Yoast SEO assessment: Passive voice

What does the passive voice assessment do?

The passive voice assessment checks whether the number of sentences containing passive voice exceeds the recommended maximum amount. You’ll get a green bullet if less than 10% of your sentences have passive voice. It’ll turn red if you go over 15%. Passive voice makes your writing more distant and your message less clear. Try to write in an active voice — it will make your writing much stronger!

Why is it important to improve your texts for readability and SEO?

Readability is key if you want to get your message across to both humans as well as machines. An easy to read text is much more enjoyable to read. Scientific fact: People understand passive voice worse than they understand active voice. This has to do with the grammar, but also with the unusually switched focus. In the passive voice you first learn about what was affected, then how and why, before you get to who or what was affecting. The active voice is logical, short and to-the-point.

Here’s an example:

  • Active: “Yoast SEO calculates your SEO score”
  • Passive: “The SEO score is calculated by Yoast SEO”

The active voice is much nicer and easier to read, don’t you think? That’s not to say you should never use the passive voice. Sometimes, you might find that the passive voice fits better or there is no alternative found in the active voice. You can do whatever you want to write the text you want, but it is a good idea to keep your use of passive voice in check.

Do you want to optimize your writing?

You already know Yoast SEO checks your writing to see if it contains a lot of passive voice. Try to follow its suggestions, because it gives you a lot of valuable insights into the readability of a text. For instance, if you write lots of passive voice Yoast SEO automatically marks your text as harder to read. Fix the sentences that you can fix — it’s no problem to keep a few passive voice sentences. If you know what Yoast SEO looks for, you’ll find that you’ll automatically avoid passive voice during writing.

 
Learn more about using and avoiding the passive voice ▸

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