Use transition words in your writing for better SEO

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Writing with enough transition words is an important measure in your website’s readability.

Including transition words in your writing is a key component of your website’s readability score. Your page’s readability score is a Search Engine Optimization metric. Learning to use transition words is instrumental in improving your SEO readability score. Consequently, the proper use of transition words improves your website’s visibility.

So, what is a transition word?

A transition word is a linking word such as however or therefore. Connecting words are often located at the beginning of a sentence and link the thought with the prior sentence or paragraph.

How to know if your post needs more transitional words

The simple answer is to use an SEO optimization tool to analyze your writing. With this in mind, I mention that I often use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize WordPress blog posts in my favorite readability tools article. The free Yoast SEO WordPress plugin indicates if you are using the ideal percentage of transitional words. You earn a green success dot if 30% of your article’s sentences use transition words.

Specifically, within the Yoast SEO plugin’s analysis, there is a tab that shows readability. The Readability area displays the problems discovered in your writing. This is a list of the problems keeping you from reaching your ideal readability score. Your readability score (or face + color score) considers the percentage of your sentences that use transitional words.

Yoast SEO's Analysis Results Readability Problems for Transition Words
Yoast SEO’s Analysis Results Readability Problems for Transition Words

A personal note: Using the correct number of transitional words in my writing is one of my most flagged errors. Obviously, I consistently do not use enough transitional words!

Scribbr provides a beneficial academic transition word list. This list groups words by additive, adversative, causal, or sequential.

Similarly, Smartwords.org provides a transitional words list grouped by the following categories:

  • Agreement / Addition / Similarity
  • Opposition / Limitation / Contradiction
  • Cause / Condition / Purpose
  • Examples / Support / Emphasis
  • Effect / Consequence / Result
  • Conclusion / Summary / Restatement
  • Time / Chronology / Sequence
  • Space / Location / Place

Highlighting my transition words

I’m a visually oriented person, so the ability to click a button (in this case, an eyeball) to see my usage of transition words in my writing is a game-changer. I can quickly see where I’m effectively connecting my thoughts because I see my words highlighted in purple. If I see an area without any highlighting, then I know to focus my efforts on that area.

Transition words highlighted via the Yoast plugin
Screenshot: Purple highlights indicate transition word usage

So, what transition words did I use in this post?

The transitional words I used in this post include “so,” “obviously,” “however,” “therefore,” “in conclusion,” “with this in mind”, and “similarly.”

In conclusion, your website’s readability is improved when you use transition words. Transition words make your writing more cohesive and allow readers to quickly understand your message.

About the author

Kelly Barkhurst

Designer to Fullstack is my place to geek out and to share tech solutions from my day-to-day as a designer, programmer, and business owner (portfolio). I also write on Arts and Bricks, a parenting blog and decal shop that embraces my family’s love of Art and LEGO bricks!

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