Have you heard of Google’s human readability metric?
If you haven’t, it’s a relatively recent adjustment of the past couple of years.
To help individuals searching online for products, services, and information, Google now incorporates a readability score for content and ranks pages in part according to how easy it is to read by the average person.
What does it mean for you?
It means that if your content has a ton of grammar and punctuation mistakes, is too hard to read, or has virtually no content, Google won’t rank it very high. It also means you need to focus on people, not search engines to create good website content that stands any chance of ranking in the search engines.
Why Does Google Update Its Algorithm?
Have you ever clicked on the top article or one of the top five articles in your search engine results only to realize it’s a title, an image, and a single line? Probably not anytime recently and that’s thanks to Google’s constant updates and algorithm changes.
Webpages that do not contain any content are useless to visitors, and content like what I described shouldn’t rank within the top million search engine results.
To stop content like this from ever ranking high, Google works hard to rank website content according to the potential value it provides readers. They want high-quality content to rank high in their search results.
Several times a year, engineers at Google tweak their algorithms to ensure only good website content with relevant information shows up at the top of the search engines.
What Can You Do to Make Sure Your Website and Blog Content is Human-Readable?
The good news is that there are things you can do to make sure that your webpages and blog content passes the human readability test on Google.
Firstly, you want to use good content writers if you're outsourcing. In addition, all your content marketing efforts need to be edited multiple times.
In addition, there are specific ways to ensure your content is readable for the people you're hoping to attract.
1. Get Started by Identifying Your Target Audience
Right off the bat, you'll need to figure out who your potential customers are before crafting any content. If you don't know who your web content is for, there's little chance you'll be able to attract interested people.
When you understand who your ideal audience is, it simplifies your entire content strategy. Most likely, your best audience members will be your most loyal customers. Build a marketing avatar from the top of your most avid base, and that's an excellent starting point.
2. Skip the Keywords
The first thing you need to do is skip trying to game Google with a high keyword density. You need to forget about using aggressive search engine optimization tactics and focus on producing high-quality content.
The problem is, most keywords and phrases you will find with a keyword tool are grammatically incorrect.
I’m sure you’ve read articles where a sentence included a phrase like “web designer Houston” or “Houston builders home near me” or even worse, the entire article was full of keywords like this.
Grammatically incorrect phrases like this are not okay with Google. They are also the result of individuals performing SEO research, pulling all the phrases that might work for the content they want, then copying those phrases directly into the article without concern for how the content will read.
This tactic will result in low-quality content that is grammatically incorrect every single time. Instead of incorporating this tactic, skip the strange keywords and tell your writer that you would like similar phrases in your article that are grammatically correct and read correctly in the article. And just be sure not to overdo those keywords too.
3. Strive for a Longer Word Count
Most websites are striving for content that provides the ultimate value to readers. Due to this, site owners publish much fewer 300 to 500-word articles. Instead, the highest-ranking articles tend to have between 1,300 and 2,000 or more words.
If you aren’t sure how long to make your article, check your competitors. Type your topic into your search engine and look at the first five results. How long are those articles? Once you know how long they are, The bottom line is you need to create a piece of content that is at least as long as your competitors that covers all the main points they cover in their articles.
4. Check the FLESCH Score
Check your FLESCH score, otherwise known as your Flesch-Kincaid readability score. Make sure the grade level of the text matches your target audience.
If you are hoping to appeal to a general audience, the grade level of the text should be between grades 6 and 9.
When you are writing for an executive or college-level crowd, you’d want the score to be between grades 10 and 12.
If you’re curious about this article, it reads at a grade 8.8, which means it works for 94 percent of individuals.
5. Make Sure Your Content Aims to Solve a Problem
Write for your readers. That means you've got to use words that resonate with them. That also means having things to say that's meaningful to them. And frequently, what's meaningful to a visitor of a website is what solves a problem.
It starts with knowing who you want to be a hero too. What do you enjoy doing, or what life experiences have you had where you can offer help in the form of a solution to someone else’s problem? If you do that, you will start to have a following, and with following, you’ll open up a lot more opportunities.
Zig Ziglar would say that if you just help other people get what they want, you can have everything in life you want.
6. Don't Just Do the Bare Minimum
Start giving and then give even more. Providing a memorable experience is about giving more than what people expect. And that’s the kind of content you’ll need to have on your site to attract quality visitors who would consider you their reliable resource.
Giving more often comes from knowing what your target niche is seeking. It comes from this deeper understanding of what your audience needs and then giving the next step too.
7, Don't Underestimate the Importance of Video Content
Video content took off in the last decade because it's a quick way to show crucial elements about a product or service.
It's also a way for customers to record and share their experiences to help others. Video content is also shareable, and people spread videos readily. That helps to create a wave of interest that pushes your marketing messages to a broader audience.
Sharing has the benefit of creating free, earned traffic. Videos tend to receive the highest amounts of shares and visitors of all media types, so augmenting your current marketing efforts with videos is smart business.
8. See What Others Have Written and Add More Value
Building trust with your readers means knowing what’s already available online and giving something more. That means giving more value, not just necessarily more words.
Value can mean providing information that’s not readily available. It can mean organizing the information in an easier-to-understand format. Or it can mean bundling your information into a set that makes it more attractive.
Another idea to consider is to package up your value in a format other than the typical blog post. You can hire a graphic designer to help you create cool graphics for your content to help stand apart.
9. Consider User Experience
User experience is the overall experience you’re giving your web visitor. This means you must include content relevant to your target niche. But user experience means much more than just providing high-quality, original content.
Providing a good user experience is accomplished by having a great website using the best practices of website design.
That includes easy navigation menus and a home page explaining your website's purpose. Your landing pages must speak to your site visitors. You will also want to make sure your pages are created with responsive design in mind so they look good for visitors using mobile devices.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the user experience your readers need from you.
10. Cite Sources
Another great way to give more than the bare minimum and be exemplary is to cite your sources.
Citing your sources allows your readers to delve deeper into the content you’re sharing, allowing them the satisfaction of complete knowledge of what you're giving.
You can do this through the use of internal links on your own site or external links to other sites.
Citing your sources also builds your credibility and thus builds trust from your website visitors, an important ingredient to building a following.
Writing content is truly giving of yourself. And there are no two ways about it other than giving it your all.
That's because your audience can see through it before they can give you their time and money to support you.
Take the time to build your content meant for readers; they’re the audience that matters, not the search engine spiders.