Readability Hack to Improve UX and Boost SEO
I always advise Marketers and Entrepreneurs that Growth Hacking can be done in two ways. The first is to do different things than other marketers.
The second way is to do what other marketers are doing but do it differently. For instance, you can either switch from Facebook to a completely new platform which isn’t exploited by other marketers or you can find new opportunities within Facebook that marketers have ignored.
Both these approaches help to reach your goals faster and cheaper and hence are both ways of growth hacking. When you look at SEO or UX, a lot of people speak about the design, technical optimization, website speed, keyword density, which is all great. But one thing which Marketers ignore a lot, and I have seen this personally over the years, is readability.
It becomes a “Growth Hack” when you do something that others are not paying attention to.
So there is a clear difference between your content and everyone else’s content, as you have looked at a very obvious but small detail which others are not looking at. And hence this hack has made its way into the blog. So three simple steps to improve the readability and get the edge above all the other competitors around you in terms of both UX and SEO are as follows:
Step 1: Check your website readability using a simple tool like Readable. Go to: https://www.webpagefx.com/tools/read-able/ How easy is it for people to read or understand your content, your blog page or article? That’s the question which the tool will answer.
Step 2: Pick any web page to perform the analysis, and put that URL in the tool. Click the ‘Calculate Readability’ button. Now you will have all the readability stats with you.
Step 3: Check Readability factors and make necessary improvements.
Before you do that, let’s understand the various scores in the readability report created by the tool. There are two sections, the ‘Readability Indices’ and the ‘Text statistics’, we will check the text statistics first.
Text Statistics will give out the score on the following parameters:
● No of Sentence
● No. of words
● No. of complex words
● Percent of complex words
● Avg words per sentence
● Avg syllables per word
To start with, keep the ‘Percent of complex words’ between 10-12% – this will keep your content simple which anyone could understand. Also, too long sentences are not good, try to keep them short. If you read a simple instructable book, it has 6-8 ‘Avg words per sentence’.
When you optimize these ratios, you will see that your ease of reading will become higher, as you are using simpler words and short sentences.
Readability Indices will give out the scores of the following parameters:
Along with scores, you will also see a coloured scale in this index, green equates a good score, yellow is average and red means bad. As soon as you have something on the red scale, go down and check the formulae and make improvements accordingly.
- Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease – This is based on a 0-100 scale. A high score means the text is easier to read. Low scores suggest the text is complicated to understand. A value of 60-80 should be easy to understand for a 12 to 15-year-old.
- Flesch Kincaid Grade Level – This equates the readability of the text to the US schools grade level system.
- Gunning Fog Score
- SMOG Index
- Coleman Liau Index
- Automated Readability Index
You don’t have to know the detail formulae of all the indices. You will realize that as you reduce the number of complex words and make sentences shorter, every parameter will turn into a green index and increase your content readability for users and for Google.
Make sure all these are either in green or Yellow colour scale and as soon as you have anything on the red scale, check the formulae of the index.
Once you have optimized it all, republish your content.
Also if you have content which is not yet published, you can click on the ‘Test by Direct Input’ button. Just copy/paste your content and test it for readability.
The alternative tool for the above one is the Hemingway App (URL: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/). You have an editor in this tool, it’s gonna test grade your readability to good. As long as you have a good scale, you are good to go with the content. It’s also gonna show you why it has ranked something good or not.