Is There a Link Between Web Accessibility and SEO?

Posted by David Terry on September 24, 2020

The user experience (UX) of your website has become increasingly important in recent years, and is now an essential aspect of your company’s B2B Inbound Marketing program

The user experience focuses on fulfilling the user’s needs. It provides seamless website experiences that improve visitor satisfaction, enhance your SEO strategy, structure the customer journey and a plethora of other benefits.

But what if you were told your current user experience isn’t making your website accessible to your entire audience? What if there were some easy changes you could make that would open up a new audience with tremendous buying power?

That’s where web accessibility standards come into play. In fact, by simply making your website more accessible, you can drastically improve your SEO efforts at the same time. 

What are web accessibility standards?

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) define how to make your web content more accessible to people with disabilities. These guidelines cover a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning and neurological disabilities.

Ensuring your website conforms to web accessibility standards is incredibly important. The 2017 Candadian Survey on Disability by Statistics Canada, found that 22 percent of Canadians aged 15 years and older have at least one disability that limits their everyday activities - up from 13 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in four US adults (61 million Americans) have a disability that impacts major life activities.

With consumers and B2B organizations alike increasingly relying on digital experiences to conduct business, make buying decisions and complete transactions, it’s crucial that your website is fully functional and meets the diverse needs of all web users.

Making your website accessible will open your organization up to a new audience with tremendous buying power. At the same time, it can also drastically improve your website’s SEO efforts, and that’s why web accessibility should play a key role in your B2B Inbound Marketing strategy.

Why is web accessibility important for your SEO efforts?

There is a rising awareness of the importance of web accessibility around the world. In fact, here in Canada, The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires businesses in the country to make their websites and web content fully accessible by 2021. 

With more emphasis being placed on the accessibility of websites, there’s no doubt that as search engine algorithms change they will begin to reward those websites that are following accessibility guidelines. 

Choosing to make your website more accessible isn’t an afterthought or a decision for the future. Making the change now can improve the user experience for all visitors to your website and enhance your existing SEO efforts, improving your website’s organic search rankings and helping you to reach a wider audience.

Here are some web accessibility best practices that will also boost your search engine ranking and visibility: 

Using headings to structure your web content

We’ve talked about the importance of structuring your blog content through the use of headings in a recent blog, titled ‘On-Page SEO: How to Optimize Blog Content for Search Engines’. In fact, headings are an important way to structure content on all of your website’s pages.

By using heading tags (<h1>, <h2> etc.) you will not only improve your website’s accessibility for visitors with cognitive impairment or limited reading comprehension, you will also please search engine algorithms due to their preference for content that is broken up into logical chunks.

Providing transcriptions for videos on your website

Videos on your company’s website are a fantastic marketing tool, but they aren’t accessible for everyone. Providing transcripts for videos  will make your website more accessible for people with vision and hearing impairments.

Not only that, video transcriptions also have huge SEO benefits. Search engines aren’t able to listen to your videos and understand the content matter. Providing a transcription for your videos makes it easier for search engines to index your page for the keywords that you are discussing in those videos. 

Using proper alt text for images

Alt text provides images with a textual alternative to images displayed on your web pages, explaining exactly what an image is. Alt text is addressed in section one of the WCAG guidelines: “non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.”

Alt text provides context to an image for visitors with visual impairments, and also provides further information to search engines about the content on your web page. Be carefully not to stuff keywords into your alt texts, however, or search engines may penalize you.

There are many other best practices that improve both your website’s accessibility, and your SEO efforts. Want to learn more? Contact The Brit Agency’s team of B2B Inbound Marketing experts today. We would love to help.

Topics: SEO