Transition words and SEO

If you’ve been using the readability analysis of Yoast SEO, you’ve probably noticed our check on the use of transition words. You might have been wondering: What are transition words exactly? Why did we include that check in our analysis? Or, to what extent are those words important for SEO? Here, I’ll explain everything about the relationship between transition words and SEO.

What are transition words?

Transition words are words like ‘most importantly’, ‘because’, ‘therefore’, or ‘besides that’. Using transition words well makes your text much more readable, as these words give direction to your readers. Using them is like pouring cement between your sentences: the relation between two sentences becomes apparent by the use of transition words. They send a signal to your readers that something is coming up, and prepare them for the next sentence.

Using transition words to create readable text is just one aspect of SEO copywriting. If you want to master all facets, take a look at our SEO copywriting training.

If you’re summarizing a discourse, you probably use words like first, second, third, etc. Your readers will understand you’re summing up things if you use these words. If you want to compare certain matters, you could use words like same, less, rather, while or either. And if you want to conclude your story, you might use words as hence, consequently or therefore.

Table 1: Examples of transition words

Relation Example of transition words
Enumeration first of all, also, another, furthermore, finally
Cause because, so, due to, for the reason that
Comparison/contrast similarly, likewise, rather, while, in contrast
Conclusion as a result, hence, consequently, therefore
Fuzzy signals seems like, maybe, probably, almost
Emphasis above all, most noteworthy, certainly, even more

Using transition words probably is something you’ll do automatically. Everybody uses them. You just need these words to tell your story. However, we noticed that lots of people don’t use enough transition words in their copy. That’ll make a text hard to read, especially if your audience is reading from a screen, which is hard anyway. That’s why we inserted the transition words check into our readability analysis.

Importance of transition words for SEO

So what’s the connection between transition words and SEO? Using more transition words in your copy won’t make your article reach a higher position in the search engines directly. It isn’t that simple. So, sorry about that. That being said, transition words do contribute to SEO in the long run, because they improve the readability and the structure of a text.

Transition words are of great significance for the readability of your text. If you use sufficient transition words, your text will become easier to read. And readability affects your SEO! Read all about that in our post about ranking and readability.

Transition words play a crucial role in structuring your text. This leads to a better understanding of your text by your readers. Well-structured text helps to attract readers to your blog and contributes to SEO! Read more about that in our post about ranking and text structure.


You should write original articles: content that people actually like to read! And, on top of that, write readable articles! Always make sure that your articles are nice and easy to read. That’s why transition words are important: to make sure that your articles are a great read. When you’ve managed to do that, start optimizing your post to make it findable as well, without making any concessions to either the originality of your content, or the readability of your post. Good luck!

Read more: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide »

27 Responses to Transition words and SEO

  1. Phoenix Pop Productions
    Phoenix Pop Productions  • 2 years ago

    Readability can be tricky especially when trying to fit keywords. No matter what, writing to educate will engage the visitors to stay longer. When writing blog posts, do you recommend a minimum word count?

  2. Farcas Gelu Danut
    Farcas Gelu Danut  • 2 years ago

    I want to test this in my new website (in Romanian language).
    Thank you very much!

  3. Mike Brombacher
    Mike Brombacher  • 2 years ago

    First of all, this seems like a good idea to implement even more. Certainly, I’d love to see some data or analytics around this due to my curiosity, hence this comment.

  4. Kaizen Infotech
    Kaizen Infotech  • 2 years ago

    Thank you very much for this useful information.Please keep on blogging.I am looking forward to reading your next great article.

  5. Himanshi Singh
    Himanshi Singh  • 2 years ago

    Hey Marieke,
    Thanks for sharing this tips.
    Good to know it…I love the way you presented whole story and thanks for sharing such a useful information with us..

  6. Guy Willett
    Guy Willett  • 2 years ago

    It seems an obvious point but SEO strength should never come at the cost of poorly constructed copy that impacts on user experience.
    Great SEO may get you to your website but it’ll be the great content and writing that’ll keep them there; with the longer term ranking benefit of engaged traffic staying longer on your website.

