What is the Flesch Reading Ease Score: why and how to use it? Well, before I teach you more about this, there’s something worth mentioning first. Have you ever wondered how easy your website is to understand? Does your writing meet the readability expectations of your audience? In order to evaluate the effectiveness of your writing, there are tools to use.
With these tools, you can easily check the readability of your overall website pages. As well as the key scores, such as Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease and grade level. Particularly, in order to help you determine if your writing is reaching the right audience. If you use the readability analysis in the Yoast SEO plugin, you have probably come across this feature.
The Flesch reading ease score tells you how easy to read your text is. But how is the Flesch reading ease score calculated? Why is this score important for SEO? And, crucially, how can you use it to improve your writing? Let’s answer them all.
What Is The Flesch Reading Ease Score?
Did you know that the average American adult can only read at a 7th to 9th-grade level? Eventually, if your web text is too complicated and hard to understand, people will leave your page. Of course, they’ll return to the search results to get more suitable sources. Remember, these could be some of your competitors — it’s not good to ignore them.
On the other hand, if your test scores a very low-grade level, users will likely assume that your content isn’t valuable. Ultimately, both of these things can prevent site visitors from interacting with your content and contribute to a high bounce rate. In order to maximize your readership, it’s important for the content on your website to be great.
But, it should also reflect the readability expectations of your audience. For this reason, that’s where The Flesch Reading Ease Test comes in handy. One thing is for sure, it helps you to measure the readability of a text from start to finish. Particularly, in order to do so, it uses two variables to determine the readability score.
The two variables are as follows:
- First, the average length of your sentences (measured by the number of words)
- Secondly, the average number of syllables per word
And then, it provides you with a score between 0 and 100. A score of 100 means your copy is very easy to read. Whilst, a score of 0 means your text is very difficult to read. That said, you can see the exact interpretation of all the scores on the scale in the table below. In this case, Wikipedia.com is our main source of data information.
|Flesch Score||Reading Ease Notes|
|90-100||very easy to read, easily understood by an average 11-year-old student|
|80-90||easy to read|
|70-80||fairly easy to read|
|60-70||easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students|
|50-60||fairly difficult to read|
|30-50||difficult to read, best understood by college graduates|
|0-30||very difficult to read, best understood by university graduates|
So, a text with a very high Flesch reading ease score is made up of short sentences, and it contains not too many two-syllable words. Conversely, a text with a very low Flesch reading ease score consists mostly of very long sentences and a lot of complex words. As such, to measure the score, we use the Flesch-Kincaid readability formula.
The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Measurements Formula
Developed by Rudolf Flesch and J. Peter Kincaid, the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Scores are the most widely used measures of readability. And they are used by the United States military to evaluate the readability of their manuals.
The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tools allow you to measure both ease scores and grade levels. The first number, Flesch-Kincaid reading ease, is based on a ranking scale of 0-100, and the higher your score, the better.
Low scores indicate text that is complicated to understand. In terms of the Flesch Reading Ease Score, the Flesch–Kincaid Readability Tests are readability tests designed to indicate how difficult a passage in English is to understand.
There are two tests are:
- the Flesch Reading-Ease,
- and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.
Although they use the same core measures (word length and sentence length), they have different weighting factors. The results of the two tests correlate approximately inversely: a text with a comparatively high score on the Reading Ease test should have a lower score on the Grade-Level test.
Rudolf Flesch devised the Reading Ease evaluation; somewhat later, he and J. Peter Kincaid developed the Grade Level evaluation for the United States Navy. So, if your website receives a low Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score, you will likely need to simplify your text. These readability tests are used extensively in the field of education.
The “Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level Formula” instead presents a score as a U.S. grade level. Whilst, making it easier for teachers, parents, librarians, and others to judge the readability level of various books and texts. It can also mean the number of years of education generally required to understand this text.
Not forgetting, it’s more relevant when the formula results in a number greater than 10. The grade level is calculated with the following formula:. For most business writing, a score of 65 is a good target, and scores between 60 and 80 should generally be understood by 12 to 15-year-olds.
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Formula:
206.835 – 1.015 x (words/sentences) – 84.6 x (syllables/words).
