Accessibility for SEO, what is it, and why does it matter when it comes to SEO? In order to answer this question, we must first agree on what is the definition of SEO. Sure, a lot of us already know that it means Search Engine Optimization, but what exactly does this mean? To some individuals it is the process of bringing a website more organic website visibility, to others, it is the process of simply improving relevant/targeted keywords in the S.E.R.P.s. While to others, it’s the process of improving and optimizing a website’s web pages in every way possible. SEO for our intended purposes will encompass the three main ideas I talked about.
Many SEO professionals have a pretty similar system for ranking their websites. It usually starts with a full website audit that encompasses an SEO analysis of the client website for technical, On-page, and Off-page SEO. The SEO usually then works on cleaning up a lot of the technical errors found on the website, so that the website is crawlable and indexable by search engines, they usually then proceed to work on to on-page optimization work, such as adding the appropriate title tags and meta descriptions, marking up the page with schema, and optimizing for other elements like proper SSL, N.A.P information, etc… However, where a lot of SEOs fall short is when it comes to checking and optimizing a web page for accessibility.
Another reason why accessibility is so important when it comes to SEO is that you start to build with the E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) philosophy that the SEO community is currently promoting so much because it works. E.A.T is an acronym for how you should be building your websites. So adding accessibility to a website adds value to the website by giving it more trustworthiness.
The biggest benefit you’ll get from implementing accessibility on your website is that you’ll gain more traffic. How? Well, it’s simple, not all users access web pages the same way. You might assume that most people browse a website the same way, which is usually with a keyboard and a mouse, and a monitor if you’re on a computer, but there are people who can’t navigate a website the same way because of a disability and rely heavily on third-party applications like JAWS, that allows the program to read text back to users with a disability. Some users might also have a hard time consuming your content because of maybe the contrast or color scheme on your website, accessibility address a great deal of those issues.
How do you fix or implement accessibility?
Now that you know the importance that accessibility is for Search Engine Optimization, you’re probably wondering how do you implement accessibility on your website. If so, I’ll tell you the steps to take if you’re on a WordPress installation. The first thing you want to do is to head on over to https://validator.w3.org/ and run an audit of each of your pages, to figure out what errors and warnings your template is producing, and get those fixed as soon as possible. Once you’ve fixed those issues, log into the backend of your WordPress website and install an accessibility plugin, I personally use the one from userway for all of my clients on WordPress. Finally, I would encourage you to invest in a program like JAWS and look into implementing ARIA tags. Getting a program like the one I mentioned above will help you see and navigate the website, the way a person with a disability would so that you can optimize accordingly.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, accessibility is definitely important when it comes to SEO, maybe not at a scale of high-quality content and relevant backlinks; nevertheless, it’s still a very important piece of the puzzle and should be implemented whenever possible for maximum SEO results. If you enjoyed and found this article useful please feel free to share it and link back to it.