The Flesch Reading Score
Flesch, a guide to better website content. As you’ve probably heard “Content is King” when it comes to ranking factors for your site. You may also be aware of terms like minimum work counts and the dangers of repetition.
Whilst these two areas are still vitally important, how search engines interpret your content structure has become a lot more complex. Clear and concise text and formatting therefore enables 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 content in a more efficient manner.
If search engines believe your content is easy to understand, the more noteworthy a result you are in their eyes and hence given more priority in rankings. The higher you go, the more visitors you will gain as a result.
Therefore, the easier to read, the greater the user experience, search engine confidence and ranking positions. As a result, content is not only “king”, but the Lord Almighty in terms of how well your website performs.
How to increase your score
Ok, we know that better, easy content is the way. So how do we achieve this and what are the factors in how a website will be judged? The Flesch reading score gives your website an actual score based out of 100, the higher your score, the more easy your content is. The Yoast Flesch reading score is a good reflection on how well a search engine will view a website. The score is calculated on a number of areas that make up an overall score.
This is based on sentence length and the types of words used. A Sentence of more than 20 words is too long, whilst a word made up of four or more syllables is seen as complex. That is not to say you can’t have some long sentences or use some longer words, so long as these aren’t in the majority.
The great thing about Yoast is that it highlights text, enabling you to tweak where necessary to improve things.
You want 10% or less here of overall content, any more and you will be penalised. Passive voice shows interest in the person or subject matter, referring to an action rather than the person or object performing the action.
A good way to structure content is to reduce the number of past tense references. For example, not “We have produced” but “We Produce” and not “We will Design” but “We design”. This can be a grey area when writing content, but this solution is a quick way to reduce the negativity.
Pretty obvious, you need a diverse entrance sentence and penalised if you have 3 or more sentences that start with the same word. So mix it up a little and try not to be repetitious.
Flesch likes transition words. Anything more than 20% and you’ll get an amber signal, anything less and you will see RED. More than 30% and you’ll get a green, which is what you want. You don’t need to use transition words in every sentence, about a quarter to a third or your structure will do. Transition words are connecting words between points of your sentence. Flesch does list some of these, which consist of words like “therefore”, “also”, “hence”, “finally” etc etc. There’s more transition word examples on the Flesch Reading Website for you to refer to. These cover “Enumeration”, “Cause”, “Comparison/contrast”, “Conclusion”, “Fuzzy signals” and “Emphasis”.
If you do run out of transition words to use, there’s plenty of website’s out there with more to choose from. Just one quick tip to also bear in mind if using Yoast… The text highlight shows where transition words are needed, this is actually the previous sentence, just something we’ve picked up.
We hope this mini ultimate guide benefits anyone looking for explanations of terms and general reading score facts. You will find more information and definitions on the Yoast Flesch Reading Score and Yoast Transition Word Assessment for SEO websites.