In the Flesch reading ease test, on one side, the higher scores indicate material that is easier to read. While, on the other side, lower numbers mark passages that are more difficult to read. What of the second number grade level? Well, the second number, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, tells you the American school grade you would need to be in.
More so, in order to comprehend the material on the page. As a measure, most of your writing should be able to be understood by students in seventh grade. For example, The Huffington Post’s website has an average grade level of about 7, meaning that it should be easily understood by 12 to 13-year-olds.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula:
0.39 x (words/sentences) + 11.8 x (syllables/words) – 15.59.
Both Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease and grade level use the same core metrics: word length and sentence length. But they correlate inversely. If you receive a high score on the reading ease test, you should receive a lower grade level score.
Why The Flesch Reading Ease Score Is Important
While it’s important to write readable texts, it can also be quite tricky. This is because readability depends on a lot of factors. To help you write a copy that’s easy to read and understand, the readability section of the Yoast SEO content analysis runs all kinds of checks, among which is the Flesch reading ease score.
Are you writing for a medical publication? You’re probably not going to want your content to reflect a 3rd-grade reading level. At the same time, if you’re writing for elementary school students, you don’t want to write at a high school grade level. Catering to the readability expectations of your audience will help keep people on your site for much longer.
Not to mention, this is also a very great way to increase lead conversions. Therefore, it’s essential to take readability into account when writing web copy. Why? Because, if your text is too complicated, your audience might have trouble understanding it. Consequently, they may decide to leave your website and look for information elsewhere.
As a result, you might get a high bounce rate that can lead to lower rankings in the long run. That’s why you should aim to write as clearly as possible. Writing easy-to-read texts is also in line with holistic SEO. With Google’s algorithm becoming more human-like, and with the rise of voice search, readable texts are indirectly contributing to higher rankings.
1. A Well-Written Copy Improves User Experience
At the risk of stating the obvious: unintelligible copy makes for a bad user experience. Nobody likes to read something that’s difficult to follow, boring, or stuffed with keywords. All your online copy should be aimed and focused on your audience. It should be providing them with the needful information, problem solutions, or answers to their questions.
To get your pages high in Google, your instinct may be to write a text that the search engines will easily understand. Which isn’t necessarily wrong. But, first and foremost, you should create pages that provide a great copy (and a great experience) for your visitors. This fits in nicely with our vision of holistic SEO.
If you write a text that’s hard to understand, people won’t find what they need. What’s more, you’ll end up with unsatisfied visitors that bounce back to Google right when they hit your site. Google analyzes user signals like that to determine how visitors experience your site.
2. Even Most Search Engine SERPs Mimic Humans
There used to be a time when stuffing keywords in your copy would work. If you’d just mention your keywords enough times in your text, Google would rank it high for those keywords. Those times are long gone. Nowadays, you need to be more mindful when it comes to the keyword density of your text.
Google has gotten much better at recognizing quality content. For instance, Google now recognizes synonyms. It also understands which words, entities, and content are related to each other. In addition to that, search engines are becoming better at predicting what people want to read.
From the keywords in someone’s search query, they can make an estimated guess of their search intent. Overall, Google’s algorithm is trying to mimic a human. It tries to read a text just like a human being would. As Google becomes more capable of noting and scanning texts in a human-like way, readability will become more important in rankings.
3. It Plays A Role In Voice Search Tools Accessibility
A lot of people use voice search, so Google and other search engines are also very much focused on voice. Imagine a long paragraph consisting of meandering sentences and containing lots of difficult words. Now imagine that paragraph read out loud. The voice result would become impossible to understand.
Google wouldn’t want to use an answer like that. Neither in voice search nor in normal results. That’s another reason why readability will help your rankings. Google prefers texts that are easy to follow, also when they’re read out loud using voice search. But, readability is also important when it comes to accessibility.
You need to keep in mind that not everyone who visits your page will experience it in the same way. Some people with a visual impairment might use a screen reader to go through your content. You don’t want them to leave your page because your text is just way too long. But that’s not all.
Much like Google itself, they rely on the proper use of headings to understand what your text is about. Remember that accessibility matters, and not just for SEO.
4. Help Keep Your Content Within The Range
Did you know that the average American adult reads at a 7th to 9th-grade level? Therefore, keeping your content within that range is a great way to maximize your readership. Luckily, there are many readability tools that are all there to help you achieve all that.
