Can Reading Level Search affect SEO?
On 14 December, on Google for Students blog, Google announced a new feature Reading Level search.
Found under Advanced Search it enables returned search results to be filtered by reading level of the page content.
It has obvious applications being able to weed out less relevant results returning only those that are rated ‘Advanced’ where it is assumed the content will be more difficult to understand being geared at a more academic level or finding basic less difficult information.
It is assumed, but not confirmed, that the analysis is based on the Flesch-Kincaid method which categorises content on a 3 level basis:-
|90.0–100.0||easily understandable by an average 11-year-old student|
|60.0–70.0||easily understandable by 13- to 15-year-old students|
|0.0–30.0||best understood by university graduates|
But will or could it effect Search Optimisation
What implication might it have for SEO?
There are a number of options from simply showing the level a result falls into below the page title to only showing results that fall into the selected level.
On the surface nothing, as it appears not to effect listings at all in terms of ranking position only what is displayed.
That might be true if we accept SEO as being only relating to achieving search rankings and driving visitors to a web site.
However, if, as I believe, SEO is just one side of a coin with Conversion Optimisation on the other it can and does contribute to the success of an individual page and the overall success of a site.
The objective of any page is to engage its readers and its long been recognised that ease of reading; short paragraphs, short sentences and short words, making content easy to consume and understand, engages readers more.
And, engaged visitors are more likely to stay, interact and take action on the site.
Using the tool to analyse both your own and competitors’ content just might make the difference in holding on to a potential customer or losing out to a more easily understood competitor.