Does Accessibility Affect SEO and How?

Animated picture of man and woman using an accessible website

Creating an accessible website is the optimal way to make sure that everyone, including people with disabilities, can use and understand your content. Individuals with visual, cognitive, mobile, and hearing impairments are included in this category. Accessibility is not just about being fair and inclusive it also brings practical benefits, especially when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO).

Search engines like Google aim to provide the best results for their use, which includes prioritizing websites that are easy to navigate through and interact with. When your website is accessible, it ranks better in the search engines.

Creating an accessible website helps all users to have a better experience and makes it favored by search engines. By focusing on accessibility, you’re not only doing the right thing socially but also boosting your SEO, bringing more visitors to your site and upgrading your overall web presence.

In the following article, we will explain to you why prioritizing web accessibility is important for SEO ranking factors, how to improve your rankings based on accessibility and how to check your website for accessibility errors.

Animated picture of web design concept

FreePik.com

What Is Web Accessibility?

The goal of accessibility is to ensure that all users can navigate, understand, and interact with websites easily. In order to ensure digital accessibility you must design websites that work well with assistive technologies.

For example, screen readers help visually impaired users by reading out loud the text on a webpage. To support screen readers users, web pages need to have clear and descriptive text for images (alt. text), simple and logical navigation, and properly labeled buttons and links.

Another key part is ensuring that all of your content is perceivable. This means you have to use high-contrast colors so that the text you are providing to your users is readable against its background, providing captions for those with hearing impairments and avoiding flashing content that may cause seizures. The content should also be presented in plain and simple language with image alt texts and proper page titles.

It is important for you to know that web accessibility benefits everyone. For instance, captions on videos help people who are watching in noisy environments, and clear navigation benefits all users by making it easier to navigate through the content.

By focusing on accessibility, websites reach a broader audience, provide better experience for their users and rank higher in the search engine algorithms.

Animated picture of a man connecting trough accessible platform with his friend

FreePik.com

When do SEO & Accessibility Meet?

SEO and accessibility meet when web design practices that make a site more accessible also enhance its search engine optimisation. Both SEO and accessibility aim to improve the usability and user experience.

Here are the main things that both SEO and Accessibility have in common when it comes to providing the best services to their users.

Page Titles

Page titles are the first thing users and search engines see when they come across your webpage. A well-crafted page title gives a good summary of the page content and helps users understand what the page is about. It also helps search engines determine the relevance of your page to search queries.

For accessibility, clear and descriptive page titles are essential. A descriptive title helps the users decide quickly if the content meets their needs. From an SEO perspective, page titles are a significant ranking factor.

Search engines use the title tag to understand the main topic of the page. By creating descriptive, clear, and keyword-optimized page titles, you upgrade both the accessibility and SEO performance of your website.

Headings

Headings are another key factor in SEO and accessibility. They organize content and improve users’ experience. Headings provide structure to the website, making it easier for all of its visitors to navigate and understand the presented information.

When it comes to accessibility, headings help screen readers and other assistive technologies convey the structure of the content to users with visual or cognitive impairments. In terms of SEO, search engines use headings to determine the relevance and structure of your content.

Sitemaps

Sitemaps are tools that upgrade both SEO and accessibility by helping search engines, and users understand the structure of the website. A sitemap is a file, typically in XML format, that lists all the pages on your website.

It provides information about the organization and hierarchy of your content, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site. When search engines have access to your sitemap, they can locate your content, understand its relevance, and improve your site’s ranking in the search results.

For accessibility, sitemaps enhance user experience by providing a clear and organized overview of the site’s content. They are particularly beneficial for users with cognitive disabilities.

Animated picture of man and woman using an accessible website

FreePik.com

Anchor Text

This is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It serves as a descriptive label that tells users and search engines what the linked page is about. The use of anchor text is important for both SEO and accessibility.

For SEO anchor texts, they provide valuable context to search engines about the content of the linked page. From an accessibility perspective, descriptive anchor text is important for users who rely on assistive technologies. Using clear and descriptive anchor text helps everybody to feel included and competent in their online environment.

Breadcrumb Links

Breadcrumb links are a navigation tool that is commonly used on websites to show users their current location within the site’s hierarchy and to provide a path back to previous pages. From an accessibility point of view, breadcrumb links provide valuable context and orientation for users, including the ones with disabilities.

The contribution of the breadcrumbs to SEO is providing search engines with additional context about the structure and organization of the website. This improves indexing and ranking.

Alt Text

Alt text is a brief description that is added to images on a webpage. It serves an important purpose for SEO and accessibility as it provides valuable information about the content of the images.

For accessibility, alt text is important because it allows users with disabilities, such as blindness, to “see” the picture through the descriptive alt text that is added to it. Alt text is a crucial component of accessibility and SEO and should not be underestimated.

Navigation

Navigation refers to the structure and the system that allows users to move around and interact with your content. It includes menus, buttons, links, and other elements that help users find and access different parts of a website.

For accessibility navigation is important because it ensures that all users can easily navigate and understand the website. For SEO, effective navigation is also important for ensuring that search engines crawl and index your website properly.

Readability

Readability contributes to how easily written content can be understood by readers. It involves elements like sentence structure, vocabulary choice, and text formatting. All of these elements impact how clear your content is for the audience.

For SEO, readability is important because search engines prioritize content that is well-written and well-structured. For accessibility, the role of readability is to ensure that all users can understand the content you are providing.

Can Accessibility Negatively Affect SEO?

Accessibility measures typically align with SEO best practices, but in some cases, they can have a negative impact. For example, providing text-only alternatives for non-text content can reduce the richness of the page, affecting SEO.

Certain accessibility features, like complex navigation menus, can impact page performance in search engines like Google Search, even though it is completely compliant with web content and accessibility guidelines. Balancing accessibility improvements with SEO considerations is important if you want to avoid bad impacts on your SEO.

Is Accessibility Good For SEO?

Accessibility practices like using descriptive alt text for images and organizing your content with clear headings improve the overall user experience for everyone, not just those with disabilities. This positive user impact leads to higher rankings in the search engines and higher engagement with your audience.

By prioritizing accessibility, you are not only making your website more inclusive but also improving your SEO rankings and its visibility in the search engines.

Animated picture of man and woman using an accessible webpage

FreePik.com

How do I check and improve my site?

To check and improve your website, you should start by testing its accessibility. Once you have identified areas that need improvements and fixing, you can make changes to improve these errors and fix the issues.

Consider consulting accessibility guidelines, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), for best practices and recommendations. Regularly check and test your website for issues and errors and update its accessibility. This will help you ensure it remains inclusive and user-friendly for all visitors.

Conclusion

Accessibility is a topic that must be addressed by everybody. Making every website inclusive and user-friendly will help us create a better community where everybody feels comfortable regardless of their disabilities.

SEO is aiming at exactly the same thing – making the search engines easier to use for everybody. Accessibility and SEO go hand-in-hand to a better and more inclusive online environment, and all of us should follow and help.

Frequently asked questions

What are some common accessibility barriers on websites?

Missing alt text for images, poor color contrast, inaccessible forms and controls, and lack of keyboard navigation options.

Are there legal requirements for website accessibility?

In many countries, there are legal requirements for website accessibility, particularly for government websites and those serving the public.

How can I test the accessibility of my website?

You can test the accessibility of your website using our tools here in Qualibooth.

Share this article:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp