What’s the Right Flesch Reading Ease for Content?
Any time you write a piece of content, you have to cater to your target audience. First, you need to pick a topic that your audience wants to read. Then, you might enhance your content by including elements like data, statistics, or infographics. And in addition, your content has to be at an appropriate reading level for your target audience!
That’s where the Flesch reading ease score comes in. This is a readability scale to help ensure that your content is suitable for your readers. For example, an article that includes data from scientific studies will probably have to include advanced language with terms and verbiage that people outside of the industry will not understand. Conversely, blog posts about lighter topics such as chef’s favorite recipe or tips for fun holiday gifts will likely be easier for a broader range of people to read.
In other words, different content will have different Flesch reading ease scores. This includes blogs, landing page content, social media posts, and any other content creation you might be working on. To create successful and impactful content, you must learn about this readability scale—and how to apply it to all your web writing.
The Flesch reading ease score
Although the Flesch reading ease score was originally designed to make newspapers easier to read, it has become extremely popular among professional marketers. Industries like content writing, web writing, and copywriting use the Flesch scale to ensure that their blogs, websites, and other content are at an appropriate reading level for each content piece’s audience.
In fact, Flesch reading ease has become so important that it even affects SEO (search engine optimization). Search engines like Google can assess each piece of content’s readability—and you can lose points if you’re not writing at your target audience’s reading level. Your content needs to be more than accurate and helpful. It also needs to be easy for your audience to read!
Fortunately, you can easily avoid SEO mistakes such as writing articles that are too difficult to read. And the first step is understanding exactly what the Flesch reading ease score means.
What is the Flesch reading ease score?
Basically, the Flesch reading ease score assigns a point value to your content’s readability. Your score will be anywhere between 1 and 100. The higher the score, the easier your content is to read and understand.
The formula for the Flesch reading ease score takes several elements of your content into account:
- The total number of words
- The total number of sentences
- The total number of syllables
You can search the internet to find an online calculator. These tools will determine your content’s average sentence length and the average syllables in the words you’ve used. Then, you’ll get a number somewhere between 1 and 100 that shows you your piece’s readability.
Now that you’ve learned what the Flesch reading ease score is, it’s time to learn how you can interpret your score. Then you can use it to your advantage to create great and readable content!
How do I use and interpret the Flesch reading ease score?
Once you’ve determined your reading ease score, you can decide whether you need to make any changes to help your audience better understand your message. If your score is low, it means that your content is quite difficult to read. If you scored quite high, you’ve written a very readable piece.
Each online calculator might vary a little bit. However, here are some basic score examples, along with the age group and education level they’re best suited for:
- 90 to 100: Very easy to read! A student in fifth grade (around eleven years old) will be able to understand your message.
- 60 to 90: Relatively easy to read, and suitable for students in sixth through eighth grade.
- 50 to 60: Content with this score is great for high school students.
- 30 to 50: This score is ideal for college students, since it’s fairly difficult to read.
- 10 to 30: Content in this score bracket is very difficult to read. In general, college graduates and graduate students will be able to understand your message.
- 0 to 10: This score means that your content is extremely difficult to read. Very little web-based content has this low of a score because pieces this advanced are best suited for professional academics.
Remember: you have to tailor your content to achieve an appropriate reading score for your particular audience. This means that you might have to do some research to determine the ideal reading score for your content.
The ideal Flesch reading ease score for your content
Whether you’re blogging, writing SEO articles, or working on a social media campaign, you have to identify the ideal Flesch reading ease score for your content. The best score for your content depends on a variety of factors, including the age group you’re targeting and their average education level.
To determine the ideal score that is suitable for your content, you’ll need to get to know your audience. Learn as much as you can about them so that you can write directly to them. When you customize your web writing to your readers, they’ll feel appreciated and understood. And this can help you earn sales and become a thought leader in your industry.
What’s the ideal Flesch reading ease score for your content?
Because your audience is unique, there isn’t a universal answer to the ideal Flesch reading ease score for your content. To determine an appropriate reading score, ask yourself a few questions about your target audience:
- What is the age range?
- What are the highest and lowest education levels of your audience?
- Does your audience prefer short blog posts of 750 or so words, or longer articles closer to 2,000 words?
