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5 Mistakes Your Plugin Won’t Detect –

To marketer ears, “readability” inevitably conjures that familiar WordPress plugin: Yoast SEO. If you’ve never had the pleasure of using it, this is a Yoast feature that—with the help of a mysterious algorithm—calculates the reading “difficulty” of a piece of writing.

It then makes recommendations like decreasing sentence length, using a more active voice, and breaking up large chunks of text with subheadings. It’s even audacious enough to put red or orange bullets next to posts it considers algorithmically sub-par, but let’s not get into that.

yoast seo reability score with suspicious emoji overlayed
Transition word problems: First, I’m going to scatter transition words everywhere. After that, I’ll secure a green bullet. In conclusion, I’m going to throw my writing out the window.

Yoast’s bottom line is that readability ranks. But the definition of readability continues to evolve with technology like NLP (Natural Language Processing). It’s taking on a more human form. In this post, I’m going to provide five ways to improve the human readability of your content which, in turn, will improve its algorithmic readability too. They include:

>Lose the clickbait titlesDon’t keyword stuff (even if subtle)Quit the over-paragraphingNix the bulking out of how-to posts for no reasonResist over-formattingLink with mercy

Why HUMAN readability is important

As mentioned above, readability ranks. They say greater reading ease:

>Improves user experience.Increases the chances of your post ranking well for voice search.Appeals to search engines that are increasingly attuned to what human beings perceive as worthwhile writing.

Now, I’m personally skeptical of any algorithmic approach to writing. I have little patience for the Yoast plugin’s decrees, writing tools like Grammarly, or anything that attempts to interfere with my thoughts when I’m writing (sighs in predictive text).

But Yoast touches on something significant here, and something that often gets lost in the chaotic box-checking process of SEO writingyour reader is not the search engine itself, but a person expecting a sense of linguistic cohesion. And with Google’s NLP advancements, you can (read: should) actually consider the search engine a person, too—to an extent.

Focusing on ranking for keywordsis an effective tactic to drive traffic to your website—but if you lose sight of the fact that you’re writing for readers and not Google, you’re doing it wrong. This is the kind of attitude that leads to articles like this onedecrying the way search results now seem to be catering to the interests of algorithms, not users themselves.

I’m serious. To quote said article’s

By: Guest Author
Title: SEO Content Readability: 5 Mistakes Your Plugin Won’t Detect
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