Web Tool Says My Writing Is Bad

I had developed a large amount of content for a website and was working with the web developer to ensure it was properly uploaded. At one point he said to me, “On a lot  of the pages the SEO tool says the readability is poor, I guess we need to hire a writer.”

What an insult! My core skill is SEO writing!

I went into the backend of the site and looked at the SEO tool he was talking about. Almost half the pages had red warning indicators saying the pages had poor readability.

Web Tool Red Light

I clicked into the pages and looked at the text. There was nothing unreadable about my writing. What could be the problem?

On some of the pages there were bullets, numbers, symbols, and prices. Over the years, I’ve noticed those types of items can trigger lower readability scores.

But there were other pages, without those items, that still came up red in the tool’s readability meter. The only thing I could think of was those pages had a lot of plug-ins and maybe that was mucking things up.

If that’s not the problem, then there’s probably another geeky answer as to why the SEO tool is rendering the warnings. But I’m sure not going to waste my time trying to figure it out.

Maybe one of my tech readers can tell me. In the meantime …

Easy Web Tip #251: Whenever a web tool tells you something is wrong, don’t be too quick to believe it.


  1. April

    OK. I’ll leave my comment here instead of replying to your email…
    Can’t imagine poor readability with any of your writing!

    • Katherine Andes

      Thanks, April! It really is an issue of the machines. But some folks take them too seriously, hence my post.

  2. Hello Katherine,
    My bet is he’s using Yoast. And good for you for not agreeing. Although Yoast can be a great tool, I find conflicting data regarding using it. For example, if you get all the buttons green – you may be “over-optimizing” and could be in trouble with Google. Well, then what’s the point of a green button?

    Tricky to say the least. I think that’s one of the troubles with using too much tech and automatic stuff. The point of the writing isn’t to get the stupid button to go green. It’s to get the phone to ring which you do a great job of! I always enjoy every newsletter you write.

    • Katherine Andes

      Yes, it was Yoast. But I find the same issue with other SEO tools. Thanks for the feedback, Carol. It’s always nice to have someone else confirm your thoughts.

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