It doesn’t matter what you’re saying if no one can comprehend it. Understanding your audience and their readability expectations is one of the most important parts of writing. It can be marketing, teaching, or working on a novel. No matter the medium, your content has to be accessible in order for it to succeed.
That’s not all, though: If you’re writing for something like a medical publication, you don’t want to write at a 3rd-grade level. So not only should your content be accessible, it needs to be demographically appropriate as well.
5. Meet Your Audience Expectations Demand Easily
If your audience expects a specific type of writing, failure to meet that expectation can be jarring. They may become preoccupied with the style of your writing, which causes your content to lose much of its value. Just think of how often you’ve heard people complain about the writing in a novel like Moby-Dick, even though it’s long been a household name.
The conversation becomes about the writing itself, rather than the content. It can be hard to write consistently at a certain grade level, especially if doing so is contrary to your usual writing style. Most Flesch reading ease score tools let you check your content as you create it. So that you can fine-tune your writing during the process instead of afterward.
You can use such tools to measure the overall readability of your content. And, in the end, you’ll end up with a masterpiece tailor-made for your audience. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with poor readability – what you say is often less important than how you say it.
The Topmost Best Flesch Reading Ease Score Tools
With that in mind, if you want to find out your Flesch Reading Ease Score, one way is to use a free readability test tool in this case. It’s a quick and easy way to test the readability of your work. Whereby, all you’ll need is to simply enter your website’s URL(s) to start right away.
And then, as a result, you’ll receive a breakdown of your readability scores and text statistics. Whether you’re a copywriter, developer, marketer, or SEO expert, the readability tool has the potential to streamline your workflow and make it easier for you to reach your target audience.
If you want to step up your SEO game, then you should get Yoast SEO Premium! Its advanced text analysis helps you write naturally flowing texts, and the internal linking tool and the content filters make your posts easy to find. Also, 404 errors become a thing of the past with the redirect manager.
Whilst, the social previews give you full control of how your posts appear on social media. What are you waiting for? Check out some of the great readability tools you can consider today below. More so, as you start improving your website to better reach your target audience.
WebFX Readability Test Web Application Tool
The WebFX Readability Test Tool provides a quick and easy way to test the readability of your work. It is the most flexible readability software for assessing readability formulas. You can test all, or part of a web page, or simply type in your text. Link directly from your page — it will compute the results for the referring page.
Whether you’re a developer, copywriter, marketer, usability assessor, or SEO expert, chances are you already have plenty on your mind. The Readability Test Tool saves you the hassle and will help streamline your workflow. Thanks to its simple interface, novices and experts alike will enjoy using it. Besides a number score in each of the areas;
You’ll also be able to:
- see how many sentences your content has,
- the number of words, number of complex words,
- percentage of complex words,
- average words per sentence,
- average syllables per word, etc.
After you run the readability test on your content, you’ll also be able to see a breakdown of each of the readability tests they use! After all, anyone can use this tool! While saving you time in the process.
Whether you’re a marketing manager, a content writer, or something else, you can benefit from using this readability test tool. You can guarantee that it will help you write better content in the future!
The readability test tool uses the:
- Flesch Kincaid reading ease test,
- Flesch Kincaid grade-level test,
- Gunning Fog score,
- Coleman Liau index,
- Automated Readability Index (ARI),
- SMOG index, etc.
All this is to help you better understand how easy your content is to understand. On the same note, it takes the text on your web page and gives a score for the most used readability indicators. You can test by URL or direct input in which you copy and paste all content into the tool.
Readable Automated Readability Score Tool
People tune out and hit the back button when they don’t understand what you write. Even if you use the most persuasive copywriting techniques, if you’re not clear, even your clients will lose leads and sales. That’s why you need to use Readable to match your copy with your audience’s reading level.
If you are looking for great readability, better engagement, and even more conversions, then Readable is another tool of your choice. Readable will quickly test the readability, spelling, and grammar of your text and show you how and where to make improvements. It’s one of the topmost best conversion optimization tools to use today!
It has trustworthy website readability algorithms verified by over 1,000 automated tests and hand-calculated scores. Files and Text Scoring capability is another unique feature this tool has. Allowing you to check and improve the readability, spelling, and grammar of text, emails, or files.
