Flesch reading ease score: Use it!

Flesch reading ease score —  whether or not your text is not too hard to read.


Why is readability important for SEO?

It is unclear whether readability is used as a organic ranking factor explicitly. We thus do not know whether or not Google uses something like the Flesch score (or a variation for that matter) as a ranking factor in its algorithm. Either way, from a holistic SEO perspective readability is very important.

If the difficulty level of your text is too high, the text is too hard to read for your audience. Your audience then will not stay on your website and search for information elsewhere. A difficult text will result in a high bounce rate and this will lead to lower ranking in the long run. So, you should definitely make sure your texts are well written and not too difficult.

How is the Flesch reading ease score calculated?

Flesch reading ease measures textual difficulty of a reading passage in English (note: in languages other than English, Flesch is seriously unreliable). The lower the score, the more difficult the text is. The Flesch readability score uses the sentence length (number of words per sentence) and the number of syllables per word in an equation to calculate the reading ease. Texts with a very high Flesch reading Ease score (about 100) are very easy to read, have short sentences and no words of more than two syllables. Usually, a reading ease of 60-70 is believed to be acceptable/ normal for web texts.

source: Wikipedia.com
Score Notes
90 – 100 easily understood by an average 11-year old student
60 – 70 easily understood by 13-15 year old students
0 – 30 best understood by university graduates

Upcoming changes in the SEO Content Analysis

Updating our Content Analysis allowed us to really look critically at our own work and made us aware of the need for some changes regarding the Flesch reading ease. Most important reason for this is that a text that  is written at too low a level will just as well lead to a high bounce rate as texts which are too difficult.  If your audience feels that the text is beneath their level, they will quickly leave your page after scanning the text. The level of your texts thus should not be to easy. That’s why we will warn our users if their Flesch Reading ease score will rise above the 90 from now on.
Applying a holistic SEO strategy would mean that you should adept the readability of your text to your audience. In one of the next updates of WP SEO Premium we will offer you the possibility to fill in your desired reading ease score. Our plugin will than check whether or not your text is written according that reading ease score. And… we are also working on some other text analysis checks for our Content Analysis Tool. So, keep posted!

The Flesch Reading Ease Score of this blogpost was: 70.8.


By Yoast

Why is readability important