In a Jan 20, 2014 article on search engine watch a claim was made that the "grade level" readability is a Penguin factor. I decided to check some niches to see if there really is correlation with Google web search rankings. For niches like "Lung Cancer" I did find correlation with outliers being commonplace. If this is a factor then it is easy to make up for it in the rankings by overcompensating in other factors. Personally I think the readability algorithm is flawed because it is based on the notion that words with fewer syllables are more readable. But if we went to a 5th grade class and asked the students to define "cartoon" and "cherub" I know which one they will get wrong more often and they are both two syllable words. The algorithm does not account for how commonly words are used. Also if you went back 150 years the results of my example would probably be reversed. If reading level is a factor then at a minimum some niches will favor a college reading level over a high school reading level. In a test case like "Lung Cancer" this appear to be the case. What I found even more interesting was that across multiple niches average words per sentence correlated stronger than reading level as a possible factor. Some data: The Original Article Making The Claim: hxxp://searchenginewatch.com/article/2323727/Dissecting-Google-Penguin-2.1-What-Factors-Mattered-Study The algorithm: hxxp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesch-Kincaid_Readability_Test A Measurement Tool: hxxp://www.readability-score.com/ Derivation of the algorithm: hxxp://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a006655.pdf PS: For this post: Flesh-Kincaid Reading Ease: 66.7 Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 7.2 Average Grade Level: 8.2 Avg Words per sentence: 13 So... if reading level is a factor then it won't help this post.