We come across a lot of content on the internet in our day-to-day lives. But are they all worth a pleasant read? Do they all rank #1 in search rankings? Definitely, not! So, what do you think might be the reason behind their poor engagement or ranking? Well, there can be several answers to this. But today, we will talk about READABILITY and the use of TRANSITION WORDS, in particular, and their impact on rankings.
So, what is readability? In simple means, it defines how clear a content piece is for reading and understanding. But let me tell you, readability has no direct relation with search rankings. But the fact that writing in simple and understandable language can get you more visitors, content with good readability can impact a page’s search ranking.
And transition words play a crucial role in improving the readability of any content. So, let us learn more about transition words and their role in SEO.
What are Transition Words in writing?
Words that help to link two sentences to make it easier for users to understand its context are transition words. Words like ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘therefore’, ‘so’, etc., are all transition words.
As Yoast says, “Transition Words prepare the readers for what’s coming”. Further, such words offer structure and organization to your sentence or a piece of content.
To make it clearer:
Using words like “Conclusion” in your content, the readers will get an idea that you’re concluding the copy. Similarly, using transition words like first, second, third, etc., will make them understand you’re summing up the things.
Types of Transition Words
- Enumerate: “also”, “in the first place”, “finally”, “in addition”
- Comparison: “like”, “while”, “likewise”, “rather”
- Emphasis: “even more”, “above all”, “certainly”, “the best”
- Cause: “and because of it”, “due to”, “because”, “because of that”,
- Ambiguity: “perhaps”, “seems”, “maybe”, “probably”, “almost”,
- Conclusion: “therefore”, “to finish”, “in conclusion”, “therefore”
We use most of these words because of the need to tell our story. However, many authors use a few of these words when writing, making their sentences long and difficult to read.
Let us take some more examples to comprehend transition words better.
Transitional Words and Phrases Example Sentences
Adding transition words to your content changes the structure of your content, thereby making it easier to read and comprehend. Consider the following examples and see it yourself.
- Without transition words: I’m not a fan of Bollywood movies. I do love Hindi songs
With transition words: I’m not a fan of Bollywood movies. However, I do love Hindi songs.
- Without Transition words: Garlic tastes good in every dish. It really highlights the flavour of tomatoes.
With Transition words: Garlic tastes good in every dish. In particular, it really highlights the flavour of tomatoes.
- Without Transition words: Several factors contribute to success. Hard work is the most important.
With Transition words: Several factors contribute to success. Above all, hard work is the most important.
Transition Words List
While transition words are mostly single words, readability tools like Yoast also consider certain phrases when rating your content. Some of these are:
- Above all
- All of a Sudden
- As a matter of fact
- As a result
- At any rate
- As can be seen
- As has been noted
- At first
- As I have said
- As long as
- Even if
- As much as
- As soon as
- Due to
- As well as
- Even more
- Even so
- For example
- Even though
However, one important thing to note here is, these phrases must be uses exactly as listed. If you insert any word in them, Yoast will no longer count these as transition words.
Yoast SEO Transition Words Checker
Yoast SEO plugin is certainly one of the most used SEO plugins for WordPress today. Besides providing with focus keyword analysis, Yoast SEO plugin also offers readability analysis.
Let’s admit, writing good content doesn’t come naturally. However, plugins like Yoast acts as a great aid here. It helps you to improve your writing by giving valuable readability suggestions. This plugin, in particular, uses certain metrics to evaluate your content. And one metric that seems especially hard to achieve is the Transition word.
The transition words checker in Yoast SEO judges whether or not you there are enough transition words used in your content. If at least 30% of the sentences in your content contain a transition word, it will approve of the text with a green bullet. Further, if the transition score is between 30% to 20%, you will get an orange bullet. But if it is below 20%, then you will get a red bullet.
Transition Words in SEO: Why are they Important
As said, transition words make it easier for readers to read and understand your content. In short, it improves the readability of your text. And as you know, readability is essential to SEO. While transition words don’t impact SEO directly, these are one of the key considerations for readability.
Further, transition words play an important part in structuring your content. Well-structured content attracts readers to your website and contributes to SEO! How?
The more ‘readable’ your text is, the more attractive people are likely to find it.
This means readers will spend more time on your site. This is one of the metrics Google and other search engines notice when determining search rankings.
Let’s understand the benefits with an example:
Text A: Without transition words
Today I woke up tired. I was starving. I had to prepare my meal. The dry cleaner had not returned my clothes. I couldn’t go out. I spent the entire day indoors, hungry.
Text B: With the use of transition words
I woke up tired AND hungry today. At first, I had to cook. The dry cleaner had not returned my clothes. Eventually, I couldn’t go out. As a result, I spent my entire day indoors and hungry.
Can you see the difference? Did you feel the connectivity while reading both the texts? This is what the purpose of transition words – helping the readers to read and comprehend a text without having to struggle to relate.
How to Improve your Use of Transition Words
Using transition words in the text often seems daunting to the writers. While everyone uses them in some way, using them correctly is challenging. There are some writers who don’t use transitions like ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘or’, etc. Also, for most authors, using these words doesn’t come naturally. It is an art which needs practise and a couple of things to understand.
Consider the follow things:
1. Know the Transition Words
To make use of something properly, you need to know and understand its meaning. The same concept applies to using transition words. Whether you are a native speaker or a non-native speaker, you could benefit from studying transition words. Just look up a list of these words and study their definitions.
2. Understand the relation between your thoughts and ideas
Authors who have a better idea of their text structure use more transition words effectively. For those who just start writing and then add transition words later, we recommend them to relate their thoughts and ideas first to structure their text. This will help them identify which transition words they need to use.
3. Know how to apply transition words properly and in context
This is simple! Just break your content into introduction, body, and conclusion. Make sure to understand the goal of every paragraph. Now, analyse your text on a sentence level. Look for opportunities where you could use transition words to add sense to your text. If you find it difficult to do so, try reading your content aloud and see what’s missing. You can also consider reading the work of other authors and see how they use transitions. And you’ll master the use of transition words soon.
The Final Say
Improving readability isn’t very difficult if you learn and apply them in your writing. Transition words are one of the ways to improve readability for users. If you want to keep your readers glued to your site and minimize the bounce rate of your site significantly, then creating engaging content is a good idea. And using transition words naturally in your text aids here. It could be hard, but you can still master it. So, study, understand and practice a lot. Just remember that an adequate understanding of your content and its structure will help you to find the best transition words, and place them as required.
Do you still have any questions about transition words? Please feel free to share with us in the comments below and we are ready to help you.