Accessibility & How it Can Help Your SEO
When it comes to SEO, the best place to start is right at home, and by home we mean your website. Once you have performed your keyword research you need to begin to optimize your website in order to perform well in the search engine results. Optimizing your website won’t be a magic solution to better rankings, but when combined with other SEO elements and activities it can definitely help!
Accessibility is all about making the web easier for everyone to use, especially people with impairments or handicaps that might make browsing difficult for them. Individuals who are blind or visually impaired use screen readers to read the content of their browser to them so that they can navigate the website, read the content, and so on. In this way accessibility is very important to helping everyone have an opportunity to enjoy their online experience.
Accessibility and on page optimization
Several things which are commonly associated with accessibility measures can also be used as on page optimization elements which can work towards optimizing your website for optimal search engine performance:
- Images – Images have enormous potential for optimization. The name of the image itself (the file) can have positive influences. So instead of leaving the image named after the default structure of your camera or stock photo agency, change it to something more SEO-friendly. An image of a pink flower could be named pink-flower.jpg. You can also add information about the images on your website in their “alt” and “description” tags within the HTML code. The first is a more reader friendly name for the file (“Pink Flower Image”) and the second is a way to describe the image in a short sentence.
- Formatting – You might not think that the headings and bullet lists and such on your website are very important, but they are! Not only do they help screen readers to accurately describe your content to someone, but they also help search engines to better process your content.
- Navigation – The more streamlined and simple your navigation is, the better. It is easier for everyone to use a website with logical, uncomplicated navigation than something on the opposite end of the spectrum. Search engines appreciate well-structured navigation as it helps them better crawl and index all of the pages of your website.
- Links – Not only does having links on your website make it more attractive to search engines, but did you know that you can describe your links too? Using the “title” tag in the HTML code of a link you can provide a brief description of the the link / what it points to / etc and this will also appear as rollover text when a user is hovering over the link.
Neither accessibility nor on page optimization should be seen as an “all or nothing” sort of thing. It is important that you make any changes from this list to your website that you feel comfortable with as they can improve not only the range of people who can access and benefit from your website, but these measures can ensure better on page SEO and thus better web traffic from that quarter as well as increased rankings when combined with other SEO techniques.