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What Is Flesch-Kincaid Readability?

Have you ever wondered how easy your website is to understand? Does your writing meet the readability expectations of your target audience? In order to evaluate the effectiveness of your writing, you can easily check the readability of your website pages. Key scores, such as Flesch-Kincaid reading ease and grade level, will help you determine if your writing is reaching the right audience. On this page, we’ll explain what the Flesch-Kincaid readability scores mean and how you can use them to improve the pages on your website.

What is Flesch-Kincaid readability?

Developed by Rudolf Flesch and J. Peter Kincaid, the Flesch-Kincaid readability scores are the most widely used measures of readability. And they are used by the United States military to evaluate the readability of their manuals.

The first number, Flesch-Kincaid reading ease, is based on a ranking scale of 0-100, and the higher your score, the better. Low scores indicate text that is complicated to understand. So if your website receives a low Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score, you will likely need to simplify your text.

For most business writing, a score of 65 is a good target, and scores between 60 and 80 should generally be understood by 12 to 15 year olds.

Flesch-Kincaid reading ease formula: 206.835 – 1.015 x (words/sentences) – 84.6 x (syllables/words).

The second number, Flesch-Kincaid grade level, tells you the American school grade you would need to be in to comprehend the material on the page.

As a measure, most of your writing should be able to be understood by students in seventh grade.

For example, The Huffington Post’s website has an average grade level of about 7, meaning that it should be easily understood by 12 to 13 year olds.

Flesch-Kincaid grade level formula: 0.39 x (words/sentences) + 11.8 x (syllables/words) – 15.59.

Both Flesch-Kincaid reading ease and grade level use the same core metrics: word length and sentence length. But they correlate inversely. If you receive a high score on the reading ease test, you should receive a lower grade level score.

Why does readability matter?

Did you know that the average American adult can only read at a 7th to 9th grade level?

If your text is too complicated and hard to understand, people will leave your page and return to the search results. On the other hand, if your text scores a very low grade level, users will likely assume that your content isn’t valuable. Both of these things can prevent site visitors from interacting with your content and contribute to a high bounce-rate.

In order to maximize your readership, it’s important for the content on your website to reflect the readability expectations of your audience.

Are you writing for a medical publication? You’re probably not going to want your content to reflect a 3rd grade reading level. At the same time, if you’re writing for elementary school students, you don’t want to write at a high school grade level.

Catering to the readability expectations of your audience will help keep people on your site, and ultimately increase conversions.

Want to find out your score?

Our free readability test tool is a quick and easy way to test the readability of your work. You can simply enter your website’s URL and receive a breakdown of your readability scores and text statistics.

Whether you’re a copywriter, developer, marketer, or SEO expert, the readability tool has the potential to streamline your work flow and make it easier for you to reach your target audience.

What are you waiting for? Check out the readability tool today and start improving your website to better reach your target audience.