When search engines rank your blog or site, they use a number of different things to ‘score’ you.
Search engine optimisation is important — using keywords, etc., but there are other factors that will determine where you sit on the results page. One of those factors is how readable your blog posts are — how readable your blog is, as a whole.
Readability = how easy to read your blog posts are.
Things that make your blog posts NOT easily readable include:
- No images.
- Lots of big chunks of text.
- No white space.
- A lack of colour.
- No headings and sub-headings.
- Too much blah, not enough woo-hoo.
People DON’T want to look at long pieces of text. Reading all of that text takes so much effort, and visitors to your blog or site are likely to click on and then click right back off again.
People DO want conversational, friendly, easy-to-read information that answers the questions or solves the problems they have.
So … this is what I suggest you check out:
Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
I downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress many moons ago, and I’ve been using that as my guidelines for posts ever since. It doesn’t just pay attention to search engine optimisation for your blog posts, though; it also helps you with readability.
Yoast helps because it gives you guidelines. When you meet those guidelines, lights turn green. If you haven’t met those guidelines, lights are orange (bad) and red (very bad).
In order to get all green lights across the board, you need a blog post that is formatted with short paragraphs, includes headings and sub-headings, also includes images, and has plenty of white space to help break things up. Yoast suggests no more than 300 words between headings or sub-headings, and this is a rule-of-thumb that I try to use for every blog post to open them up and make them easy to digest. Headings and sub-headings also make it easier for the reader to find EXACTLY what they’re looking for within the post.
The plugin also suggests creating paragraphs that are no longer than 150 words long for the same reasons. (And yes, it does all the word-counting for you!)
You can also go into greater detail, ensuring that sentences aren’t too long (only 25% of sentences should contain 20 or more words), that you’re not using passive voice too frequently, and that you don’t use sentences that start with the same word time and time again. I do this a lot. I didn’t even realise I did it at all before I started using the Yoast plugin, but I’m forever getting a red light for using consecutive sentences in a row that start with the same word … They all usually start with “I”.
Apparently, I love myself 😏
These might seem like pointless little exercises, but all of them together make for great blog SEO and readability. When your blog posts are easy-to-read and search engine optimised, readers can find them quickly and are more likely to stick around and read the content.
How Readable is YOUR Blog?
Whether you’re writing new blog posts or updating old ones, I definitely recommend making note of the advice offered up by the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. After a while, you’ll get into the habit of adopting the tips it gives you — adding headings and sub-headings, creating shorter paragraphs, and adding more white space to your long blocks of text. When I first started using Yoast, I had red lights all over the place. And I mean ALL OVER THE PLACE. It was horrifying. Just when you think you’re a half-decent writer, along comes Yoast and tells you that you’re s***.
These days, though, I get more green lights. A few orange, yes, but mostly green. It’s become second nature for me to write the way that Yoast tells me to.
(Not that I don’t have my own mind or anything.)
For more information on how you can make your blog posts more readable, I share my best tips n’ tricks here: How to Make Your Blog Posts More Readable – 10 Top Tips.
If you fancy taking a look at some other simple and effective ways to improve your blog, you might find a few of these interesting:
- Get More Blog Readers By Avoiding These 8 Monumental Mess-Ups
- 21 Ways You Can Promote Your Blog on the Commute to Work
- What is a Compounding Blog Post?
I hope I’ve helped you out today but please feel free to get in touch with me if you have blogging problems or questions. I would love to help! You can leave your comments in the space below this post, or chat to me on social media.
Thanks for reading!