Writing & Translation

Are Readability Scores Reliable – Here Are the Facts

Writing good content is not everyone’s cup of tea. Sure, you might have a good hold of grammar and some exciting ideas to work on. But all your efforts go to waste if you don’t have the numbers to back it up.

Yes, thanks to technology, we have parameters to quantify the quality of writing and how readable it is. Readability metrics are the talk of the town. And content marketers and bloggers take the readability score very seriously.

Readability score

Customize the filters, and you can check the readability of pretty much any content. Even academic writers and bloggers turn to readability scoring platforms to check their content. These readability parameters are far from generic. Students use these scores to evaluate their academic writing.

So, if you are looking for assignment help, then readability is an important factor you cannot afford to ignore. But what exactly is a readability score? What are the parameters that affect readability? And more importantly, are these metrics reliable? I will try to answer all this and more below.

About readability scores

Note that readability is not similar to legibility in the content marketing space. Readability checks the reach and effectiveness of your content. These platforms help writers answer two defining questions- What is the core message of your content and is that message coming through clearly.

Readability scores estimate the effectiveness of your content. No one wants to read blog posts that ramble on and on without ever getting to the point. Web content is different from your journal.

Remember, when you are creating content online, it is usually for a specific intent and audience base. Every content creator has to tread the delicate balance between what they want to say and what the audience wants to see/hear/read. So, what does it take to succeed at blogging? Well, a good readability score is the first step to that answer.

You cannot compromise on content quality just to appease your followers. Similarly, you cannot expect the readers to blindly accept whatever you post, even if it doesn’t meet their standards.

Everyone has their own preference we’re all entitled to our opinions. So, how can we possibly quantify something so subjective? Well, turns out we can!

SEO and readability

SEO or search engine optimization is more than a buzzword for content creators. It is more than adding the right keywords to your blog. A high readability score results in better SEO as well. The primary purpose of both these tools is the same- to enhance the reach of your content.

Of course, other aspects affect your local SEO as well. Your links have to be organic, the images and videos must have text descriptions etc. Also, from a content point of view, adding meta text description above your content increases the chances of Google ranking it higher.

SEO and readability go hand in hand, irrespective of the kind of content you are writing. This holds true for bloggers, technical writers, and academic writer alike. As an academic writer myself, I can definitely vouch for the importance of structuring and SEO in the success of my blogs.

One of the most useful resources that I often apply to my writing is Natalie Goldberg’s golden rules of writing. She has a fool-proof approach to writing relevant and concise content that can be used to both academic and non-academic sectors.

She uses what I like to call the “carefully chaotic” approach wherein we allow free reign but also a level of self-control. Give yourself free rein when you are ideating and preparing the first draft and then edit mercilessly when you are done. Readability platforms make the proofreading process simpler.

SEO and readability

Factors affecting readability  

Readability scores have two main aspects- creativity and technicality. The creative element is how you present your content. The technical stuff deals with the keywords, linking and structure of your post.

In some cases, bloggers recycle their old posts to get more traffic. Readability scores also play a significant role here to ensure that your content is up to par.

A useful readability metric would check both these aspects of content creation. It also contains how simple, clear, and straight-forward the language is. Other factors that these platforms restrict are,

Language and usage 

The first factor is, of course, grammar and language usage. Writers get in-depth insights on grammatical errors and alternatives. You can also get data on the number of sentences that are difficult to read.

Hemingway is excellent readability checking and proofreading resource that lists passive voice instances and adverbs in the article. The reading score is read in descending order, i.e. the lower the score, the better your content readability is. Anything below 9 scores is shown as “good”, scores below 5 are usually marked “excellent”.

Content flow 

Content flow and coherence is another factor that readability scores give insights on. If you have a good readability score, it means that your content is an exciting read. Often the intent and purpose of the content don’t come through to the reader.

Your articles must have a proper introduction, body, and conclusion. Some readability platforms also help writers structure their blogs with para break suggestions and more.

Word count 

“Brevity is the soul of the wit” Shakespeare really had some solid advice that is still relevant all these decades later. Lengthy blog posts will get you nowhere. It is always better to avoid fluff writing and get straight to the point.

And lucky for you, if you have a tendency of getting off-topic, then the readability score helps you identify it. Some platforms like Hemingway also provide an estimate reading time. The average interest user doesn’t spend more than 5-10 mins on a blog.

Word count 

Difficulty level 

Ultimately, the readability score calculates the difficulty level of your content. Your blog might be grammatically correct and still challenging to read. This doesn’t mean that you’re not a good writer.

The average reader is someone used to simplistic content unless you are writing for an academic audience.

What is the most popular readability parameter? 

Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog, Grade-level, etc. are some of readability metrics that most people know of. These parameters measure the quality and relevancy of your content. In some platforms, you can even set the tonality, audience demographic and other factors for more niche results.

Flesch-Kincaid: Flesch-Kincaid grades your content between 1-100, with 100 being the highest readability score. Anything between 70-80 on Flesh-Kincaid is ideal for an average adult.

Gunning Fog: the Gunning Fog index grades the content according to the ability of the reader. It tells us how educated the reader must be to understand your content. A 7-8 score is the average here.

New Dale-Chall: The Dale-Chall reading ease is suitable for adults and children above grade 4. It helps writers narrow down their target audience and ensure that

The other side of the coin

Readability scores are not always accurate, though. Several studies and research data show that out of the multiple readability formulae, only a few stands the test of time. And I would stress the importance of manual proofreading before you publish your post online.

Author Bio: As an Assignment Expert, Bella delivers online sessions at Expert Assignment Help, helping students with writing essays and assignments. She is the co-founder and education consultant at Top My Grades. Beyond work, you can find her baking a fresh batch of cookies in her kitchen.

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About the author

Harshil Barot

Harshil Barot is a Computer Geek, Internet Entrepreneur, Blogger, Day Dreamer, Business Guy, Fitness Freak, Music Lover and Digital Marketing Specialist. He also helps companies to grow their online businesses. At Just Web World he Writes about Blogging, WordPress, SEO, Business, Technology and Computer Tips and Tricks.

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