There are many best practices to follow when optimizing for search engines, but some of the most crucial optimization practices relate to web accessibility. Accessibility and SEO work hand-in-hand, as they actually help achieve the same goals: increasing the visibility of your content and effectively optimizing user experience.
If you’re implementing SEO techniques but ignoring web accessibility, you’re excluding potential users. Read on to learn how accessibility affects your SEO efforts and why everyone deserves equal access.
What is Web Accessibility?
Before we dive into why web accessibility is important, we need to cover what the term means. Web accessibility ensures all users are able to understand, navigate, and engage with a website. This includes impairments such as visual, auditory, cognitive, and physical conditions. It can also include temporary impairments (such as post-surgery recovery), situational impairments (like weak, slow, or unreliable internet connections), or environmental impairments (such as being unable to play audio at a particular time.)
It Enhances User Experience
When websites aren’t accessible it can make it difficult for users to find the information they’re looking for or perform necessary tasks. Designing and building an accessible site will naturally lead to a better user experience. Consider elements such as alternate text for images, which are used by screen reader users, or providing transcripts for things like podcasts or other audio. Additionally, many search engines, such as Google, are taking accessibility more seriously and therefore boosting the rankings of user-friendly sites.
It Widens Your Audience
The ultimate goal of using SEO is to reach a broader audience. By making your site more accessible to more people, you’re significantly widening the scope of your reach. On top of increasing the overall number of visitors to your site, it can also impact your visibility and your sales in a positive way. Making your site more accessible can also influence your on-page metrics, such as how long a user stays on your webpage, and encourage more return traffic.
The Power to Future-Proof
When creating and developing a website, you’re probably focused on best practices and legal requirements that pertain to the present. However, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest laws on website accessibility and ever-changing best practices in order to be compliant and avoid potential lawsuits in the future. Choosing things like software, plugins, and themes that are built to the latest standards are key and need to be revisited each time you update your site.
It’s The Right Thing To Do
It’s potentially the most obvious, but it is also the most important reason why accessibility matters. Inaccessible web content is discriminatory and creates barriers to people who suffer permanent, situational, and temporary disabilities. By not making your web content accessible, you’re not only leaving out users and potential clients, but you may be hurting yourself. In the long run, you could lose business and credibility or risk being fined.
We believe the internet should be usable and accessible to everyone. And here’s the good news: it’s never too late to incorporate accessibility into your strategy! We’re here to help. Contact us today for a complimentary 1-hour consultation.