How important is readability to SEO?


If you’re wondering how important readability is to search engine optimisation, well the short answer is, it’s pretty damn important. Whilst you may be able to climb the rankings with a cleverly optimised article, there just isn’t really any point if it’s an incomprehensible mess. Articles have to be written for people, not robots, otherwise your potential customers will bounce immediately away from your website and they probably won’t return.

How important is readability to SEO?

Google’s algorithms have also now become so sophisticated that you’ll probably find yourself falling down the rankings, or even being penalised when Google eventually realises that the content on your website just doesn’t make all that much sense to the reader.

Poorly written content reflects badly on your website and your company, it tells your customers not to trust you and make your business appear to be illegitimate, this in turn tells the search engine not to show you page in the results –they want to give the best results to users after all!

Well written, formatted, grammatically correct and genuinely useful content however tells potential customers that your company is trustworthy, it encourages them to delve deeper into your website to read more articles, find out more about your brand or perhaps purchase your products or services. Well written articles and content tells users that you’re company is an expert in its relevant field and help to build familiarity with your brand, so that customers are likely to seek you out in the future.

Well written content that’s pleasing to the eyes is better for converting users, and beyond that it’s easier for the search engine to read and comprehend. Poorly written content can confuse the search engine, if it appears to be nonsensical then searchengines may have a hard to time understanding where they should display your page in search engine results. This might result in them hiding your web pages from the results altogether.

How important is readability to SEO?

Photo: Kaboompics, Pixabay.

Google has a number of readability factors it takes into account when trying to determine how ‘readable’ a page is. They are:

Content length

As a general rule, longer content does better in the search rankings because it is more likely to answer the search question, making it more relevant and useful to the reader whilst short content won’t contain the same amount of useful information.

Term Frequency

Search engines will try to determine the topic of your article by looking at relevant keywords, industry buzzwords, synonyms or sematic terms that are used in your article. Too much repetition of one keyword will not flow as well for the reader and suffer in terms of readability, so it’s important that your articles are written naturally with a clear focus on the topic and industry area.

Keyword density

Your keyword should definitely appear a number of times throughout your text, but this should be done naturally and well-balanced. Too many keywords in a text gets clunky and doesn’t read well, which can harm your rankings or even get you penalised. Too little and it won’t be clear to the search engine what your article is about.

Grammar and Spelling

Thought grammar rules and proper spelling wouldn’t matter outside of your high school English class? Sorry to break it to you, but it does matter in the world of SEO. Whilst it’s not clear how much of an impact this has on your rankings, it does impact on readability. Poor legibility will hurt your customers perception of your companies professionalism and lead to less trust and a poorer reputation in the long run which will inadvertently harm your rankings.