Now, how many of you made it through all that in one pass?
Believe it or not, search engine bots are just like you and me. They prefer their information in bite-sized chunks. This helps ensure that the bots crawl and index your site’s content efficiently. Therefore, run-on sentences that try to say too much are harmful to SEO. They also confuse and frustrate your site’s visitors.
In short, just remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Simple).
Content that is easy for bots to crawl and readers to digest doesn’t require a lot of investment. But it will take practice. Here are some tips to get you started:
Publications Vs. Publishing
Readers of print media appreciate descriptive and thought-provoking prose. Conversely, online readers tend to skim content. As a result, every sentence on your page must make an impact.
Practice structuring every sentence so that it can stand on its own.
Each one should communicate an idea, fact, or instruction.
Keep paragraphs short. Aim for one to three sentences. Break the rules.
This way, if readers are skimming – just like some of you are now – they won’t miss much. Journalists embody this method. Provide maximum information in a minimum amount of space.
Don’t Make The Reader Work Too Hard
Save your latitudinous and presumptuous vocabulary for your next dinner party. More syllables make things harder to read. You’re not writing a research paper; you’re writing a blog post.
In 2014 Google highlighted readability as a ranking factor. While just one aspect of their complicated algorithms, the logic is sound. Content that appeals to a wide audience is naturally favored.
Personally speaking, this is a tough habit to break. But if choosing “fancy” over “sumptuous” gets me to Page 1, I’ll do it!
Simplify the Structure
Use headings, bold text, and bullet points in your copy. These draw the reader’s attention to the most important bits. These are quick and easy way to:
- Efficiently write your content
- Make the reader pay attention
- Provide instructions
- Communicate multiple ideas at once
Learning How To K.I.S.S.
Google’s purpose is to match the user’s query to the perfect answer. If your site’s content is too expository or convoluted, users are more likely to bounce back to the results page. Google interprets this as a lack of value for their customers.
So, how do you raise your page’s readability?
The good news is, there are many online calculators available. Some of the most popular are Hemingway and Readability-Score. Simply copy and paste your content into either of these analyzers, and you’ll receive a score.
But how is your score calculated? And what makes a score “good?”
Most readability tests are based on the Flesch-Kincaid scale. This system is so universal, it’s available as a tool right in Microsoft Word. The Flesch-Kincaid scale takes number of characters, words, and sentences into consideration. It also evaluates passive vs. active voice.
It then provides a reading ease result based on a scale of 0 – 100.
It also provides an estimated grade level.
Where your content should end up depends on your target audience. Are your writing for an educated, C-level client? Or a beginner searching for the best golf club? Keep in mind that 50% of U.S. adults don’t read above an 8th grade level.
And in the name of transparency, you can check out this blog post’s scores below. As you can see, there’s almost always room for improvement!
The internet has changed our world in many ways. Few could have predicted how it has changed the way we write. In hindsight though, it appears obvious. The web was created in part to make our lives easier. It’s only natural that its best content does the same.
They say you can’t please everyone. And in most cases this is true. When it comes to SEO and content marketing however, a K.I.S.S will get you close!
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