According to an accessibility evaluation by WebAIM of the top 1,000,000 websites, more than
96% of website’s homepages had detectable WCAG failures. The biggest culprit that caused failures were: Low contrast text ( 83.9%), missing alt-text for images (55.4%), and empty links (50.1%).
In this fast-paced world where everything is available online, many companies focus on improving their SEO score. What if we told you that SEO and web accessibility go hand-in-hand?
Although SEO is focused on making your website accessible to search engines. There are many places where SEO and web accessibility overlap. Little tweaks to your website will not only enhance your website’s accessibility but also boost your SEO score.
Our blog will explore 7 easy ways to boost SEO through web accessibility.
Table of Contents
Before we jump into the main topic, let’s go through some basic SEO practices to enhance your SEO score:
- Follow an optimum keyword strategy on all your web pages
- Add keywords in your title tags, meta tags, and meta descriptions
- Generate sitemap.xml and robots.txt for your website
- Use semantically accurate URLs for blog posts, webpages, etc.
Users with disabilities usually use devices or software to navigate through websites known as Assistive Technologies (AT). One of the most popular AT is a screen reader, it is used by more than 4 million people in just America.
How to Improve Your SEO with Web Accessibility in 7 Ways
1. User Interactions
Screen readers can’t perform many functions that require physical interactions such as clicking buttons, opening accordions, etc unless it is directed to users. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce the number of physical interactions to as much as required. This is also helpful in boosting your SEO score as Googlebot works very similar to a screen reader when it comes to performing physical interactions.
- Make sure that text is contained in the source code when you have drop-downs or accordions on your site.
- If there are hidden texts ensure that it resonates with the content on the page rather than stuffing it with keywords
- Avoid using the hover action to reveal any content
2. Page Titles
Many times users tend to open multiple tabs on browsers, it becomes a laborious task to find their desired tab. Therefore, page titles should be provided to help users understand the information presented on the page. It also helps screen readers read page titles to its users while navigating between pages. Always remember to optimize titles for users rather than keyword stuffing it.
3. Breadcrumb Links
Remember the popular fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? Where they leave a trail of breadcrumbs while going through a forest so that they can return to their home. Breadcrumbs links work similarly, they help users to navigate back to their desired page. This is especially helpful while browsing large websites, it also boosts your internal linking on your website. Ensure that breadcrum
bs links are descriptive to help screen readers tab through them.
Headings are the most important part of any web page, it helps users to recognize the content and skip to their desired information on the page. The best SEO practices recommend following the heading hierarchy while creating content on any web page.
A typical heading hierarchy recommends using the H1 tag to provide an overview of the complete page content. The tags H2>H6 are used to further define specific topics on the page. Always ensure that headings are followed by content below them.
5. Anchor Text or Hyperlinks
Anchor text or hyperlink is the text that informs users about the destination page that it is linked to. Furthermore, it can also be used to convey the purpose of the page to help users whether or not to visit the destination page. Search engine crawlers use anchor text to determine the context of the linked web page.
Screen reader users tab through pages and the screen reader informs users about the link and reads out the anchor text. Therefore, it is necessary to provide precise link descriptions. Also, avoid using texts like “click here” and “read more” as it does not make sense when it is read out of context.
6. Alt Text
Images can not be understood by both search engines and users with visual impairments. Therefore to make it accessible, you have to provide a textual alternative that briefly describes the image known as alt text.
Tips to write Alt-text for images
- Avoid starting the alt text with “image of”, “picture of” etc
- Be short and specific while writing the description
- Provide context wherever necessary
- Mark images as decorative when an image is used just for the visual aspect
Navigation requires no introduction as if your website is not easily navigable, it can not be used by any user with or without disability. Your website should be easily navigable by keyboard and other AT.
It is difficult for users with cognitive impairments when it has complex words and jargon. Furthermore, it also helps non-native readers to easily understand the content on the page.
Websites that are accessible are boosted by customer retention, high brand awareness, and comparatively low web maintenance costs. As search engine bots or crawlers have very similar limitations like screen readers and other AT, prioritizing accessibility will exponentially improve your website’s SEO score and help it reach a wider audience.
Whether you’re a small or large organization, AEL Data can help support your accessibility team. Get in touch with our digital accessibility expert today.