An Introduction to Accessibility and SEO [Series Part 1]

An Introduction to Accessibility and SEO [Series Part 1]

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The creator’s views are completely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and might not at all times replicate the views of Moz.

Welcome again to Whiteboard Friday! To begin us up after our break, visitor host Cooper Hollmaier has put collectively a three-part collection that exhibits how SEO and accessibility go hand-in-hand. 

Partially one, he introduces us to what accessibility in SEO means, goes by some widespread myths related to the work to make web sites optimized and accessible, and discusses a few of the main impacts that work can have. 

Photo of the whiteboard explaining how SEO and accessibility go hand in hand.

Click on on the whiteboard picture above to open a excessive decision model in a brand new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz followers. Welcome to the most recent version of Whiteboard Friday. I am Cooper Hollmaier. At present we’re going to be speaking about SEO and accessibility: the concept of optimizing not only for a few of our viewers, however all of our viewers.

I have been doing SEO since 2016, and I began out engaged on small companies, native mom-and-pop outlets. Then I discovered the attract of e-commerce SEO, and I have been doing that ever since. At present I work on an in-house group doing technical SEO for a big outside e-commerce retailer.

The connection between SEO and accessibility

Now, when you’re something like me, you realize that SEO is just a little bit extra than simply code on the web page and copy that is crafted to meet searchers’ intent. Whether or not you are a seasoned SEO professional otherwise you’re searching for the most recent suggestions as that mom-and-pop store, otherwise you’re perhaps beginning out in an SEO position for the primary time, you perceive that we’ve to take our content material that we’re producing and we’ve to, not directly, guarantee that it exhibits up in search engines like google.

Hand drawing of a web page and a robot.

So for me, as a technical SEO, perhaps I am fascinated by issues like my H1 tag or my paragraph tag or my title tag, for this instance web page right here for Mozville Canine Rescue. 

Now more often than not I might say my job revolves across the thought of creating positive that what I am doing, the stuff I am producing, what I am designing for, will be seen, digested, consumed, and then primarily regurgitated by our buddy the bot.

Optimize for folks, not simply bots

However have you ever stopped to take into consideration perhaps there is a bigger viewers on the market? Perhaps it is extra than simply my bots. Should you’re pondering that means, you are shifting in the direction of the proper course. You are shifting in the direction of a extra inclusive strategy. You are fascinated by greater than only a search engine but in addition the customers, the folks which might be consuming that content material, partaking with it, and perhaps even partaking with your online business.

Hand drawing of a person in the spotlight on a stage vs an ensemble well-lit on a stage.

If you concentrate on solely optimizing for bots, you are fascinated by one thing type of like somebody sitting in a highlight on a stage. You possibly can see that particular person entrance and middle, however you perhaps cannot see the encircling forged as a result of they’re on the market within the darkness. What we would like to do is we would like to take into consideration a bigger group of individuals.

We would like to take that highlight away and give everybody an opportunity to shine, everybody an opportunity to devour, have interaction with, and be delighted by the content material that you simply’re producing. In order you are fascinated by SEO, as you are fascinated by constructing a brand new product, service, expertise, take into consideration not simply can a search engine bot see that. We all know that is necessary as an SEO.

How do folks work together together with your content material?

Handwritten list asking if the content is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust

But in addition take into consideration can different folks work together with, have interaction with, or be compelled by this content material. If the reply is not any, you’ve got some points. However I may give you a number of tips about how to remedy these points. If you’re making some content material, whether or not it is advertising and marketing materials each digitally and on an internet site or offline in some kind of print materials, ask your self these 4 issues.

Content material must be perceivable, operable, comprehensible, and strong

Is my content material perceivable? Is it in a position to be seen or understood, or does it exist for my consumer? Is it operable? Can they do one thing with it? Is it comprehensible? Am I writing on the proper studying degree? Am I explaining this in a means that is going to be consumable by a big viewers and perhaps not simply someone with a PhD? Is that content material strong? Is what I am constructing out there in a number of totally different codecs, fonts, sizes, and so forth., in order that, no matter who my consumer is, they are going to give you the option to perceive what I’ve given them? 

