Website accessibility standards have been a hot topic for many years now. But as a small to medium sized business, we often hear questions surrounding what you actually have to do to your website to be compliant.
In 2019 and 2020 we have seen high-profile businesses being sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for having a website that’s not accessible for people with disabilities. While this might be alarming for some SMBs the likelihood of your business being targeted is minimal.
There are handy documents that can help you know what to do to be compliant right here and here. These documents are called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and have been available since 2018 for all webmasters and businesses.
What Does Website Accessibility Mean for SEO?
While all this information might be new to some business owners, those in the SEO realm have been knowingly or unknowingly complying with these guidelines with common SEO tasks.
Here are just some examples of where SEO and website accessibility overlap:
- Image alt attributes
- Title tags
- Header tags (H1, H2, H3)
- Link anchor text
- Video transcription
- On-site sitemaps, table of contents, and/or breadcrumbs
- Content hierarchy
- Size and color contrast of text/mobile friendliness
- Semantic HTML/microdata
While the purpose for fulfilling these tasks MIGHT NOT have been from a ADA/WCAG compliance standpoint, things like alt tags and HTML markup are used for those purposes. If you’ve done some type of SEO optimization to your website you most likely are already compliant.
Put yourself in the shoes of ALL your website’s users. If you are hearing-impaired you will need a video transcript to read rather than just watching a video with voiceover alone. Have these SEO tasks all completed so you will be compliant and inclusive to all users. If you are using a browser that reads pages to you as you are vision impaired then having Alt Tags that describe the images on your pages is essential to a good user experience.
Why Should Your Website Be Accessible?
Okay, this question seems like a no-brainer, right?
First off, accessible design enhances user experience. Google’s search engine and ranking effort to favor pages that provide the best experience possible is widely known. Making your website to more people will help with overall user experience and, in turn, your SEO ranking will improve.
Secondly, having a good structure in place can help you content hierarchy. We’ve talked about Content Clusters before here and having this type of organization is helpful to users and search engines alike. You can also utilize Alt text best practices to provide more context and improve keyword ranking.
Set User Expectations With Website Accessibility
Your website is often a potential customer’s first impression of you and your product. If your website is disorganized and sloppy then you will be fighting to convert them from the very beginning. Think about a sitemap that is used by both a human and a bot. You want to guide them through your marketing funnel no matter what level the user is in.
Businesses will want to make sure that anchor text and keywords selected sets users expectations of the page they are on. As your page relevance will directly impact your SEO ranks and standing in search engines eyes as well. Microdata and Schema.org can be used to help rich media get noticed on SERPs as well.
Putting Accessibility in Perspective
As business owners we want to make sure that we are casting out nets as far and as wide as we can. Using these tips and tricks to tighten up user experience on your website can bring in big results. We here at Boostability are cognizant of how important website accessibility is to users and search engines. Let us help with your SEO so that your website is available to all.