Both seek to improve user experience by making websites easier to navigate, read, and comprehend.
Let’s dive into how adopting web accessibility practices can enhance your SEO efforts.
When you add alternative text (alt text) to images, you’re not only catering to users who can’t see your images due to visual impairments or because they’ve turned off images on their browsers, but you’re also adding an opportunity to incorporate SEO-friendly keywords.
Google and other search engines use alt text to understand what an image is about, which can contribute to how it indexes your page.
Note that Google is wise to the presence of artificial alternative text, which has been added purely to boost rankings. Only alternative text that appears credible will convey positive SEO value.
Transcripts, captions, and audio descriptions
Transcripts and closed captions make your videos accessible to a broader audience, including the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. They provide a textual representation of your video content, which can be crawled by search engines. This allows you to incorporate more keywords naturally and improves the chance of your video content appearing in search results.
Additionally, audio descriptions can provide context and explanation for visual elements in a video, essential for individuals with visual impairments and an additional opportunity to include SEO-friendly keywords.
Headings, titles, and other semantics
Using the right semantics (i.e. indicating the meaning of parts of the page) is a key accessibility principle that helps search engines understand the content and structure of your website better. This makes it easier for search engines to index your site accurately and improves your chances of appearing in search results.
Clear and descriptive page titles and meta descriptions provide users with an overview of the page content and give search engines critical information for indexing. These elements can improve your click-through rate from search results, a factor that search engines may take into account in rankings.
Link text and accessible URLs
Links that accurately describe what they link to (rather than generic text like “click here”) are not only better for screen reader users but also provide search engines with context about the linked content. This can boost the linked page’s relevance to certain search terms.
Additionally, URLs should be structured in a way that is easy for both people and search engines to understand. For individuals using screen readers, a well-structured URL can provide helpful context. For search engines, clear URLs can offer an additional signal about the page’s topic.
Since Google moved towards mobile-first indexing, mobile accessibility is more important than ever. An accessible, mobile-friendly website is not only beneficial for users with impairments but is also prioritized in search rankings.
Many users with motor disabilities rely on a keyboard, rather than a mouse, to navigate web pages. Websites that support keyboard navigation (e.g. using Tab, Shift+Tab, and Enter keys) are not only more accessible but also tend to be more logically organized and easier to crawl, which can benefit SEO.
Site speed and performance
Reading age and clarity
Ensuring content is easy to read and understand helps users with cognitive impairments and improves the overall user experience. The “reading age” of content – i.e. how easy content is to read – is also a ranking factor for some search engines.
By implementing web accessibility best practices, you are simultaneously enhancing your SEO, and your user experience.
Google and other search engines prioritize sites that offer superior user experiences, and an accessible site is a clear indicator of that. It’s a win-win scenario, helping to drive more organic traffic to your site while also making it more user-friendly for all visitors.