These are the 4 ideas of net accessibility. These are the rules that the Net Consortium has given us, and you possibly can apply them each time that you simply’re constructing one thing new, and even retrofitting one thing previous.

Hand drawing of a Playbill, called

For instance, as an example you’ve got this playbill or you’ve got perhaps a menu for a restaurant. If I do not supply that menu or that playbill in each a digital and a print format, I find yourself in a scenario the place somebody who wants Braille, wants a display reader, want some kind of assistive know-how so as to perceive and devour that content material, goes to be type of neglected at the hours of darkness.

They are not going to give you the option to do these issues. Within the instance of a menu, I am unable to order from a restaurant if I do not know what they provide for me to order. So it is necessary that we guarantee that our content material and the issues we’re producing, the advertising and marketing supplies that we’re creating, are perceivable, operable, comprehensible, and strong. 

However okay, I am solely speaking about perhaps one instance of incapacity.

Varieties of incapacity

List of examples of disabilities.

After I say “disability,” what does that imply to you? You would possibly consider an aged member of the family who wants a cane to stroll. You would possibly consider your buddy who has a tough time studying giant phrases or will get anxious when there is a math take a look at developing at school. If that is the case, you would be speaking about solely two sorts of incapacity, perhaps physique construction, form and dimension disabilities for somebody who’s strolling with a cane, or cognitive disabilities and even studying disabilities that your buddy could be experiencing.

There are a bunch of various different sorts of disabilities that even I did not learn about till I discovered about it. These would possibly embody blindness, low imaginative and prescient, deaf-blindness, coloration blindness. I am the primary to admit right here that this whiteboard being in blue and purple and inexperienced and black is probably not essentially the most accessible for somebody with colorblindness. That is why it is necessary that we’ve closed captioning and a transcript beneath this video. These all make this content material extra accessible. 

Auditory, cognitive, nervousness, temper, seizure. You possibly can see that this checklist is lengthy and it is not exhaustive. There are a ton of several types of incapacity, and a lot of them aren’t even perceivable by you or I. Folks could also be affected by incapacity and coping with this of their life that you simply won’t know.

So it is necessary to acknowledge that we’d like to begin optimizing content material not only for bots however for folks as properly. We want to guarantee that persons are in a position to truly devour and have interaction with our content material. 

So how does this relate to your world as an SEO? Nicely, there’s lots of similarities between accessibility work and SEO work, and I would like to type of break that down into some myths and legends.

Myths and legends

1. It has a small affect

Primary, generally folks will say accessibility solely impacts a small group of individuals. We’re taking a look at this by a lens of able-bodied people who we predict, okay, they’ll see my content material if I write it on the web page. However the actuality is one in 5 folks in america are coping with a incapacity. That is lots of people.

That is nearly 60 million folks. So it is not a small downside when you ask me. For SEO, if I do one thing for SEO, if I write a tag title tag, if I write a meta description, if I craft my H1 in a sure means, I’ll not solely be serving to a bot, however I am additionally serving to in all probability different channels of promoting as properly.

I am going to assist that electronic mail marketing campaign have a greater title. I am going to have that pay-per-click advert that is going to have a greater web page to go to. So small affect can be a delusion. Accessibility and SEO each fall into that bucket the place they affect much more folks than I believe we generally notice.

2. It’s a short-term downside

Quantity two, it is a short-term downside. For accessibility, the flexibility to give you the option to order from a menu or learn this playbill is greater than a short-term downside.

It is going to occur each time I’m going to that enterprise or this restaurant. So it is necessary that we hold our accessibility work ongoing and proceed to enhance and evolve our practices. We all know that for SEO it is a zero-sum recreation, too. We all know that the world is at all times altering. Search algorithms are altering. Consumer intent and conduct is altering.

So it is necessary that we keep on prime of our SEO work and guarantee that our enterprise understands that SEO work when you’re working in an enterprise scenario. In order that means we’re not falling behind our rivals, and we’re not disadvantaging those who we might not notice we’re disadvantaging.

3. Fear about it on the finish

Quantity three, we should always do it on the finish. I hear this rather a lot once we’re speaking about SEO however for accessibility particularly, too.