In terms of Readability API, it offers you unlimited integration features to start working with. Whilst, allowing you to add powerful readability, spelling, and grammar checking functionality into your own content management software. With that in mind, you can read and learn more about how Readable works in detail.
The Yoast SEO Plugin Flesch Reading Ease Score Tool
Readability indeed has a profound impact on SEO. It simply makes sure that your content can be consumed by all sorts of audiences. And, not just by a specific flamboyant segment that is blessed with advanced vocabulary.
Of all the tools mentioned herein, we most preferably use the Yoast SEO Plugin to cater to all our Flesch reading ease score needs on this website. Yoast SEO also includes the Flesch reading ease score in its readability analysis.
It looks at two aspects of your text:
- how the amount of words relates to the number of sentences
- how the amount of syllables relates to the number of words
If you don’t use too many difficult words and keep your sentences rather short, the check will pass. That means that you will get a green bullet if your text’s reading ease score is higher than 60.
Why this number? Because, for web copy, reading ease of 60-70 is considered acceptable. Translated into simpler terms, that means that a good web text should be easily understood by a 13- to a 15-year-old student.
Did you get a red bullet for the Flesch reading ease assessment in Yoast SEO? Jump straight ahead and read how this assessment works in Yoast SEO and how to use the Yoast SEO feedback to improve your writing as well in detail.
Tips To Improve Your Writing And Keep Your Text Readable
We’ve come to the essential question. How can you use the Flesch score to improve your writing? Well, you write for an audience and you know your audience the best. Before you start writing or editing, think about what kind of texts fit your readers. Do you sell clothes or organize photography workshops?
Or do you write for a mom blog or make step-by-step DIYs? In all of these cases, your content should be relatively easy to read since you are targeting a broad audience. However, remember that you do not have to chase a high Flesch reading score at all costs. For example, you may write about complex, specialist topics for a specific, more knowing audience.
Or, perhaps you are an academic, blogging about your research? Well, in all those cases, it makes sense if the Flesch test produces a lower score. Still, whatever your situation is, your text always benefits from a concise use of language. So, if you want to benefit from the feedback the Flesch reading ease score gives you, focus on the following things:
1. Make Sure You Write Short Sentences
Too many long sentences make your text difficult to read while short sentences keep the subject clear. When the sentences in your text are short, you allow your readers to absorb the information in your text. As a result, they don’t need to use all their attention trying to decipher what you want to say. That is why I advise you to break down long sentences.
By doing so, your text will be much easier to read. And please, don’t think that by using short sentences, you will dumb your text down. Let’s compare two short texts to show you what I mean.
First, we have this sentence:
My favorite place to visit during weekends is my grandparents’ house near the lake, where we love to fish and swim, and we often take the boat out on the lake.
Did you find this sentence easy to read? Wasn’t it a bit too lengthy, confusing, and difficult to process? Breaking it into two or more sentences can make it much clearer.
Consider the following results:
My favorite place to visit during weekends is my grandparents’ house. It’s near the lake, where we love to fish and swim. We also often take the boat out on the lake.
These few short sentences are much easier to read. Yet, you give the exact same information as in the long sentence, so there is no dumbing down. Using short sentences keeps the subject clear and allows your readers to absorb the information you’re presenting.
2. Limit The Number of Difficult Words Use
Words with four or more syllables are considered difficult to read, so try to avoid them where possible. Or try not to use them too much. For example, try words like small instead of minuscule, about instead of approximately, etc.
If you want to reach a broad audience, you should also try to avoid using jargon. If you’re a medical expert, you’re probably familiar with terms like analgesic, intravenous, and oophorectomy. However, keep in mind that most people aren’t. When you can’t find a better alternative, make sure to explain it to users who might not know the word.
All in all, I am sure you have always seen the readability feature on the WordPress post and page, but never come across the Flesch reading score. However, this post has provided you with important insights about Readability, Flesch Score, etc. And most importantly, the importance of keeping the content short and straightforward.
Want to learn how to write great content that’s readable and SEO-proof at the same time? The Yoast SEO Copywriting Course and other Best Free SEO Courses Available Online can all help you with that. You can get access to these courses with Yoast SEO Premium, which also gives you access to extra features in the Yoast SEO Plugin.
