March 2, 2022

Is Web Accessibility Important for SEO?

With Google and other search engines focusing on delivering the best possible user-experience, website accessibility is becoming an increasingly important topic in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). This begs a number of people to think if website accessibility is necessary for a good SEO ranking.

Having several factors that go into good SEO ranking, web accessibility is not directly one of them. However, making your website accessible to as many people as possible is an important part of providing a good user experience, which is something that Google takes into account when ranking websites.

At its core, website accessibility is not just about making sure your website works well for people with disabilities, but making your site accessible also ensures that it's indexable by search engines and easy to navigate for everyone.

In this blog post, we're going to explore the relationship between web accessibility and SEO, and we'll go over a few ways on how you can make your website more accessible for all users.

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the design and implementation of websites and web content that can be accessed, understood, and used by people of all abilities. This includes people with disabilities, older adults, and those with low literacy or who speak English as a second language. While the benefits of web accessibility are clear for all users, they are especially important for people with disabilities who are often left out of the digital world.

Web Accessibility vs Usability

Accessibility and usability are often confused with each other, but they are actually two different things. Accessibility is about making sure websites and content can be used by everyone, while usability is about making sure websites and content are easy to use. A website can be usable but not accessible, or accessible but not usable.

If a website is accessible but not very usable, it may still be difficult for people to use. Conversely, if a website is very usable but not accessible, users with disabilities may have trouble using it.

For example, a website may be easy to use but require a lot of mouse clicks to get around. Users with disabilities who cannot use a mouse would have trouble using the website. On the other hand, a website may be accessible but difficult to navigate. A person with visual impairment who relies on screen readers would have trouble using the website.

What is the Importance of Website Accessibility for SEO?

For users with disabilities, inaccessible websites can mean a barrier to access the same information and opportunities as others. This is not only unfair, but it can also have a significant impact on a person’s life. Studies have shown that when people with disabilities have equal access to the Web, they experience improved education, employment, and social opportunities.

Making your website accessible is not only the right thing to do, but it can also improve your SEO. Here are a few reasons why:

Accessible Design Enhances User Experience

A well-designed, accessible website is not only easier to use for people with disabilities, but also provides a better user experience for all website visitors.  In fact, when a website is not accessible, it can often be difficult and frustrating to use, which can lead to a high bounce rate. A high bounce rate can negatively affect your SEO ranking. But by making your website accessible, you can ensure that more visitors will have a positive experience while they are on your site. This is important for SEO because it helps to create a positive online reputation for your business.

Good Page Titles Help Screen Readers and Searchers

Inaccessible websites often have page titles that are too long or that do not accurately reflect the content of the page. By using concise, accurate titles for your pages, you can make them more accessible to screen readers and search engines. In addition, search engines use page titles as a ranking factor, so by making your titles more accessible, you can improve your SEO ranking.

A Proper Heading Structure Establishes Content Hierarchy

The hierarchical structure of a website page is defined by tag headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.). Inaccessible websites often do not use these headers to define the hierarchy of their content. This can make it difficult for screen reader users and search engines to understand the structure of a page. By using proper headings in your website content, you can make it more accessible and easier to read for all users.

Audio and Video Transcriptions are Extremely Helpful

Not just for users with disabilities, transcription of audio and video content can be extremely helpful for all website visitors. By adding a transcript to your media content, you make it available to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who do not speak the language of the video or audio, and those who would prefer to read the content rather than listen to it. Transcription can also help to improve your SEO ranking, as search engines use transcription data to understand the content of your media files.

Descriptive Alt Text Lay Out Context and Keywords

Having a descriptive alt text for all of your images is not just good for accessibility, but it can also help your SEO. When you include alt text with your images, you are providing key information about the image to search engines. This helps them to better understand the content of your page and to rank it accordingly. In addition, including alt text helps screen readers to understand the content of your page.

Linking Anchor Text Provides Clarity

A link anchor text is a text that is displayed when you hover over a link. Inaccessible websites often use generic anchor text, such as “click here” or “read more.” This can be confusing for screen readers and for website visitors who are trying to determine the destination of the link. By using descriptive anchor text, you can provide key information about the link to help screen readers and website visitors understand where the link will take them.

Web Accessibility Guidelines

Many web accessibility guidelines can help you to make your website more accessible. The most common are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines provide a comprehensive set of best practices for making websites accessible to everyone.

Meeting the accessibility standards outlined in the WCAG 2.0 can be a challenge, but it is well worth the effort. By making your website accessible, you will not only improve the experience of people with disabilities, but you will also make your website more user-friendly for everyone.

Conclusion

Going back to the main point of this post—is website accessibility important for SEO?  The answer is a resounding “yes!” Meeting the accessibility standards outlined in the WCAG 2.0 can be a challenge, but it is well worth the effort. By making your website accessible, you will not only improve the experience of people with disabilities, but you will also make your website more user-friendly for everyone.

Accessibility is not just for people with disabilities. By making your website accessible, you can improve your SEO ranking, make your content easier to understand for all users and improve the overall experience of visiting your website. If you are not sure where to start, the WCAG 2.0 provides a comprehensive set of guidelines that can help you to get started.

A Denver SEO Firm that Can Help You

If you are looking for a company that can help you with your web accessibility issues and concerns, we at Denver Digital Agency are here to help. We are a Denver SEO firm with a team of experts that can help you to make your website more accessible for everyone. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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