Matt Cutts Answers If Content Ranks Better When It’s Easy To Read

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Matt Cutts Answers If Content Ranks Better When It’s Easy To Read

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about content writing in his latest Webmaster Help video where a user writes in to ask:

Should I write content that is easier to read or more scientific? Will I rank better if I write for 6th graders?

Matt starts off by saying this is an “interesting” question that he spent a lot of time thinking about. The clarity of what you write matters a lot, Matt says. The best way to understand something is to teach it, and if you can’t teach it or explain it clearly then you don’t really understand it.

Matt says you’ll be in much better shape by writing content that’s easy to comprehend versus content that’s so technical the reader won’t be able to follow it. You want regular people to be able to get what you’re trying to say. If you do that, then you can go ahead and also include the technical terms for industry people.

First and foremost you need to pull people in and get them interested in learning about the concept you’re trying to explain. Matt says how you explain something matters as much as what you’re actually saying. If you’re saying something important but you can’t communicate it well, then it ends up falling on deaf ears.

Matt also says it varies depending on your audience. If your blog is only for professionals within your own industry, then using strictly industry jargon makes sense in that case. In general, try to make your content sound as natural as possible.

When Matt writes a blog post he actually reads it out loud before publishing it to try and catch parts that don’t quite sound natural. By doing Matt says you’ll end up with more polished writing that will stand the test of time better than content that’s overly technical.

After all of that, even though Matt is a strong advocate for clear writing, he says it won’t make much of a difference in terms of rankings. As far as rankings go, Matt suggests to think about the words the user is going to type, which are typically going to be regular words and not technical jargon. You can find ways to include both of them, but always go for clarity when you can.

To hear Matt’s full response in his own words, please see the video below:

Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
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  • Know thy target market.

    To sum it up… Figure out who are you trying to teach, and if can you actually teach it in the clearest and most simple way possible.

    Also… Cutt’s t-shirt.

    Thanks for the write up/post Matt S.

  • sd

    Very well said.. it is always interesting to read a content that is written in understandable language. If writer want to make more and more people to read their content it should be with simple words.

  • I have one question – did he have to wear that shirt for a bet? 🙂

    • Did they even have to make a t-shirt that hideous?

  • Matt, this reminds me of the classic Einstein quote. If a kid can not understand your concept you did a poor job explaining the idea. I am huge on writing short and punchy blog posts and sentences. Why? People like clarity, brevity, and directness.

    On the flip side, wordy posts lose most people. The wisest can say much with little wording. People bent on impressing others try to get wordy, or to wow folks, and wind up losing most people save the few elites who dig this style.

    I learned long ago that ego is the blog killer. The most successful people are understood by the masses whenever they communicate.

    I left this comment on, the content curation website and blogging community.

    Great post!

  • Great post Matt. Our maintain motive is to pass our message to our readers and if we can do it in simple way with the help of informative content then is our biggest achievement.

  • Very well explained. In my opinion, it’s better to create a content that is clear and easy to understand by the readers and get a low number of visitors, rather than having tons of visitors where they directly quit your page because they don’t understand what you are trying to explain.

  • Well it all boils down to whom you are reaching to.

    If you are reaching to people who are technical people, technical jargon is alright, but if you are reaching a more general people, it is important to explain what you are trying to say.

    I always relate SMCR model here.

    SENDER -> Message -> Channel -> Receivers

    In now you are the sender, you craft a message that the receivers want to hear, and through search engine your channel you manage to send the message out effectively.

    At the end of the way it is not how much you send traffic over but how many traffic converts into sales that is important.

    Thank you once again.