Long-Form Content: Readability Guidelines

Readability is essentially the quality of a content piece that makes it enjoyable to read and easy to understand. 

Why should you make your content readable? 

Needless to say, you’d have a better readership, people would stay on your article longer if your content has a good readability score. But in addition to that, readability impacts the search engine rankings of your content. Many of the search engine’s ranking algorithm is based on human behavior on a page. And by improving your content readability, you improve their behavior on-page, for example, their page on time, exit rate, bounce rate, social signals will all improve and that tells search engines that people like your content.

How to make your content readable?

While a lot of that depends on the information you are presenting along with its tonality and structure, there are certain standard hacks that you can keep in mind to ensure that your content is readable. These include:

  • Shorter sentences: Keep your sentences not more than 20 words, as much as possible. Longer sentences are difficult to comprehend as they often tend to convey more than 1 idea or thought. 
  • Active Voice: Active voice is easier to comprehend. Always chose that over passive voice. For instance, always prefer “Rita made the cake” over “The cake was made by Rita.”
  • Divide and Conquer: Guide your reader’s eye by dividing your content into headings, subheadings, and pointers and you’d be able to conquer their interest. 
  • Consecutive sentences: Readers don’t like redundancy. So, it’s a little off-putting if three consecutive sentences begin with the same word. Keep variety in your sentences. 
  • Section length: A subheading should not have more than 300 words, lest it looks like a huge chunk of content to the reader and might drive them away. 
  • Transition words: Words like in addition to, furthermore, moreover, besides, both-and, another, equally important, first, second, further, finally, not only – but also, likewise, similarly, in fact, as a result, consequently, in the same way, for example, for instance, are transition words. Use them regularly in your writing to build flow.