Increased Accessibility Can Lead to Increased SEO
There are over one billion registered websites. To sort through all of them, most of us rely on search engines to find what we want. Over 49.2 percent of people worldwide use the Internet, which increasingly includes people with disabilities. There are a lot of good search engines out there, but the majority of people worldwide use Google.
To some extent, search engines have their own type of disabilities. When dealing with non-text elements, they behave as if they are blind and unable to source the information. Similarly, when dealing with audio or video, they behave as if they are deaf and incapable of understanding the conversation.
How do search engines work? A simple mechanism used by search engines can be divided into three steps: crawling, indexing, and ranking.
Crawlers crawl websites to get a complete list of relevant data. Indexing occurs when whatever was scanned by crawlers is stored in the database. Ranking is achieved by each search engine using an algorithm for priority scheduling based on the most relevant content or document that matches the keyword or query.
Accessibility and SEO intersect when you follow these tips for on-page optimization:
- Provide a relevant language for your page, which helps crawlers as well as screen readers understand its meaning.
- Use meta tags to describe meaningful titles, descriptions, and keywords, which helps with search engine ranking. This is also valuable for someone who is searching for your page so they can see the title and description.
- Use descriptive and correct alt text to optimize images on your website—search engines cannot see and interpret images as language.
- Internal and external links should be logically handled.
- Define abbreviations or acronyms wherever used.
- If you are using audio or video include a transcript and captions—without these crawlers can’t gather data.
- Provide descriptions of important headings. This tells search engines about your product and services and helps sight-impaired users understand the page structure.
- Use a site map. This provides an additional way to explore the site, helps crawlers understand the structure of your website, and helps disabled people navigate.
If you follow the above tips, you will not only be complying with accessibility guidelines, but you will also see an organic SEO benefit.