Why is Readability Important in SEO Content Writing?

Why is Readability Important in Content Writing?


  • What is readability?
  • Why is it essential?
  • Why is Yoast good for checking readability?
  • Tips to improve SEO content readability
  • How to measure readability?


Studies have shown that it takes almost 4 hours to write a blog post. Professionals in SEO content writing need to pay adequate attention to the +quality of the draft so that it is ready for publishing live on the targeted website.

In SEO content writing QC tasks, the content editors broadly follow these 3 steps –

1 – Checking for readability

2 – Checking for SEO

3 – Checking for plagiarism

Out of these, the first part of QC, checking for readability constitutes one of the most vital aspects of content editing. Of course, SEO optimization and plagiarism check are vital but what is the point if the content doesn’t score well on readability?

Learn more – Interesting facts about Copyscape

What is Readability in Content Writing?

Readability = Ability to read

If the audience is able to easily read through the content, then they will interact better with the brand. It gains value if the intended audience can access it without making an effort. In turn, this USP will impact digital marketing outcomes in a better way.

Why is Readability Essential in Content Writing?

Readers detest reading overly complicated language. Expert SEO content writers would know how to enhance readability by choosing words that are simpler and familiar and yet convey the same meaning as done by complicated words.

If you feel your target audience has a higher reading skill, and hence you can be excused for using complex language, then think again.

Your Reader’s Reading Age is Lower than You May Think

The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) tries to measure adult reading levels across different countries. Their score goes from 0 to 500 points. The country with the best score is Japan, with a score of 296. USA scores 272, while Canada scores 273.

What does this mean for content writers?

The above research shows that your audience’s reading age is low (average at best). This is why you need to keep the content’s readability high. SEO blog writers can achieve this USP by following a few tips. These tips are recommended by Yoast and hence can be a great resource to improve readability as per the Yoast add-in.

Why is Yoast Good for Checking Readability of SEO Content Writing?

When you access the Yoast plugin in WordPress, you see something like this in the extreme right corner (under the readability score column)

Why is Readability Important in SEO Content Writing?

These traffic buttons showcase the health of readability of each post


  • Red = Needs a lot of improvement
  • Orange = Readability is improving, just a bit more work
  • Green = Good readability

Why is Readability Important in Content Writing?

If you take a look at the above list, the first two need some work on readability while the last two are good to go (marked as green).

Tips to Improve SEO Content Writing Readability

You can put into practice these readability tips to get better engagement from readers.

1 – Use shorter sentences

Experienced SEO content writers know how to keep sentences short. They break a long sentence into 2-3 shorter sentences. take the below example

We have brought together the collective experience of our leadership and dedicated team to bring to you superior quality PPE medical kits and other accessories meant for the total protection of frontline health workers and police force.

This 36-word sentence can be broken down into 3 shorter sentences

We have brought together the collective experience of our leadership and dedicated team. We bring to you superior quality PPE medical kits and other accessories. These are useful for the total protection of frontline health workers and police force.

Now we have sentences spanning 13 words, 12 words, and 12 words.

Tip#1 :: Aim for 10-15 Words Per Sentence

2 – Use simpler words

SEO content needs to be developed for the maximum number of readers. In order to cater to a universal audience, keep words shorter and use simpler words.  For example ‘furthermore’ can be re-written as ‘also’. Another example is using ‘nevertheless’ when a simple ‘but’ would suffice

Tip#2 :: Make sure that the meaning doesn’t change when using simpler alternatives

3 – Add spacing

The way online audience reads is different from conventional reading. Did you know that people scan webpages first and consume just 18% of the content on average? They first scan through the key parts – headlines, section headings, and bullet points. This is exactly what content editors have to see the presence of such scannable text. And one of the ways readers determine one point from another is the usage of spacing.

I call this whitespace as a breathing space for the reader. It divides the entire content narrative into bit-sized text for quick consumption in the online world. A long rambling chunk of text will never succeed in improving content readability.

Tip#3 :: Preview your blog post before publishing to check for adequate spacing in between the content

How to Measure SEO Content Readability?

When you utilize these tips, you can easily improve your readability. Yoast assigns a score based on Flesch reading ease.

Score  Notes
90-100 very easy to read, easily understood by an average 11-year-old student
80-90 easy to read
70-80 fairly easy to read
60-70 easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students
50-60 fairly difficult to read
30-50 difficult to read, best understood by college graduates
0-30 very difficult to read, best understood by university graduates


Ideally, a score of 60 and up is considered ok to read and get a green button. Take this example of Yoast SEO readability analysis result. It scores 68.1 on Flesch Reading Ease.

The score is influenced by two key factors –

  • The inter-relation of number of words relates to the number of sentences
  • How the number of syllables relates to the number of words.

Yoast marks a score of 60+ as acceptable. This means that for web content, the text should be readable and understood by a 13 to 15 year old.

To sign off

Content’s value enhances substantially when a large chunk of the universal audience can easily understand the content. We took a look at the basics of readability as a concept. We also shared some tips on improving readability in SEO content writing.

Do connect with our team in case you need more information on getting SEO optimized content. We have specialist skills in creating content that is easy to read and works as a lead magnet for your digital marketing campaigns.

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