Flesch reading ease score: Use it!

If you use our readabilty analysis in the Yoast SEO plugin, you have probably come across the Flesch reading ease score. This score tells you how easy your text is to read. But how is the Flesch reading ease score calculated? And why is this score important for SEO? In this post, I’ll explain the importance of readability for SEO and how the Flesch reading ease test works.

In the readability section of the Yoast SEO content analysis, we run all kinds of checks to help you write copy that’s easier to read. You’ll find the Flesch reading ease score there, among the other checks.

Why is readability important for SEO?

It is unclear whether readability is a specific ranking factor. Therefore, we don’t know if Google uses tools like the Flesch score (or a variation of it) as a ranking factor in its algorithm. However, we do know that, from a holistic SEO perspective, readability is very important.

If your text is very complicated, the text will be too hard to read for your audience. This might scare them off and make them search elsewhere for information. In other words, impenetrable text can result in a high bounce rate, leading to lower rankings in the long run. So, you should make sure your articles are well written and not too difficult to read.

What does the Flesch reading ease test measure?

Flesch reading ease measures how complex a text is. The lower the score, the more difficult the text is to read. The Flesch readability score uses the average length of your sentences (measured by the number of words) and the average number of syllables per word in an equation to calculate the reading ease. Text with a very high Flesch reading ease score (about 100) is straightforward and easy to read, with short sentences and no words of more than two syllables. Usually, a reading ease score of 60-70 is considered acceptable/normal for web copy.

90 – 100easily understood by an average 11-year old student
60 – 70easily understood by 13-15-year-old students
0 – 30best understood by university graduates

The Flesch reading ease Score of this blog post is 73.4.

Flesch reading ease was developed to measure the complexity of an English text. But, in the Yoast plugin, we also calculate reliable scores for several other languages. Not every language has an official formula to calculate the Flesch reading ease, so, unfortunately, we can’t calculate this score for all languages.

How to improve your Flesch reading ease Score

Before you start editing your text, decide how easy to read your text should be for your audience. Do you sell clothes or photography workshops? Write for a mom blog or make step-by-step DIYs? Then your content should be relatively easy to read, for a broad group of readers. Do you write about complex, specialist topics or are you an academic blogging about your research? In that case, you can decide to aim at a specific audience and write text with a lower Flesch reading ease score. You know your audience best, after all.

In any case, your text always benefits from clear use of language. So, if you want to get a higher Flesch reading ease score, focus on two things:

1. Shorten your sentences

Too many long sentences make your text difficult to read. Using short sentences keeps the subject clear. It allows your readers to absorb the information in your text, instead of using all their attention trying to grasp what you want to say. So, try to break down long sentences and your text will be much easier to read.

2. Limit your use of difficult words

If you use too many difficult words, you could lose your readers. Words with four or more syllables are considered difficult to read, so try to avoid them where possible. Also, try to avoid insider language when you can. If you can’t find a good alternative for a specific term, make sure to provide an explanation for users who might not know the word.

Conclusion: Use the Flesch score to write readable texts

In short, readable text is important for SEO, as it helps keep readers on your site. The Flesch reading ease score lets you keep an eye on how easy (or hard) your text is to read. So, think about your audience and change long sentences and difficult words if needed. It’ll pay off in the end.

Read more: SEO copywriting: the Ultimate guide »

Frustrated that your most important pages don't rank?

  • Make sure visitors reach important pages
  • Start ranking for competitive keywords
  • Roll out the red carpet for Google & users
  • On-demand SEO training by Yoast
More info

4 Responses to Flesch reading ease score: Use it!

  1. Les Rivera
    Les Rivera  • 9 months ago

    I think the Flesch score is a great indicator for readers in general.

    But, as is the case on my site, I sometimes need to post articles under the category “Aviation Pros”. These are articles often requested by professionals within my industry, constituting 30% of my readership demographics.

    Those articles, attractive to highly educated professionals within the field necessitates a lot of professional jargon, however!

    Because of the very basic setup of the Flesch software, such articles using professional jargon are judged at a low score. Flesch isn’t “smart enough” to understand the kind of reader you address.

    Thus, I only pay attention to that score when my individual article content is intended for readers not professionals of the aviation industry.

  2. home improvement
    home improvement  • 9 months ago

    A short & Crisp enlightening piece from Yoast. Readability indeed has a profound impact on SEO. It simply makes sure that your content can be consumed by all sorts of the audience, not just from a specific flamboyant segment that is blessed with advanced vocabulary.

  3. Kunjal
    Kunjal  • 9 months ago

    A short & Crisp enlightening piece from Yoast. Readability indeed has a profound impact on SEO. It simply makes sure that your content can be consumed by all sorts of the audience, not just from a specific flamboyant segment that is blessed with advanced vocabulary.

  4. Raza Kazmi
    Raza Kazmi  • 9 months ago

    I’ll surely keep in consideration this important factor while writing the content. I have always saw the readability feature on the wordpress post and page, but never come across the Flesch reading score. However, your post has provided me important insights about Readability, Flesch Score, and most importantly, the importance of keeping the content short and straight-forward.