If you are a content writer who has searched for ‘importance of Flesch-Kincaid readability test’, here is an answer to all your questions. If you do not know how to do a readability test online and want to know about the readability tests for SEO purposes, this post will help you gather knowledge. You will find an in-depth analysis of the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.

Readability is the ease, with which a content can be read. It helps to estimate the age and education of the readers, who would be interested in reading a particular content. Readability tests are designed to serve content writing companies to check if the content is fit to be read by the intended audience.

Content writing companies might use a readability test for SEO purposes, because it is one of the criterias of SEO strategy making. Flesch-Kincaid is one such readability test. It is the most famous one in the content writing world. We will discuss about the importance of Flesch-Kincaid readability test and its applications in this post.


importance of flesch-kincaid readability test

What is Flesch-Kincaid Readability test?

In the content writing industry, Flesch Readability is a readability test for SEO and other purposes, which denotes how easy or difficult it might be to read a particular passage. The software basically takes into consideration the length of your word and the length of your sentence to do the test. There are two levels of the test: the Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.

importance of flesch-kincaid readability test

What is the the history of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability test?

J. Peter Kincaid invented the tests, under a contract with the U.S Navy in 1975. It was initially developed to judge the readability of technical manuals for the navy. But, with time, the importance of Flesch-Kincaid readability test grew, as it became a parameter of the US Military Standard. Later, the research focused on the usage of the Flesch readability formula for aspects like the Computer Readability Editing System (CRES).

importance of flesch-kincaid readability test

What is the Flesch-Kincaid Ease?

The Flesch ease functions on a formula, that determines the readability of a passage. The higher the score, the easier it is to read it. It emphasizes more on word length, rather than the construction and length of sentences. Thus, polysyllabylic words (words that have more than two syllables) lead to a lower score, citing it as difficult to read. This system is found everywhere and used in word processing softwares such as KWord, IBM Lotus Symphony, Microsoft Office Word, WordPerfect, and WordPro. The formula for calculating readability on the Flesch-Kincaid Ease scale is:

The highest possible readability is 121.22. One can lower the score of one’s writing by the use of additional syllables. Time Magazine has a score of 52 while the poem ‘The cat sat on the mat’ has a readability of 116.

importance of flesch-kincaid readability test

What is the Flesch-Kincaid Grade?

The importance of Flesch-Kincaid readability test at the grade level, lies in the field of academia. This formula was developed after the first one, as an extension of the readability test. It enables people to calculate the readability test of textbooks. By doing so, one can check if the books are appropriate for the school grade. The grade details the number of years relevant in understanding a certain text. The formula for calculating the readability in the Flesch-Kincaid Grade scale is:

The result should be equal to the grade that is meant for the text. It is more concerned with the sentence length than the word length. It does not have any upper bound.

Here is a chart to provide more insight on the scores and difficulty levels:

Readability score School standard Level of difficulty
30.0-0 University graduate Very difficult
50.0-30.0 University student Difficult
60.0-50.0 10th-12th standard Fairly difficult
70.0-60.0 8th-9th standard Simple English
80.0-70.0 7th standard Fairly easy
90.0-80.0 6th standard Easy
100.0-90.0 5th standard Very easy

importance of flesch-kincaid readability test

What are the applications of the Flesch-Kincaid test?

This is a readability test for SEO purposes. With the Flesch-Kincaid tests, you can ensure that the content is appropriate for the audience. This is done by judging the occupation, age, educational background, nationality, etc. of the readers.

The Flesch-Kincaid readability tests are also used in schools and universities, to ensure that the material taught is age-appropriate. The tests are a parameter in the US, when it comes to determining the reading ease of official policy papers. For example, in Florida, life insurance policies have a Flesch reading ease score of 45 or greater.

Although the Flesch test and formula was designed in the late 70s, it still remains in use in schools, content companies and even government bodies. The importance of Flesch-Kincaid readability test lies in its adaptability, because it can be used by various institutions. As a content writer, it tells you what you lack in your skills, while you are trying to get your message across and how you can better your writing skills in order to become better at your job.



Uni Square Concepts is an advertising agency located in New Delhi, India. By initiating The Uni Square Blog, we aim to provide a comprehensive portal where readers can educate themselves about the various aspects of advertising and marketing. The articles and blogs are written by our professional team of content writers, under the guidance of senior leaders of Uni Square Concepts including its CEO, Uday Sonthalia.