Is Your Website Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Better Hope Not!


Readability is one of the most overlooked ranking criteria around. The text on your site MUST be readable by the majority of people out there. In this video, Eric Spellmann explains why Google puts such an emphasis on readability and how it affects your Google rank.
He also lists his favorite tool to test your site with and gives you some tips on EASILY creating readable content that Google will LOVE! So, what are you waiting for? Find out if your site is smarter than a 5th grader!


Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice!

Hey, I am Eric Spellmann. And today’s topic has probably the longest title of any video I’ve ever made. But it makes a very good point. Is your website smarter than a 5th grader? Better hope not!

When I talk about this kind of title we’re really talking about readability, the readability of text on your website. Keep in mind, and what I mean by ranking is Google ranking of one website above another is all based on content, well at least the majority of it is.

Google is looking at the quality of your text, the quality of your content. And if you’ve been watching my other videos before, you know that readability and having your content at 5th grade level is key to effective ranking!

Content must be readable by everyone! And 5th grade is the way to do it. You might be wondering what is it about the 5th grade? Well it’s very simple. Keep in mind that Google is looking for conversational content. In other words, the way I am speaking now I am speaking so that you understand it immediately. If I were to write, I might write using bigger words so that you might have to think about. But when we speak, we speak for instant comprehension.

Google’s goal is to only return results that the majority of people will understand if they read it. Think about that for just a second. If Google returned at number 1 result and it was written at a Doctoral Thesis level, very few people will see that as relevant and they would blame Google for serving up the number 1 result that no one understands!

And so what Google does is it considers the readability of a website. And like I said, the conversational way in which we speak for instant comprehension is typically at a 5th grade level.

So, how do you measure the readability of the content? As you know, there are lots and lots of different ways to test your website and to test your ranking where you can also test readability. My favorite way is through a site (free one) called hemingwayapp.com, named after Ernest Hemingway.

And it’s really good and all you need to do is copy and paste some of your paragraphs into it, the longer the text the more accurate it will be. So what I would recommend is if you have a lot of text on your site, find one of those pages and just copy and paste it into here and it will instantly tell you kind of what grade level it’s at. Chances are it’s going to be higher than 5th grade.

Consider transcripts. This is what I did. Back when before I started ranking well on Google, I just had been making some videos. But then I decided I’m gonna have a guy watch my video and then type it out, create a transcript word-for-word of what I said and then I posted it on my website.

Well, what happened was Google loved it! And now today even years later, I still rank number 1 for how to rank well on Google, ranking well on Google, rank well on Google. And I rank number 1 for a host of other searches too! And a lot of that is because when you go to the page that turns up when you type that in on Google, you’re on a page that has the video of what I said. But then below that is how Google understands the page.

It is a transcript, word-for-word of what I said! Keep in mind that for me speaking is easier than writing. I would rather talk than write any day of the week. It’s guaranteed unique! Remember that’s one of the requirements of Google on ranking is that it not exist anywhere on planet Earth. Well when you speak, it is guaranteed to be unique.

Well as always this is just one small piece of the topics that we cover over at Spellmann & Associates. So check out our website at ericspellmann.com. There’s lots of videos there for you to look at for Online Marketing, and of course as always they’re totally free! I’m Eric Spellmann; I’ll see you in cyberspace.