Making your online content accessible to people of all abilities is required by EU law, so it’s definitely worth investing in. But did you know that by making your website accessible, you can drive its performance in search engine rankings at the same time?
Maximising web accessibility is essential for every business—not only will it enable your site to reach a bigger potential market share, but it will also help when it comes to great SEO. Google Research Scientist T.V. Raman, who is himself visually impaired, agrees:
“Why should you take the time to make your site more accessible? In addition to the service you’ll be doing for the visually impaired community, accessible sites are more easily crawled, which is a first step in your site’s ability to appear in search results.”
According to the Web Accessibility Initiative (established by the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C], the main international internet standards organisation), there are a multitude of reasons why making your website accessible is good for business, including:
- the positive impact it will have on search engine optimisation,
- financial gains and cost savings from increased web use due to increased potential market share and increased usability,
- the reduction in risk of legal action and negative image,
- the public relations benefits of demonstrating corporate social responsibility,
- and the benefits of creating an inclusive workplace that supports employees with disabilities.
According to W3C accessibility expert Liam McGee, Google algorithms (that analyse websites to determine their rankings in search engine results) work in a similar way to users employing screen reader technology:
“Like a visually impaired person using screen reader software, Google relies on structural cues in the content—denoting headings, paragraphs, lists and more—to make more sense of the page. The skills we had developed in the field of web accessibility were, it seemed, directly applicable to many of the SEO challenges that face search specialists every day.”
Between 10% and 15% of the total population of Europe has some kind of disability. While not all of these people have difficulty accessing web content, it’s important to build your content to be as inclusive as possible.
But where to start? T.V. Raman’s advice is to keep things simple:
“Flashing banners and dancing animals are probably the worst thing you could put on your site if you want its content to be read by an adaptive technology like a screen reader.”
He further recommends keeping web pages easy to read, avoiding visual clutter and ensuring that the primary purpose of the web page is immediately accessible with full keyboard navigation.
Make sure your content works harder and reach the right people by letting Alhaus guide you through the accessibility process. Contact us to find out how we can help optimise every aspect of your site from creating accessible web content to improving your SEO.