Flesch reading score

Flesch content legibility score, a direct impact on user experience and search engine ranking.

Flesch reading score, a guide to legible website content

A guide to better writing with Flesch.

Content is King

Welcome to the Flesch reading score. As you’ve probably heard before “Content is King” when considering website SEO and ranking factors. You may also be aware of terms like “minimum work count” or the dangers of “repetition” (ie duplicate content).

Although these two areas remain important, how a search engine interprets your content structure has become much more complex. Clear and concise text formats enable the user to read and understand your content more easily. Not only that, well-written, uncomplicated text allows search engines to understand your meaning and emphasis, consequently crawling your pages in a more efficient manner.

Easily understood content is more noteworthy to search engines, consequently ranking the website higher. The further up the listings, the more visitors you will gain as a result.

Flesch traffic light and reading ease score

To summarise, the more legible, the greater the user experience and in turn increased ranking positions and thus more traffic. Therefore, content is not only “king”, but the Lord Almighty in terms of how well your website performs.

How to increase your score

Ok, so now we know that better is the right way to go. The question is then, how do we achieve this? This is where the Flesch reading guide (courtesy of the Yoast SEO plugin) comes into play. Flesch scores your website content out of 100, the higher your score, the more easy your content is. Calculated from a several factors, this legibility score reflects how well a search engine will judge your website.

Reading Ease
Ease is based on sentence length and the types of words used. Sentences containing 20 words or more are too long. Likewise, words of four or more syllables are too complex.

It’s ok to use some longer sentences or words where necessary, so long as these aren’t in the majority. The Flesch reading score highlights where there should be improvements, enabling adjustments to increase your score.

Passive Voice
You’re looking to achieve a passive voice structure of 10% or less. Passive voice shows interest in the person or subject matter, referring to an action rather than the person or object performing the action. For example, instead of “A book was bought by me” use “I bought a book”. Yoast has a handy guide on how best to optimise your passive voice score.

Consecutive Sentences
Pretty obvious really in that you need a diverse range of sentence entrances. You are penalised when 3 or more consecutive sentences begin with the same word. So mix it up a little and try not to be repetitious.

Transition Words
Flesch likes transition words. Use more than 30% of transition words in your sentences and you’ll receive a green light. Therefore, don’t need to use a transition word in every sentence. Between a quarter and a third is advisable.

Transition words are connecting words between points in your sentence. These consist of words like “therefore”, “also”, “hence” and “finally” for example. Here, Flesch offers an in-depth approach and full details on, and how to use transition words in your language.

Further reading

Ultimately, we hope this small guide into the benefits of well-written and legible website content proves useful. If you’re looking for more detailed explanations and examples, please visit: