If you’re like most people on the Internet, you’re not going to read this post word-by-word.
In fact, as little as 16% of people actually read content word-by-word. Yoast SEO’s readability score is, in part, a response to that data.
While there are plenty of different tools and tests that purport to measure a piece of content’s readability score, Yoast SEO’s feature is the one that most WordPress users are familiar with.
To that end, I’m going to dedicate this post to exploring that specific feature of Yoast.
I’ll tell you why you should care about readability, what goes into Yoast’s score, and how you can improve your own Yoast SEO readability score.
Here’s Why You Want Readable Content
Readability is roughly defined as “how easy it is for someone to read a piece of content.”
Because most people aren’t going to painstakingly go through and read your content word-by-word, you need to make it as easy as possible for people to quickly comprehend your content.
For that reason, readable content is all about improving the usability of your website.
Nielsen Norman Group actually dug into this issue with hard data and found that the two biggest single contributors to usability when it came to content readability were:
Concise text – just plain fewer words.
Scannable layout – good use of subheadings, lists, bolding, and more.
Yes, the English professor in you might cringe.
But if you want to make your site more usable and increase the number of people who read your content, you need to, in the words of Pamela Wilson, “Accept that people scan web pages, rather than reading them in detail, and work with this reality rather than fighting it.”.
Neil Patel and Brian Dean of Backlinko take this concept to its extreme by writing almost exclusively in single sentence paragraphs: