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Why You Should Make Digital Accessibility Part of Your SEO Strategy

Posted February 16, 2023


Posted February 16, 2023

Search bar filled with "Make digital accessibility part of your SEO strategy"
Search bar filled with "Make digital accessibility part of your SEO strategy"

In this post, we examine the link between SEO and digital accessibility — and share tips on how you can improve your website’s accessibility and search ranking at the same time.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is big business.

In 2020, businesses spent about $47.5 billion on SEO and related products — and that number is expected to continue rising as people spend more time online.

For many businesses, SEO has become an essential part of their digital marketing strategy. Whether it’s earning more backlinks or optimizing content for keywords, marketing teams leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of better search engine rankings — and more clicks.

Or at least, almost no stone unturned.

Even though digital accessibility has been touted as the next big thing in SEO, many businesses don’t understand how they are connected.

In this post, we examine the link between SEO and digital accessibility — and share tips on how you can improve your website’s accessibility and search ranking at the same time.

Why Does Digital Accessibility Matter?

Before we talk about SEO, it’s important to understand what digital accessibility is — and why it matters for businesses.

Digital accessibility refers to a set of design practices that are intended to remove barriers for people with disabilities.

In simple terms, that means every visitor should be able to accomplish key tasks — like browsing a website or filling out a form —  in a reasonable amount of time and without exerting extra effort.

What’s the Connection Between SEO and Digital Accessibility?

If you compared a list of accessibility best practices and a list of SEO best practices, they’d look almost the same.

For example, clear and concise page titles work better for search engines (which “crawl” websites to get a sense of what each page is about) and screen reader users, who often skip between page headers to get a sense of what each page is about.

What’s more, there’s a growing indication that your website’s accessibility can even improve its SEO ranking. Google, long the bellwether for all things SEO, has official guidelines about making sites accessible by “literally anyone.”

Here are some other best practices that can help you improve your website’s accessibility and searchability:

Digital Accessibility Can Help You Reach a Wider Audience

If you choose to make your website more accessible in the hunt for better search rankings, the benefits could exceed your expectations. First, you can help reduce the risk of a lawsuit or demand letter — in 2022, more than 3,225 companies in the United States were sued for digital accessibility infringement.

Additionally, improving your website’s accessibility can help you reach a new customer base that’s often overlooked.

Globally, more than one billion people live with some form of disability — and they have more than $1.2 trillion in annual disposable income. That number expands to $13 trillion when you include their friends and family.

This certainly helps dispel the myth that accessibility is an edge case. In reality, it’s about opening up your website to everyone, including the aging population and those experiencing declining vision.

So, if you could improve your website’s ranking in search results and tap into a new market at the same time, why would you hesitate?

Layers of a website that are inaccessible.

Accessible Design Is Good Design

There’s a misconception that making your website accessible means compromising on sleek, modern design and functionality. However, when done well, accessible design should improve the user experience for all visitors — without forcing you to compromise on design.

For example, many accessibility fixes happen behind the scenes at the code level. These include adding image alt text, creating proper heading structure, and identifying the language of the content and more.

Other improvements simply require a content modification, like adding descriptive links or spelling out abbreviations and acronyms. Most accessibility issues have absolutely no impact on the look of your website.

And for visitors who need to make additional modifications, tools like AudioEye’s Visual Toolkit enables people to customize their user experience, whether it’s increasing the color contrast (for people with low vision or color vision deficiency) or increasing the size or spacing of text to make it easier to read.

61/100 score before AudioEye. 94/100 after AudioEye.

Take the First Step Toward a More Accessible Website

Ready to take the next step in your accessibility journey? AudioEye can provide the automated tools and human experts you need to deliver an accessible experience to everyone who visits your website.

Want to see where your website stands today? Get a free scan of any URL to uncover accessibility barriers on your site.

Ready to test your website for accessibility?

Scan your website now.

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