Do the visibly impaired shop online? Do they go to their favorite browser looking for information on a purchase or to find the solution to a problem they have?
You bet they do! In fact, individuals with disabilities (not just those with visual impairment) as a group make up 10 percent of online spending!
What’s more, even though it’s not law (yet), it’s pretty much become standard operating procedure for websites to make it easier for those with disabilities to shop, peruse, and work online. By doing so, you also show that you’re aware that the world is becoming more diverse and you thereby become a company that “gets it.”
In addition, from an SEO standpoint web accessibility actually can help your optimization! How does accessibility affect SEO? Take a look below for just a few ways.
Alternative text in photos, graphics, and other visuals helps boost SEO.
The visually impaired can’t see photos, of course. Place alt text in your photos and caption fields with relevant keywords. This way, people who have some sort of visual impairment will be able to use a screen reader to read the text out loud to them.
The keywords imbedded in the alt text also help in optimization.
Responsive design helps make text accessible to everyone.
Most people now access websites via mobile. Responsive design for your website means it will convert effortlessly and automatically to viewing on a mobile device.
If the text on your desktop and mobile sites can be resized to 200 percent without assistive technology, you’ve just helped ensure the visually impaired won’t bounce from your site.
Don’t forget proper website hierarchy structure.
Search engines love a good hierarchy!
Basically, site structure is how you organize your website’s content: how you group, present, and link the content for your visitors.
If you create a great site hierarchy, it shows search engines what pages you consider the most important. This means a) you can make the site easy to navigate for everyone, including individuals with disabilities and b) it helps you influence which pages will rank highest in search results.
Making Your Website Accessible
How does accessibility influence SEO? Pretty well!
Want to see how accessible your site is? Check out this accessibility website checker. (It checks one website page at a time.)
Many sites that show poorly in web accessibility are older websites, in need of a design update. If yours is similar, check out our free 5 Step Checklist for Website Redesign for design and accessibility tips.