By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Jan 27, 2023
We already know there are many reasons for ensuring website accessibility for your clients. In earlier blog posts, we have outlined the thousands of dollars in penalties your clients can face if their websites are not accessible and Department of Justice Guidelines.
But does website accessibility affect SEO? Many marketers have assumed so. Now there is a study that offers proof. Semrush, BuiltWith and AccessibilityChecker.org have just released a study where 847 websites were analyzed before and after they were made accessible.
The findings were convincing:
Title III of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) prohibits businesses that are open to the public from discriminating against people who have disabilities. This does not just apply to physical structures. It also applies to websites. In other words, it’s past time that your clients made their websites accessible if they want to avoid severe repercussions.
When your clients make their websites accessible, they not only make them more available to those with disabilities. Accessible websites are also more easily understandable to those who have a low Internet bandwidth, need to view a website in a bright environment, are not in a situation where sound can be turned on, and who view sites on sometimes hard to see mobile devices. In other words, if a website is accessible, all users, not just the disabled, can more easily navigate it, find information and have a positive experience.
Developing an accessible website involves using many processes and technologies. Just some of the options include improving color contrast, relaying information in multiple ways, using alt text that can be read by readers text readers for people who cannot see images well or when images won’t load, adding captions to videos, making online forms more accessible with labels and error indicators, and providing keyboard navigation as a start. The idea is to make the website accessible under as many conditions and as many people as possible.
It’s not too hard to figure out why search engines would reward website accessibility. It is the goal of companies with search engines to deliver the most valuable results possible to their users. And that means all their users. There are 61 million adults with disabilities in the US including visual, auditory and motor disabilities among others. Over 1 million people in the US over 40 are blind. Search engines want to serve them too.
Though we all know Google doesn’t lay out all its algorithms for all to see, it seems pretty obvious that Google search results are going to prioritize accessible website to those that are not accessible. And analyses bear this out.
Because accessible websites provide information in multiple forms and structure it logically, it’s easier for search engines to crawl the websites and index their content. That makes it a whole lot more likely to appear high in search results.
Accessible websites provide a better user experience not only for the disabled but for everyone. When people have a better user experience, they are less likely to bounce. They stay on the site longer and interact on the site. Length of time and engagement are both factors in search engine rankings.
People are more likely to share easily useable websites, particularly if they are disabled. Website accessibility helps turn your clients’ audiences into advocates who contribute to traffic increases.
If your clients are trying to increase traffic, keep people on their websites, increase engagement and gain positive brand recognition, they should understand that website accessibility is important to achieving these goals. More and more, website accessibility is going to help your clients improve in search results as well as make their products and services available to a wider audience.
Umbrella can help you with all aspects of website accessibility and that starts with analyzing your clients’ websites. Most websites today are still not compliant despite the risks. This is going to change as more and more businesses are prosecuted for non-compliant websites and are forced to pay thousands in fines. Don’t let that happen to your clients. Call Umbrella at 1(866) 760-2638 or contact us here. Let’s discuss how to help your clients with website accessibility.
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