The new readability test
We are always looking to improve our reach and the quality of our offer to our readers. We do this by using a number of WordPress plugins which help our authors stay on track in terms of making sure the headlines match the topic, and that the topic of the article is clear to readers. Some of the efforts we make is around improving search engine optimisation. (SEO). At times making our articles appeal to search engines isn’t always easy because if we were true to SEO principles 100% then we might have to compromise on the meaning within the article. So we are always striking a balance. There is, however, a new test which authors need to be aware of and that is readability.
To maximise our searchability, we use a WordPress plug-in called Yoast SEO which some of you might use on your own WordPress blogs. Basically, the Yoast plug-in sets out a checklist which optimises the reach of our articles.
Recently, Yoast also introduced a “readability test” which describes a set of rules which ensure an article is readable to the widest possible audience. Yoast contends this is an important aspect of SEO because search engines are becoming more intelligent and it is able to read patterns in the text which can indicate a well-written article.
So if you are posting a new article, either on the Network or on your own website, you might want to think about the following rules set out by Yoast.
- Use subheadings to divide up your text.
- Try to use shorter sentences. Yoast recommends no more than 20 words per sentence, interestingly for up to 75% of your article.
- Your writing needs to comply with the Flesch Reading Ease test, around 60 to 100 is considered fairly easy to read.
- Paragraphs should be fairly short.
- Sentences should contain a transition word or phrase and finally
- No more than 10% of sentences should contain a passive voice.
So why does it matter to you? Well the better constructed your article, the more likely Google is to feature it in search returns!