  7. Preventivo Siti Web
    Preventivo Siti Web  • 2 years ago

    really a nice article on the use of keywords. I personally really interested in the use of words which then lead to a conversion in commercial terms, like buying compare prices or quote!

  8. sam
    sam  • 2 years ago

    How to increase readability of article . Does transition word affect readability.

  9. Arif Hossain
    Arif Hossain  • 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this tips. personally, i use this plugin that is best WordPress SEO plugin

  10. WpGurme
    WpGurme  • 2 years ago

    Its so old story (:

  11. Paul Barrs
    Paul Barrs  • 2 years ago

    Good for those writing articles in English… however, keep in mind that adding a few words like this WON’T actually improve the readability of your content if its not written well in the first place – and for those of us in English speaking counties, there’s nothing worse than reading an article with such bad grammar that the writer obviously hasn’t learnt English as a first language.

    The point – if you’re not competent writing in English… get your articles proof read before publication.

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 2 years ago

      Hi Paul, Agreed that correct spelling and grammar should come first. And, of course, transition words should only be used when it makes sense. Thanks for your comment!

  12. Basit Ansari
    Basit Ansari  • 2 years ago

    Nice post It is amazing Idea to give you now I am improve my readability in my website and thanks for sharing wonderful post.

  13. Johann Unterberger
    Johann Unterberger  • 2 years ago

    Hallo alle zusammen,

    ich habe mir Texte schreiben lassen und habe auch selber einige geschrieben.
    Meine Erkenntnis ist das die geschriebenen Texte von einem Profi meist zu lange Sätze und auch Absätze (Wortanzahl) beinhalten und viel zu wenig Übergangswörter.
    Wenn man einen Aufsatz Schreibt wie in der Schule ist es laut dem Plugin von Yoast am besten (Analyse) und dieser Beitrag von Yoast, und auch andere haben mir sehr viel geholfen den Text zu Optimieren. Danke.

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 2 years ago

      Hi Johann, Glad Yoast SEO has helped you out with this. Good luck with your website!

  14. Stalyn
    Stalyn  • 2 years ago

    Thank you, very useful information.

  15. Natty | Prepagos Neiva
    Natty | Prepagos Neiva  • 2 years ago

    No tenía ni idea lo importantes que son el uso de estas palabras.
    Voy a poner en practica.
    Estos artículos siempre dejan enseñanzas muy utiles.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 2 years ago

      Gracias y buena suerte!

  16. Tim
    Tim  • 2 years ago

    I write about this subject in my book: “Selling by Personality Type.” The transition words, as call them, are most often used by one of the four personality temperaments. I call these people: “logisticals” because they often give step-by-step instructions. You and Joost are of that personality temperament, as am I.

  17. lexy
    lexy  • 2 years ago

    Improving the readability will impress our visitors. I will start using transition words in my posts.

  18. Walter Lewis
    Walter Lewis  • 2 years ago

    Really something I never considered, however thanks for highlighting the importance…

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 2 years ago

      You’re welcome, Walter!

  19. Ardi
    Ardi  • 2 years ago

    Good to know it, but how about if we use another language?

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 2 years ago

      Hi Ardi,
      Currently the transition words check works for English, German, Spanish, French and Dutch. And we’re working on adding the check for Italian too!

  20. Pattipie
    Pattipie  • 2 years ago

    Interesting! Good to know! Thanks!

  21. Nayab Khan
    Nayab Khan  • 2 years ago

    Hello Marieke,
    You are absolutely right transition words helps a lot increase the readability factors.
    Imagine a well over 30 word sentence without any transition word and one with the transition word. It’s more likely that the sentence with the transition word is more likely to simplify the sentence meaning while the one without it is more likely to complicate the meaning of the sentence.

  22. Nicecreame
    Nicecreame  • 2 years ago

    Nice article, thank you