KISS Principle and SEO

The KISS Principle recommends you keep your writing simple. Avoid industry jargon to improve your SEO.

What is the KISS Principle?

KISS commonly stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. It is sometimes called “Keep It Super Simple” by authors that do not want to insult the reader’s intelligence. The basic idea is that most things work better when they only do simple things. It’s basically saying that less is more. When things get complex there is more likelihood for things to go wrong.

How does the KISS Principle Relate to SEO?

Often times there are very important terms that you know people in your industry are familiar with and will search for. Because you’re in that industry you will often want to include these keywords so that you rank well for them. You’re working with these things every day so they may not even seem complicated to you. When you do this you run the risk of confusing the reader and they’ll just leave your site and never come back. Said readers will not recommend your service to anyone. Nor will they link to your site.

Google’s Matt Cutts recently answered a question on whether you should focus on clarity over technical jargon.

In his comments he brings up a very good suggestion. Try to write content like you are trying to teach it to the uninitiated. When you break it down like this you can then work in the technical jargon that you’re aiming for without losing anyone. You may even find that the content you produce is easily sharable on social media.

Personally, I would recommend going a step further. Apply the KISS principle to your design. Keep navigation short and to the point. Use general terms over more specific. A page titled “About Us” is far easier to digest than “Who We Are”.

Is my Writing Simple Enough?

It’s really hard to know if you’ve simplified things enough. One way to do this is to refine your content so that it has a high Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score. You can easily score your content using the Readability Score tester. To improve your score you should decrease the number of words per sentence, and the number of syllables per word.

When writing these blog posts I strive for a score of 70 or above. Sometimes this isn’t always possible but I will not post anything below 60. A score between 60-70 is easily understood by people between the ages of 13 and 15. I know our audience is older than this and can handle more complex writing. I just want to air on the side of caution.

How well does your content score on the Readability Score tester? Is your content simple enough that it can be easily understood? If not you should consider simplifying as a means to improve for SEO.

Thank you and keep building your brand.



Brian is the Director of Development and Social Media for Brand Builder Websites where he oversees the development, strategy, and goals for our software development. He is also a huge fan of Android.
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