The newest version of the Yoast SEO plugin includes not just a checklist for search engine optimization, but also a checklist for readability. One of the elements of the readability scale is transition words.
You’ll see a grade card like the one below on posts and pages using the Yoast plugin, and you’ll have a green dot like ours if you have the number of transition words the plugin’s algorithm suggests.
We’ve been asked what’s up with transition words.
What are transition words?
Here are some examples of transition words:
- for example
- on the other hand
These words and phrases create transitions in your writing, alerting your reader to changes in your content. When your readers see, “Physician-owned hospitals, on the other hand…” they get a heads up that you’re about to shift gears. Like a signpost on a twisty road, your transition word helps your reader recognize the new direction you’re taking.
Why are transition words important?
People who are reading at your website are reading differently from those who are curled up by the fire with a good novel. They’re looking for information, for answers to questions. They’re likely to be skimming and scanning rather than settling in and enjoying your whole page. Transition words can help readers follow your thinking, even when they’re not reading closely.
Does this mean that adding “thus” will move your content to #1 on Google? No. Nobody will be searching for your content with transitional words. “Hip replacement, however” and “In particular, HIPAA compliance” will never be at the top of your list of essential keywords.
This is something you’re doing for human beings.
How should you use transition words in your web content?
Naturally. There are lots of ways to signal your content structure to your readers, and the “firstly, secondly, finally” trick you learned in third grade English class is not the most sophisticated option.
In fact, if you are not sure what a transition word is or why it matters, it might be time to consider hiring a professional web content writer. As a marketing director or business owner, writing your own website content or doing your own blogging is probably not the best use of your time. Professional writers can produce better content, faster, and usually with a better ROI.
Web content is very important. Excellent content allows you to provide patient education, thought leadership, and the most effective marketing over the long term. This is not the place to skimp.
If you’re in the health and wellness space, consider Haden Interactive for your web content and blogging needs. Email Rosie at Rosamond@HadenInteractive.com and see how we can make a difference for you.