3. Implement A Website User Accessibility Statement Widget
Basically, having a target-based User Accessibility Statement on your website in place is yet another resourceful tool for all leading content readers and target users to any given website. Bearing in mind, one-in-five users require accommodations to use any website nowadays. Including the jmexclusives site, if we may add (learn more).
That’s why you’ll need a tool such as UserWay Widget, or The Bureau of Internet Accessibility wares as well. More so, to comply with strict legal requirements while protecting your users’ civil rights. Technically, our Web Tech Experts are committed to making this website usable by all people — including those with disabilities.
In particular, by meeting or exceeding the requirements of Web Content Accessibility. Especially, the 2.1 Level A/AA (WCAG 2.1 A/AA) guidelines. Perse, we strive to make our site an equal experience for everyone — each and every day 24/7. Luckily, our staff is some of the world’s leading engineers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries.
Most importantly, a collective web team who are defining the future of digital online accessibility for us all. We continue to monitor our site and make sure that all content provided is accessible to all visitors. In order to help us in this process, that’s why we have engaged a variety of self-aware and competent third-party partners.
Including but not limited to the UserWay Accessibility Widget professional team, the Bureau of Internet Accessibility — an accessibility consulting company — and many other key entities.
How To Get Started: UserWay Accessibility Widget | Installation & Activation Steps
More so, in order to conduct a full accessibility audit consisting of both automated and manual testing of our website using BoIA’s A11Y® platform. And, as such, it provides us with specific recommendations that will assist us in ensuring that our Web presence is in conformance with the WCAG 2.1 A/AA.
Additionally, with UserWay Accessibility Widget Tools, we can now deploy UserWay’s advanced website accessibility solutions. All this without refactoring our website’s existing code. And, as a result, ensure a comprehensive legal & regulatory compliance framework covering ADA, Section 508, WCAG 2.1 AA, and much more.
The Widget maker is led by a world-class team with decades of experience with complex accessibility protocols. In addition to the delivery of large-scale systems. As well as key innovations that highly push the envelope forward. We recommend that customers using assistive technologies visit the mobile version of our site.
May it be on Desktop and Tablet devices as well as Mobile devices. To switch back to your original view, click View Desktop Site in the footer at the bottom of the site. Important to realize, that efforts to make our website even better are ongoing. More so, as we work to implement the relevant improvements to meet WCAG 2.1 A/AA guidelines over time.
The Main Flesch Reading Ease Score Tests Downside
First of all, as is the case on many sites, creative content writers sometimes need to post articles under various categories. For instance, let’s consider the category “Aviation Pros”. Generally, these are articles often requested by professionals within that industry. More so, constituting 30% of their web content readership demographics.
Perse, those articles are quite attractive to highly educated professionals within the Aviation field. For this reason, they necessitate a lot of professional jargon, however! Because of the very basic setup of the Flesch Software like Yoast or even, such articles using professional jargon are judged at a low score.
This means that, sometimes, such Automatic Readability Checker and or Flesch Score Testing Tools aren’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 target readers. Otherwise, not target professionals in the aviation industry.
How do people read online text? Of course, we all want to write that text that site visitors will gladly read from beginning to end. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Most of the time, people scan through contextual texts. And then, they read subheadings and the first sentences of the paragraphs they deem relevant.
They look for transition words in particular. More so, in order to quickly abstract what the main conclusion of an article will be. All the things people do while reading your text are things Google will do. That means that the structure of your text, and the way you write your paragraphs, become increasingly important.
Core sentences – the first sentence of every paragraph – will need to contain the most important message of that paragraph. And having a clear and logical structure in your text will be invaluable. Surely, keep in consideration these important factors while writing the content.
As can be seen, there are a few notes we have discovered to make regarding the Flesch reading ease score sound familiar to you. First of all, language isn’t math. You cannot strip down the readability of a text to a simple formula. Keep in mind that readability depends on a lot of factors, not just on the length of your sentences and words.
Also, this test doesn’t take your writing style or audience into account. We know there are industries where the language used is different from what most people would use. That’s perfectly fine. Try to use the score as a guideline and always use common sense when interpreting the Flesch readability ease score.
But, if you’ll need more help, you can always Consult Us and let us know how we can sort you out. Likewise, feel free to share your user experiences, additional thoughts, suggestions, or even questions in our comments section.