I Need to Get Stupider so my Website will rank Higher

I’ve been doing some housekeeping lately on the Crossland Team website. This involves looking at website stats to see how people find us, re-evauating page titles and other “on page” aspects of search engine optimization, as well as “off site” aspects such as where our inbound links come from and how many we have, and looking at website visitor habits, such as which pages are read the most.

I also ran the website through the Website Grader by Hubspot, which provides a website “grade” along with a list of detailed analysis and suggestions for improvement. Take a look. The CrosslandTeam.com grade is 96.3 (out of 100), which is pretty good, but there are things I can do that will supposedly improve our search engine ranking.

The most interesting possible improvement is this:

E. Readability Level: Advanced / Doctoral Degree
This score measures the approximate level of education necessary to read and understand the web page content. In most cases, the content should be made to be simple so that a majority of the target audience can understand it.

Translation: I need to dumb down the writing on this website! It’s too hard to read according to the Website Grader.

I had no idea I was writing at an “Advanced/Doctoral Degree” level. Can I get an honorary degree for that? Sylvia did point out to me that many of our buyers and sellers are super smart, brainy people. In fact, I have a buyer under contract right now who is a UT Professor with a PhD. How she ended up with an Austin Realtor who was a super dumb high school student is a mystery. I was a D student who nearly flunked out of high school in the 1970s, graduated almost at the bottom of my high school class, but somewhere along the way learned how to write relatively well. I’m not quite sure how that happened though.

I was so dumb as a young college student in Corpus Christi that I majored in Restaurant Management at Del Mar College for two years, then learned when I transfered to Corpus Christi State, thinking I only had two years remaining to obtain a 4-year degree, that only 9 credits would transfer because the rest were considered “trade school” credits. I had no clue. Now that’s really, really dumb.

I was so dumb that when I was a waiter at a seafood restaurant during college, after listening to the restaurant manager deadpan to the waitstaff one morning that the fish of the day was Monk Fish – which he informed us tasted like a poor man’s lobster and was also a “celibate” fish, I announced to each table I waited on at lunch that day that our fish of the day was “Monk Fish, which tastes a little bit like Lobster and is a celibate fish”.

When the manager heard me saying that, he pulled me aside, bug eyed, and exclaimed “you can’t say that to customers!” “What?” I said. “That’s what you said it was”. I didn’t even know what the word celibate meant. I thought it must have just been a variety of fish. Spelling Bee contender I was not.

But I could in fact handle more tables and memorize my orders better than any other waitperson. In fact, the first night I was hired at the new restaurant I took the menu home and memorized the entire thing. I was also really good at chess. So at least a few of the brain cells were firing. And I did get straight As in restaurant management school. And I did manage to go on and graduate with a Business Degree from UT, and hold down a B average.

Nevertheless, admitting freely that I was a real dummy when I was younger, I feel fully redeemed to now know that the Website Grader rates the writing on this website as “Advanced/Doctoral” level reading. Exactly how I can now dumb it down to the desired 10th-12th grade level, I’m not sure. I could hire an Aggie off of Craigslist to do my writing I suppose. “Wanted: Aggie English Major with 4.0 GPA”.

Nah, we really do like our smart, intellegent clients and they seem to like us too, no matter how goofy we are sometimes, so I guess I’ll keeping writing my own stuff and hope Google’s search engine will understand and cut me some slack.

Posted by Steve
7 years ago

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, Husband and Dad, UT Austin Grad, Runner, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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Michael @ The Stage Coach - 7 years ago

ha…ha…ha… nice blog, Steve.
My wife is a nurse wth a Masters degree who works for the State and is constantly being told she writes at too high a level. Apparently the TX standard is Sixth grade level – every thing she writes for policy and proceedure needs to be understood by Sixth graders.
Too stress how low the State’s Sixth grade level is: my nine year old daughter reads at a sixth grade level.
Are we doing any one a favor by having to Dumb things down for the “General Public?”

Tim - 7 years ago

I think you’d have to get rid of all your stats. You’re probably getting dinged a lot for having math on this site.

That said, please don’t.

Chris - 7 years ago

I’d be happy to dumb your site down for you. It pegged my level at “secondary/high school.” .

Sylvia - 7 years ago

Personally, I enjoy working with all the college professors, engineers and phd’s! One time Steve complained about all the analytical people we were working with and I told him “You created them!” All the stats on our webpage brings clients that want to see all the details and numbers. It’s all part of the process, you can’t have one without the other!

Steve - 7 years ago

Come on, Sylvia, I’ve never “complained”, except maybe about that wave of “spreadsheet” investors we had from California, who never bought anything but asked 100’s of questions, and still wouldn’t accept that Manor, Elgin, etc. were not good places to invest no matter what the spreadsheet said.

kristina wise - 7 years ago

This was a great blog post, Steve — had me laughing.

Sam@Lake Travis Real Estate - 7 years ago

It is a sad fact that the the level of reading ability in our country has dropped so much. I think if you do dumb it down a bit that you will gain more readers. Or maybe your next post should read: Attention Egghead Home Buyers…

Jennifer Kellogg - 7 years ago

I disagree, but then I’m an over-educated Master of Sociology. Be authentic to yourself.

Peter Tsai - 7 years ago

Nice… I say keep writing like you are. If you are reaching your target market, then you are doing a great job.

BTW, I love Website Grader – I see you have a score of 94 and a Google Page Rank of 4! Great job, I aspire to get such great numbers on my website one day.

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