Editing older posts to improve readability and exposure matters a lot. Google loves updated content, even Google caffeine update stresses this.
In every niche, updating the old content is important.
Adding some detailed explanation or updating the old content according to current trends helps a lot in gaining both search engine rankings and visitors.
Updating the existing content for better rankings and freshness is another topic. However, in this blog post, I will discuss how to optimize your existing content for better readability.
What is readability? Readability is a measure of how enjoyable and easy your blog post is to read. Among different kinds of readability measures, Flesch–Kincaid readability level is the popular and accurate one.
Flesch–Kincaid readability score of 60.0–70.0 or above is desirable.
You can make use of SEO plugins for WordPress like Yoast SEO, and others to display the readability score as you write your blog posts.
Most of the high ranked blog posts in the search engine results page have Flesch–Kincaid readability between 60.0-70.0. So it's clear that Google while ranking blog posts, considers readability.
To improve content readability, the main sutra is, shortening the sentence length.
Trimming out the unnecessary words in sentences helps a lot in improving readability score.
So, what words to trim in blog posts? Remains a question.
As you may think, good readability is not always about Flesch–Kincaid readability. The reader experience of reading the content of your blog also matters a lot. So, improving content readability score should not be your only goal.
So I'll also include some tips, to improve the readers' experience along with improving readability scores.
The right kind of improving content readability scores, also improves readers reading experience.
The tips are in prioritized order:
Improve the readability with these tips
Write in conversational tone
Don't write content as if it's written for robots.
The people who will be reading will be humans. So, make it a habit to address your readers in a personalistic tone. Make use of words like “you” and “I” that hooks readers and engages them to keep reading your content.
They need to feel like they are having a real-life conversation with you while reading your content.
This tip is very important if you are doing copywriting or content marketing for selling products and services.
Keep paragraphs short
Paragraphs should not contain more than 4 to 5 sentences. Most of the readers skip the paragraphs containing more sentences. You should craft your blog post, by considering scanners and speed-readers. Social media or other notifications easily distract readers.
Short paragraphs are easy to read. You can even include a single sentence in a paragraph.
The paragraph should include only one small idea.
A blog post should contain lots of blank space. It will reduce the chances of readers skipping a line. The blog post will become more scannable.
By breaking the blog post into smaller chunks, readers will not miss a point.
Your posts should not be like research papers.
Use formatting tags effectively
Formatting tags like bold, italics and underlines should be used throughout the blog. Using these tags, in right places increases the readability of your blog greatly.
When a speed-reader is reading your blog at around 300wpm, then these formatting tags act like speed breakers.
You need to make proper use of bold and italics tags in your blog posts to make sure that users find it really easy to read your content.
Don't try to make weak adjectives strong
English is a fantastic language. There's always a suitable synonym for a word or set of words. Replacing a set of words with a single appropriate word helps a lot in increasing readability level.
This may be unclear to you now. Let me give some examples,
- I'm very much amazed – I'm astonished
- It's very cold – It's freezing
- I was very scared – I was terrified
- Very good – Great
These are called weak and strong adjectives. Trying to make weak adjectives to a strong one with words like “very, really” is a big writing blunder.
Including strong adjectives when necessary, ELECTRIFIES your blog content.'
Ditch filler words
The words that are unnecessary and lengthens the sentences are filler words.
I'm NOT talking about filler words like um, ah, like, and…
I'm talking about another type of filler words, which fills and lengthens your sentences.
- Make use of this tool – Use this tool
- Passion is the most important thing of all the things in blogging – Passion wins over all the things in blogging.
- There are some things that you can't avoid – You can't avoid some things.
- There are some bloggers ignoring SEO – Some bloggers ignore SEO
- Make use of active voice instead of passive voice – Use active voice over the passive one.
Cut sentences ruthlessly. Trim up the sentences to its root. Remove meat from the sentences. Content should be, TO THE POINT.
Convert passive to active voice
More active voice, more readability score you get.
Things are not being done by someone. Someone is doing a thing.
Many of the text editors, including MS Word, suggest you use active voice over the passive one.
Sentences in the active voice are active, direct, strong, appealing.
Whereas passive ones are passive, sounds indirect, they are not appealing.
Sentences written in the active voice are shorter. Using active voice is the best way to increase readability score.
Passive voice is difficult to understand. You can easily notice the difficulty in reading when the sentence becomes longer and complex.
Blockquotes are usually used to include a quotation from an external source.
These Blockquotes add immense value to the post. When you are citing a source, then your readers will surely look at it.
In the above screenshot, you can see a quote from Google Patent.
It returns great value and proof regarding my content to readers. They usually read that kind of references thoroughly. It reduces bounce rate.
Quotes and thoughts also can be included within Blockquotes. They express the feeling that is difficult to explain in words.
Use content boxes
With WordPress Block Editor, things have got much easier as it once used to be.
In WordPress editor, you can change the background color of any content block to make it look like a content box.
All you need to do is, go to block settings, color settings, and add the background color.
You need to consider adding plenty of content boxes in your blog posts to highlight the important information in it.
Shorter sentences, paragraphs, good spacing, ditching unwanted words, greatly increase readability.
Always be simple, don't complex your sentences.
You may sometimes want to look for a perfect alternative to some words. Use search engines like Google for this. Search for word synonym.
Takeaway: HemingwayApp makes the job of shortening your sentences easier.
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips for great content readability. Do like or comment if you have really liked it.