Accessibility is a critical element of your website – the ability of all users to access your website and enjoy your content, products, and services is the key to your success online. Without ensuring accessibility, you’re effectively ignoring a large percent of your audience. Not only is it bad for business, but you also leave yourself wide open to potential legal actions by users who aren’t able to fairly access your content. Making your website more accessible is much easier than it sounds, and can pay off in a big way.

We’ve previously written about online accessibility regulations in the United States and Canada. Understanding what regulations exist to aid those in need of enhanced accessibility can give you a roadmap to ensuring accessibility, and optimizing your website to ensure that SEO and web accessibility can coexist.

The importance of web accessibility

The internet has become an integral part of our lives, used almost every single day by many people, including those with disabilities. Web accessibility means ensuring that people with disabilities can have equal access to crucial services, including information, shopping, recreation, and more. Without web accessibility, you are effectively denying service to those with disabilities, making it nearly impossible for them to enjoy your businesses web content and services. Not only is web accessibility good for your business and its customers, but it’s also an important element of optimizing SEO.

How to make your website more accessible

Your website shouldn’t be considered anywhere near “complete” without accessibility features. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are many easy ways in which you can begin improving accessibility. From using alt-tags and text to assist screen readers in conveying information to allowing for easy keyboard navigation, improving web accessibility is easy. Even the layout of your page can be optimized to enhance accessibility – using subheadings, tables of contents, links and laying pages out in a logical, naturally flowing way can make it easier to process and interpret information.

Increasing the amount of images and infographics on your website is another great way to improve accessibility, working to convey information in ways that anybody can understand. If your website makes heavy use of video or audio content, providing transcripts and subtitles is another excellent way to improve the experience of users.

How web accessibility and SEO overlap

When designing your website for accessibility, you’re not just ensuring that it’s compliant with regulations – you’re also optimizing for SEO. Many of the principles of SEO go hand-in-hand with accessibility, allowing you to overlap the two and improve both essential elements of your website.

Doing things like improving readability by using shorter, simpler sentences and paragraphs, writing to an appropriate reading level, and defining complex terms and ideas go a long way in improving both web accessibility and SEO. Readability makes it easier for all users to enjoy your content, and greatly increases the chances of your content being featured by Google search and ranked higher in voice search.

There are many tools designed to analyze your website and help you improve readability, including Readable, Readability Formulas, Yoast, and more. Being able to identify where your content’s readability is will allow you to improve SEO and make your content more accessible to all users.

ion8 is an all-in-one business consultancy with a team of technology and communications experts armed with the skills and regulatory knowledge needed to make your website more accessible to people with disabilities. For more information about the many ways that ion8 can transform the way you do business, contact us today.