Saturday, April 1, 2023

Readability for SEO: Myths and Reality - Practical Ecommerce

Last updated Thursday, February 2, 2023 10:05 ET , Source: NewsService

The “readability” of text refers to its clarity and ease of understanding. Third-party tools such as Flesch Kincaid and Gunning Fog Index can assign readability scores to articles, product descriptions, or any other passage.

For years, search engine optimizers have assumed content readability is a direct ranking factor. Many articles assert this.

But the claims are erroneous.

There’s no clear evidence of a readability metric in Google’s algorithm. Google’s John Mueller said as much in early 2018, stating readability is not a ranking factor to his knowledge.

Studies by Portent and Ahrefs did not find correlations between readability and organic positions.

Yet the myths persist. Yoast, the WordPress SEO plugin, adds to the confusion with its readability analysis, which appears in the backend alongside every article, implying a rankings impact.

Moreover, the myths are actually counterproductive. Suggesting a link between a software-driven readability score and rankings forces writers to please machines instead of humans.

And that’s a slippery slope. Many writers have told me their articles failed to rank despite perfect readability scores or keyword density or HTML headers or overall word counts. The content suffers because it’s aimed at search engines, not people.


Is readability important?

Of course. Readability in a generic sense is paramount, even for search engines. An easy-to-read, informative article — one that provides answers — attracts humans, who share...

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