New: Google "Reading Level" Search Filter

Dec 10, 2010 • 8:59 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google has added a brand new search filter option to the advanced search page named "Reading level."

The purpose is to give users a way to find content based on your reading level. The options include:

  • No reading level displayed
  • annotate results with reading levels
  • show only basic results
  • show only intermediate results
  • show only advanced results

Here is a picture of the reading level filter box.

Google Reading Levels Search

If you select "annotate results", Google will show you all the search results and add labels to the results with if it is basic, intermediate or advanced. You can also quick filter them on the page.

Here is a picture displaying the annotations on the page:

Google Reading Levels Search

Here is a picture of the filter on the search results page after you select annotate results:

Google Reading Levels Search

A Google Web Search Help thread Nundu, Product Manager, Google Web Search saying this should be rolled out to everyone by sometime today. Plus there is a Google help document on this feature over here.

How Smart or Dumb is Your Site?

Another way to look at it is to compare how smart or dumb your site's content is. You can tease your competitors that way. Just do a command with this filter on and presto, you got a great chance of teasing your competitors. Watch out when it is election time and you rate the smart level of politicians. :)

Google vs Yahoo:

Reader Level : Site Level

Yahoo Smart?

Search Engine Land vs Search Engine Roundtable:

Reader Level : Site Level

Reader Level

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Previous story: Google's Penalties For Link Schemes Aren't Always So Obvious


Gaetan Bertin

12/10/2010 04:10 pm

There's some interesting stuff to be found with that. Check out the score webpages about "investment" got vs. pages about "credit card". You can clearly see the difference made between the targetted populations. Check out "ecology". No wonder why people don't give a s***. They just don't understand what's written. I think there's a lot to learn with that "tool". Too bad it's only available for english content.


12/10/2010 04:28 pm

Fascinating. Shows having good copy on your site and the relevance of it in seo.


12/10/2010 05:10 pm

Do you think the dumb thing is a simpler way to show off lexical density ?

gareth jax

12/10/2010 05:41 pm

it will be funny when google will be able to rate "juvenile italian". I'm sorta puzzled sometimes and i'm native of italy.


12/10/2010 07:53 pm

Funny but inaccurate yet. It's a good thing anyway.

Michael Martinez

12/11/2010 02:07 am

Not very accurate, as it seems to label some blurb pages as "advanced" reading-level content.


12/11/2010 04:18 pm

I know you were being a bit humorous with the smart vs. dumb point, but hopefully people will not confuse "basic" with "dumb." The wording is significant. Someone could be proud to have a website that ranks highly as "basic," because they would see their site as being accessible and clear. Someone else could be proud to rank highly as "advanced" because it would mean their website is sophisticated and insightful. The ranking is not a value judgment, but merely a reflection of the effect you want your content to have.


12/11/2010 07:03 pm

This is great addition by Google. I like it. I tried the advanced search on my website and it has 96% basic level reading data according to Google!!


12/16/2010 01:42 pm

Why compare Google with Yahoo? Google is like a logo and searchbar...seems stupid to compare.

Sean Hecking

01/06/2011 02:52 pm

Totally agree with Editowl. From the research I have read, a majority of web users read at a 6th grade level. This means that web copy has to communicate to a Basic-Intermediate audience, leaning more to the basic category. This is how I see it: Basic = Elementary School Intermediate = High School / College Advanced = Graduate School +


02/16/2011 07:05 pm

google search box can be used as a calculator.

SEO Maryland

01/12/2012 02:34 am

Whether or not Google is aggressively leveraging its own assets to prevent yet another expensive addition to its product scrap yard, Google+ profiles are beginning to make leaps and bounds in organic search.


02/12/2014 03:39 pm

So does having a basic, intermediate or advanced level of language on the site affect rankings in any way? e.g. does having advanced language rank you better?

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