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Yoast SEO is a fantastic tool for improving your site’s SEO performance, but did you know that it can also boost engagement by improving the overall readability? Your post can tick all of the SEO boxes, but if your copy is poorly written and difficult to understand, you’re still not going to get your message across. Here’s what you need to know about your Yoast SEO readability score.

After you’ve input the text of your post, Yoast SEO will give you two scores. The first score gives feedback on how well the content performs for SEO based on the keywords you chose. The second score is the readability score, and it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. This score will assess how easy your content is for customers to read and understand. 

Yoast SEO Readability Score
Flesch Reading Ease

The readability score is based on established criteria for what makes web copy easy to digest. The first category you’ll see is the Flesch Reading Ease score. Rudolf Flesch developed this system in the 1940’s as a way to assess and improve the readability of newspapers. It’s now an industry standard for marketing, media, and other writing meant to attract engagement.

The basic formula depends on the average number of words in a sentence and the average number of syllables in a word.  A score between 70 and 80 indicates that a text is at an 8th grade reading level and should be easy for most adult readers to understand.

Sentence Length

Another component of the Yoast SEO readability score is your average sentence length. Yoast SEO encourages you to keep your sentences as succinct as possible. Yoast SEO recommends that no more than 25% of your sentences be over 20 words long.

Active vs. Passive Voice

Depending on whether you’re a grammar nerd (guilty!) these terms may feel like old friends or they may bring back traumatic memories of elementary school Language Arts. 

As a quick reminder, active and passive voice have to do with who is doing the action in a sentence. For example, in the sentence, “I am riding a bike,” we have an active voice because the subject of the sentence (I) is the person doing the action (riding). But in the sentence, “The bike is being ridden by me,” we have a passive voice because the subject of the sentence (the bike) is not doing the action (riding), it is receiving the action (being ridden). 

In general, you should use passive voice sparingly (no more than 10% of sentences). Passive voice is less straight-forward which makes it more confusing to readers.

Transition Words

Transition words are often overlooked, but they can really help readers to follow along as you move between topics. Think of words like, “and” “but” “because” and “so.” You can also use transition phrases like, “for example,” or “as a result of.” These small words clue the reader into the connection between one sentence and another. Without transition words, it’s easy for readers to get lost.

Editing and Educational Resources

If you score poorly in any area, you can click the eye icon and Yoast SEO will highlight specific sentences or paragraphs that need improvement. This makes it extremely easy to make quick adjustments. Like the SEO score, the readability score will adjust in real time as you make edits, giving you near-instant feedback.

Yoast SEO Readability Score
If you don’t understand one of the categories, just click the link for that bullet point. Yoast SEO will redirect you to an informational article to help you understand the topic more thoroughly.

If you haven’t caught on by now, we think Yoast SEO is a fantastic plug-in with a lot to offer. Not only can it improve your SEO performance, but it might just make you a better writer too! Need more convincing? Check out our other posts!

Lily Dunn

Author Lily Dunn

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