Best Practices

Yoast Readability Score

The Yoast WordPress Plugin is most known as the most popular SEO tool. But don’t overlook the Readability Score tool included with it. It will make your content easier to read, and could thus indirectly improve the SEO by increasing the number of shares or the time each visitor spends on your site consuming that content.

Readability aspects Yoast checks

  • Subheading distribution. See above. I sectioned off my list of checks with a subheading. That helps you key in faster on the info you want.
  • Flesch Reading Ease. This is a score between 0 and 100 that predicts how easy your content is to read. It looks at both sentence length and also how many polysyllabic words you use. (Using that word is going to hurt my score.)
  • Passive voice. This one is the hardest for me and makes the biggest improvement in my writing when I pay attention to it. “Limiting passive voice can make an improvement in your writing,” sounds better if you say, “Limiting passive voice improves your writing.”
  • Sentence length. Chopping up long, complicated sentences makes consumption faster and easier. If you are targeting a global audience, it is also generally better Global English and makes machine translation more accurate.
  • Paragraph length. Same as dividing up your sentences, giant monolithic blobs of text are hard on the eyes. A few line breaks can help people skim your content and find what they’re looking for more easily.
  • Transition words. I get docked for this one often because I’m not writing narratives. I am often listing technical aspects and don’t use a lot of flourishes like “therefore,” “hence,” or “thus.” Sometimes I ignore this suggestion.
  • Consecutive sentences. If I write like this. If I use repetition. If I don’t vary my sentence structure. If I flagrantly violate the rules. Then you can see why consecutive sentences is a check.

Yoast Readability Score Screenshot

As you type, your readability score will automatically update. You may notice that as you correct one issue, another pops up. Perhaps when you divided that sentence into two, you used passive voice without a transition.

The first time I paid attention to my readability score, I thought it wasn’t helpful. How can automated rules improve my writing. But over time, I’ve come to find it a handy tool. The end result of my articles are often much improved from the first draft just by improving my readability score. Check out the Yoast SEO Plugin if you haven’t before and start taking advantage of the Readability Scores on your website!