Reading Level indicatorGoogle’s Reading Level Indicator

In December Google launched a Reading Level option in the advanced search feature. Recently, they integrated the new feature into the SERPs sidebar- making it easily accessible.

What is the Reading Level feature?

A brief video tour shows you how the feature works, including the option in the sidebar, reading level indicator at the top of the search page and the site-by-site level annotation throughout the results.  Take a look:


How does Google determine Basic, Intermediate and Advanced content?

In February, Daniel Russell, a Google employee, wrote about the search filter and how the levels are determined. He stated:

So… what’s “Basic” versus “Intermediate” versus “Advanced”?   The reading-level is based primarily on statistical models we built with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a model of the intrinsic complexity of the text. With this model, we can any webpage with the model to classify reading levels. We also used data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are considered advanced.”

How will this impact search in the future?

Will Google keep the feature contained to this simple search filter or use the or use the capability to help customize search results. For example, if they are able to label the content on my site as ‘Advanced’ in nature, wouldn’t they want to favor that content when a query seems to be searching for more technical data? The more Google knows about me and my search habits, wouldn’t they want to tailor my results based on the level of content I prefer to read? One thing I am certain of- Google will be monitoring the data and making a decision based on what they find.

What do you think? Could the writing level of my copy help it to show up for certain searches in the future? Let me know what you think.