We have touched a bit on accessibility, but given how important it is for the future or the web, there is much more to be said about it. Accessibility is one of the more important aspects of an online-business.
Most companies like to focus on the increased conversions and profit that follow increasing attempts at making your website more accessible. Although in this blog we will discuss aspects of accessibility connected to this line of thought, what really matters about it is making things easier for those of us who have disabilities.
In the end, it all comes down to doing the right thing, which includes making information more accessible to whoever might need it. But if that is not a convincing point for you, then in addition to the benefits of accessibility for SEO that we will discuss in this blog, making your website accessible also has a positive impact on your brand reputation.
People with disabilities are an important and often overlooked segment of the population, and making your website accessible shows that you value their business and are committed to providing a positive user experience for everyone. These users are much more likely to come back to your website, given how hard it is to come across genuinely accessible websites. So, it is a win-win for everybody.
Let us start with an easy layup: the style of writing. Using clear and concise language is not only important for accessibility, but also for search engine optimization. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to users, and make sure that your content is written in a way that is easy to understand. Organize it by using headers and short paragraphs, maybe throw in bullet points or numbering as well. Use bold and italics sparingly, but do actually use them whenever they are called for.
The better the style, the voice, the tone, etc., the more likely an user is to keep reading whatever you are writing, which can lead to better engagement, longer visit durations, and improved search engine rankings. Go for quality, not quantity - unless you can go for both, in which case knock yourself out.
In addition to improving the user experience, accessibility can also boost website performance. E.g., optimizing images and reducing page load times can improve website speed, which is a huge ranking factor for Google.
A semi-related point concerns users who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, may have a slower browsing experience, and slow website speeds can exacerbate this problem. To improve website speed, optimize images, use a content delivery network (CDN), and minimize HTTP requests. There is a lot more to speed than this, but it is recommended that you keep in mind that it is directly related to web accessibility.
I mean this could also be included in baby steps, but still here it goes: Use a site map. Visitors can find content they are searching for with the help of on-site sitemaps, particularly if the sites navigation is intricate. They are especially crucial for usability because they offer a summary of and easy access to all the key sites on the website. Similar to this, sitemaps aid in SEO by assisting search engine crawlers in locating connections to other pages on the website, which is particularly helpful if they are not connected to elsewhere on the website.
Next up are alt texts. They are also relatively straight forward - just require an extra 10-30 seconds (depending on how you have structured your website) of effort. Screen readers read alt text audibly, so it should be accurate and clear instead of being a graveyard of keywords for the bots (which is counter-productive anyway!).
Videos are becoming increasingly popular on websites, but they can be difficult for users with hearing impairments to access. By providing transcripts and captions for your videos, you can make them actually useable for some people, which also means it is a SEO performance boost.
Many users with disabilities rely on keyboard-only navigation to access websites. What that means is that if they cannot navigate your website well, they will either (a) get frustrated, or (b) leave the website. neither of the options are really the ones you can settle for really.
There is clearly a lot more to this. We will, over the coming months, keep posting more and more stuff about accessibility.
The content is likely to get more complex and in-depth, so if you wanna really get into it, you should probably keep an eye out.