As a business owner, or just someone who owns a website, you probably want people to be able to find it and read it or buy your products. Unfortunately, the web is a competitive place, which means that getting the users to your website is often a long and difficult process.
However, there are some things that might help you get on that desired by many but obtained only by a few, first page of Google. One of them is accessibility. What is it exactly, and how it can help your site be more visible online? Well, that's something we will be talking about in this article - so, stay with us if you want to find out more.
To put it simply, making your website accessible means making it usable for people with any form of disability, be it cognitive, neurological, physical, auditory, and so on. However, accessibility also benefits other people, for instance, those who are:
- temporarily disabled - e.g., have a broken arm, or lost their glasses
- using mobile phones and other devices with a small screen
- experiencing a change of abilities due to age
- limited by the situation - e.g., they are somewhere they are unable to listen to the audio
Although changing your website to be more accessible takes time, it's doable. What's more, there are many online resources that tell you exactly what you have to do to make that happen - for instance, a 2.1 AA Checklist highlights everything your website needs to have in order to be considered as accessible on the AA level, which deals with the most common and biggest accessibility barriers for disabled users.
There are two main reasons why you, as a website owner, should care about the accessibility of your site.
First of all, if your website is not accessible to people with disabilities, you are missing out on a huge audience. It is estimated that 15% of the global population (1 billion people) suffers from some kind of disability. However, according to the statistics from 2020, over 98% of the world's top million websites do not offer a fully accessible experience to their users.
Secondly, accessibility gives you a free SEO boost and increases your website's traffic.
Now, you might be wondering - What does accessibility have to do with findability? It turns out that a lot. That's because some of the accessible design techniques overlap with those that support on-site and technical SEO, of which the goal is to make your website more visible to search engines.
Let us give you an example. One of the reasons why people even use SEO is to make their website easier to crawl and ensure it is as understandable for search engines as possible. Google, as well as other search engines, behave in a similar way to a blind visitor - where are the elements of this page, and how do I comprehend them? By providing a clear understanding of your page's content, your chances of ranking high increase.
Here are some of the things you should pay attention to in order to improve both your findability and accessibility:
- video transcription
- image captioning, as well as alt attributes
- title tags and header tags (h1, h2...)
- content ordering
- link anchor text
- size and color contrast of text
What's more, an accessible website can improve the overall user experience, which is another factor affecting your rankings.
Imagine these situations. A potential customer is trying to access your website but has old technology or a slow connection. Another user is trying to read the text on your site while sitting in bright sunlight. The third potential customer is trying to navigate through your page on a mobile phone, using only one hand. If your site is not accessible, all of those people will probably leave your site within a few seconds, having had a bad user experience - they most likely won't return to it.
When determining whether the website is user-friendly and deserves to be on the first page, Google looks at data such as the time spent on your site, bounce rates, pages per session, return visitors, etc. - all the statistics that will be affected if users have a bad experience on your website.
It's hard for a website to be successful if people don't see it. Unfortunately, due to the increased competition on the web, it happens to many sites. After all, there are only so many websites that can fit onto the first page of Google.
However, does that mean that all is lost? Not really.
Fortunately for you and other people in a similar situation to yours, there are some things that you can do in order to increase your traffic and improve your website, which might lead to a higher position in search engine ranking.
One of those is making your website more accessible. How exactly does it help? Well, that's something you should already know after reading this article. The next step is implementing changes into your own site. Good luck!