5 years of writing readable content with Yoast SEO

5 years of writing readable content with Yoast SEO • Yoast

Camille Cunningham

Camille is content manager at Yoast. She writes and optimizes blog posts and enjoys creating content that helps people master SEO.

Writing seems simple enough, but writing a compelling text that keeps the attention is quite hard. Especially online. To keep people on your page, you need to write quality content that’s easy to read. Easier said than done? You’re absolutely right. That’s why we introduced a readability analysis in our Yoast SEO plugin five years ago. To celebrate its 5-year anniversary, our CEO Marieke van de Rakt and Irene Strikkers (creators of the analysis) explain why readability is important for your content SEO.

But first, meet the Yoast readability analysis

Before we start our interview, you can watch this short video about our readability analysis. Watch this to get an idea of how our readability analysis works and what it can do for you!

The importance of readability

Can you tell us why readability is important?
Marieke: “If a text is nice and easy to read, you’ll have a higher chance that your readers will stay on your page and read your text. They won’t get bored as quickly and there is a bigger chance that they understand your message. Sometimes the thing you’re explaining might be difficult, but your wording or structure should never make it more difficult.”

And why is readability important for SEO? 
Marieke: “Google tries to give the user the best experience possible. If a text is nice and easy to read, that’s just better for the user. So, indirectly via the user readability is important. But above that, there’s also a direct effect: Google reads text too. Google’s algorithm tries to mimic a human. So, if Google reads texts the same way humans do the demands of readability rise.”

Read more: What is readability and why is it important? »

How the readability analysis came to life

Where did you get the idea of creating a readability analysis?
Marieke: “Well… the idea came from me. We had the SEO analysis in our plugin and I felt like it was sometimes forcing people to write texts that weren’t readable at all. Focusing too much on SEO can comprise the readability of a text. I felt like we needed something to balance that. Plus, the Panda update and Hummingbird update showed us that texts and context mattered. So, readability was becoming more important for SEO. And that made the need for a tool to help people with their readability more pressing.”

“We decided to hire a linguist to help us develop the readability analysis. And that’s when Irene came to Yoast.”

Irene: “I joined in 2016 for what was planned

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This article was written by Camille Cunningham and originally published on SEO blog • Yoast.

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