Web Accessibility – What Does it Mean and Why is it Important?

You may have heard the term “web accessibility” around the internet lately. But what does “web accessibility” mean, and is it important for SEO? In this article, we’ll break down precisely what web accessibility is, how to optimize a website, and why it’s essential for your website’s search engine performance. So let’s get into it!

What is Web Accessibility?

The first question on our list is, “what is web accessibility.” As with other forms of accessibility, web accessibility refers to optimizing a website for visitors with special needs. In other words, it is the process of designing a website easily digested by anyone who finds their way to it.

Why is Accessibility Important for Websites?

Why is web accessibility important? To understand the concept better, we should first discuss some figures and statistics. Let’s get started.

Most web accessibility efforts are tailored towards the disabled because they make up a lot of web traffic. For example, according to the Pew Internet Project figures, 6.8% of the population is sight or hearing impaired. In addition, around 8.2% of the population has difficulty holding a mouse correctly. Therefore, it stands to reason that the more accessible your website is, the more likely your site will garnish traffic from those users.

Generally, people who benefit most from web accessibility are eye-related problems, motor skill issues, hearing loss, or epilepsy. So it makes sense to tailor your accessibility optimization techniques to those specific disabilities. However, web accessibility is not only about optimizing your content for the disabled but also the process of optimizing your site’s usability for the average visitor.

Is Accessibility Important for SEO?

But what does all that have to do with SEO? Honestly, web accessibility optimization isn’t about designing a website that performs well in search. It is more about making a website usable by anyone who lands on it. However, that doesn’t mean that web accessibility optimization and SEO are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, there is a definite overlap between the two procedures. Optimizing your site for accessibility will most likely improve your performance on search engines. Why? Because an accessible website is a website that answers user queries.

How to Optimize Your Website for Both Web Accessibility and SEO

How do you optimize your site for accessibility? Let’s break it down.

Optimizing your site for accessibility isn’t as daunting as it seems. All you have to do is make sure that your site provides the following:

  • Mobile Usability Make sure mobile device users easily surf your website. Every element that appears on the desktop version should also appear on the mobile version. In other words, your website must be useable on any device used to access it.
  • Easily Digested Text-Based Content Generally, the text should be resizable to 200% without needing assistive technology. It would be best if you also avoided high-contrast color schemes.
  • Accessible Non-Text Content Non-text content refers to any content on your site that isn’t text-based. Things like images and videos are the most common types of non-text content. To make non-text content accessible, you can provide transcripts for videos and alt-attribute descriptions for images. Ensure your text representations for non-text content accurately describe the content in question.
  • Consistent and Easy Navigation It should be easy for any user to navigate the pages and posts on your website. Every website should also be navigatable using only a keyboard.
  • Defined Language Every website should have a language clearly defined in HTML for every page on the site. Declaring a language in code helps screen readers, and translation software makes sense of your content.

More About The WCAG 2.0

 

If your website ticks all of those previously mentioned boxes, then your site is most likely well-optimized for accessibility. However, accessibility standards are constantly changing. So, your previously compliant website is not guaranteed to be fully accessible. In light of that fact, your best bet is to optimize for accessibility continuously. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a list of standards that you should adhere to. There is a list of them called the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) that you can find here.

If web accessibility optimization feels too daunting, you can hire the SEO professionals at Contractor Advertising to do it for you.

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