The algorithms used to measure the relevancy and of online content are constantly changing. And if you want to rank higher in search engine results pages then you have to make sure your content is optimized for those algorithms.
While many people try to optimize their online content by using keywords in all the right places, offering unique, relevant content and leveraging meta tags, they forget another factor that’s equally as important – readability.
In this post, we’ll show you how you can check the Flesch Kincaid reading ease score in WordPress using some helpful plugins. We’ll also cover some tips and tricks that you can use to improve your online content’s Flesch Kincaid reading ease score. But before we begin, let’s take a look at how readability is actually measured.
How Is Readability Measured With the Flesch Kincaid Reading Test?
Although Google may not explicitly consider readability a ranking factor in its algorithm, from a broader outlook, readability is important. If the content you publish on your website is too difficult to read or understand, your audience is more likely to look elsewhere for information.
The Flesch Kincaid reading ease test determines how difficult a passage written in English is to understand. It uses factors like the number of words in a sentence (sentence length) and the number of syllables per word to compute the reading ease score. The higher the score; the easier it is to understand the passage. And the lower your content scores on it; the more difficult it is to understand.
For instance, if your content consists of short sentences with an average of two syllables per word then it’ll score close to 100 on the Flesch Kincaid reading ease test. Here’s how the readability scores are interpreted:
|100 to 90||5th grade|
|90 to 80||6th grade|
|80 to 70||7th grade|
|70 to 60||8th to 9th grade|
|60 to 50||10th to 12th grade|
|50 to 30||College|
|30 to 0||College Graduate|
In most cases, a Flesch Kincaid reading ease score between 60 and 70 is considered to be good for online content.
How to Check the Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease Score in WordPress
In this section, we’ll run the rule over two of the best plugins – Yoast SEO and FD Word Statistics – that can help you measure the Flesch Kincaid reading ease score for your WordPress posts and pages.
Yoast SEO is a powerful WordPress plugin that is designed to help you improve your website’s search engine optimization. It also comes with readability analysis functionality that works by analyzing the content of your blog posts and pages and using the Flesch Kincaid reading ease test to compute a readability score.
The Readability tab in the Yoast SEO section displays a complete report of your online content after it’s been analyzed. It tells you how much your copy scored in the Flesch Kincaid reading ease test and interprets it for you, too.
If, for instance, your content scored poorly on the Flesch Kincaid reading ease test then the plugin will give you actionable tips on what you can do to score higher. The best thing about the Yoast SEO plugin is that it’s incredibly efficient. This means that you can make modifications based on the results and re-evaluate the content for readability.
FD Word Statistics
The FD Word Statistics plugin uses both the Flesch Kincaid reading ease test and the Gunning Fog test to compute the readability of your content. It evaluates your blog posts and pages and displays a writing analysis for them right below your post editor.
The writing analysis contains information about the number of sentences you’ve used and how your content scored on three different readability tests – Gunning Fog, Flesch, and Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease.
The standout feature FD Word Statistics offers is that it evaluates your content against three different readability tests. However, unlike the Yoast SEO plugin, it doesn’t give you a detailed interpretation of what the readability scores mean and what you can do to improve them.
3 Tips to Improve Your Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease Score
Improving your content’s readability can potentially increase user engagement, lower your site’s bounce rates, and improve conversion rates. By scoring better on the Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease test, you have a better chance of increasing the time your visitors spends on your page.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your content’s Flesch Kincaid reading ease score:
Tip 1: Use Short, Concise Sentences
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that collectively your target audience has a broad range of reading ability. What this means is that some of your readers might be reading at college level whereas others might be at an 8th grade reading level.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to use short, concise sentences whenever possible. For example, you could try breaking up a single long sentence into two shorter ones. Similarly, instead of using big words to sound more intelligent try using smaller ones that are easier to understand.
Tip 2: Make Sure Your Content Is Easy to Scan
Making sure your website’s content is digestible to any reader by using shorter paragraphs and lots of headings and sub-headings is a great way to improve its readability. This allows you to stay focused and deliver ideas in chunks that are easy to scan.
In addition to this, you can also try replacing long comma-separated lists with quick bullet points wherever possible. The key benefit you get from this is that the skimmers will get a good idea of what you’re covering in the post at a glance.
Tip 3: Use a Conversational Tone
Writing in a conversational tone automatically increases your content’s readability. For instance, it forces you to use active voice sentences more than passive voice ones. So, instead of writing something like At dinner, six shrimp were eaten by Jane you’d be more likely to write Jane at six shrimp at dinner. As you can tell, the active voice sentence is shorter than the passive voice one.
In addition to this, using a conversational tone will also make you seem more human and captivate your audience’s attention right off the bat. And as a result of that, you’re more likely to generate user engagement and encourage readers to start discussions.
By establishing a balance in your written online content, you can significantly improve your Flesch Kincaid readability scores and make sure your content is easier to understand by more people. Let’s quickly recap the tips you can adopt to improve your Flesch Kincaid reading ease score:
- Use short, concise sentences to cater to your target audience’s broad range of reading ability.
- Make sure your content is easy to scan so that the skimmers stay on your page to read the entire post from beginning to end.
- Use a conversational tone throughout your writing to increase user engagement and encourage your readers to start discussions.
Have you analyzed your content for readability? Which tools did you find to be most useful? Let us know by commenting below!