. If the font is too crazy and the text is unreadable, visitors will quickly leave the page.

Ways that Readability Matters

Now that you know that readability is important, you should look at the different ways that readability can impact SEO.

Improves User Experience

With a well-written copy, you can significantly improve the user experience. If a copy is hard unintelligible, it’s going to lead to a negative user experience.  You don’t want content that is stuffed with keywords, making the content spammy and not make any sense to the reader. Any copy on your website should be created with your audience experience in mind, should offer the reader valuable information, and be able to answer a question or offer a solution to the reader. 

By writing content that isn’t easy to read, you are increasing your bounce rate because people will immediately leave your page. Bounce rate is an important indicator to Google about what user experience that you offer, meaning that this will have a major impact on your SEO and search engine ranking.

Important for Voice Searches

These days, people spend a lot of time using their voice assistants. In fact, it is estimated that 50% of searches will be completed by voice. Readability is especially important to attract these users. You don’t want your users to have to listen to a long paragraph that loses their attention when you are trying to share valuable information with them. Sentences that lack readability sound funny when being read out load, which can turn off the potential customer or won’t make the reader return to your website. 

This is another reason why Google is starting to favor readable content. They want to make sure that search engine users on both regular devices and using a voice assistant can get the information that they are looking for easily.

Search Engines Now Mimic Humans

During the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing was a common practice. Google would reward pages for just having the keywords a specific number of times in the post. These days, Google better recognizes this tactic and how it has a negative impact on the user experience. With every Google algorithm update, Google has learned about what makes for a positive reading experience for the user. 

Google’s goal is to mimic the actual search engine user in order to offer the best experience for their users. Google wants to make sure that the user is happy with their search results, which is why they are constantly changing their algorithms to keep the user in mind rather than reading text as a machine. As a result, readability is important for Google rankings. Improve your readability and then you will rank higher on search engines.

Conclusion

Readability is essential to your SEO. If your content has a low readability score, then you will have a higher bounce rate because people will instantly leave your page. This higher bounce rate can hurt your ranking on search engines. This is why it’s important to put time into improving your readability.