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5 Easy Steps to Readability for SEO

Readability is an important metric for SEO. Google measures how long your reader stays on that page, they measure scrolling and tapping and clicking. In other words, Google and other search engines care about the engagement on your content.

Today we’re going to talk about the 5 Easy Steps to Readability for SEO. Before we get started, there’s a readability game you can use to measure how well you’re doing. K, maybe not a game, per se. If you install the SEO by Yoast plugin for WordPress, you can use the readability stoplight!

Readability Stoplight

You gotta get that sucker to green!

Onto our our easy-peasy 5 steps to readability for SEO.

Simple Short Paragraphs

Last night I read an essay that my 13 year old wrote. Did you know that kids are still learning the standard paragraph structure? Remember the ol’ standby: introduction, three supporting sentences, and one conclusion? That may get you good grades but it will never fly online!

Think about how much information you process every day in front of a screen. Be honest – do you ever read things word-for-word? I wanna know! The psychology of the web, says ‘no’. How about you?

Rule of thumb: make it skim-able.

Is that a word?

I try for no more than 2 lines of text. That really isn’t very scientific since two lines on a phone is far different than two lines on a desktop. But that’s my thinking as I’m going through the ideas and writing them down.

Headers – the real ones

You must use headers properly! Do not use them to make your text bigger. They are titles aka headings. They are not style choices. To use them this way, is to degrade your SEO!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Your headers are titles – not style choices! Don’t degrade your SEO this way!” quote=”Your headers are titles – not style choices! Don’t degrade your #SEO this way!”]

Now that that’s out of the way – use headers properly as section titles. Divide up your content into easy to skim sections.

Media

Media creates engagement and interest. It is obviously very attractive to readers, thus making your content more SEO friendly too.

TIP:  you do not need a youtube or MP3 plugin!

Just add the URL on its own line (see below) and up pops the video like magic!
Media example

Tweet This

Since I started using Tweet-this, or sometimes called tweetables, my shares via twitter have skyrocketed. Use interesting facts, or entertaining quips and turn them into tweetables. Who doesn’t love sharing something clever or funny?

TIP: If you’re using Social Warfare for your sharing buttons, you can create tweetables in the post and you don’t need another plugin.

Quotations

If you’re in the print world, quotations are known as pull quotes. They pull the reader’s attention to a specific sentence or point. And they’re usually styled differently. Anything breaking up the text in a digital world, makes it more readable.

This is a pull quote.

To create these, use the button in your post editor that looks like quotes. Easy peasy!

Now, have a look above and see how all 5 of these steps are written in a formula for skim-ability.

Have questions? Leave ’em below – let’s carry on the conversation!

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2 Comments

  1. Love the topic ! I just wrapped up my Yoast SEO course and although I am not a huge fan of the readability section ( feel it needs more parameters and will improve in the future) I am rethinking my writing and doing shorter paragraphs now.

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