The better you understand your audience, the more easily you’ll be able to identify the best reading ease score for the content that you write. In fact, your audience is perhaps the largest factor in determining which score is best.
How does your audience affect what score is best?
Any SEO professional or web writing expert will tell you that to be successful, your content has to be written to your audience. Your topics must be relevant, and your language must be easily understandable. You want your content to educate your potential and existing customers about your products and services. In other words, create helpful, informative content that allows you to speak directly to your target audience.
Try to keep in mind two things as you create your content:
- Few people want to try to read content that’s over their heads. Try to stay away from long, complex sentences and words over three syllables.
- No one wants to be talked down to. Don’t aim for a score too high that could insult your audience.
Since you want to avoid both extremes, try to figure out your audience’s average reading level. If you’re writing for a wide age range across the entire United States, you might want to keep in mind that about 54% of Americans are below the sixth-grade reading level. Shoot for a score of around 80 to 100. If your content is more geared to a professional demographic with formal schooling, you can probably get away with a score closer to 50 or 60.
Even if your target audience includes geniuses and thought leaders, aim for a relatively high score. Just because they can read at an advanced level doesn’t mean they always want to! If you’re creating well-written and easily understandable content, chances are your efforts will be successful.
How does the purpose of your content affect what score is best?
The purpose of your content greatly affects your ideal Flesch reading ease score. Some topics are more easily communicated with simple language, which will help you earn a higher readability score. Other topics, such as scientific data or articles about engineering subject matter, require a higher, more advanced level of language. Writing about those topics will likely result in a lower readability score, and therefore your article or blog will be more difficult to read.
If your purpose is to sell a product or service to just about anyone, aim for a high score so you can communicate your message to a vast amount of people. And if your content discusses advanced topics like scientific data that will only be understood by heavily schooled thought leaders and professionals, your audience might appreciate a lower score—and thus a more difficult-to-read piece of content.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to adjust your content for your desired reading level. It might require some work, but it’s a necessary step to effectively communicate with your audience.
Adjusting content for a desired reading level
After you’ve completed your content, you can find an online calculator to figure out your Flesch reading ease score. If your score is too high or too low for your audience, don’t worry! There are ways that you can improve your score so it’s more appropriate for your readers.
Going through an editing or a rewriting phase to adjust your readability score might seem like a nuisance. However, it’s an extremely important step to writing successful content! Take a deep breath, identify the problem areas, and dive in. Often, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to modify your content to get your ideal score.
How do I modify content to obtain a Flesch reading ease score that best fits my content?
Sometimes, modifying your blog or article to obtain the best Flesch reading ease score is as simple as performing a little content editing. The first step is to reread your piece and ask yourself a few questions:
- Are there any long sentences? Ideally, the vast majority of your sentences will have fewer than 25 words. Shorter sentences allow people to process the information bit by bit. By contrast, longer sentences that include multiple statements or ideas can get confusing for your readers. If you have any sentences over 25 words, try to break them up into multiple sentences—or get creative with some bulleted lists!
- Are you using words that are too fancy for your content? As a writer, it’s fun to show off your firm grasp of the English language. However, don’t go overboard here. Use words that most people are familiar with. For example, instead of choosing a lesser-known word like “copasetic,” just go with a more common word that means essentially the same thing, such as “fine” or “good.”
- How long is each section of your article? Blogging involves the art of breaking up your content into headings and subheadings. This helps people digest the information as they read—and it also helps them skip to the sections they really want to focus on. So keep it short and sweet! If a section of text is more than 300 words, create an additional subheading.
Many web writing platforms have built-in SEO programs to help you identify any problem areas. When you upload your blogs or articles into the program, you’ll get a Flesch reading ease score and some pointers on how to fix the issues. Then you can achieve the perfect reading score!
Achieve the perfect reading score for your content
Content creation isn’t easy. You have to choose an interesting topic, include SEO-friendly keywords so your audience will easily find you online, and meet the best reading score for your target audience. If this seems overwhelming, we have great news for you!
Elite Editing is here to help. Our experts craft blog posts, white papers, articles, social media posts, and any other content you can imagine. Your SEO will grow, your target audience will clearly understand your message, and you’ll earn more leads and sales! Visit our website to learn more about our content writing services.