What is it?
This screen shows how easy the text within a website is to comprehend, often called the “reading age”.
“Reading age” estimates the years of education needed to understand a piece of writing. For example, a reading age of 14 would suggest a person would need full-time education to age 14 to comprehend the text.
In practice, average adult reading ages may be lower than this might suggest – developed countries typically average around 13 years old. For example, in the UK, around 16% of adults have a reading age at or below 11 years of age.
Why it matters
When text is easier to understand, it is more engaging and persuasive. Regardless of how well educated your audience may be; no one enjoys text that is difficult to read.
Reading age is considered a minor ranking factor by Google, meaning that harder to understand websites will, on average, rank lower than easier ones.
Silktide uses the SMOG formula to calculate readability. SMOG yields a 0.985 correlation with the grades of readers who had 100% comprehension of test materials. For those familiar with SMOG, we add 5.5 to the grade to account for non-educational years of life.
Our own proprietary technology is used to consider which parts of each webpage should be analyzed. Silktide ignores the readability of navigation, footers, etc. automatically.
Support for different languages
Reading age is only supported for English languages (all variations, i.e. US English, UK English etc). If a website mixes languages with English, it cannot be tested.
This is a limitation of any readability test: the reading age must be calculated by a formula calibrated to the specific language used.
How to use it
Silktide lists the hardest to understand pages first, in a table:
For each page, you can click on:
- Magnifying glass – this opens the Inspector, which shows you the page as Silktide saw it.
- Reading age – this shows you the reading age of the page as a whole.
- Excerpt – an example sentence, intended to be representative of the page’s text
If you open the Inspector, you can see specific hard-to-read sentences that you may consider re-writing.