Hey, I’ve this web site. Perhaps we should always do an audit. Then we are able to do some work to remediate this downside in order that the web site turns into accessible. It is at all times quicker, cheaper, and simpler to make an internet site accessible from the get-go than to do it retroactively, and do this sort of retrofitting. For SEO, we all know that it is means simpler and additionally much more efficient if we construct content material for customers with SEO insights to inform what they’re searching for, what questions we’d like to reply.

Should you making an attempt to optimize one thing after the very fact, lots of instances I believe you will discover that the content material that you simply’re producing feels prefer it’s SEO pushed. It isn’t going to really feel prefer it’s for a buyer as a result of it wasn’t. You are coming in after the very fact.

4. It prices an excessive amount of

Quantity 4, it value an excessive amount of cash. You understand what value some huge cash? Lawsuits. Should you do not work on accessibility first and foremost, to start with of the method and in an ongoing vogue, you will discover I believe that accessibility lawsuits can value your online business much more, and they are often detrimental.

However so can SEO and penalties. Should you take a shortcut, when you do not take the time to take into consideration what your consumer wants, how that is going to be acquired by a search engine in addition to prospects basically, I believe you will discover that these penalties are going to damage much more than doing it proper the primary time and doing it in an ongoing vogue.

5. It’s distracting

Quantity 5, it is distracting.

For accessibility, in lots of instances the issues that we’re going to be implementing aren’t going to be seen to your common consumer. They are going to be seen to assistive know-how and the display readers and the issues that folks with disabilities could be utilizing to work together with the identical content material that another person is. However typically, it is higher to be right and there and seen by way of what a display reader can see than be not possible to use altogether.

For SEO, we all know that dangerous and unethical SEO is clear. We have seen key phrase stuffing. We have seen a bunch of hyperlinks on a web page that do not belong or do not actually present worth to my buyer. That’s extra distracting I believe, than doing the work to make it proper. 

Okay, so there’s some similarities between accessibility and SEO.

Usually, there’s a very giant affect when you do it proper. It isn’t a short-term downside. It is ongoing. We should not do it on the finish. We must be doing it initially. It actually would not value that a lot cash when you do it proper in contrast to when you do it incorrect and get it incorrect. Then quantity 5 is, typically, one of the best work goes unnoticed as a result of it is natural, it is moral, it is sincere.

The affect of accessibility work

Hand drawing of a hammer under the word

So what is the affect of doing accessibility work and additionally I suppose doing SEO work that aligns with accessibility practices?

1. Makes the not possible, potential!

Primary, it helps folks with disabilities first and foremost. It makes the not possible potential.

2. It helps companies

Quantity two, it helps companies. You as a enterprise proprietor or as somebody who’s optimizing an internet site for a enterprise and even perhaps somebody who’s simply making an attempt to get into SEO and be taught extra, it is going to assist your public notion.

Should you make an internet site that is accessible, it is going to be apparent and persons are going to thanks for that. They are going to say, “Oh, this company cares about all people and a diverse group of abilities.” It is going to be a extra sturdy expertise to your prospects. If you begin to take into consideration issues like textual content alternate options and captioning and transcripts and you type of construct this follow up over time and you actually construct this behavior of doing accessible work and inclusive work, you are going to discover that your web site is extra sturdy.

It is much less possible to be hit by these algorithm modifications and issues like that, the place folks have taken the short-term strategy. I do know you are going to love this. It is going to assist your SEO. It is going to provide you with a much bigger viewers. You have now taken your highlight give attention to simply your bots and you have expanded it to see your complete stage in entrance of you. So a much bigger viewers goes to be in entrance of you as properly for a enterprise, and which means more cash and extra folks and truthfully rather a lot much less issues.

I believe everyone knows this one, however lawsuits. Should you do that, when you begin implementing accessibility work, you begin fascinated by accessibility first and foremost as you are creating issues, you are going to have rather a lot much less lawsuits. Folks aren’t going to complain. They are not going to be upset by your lack of accessibility since you will not have any. Will probably be accessible and inclusive for all folks.

3. It helps household and pals

Then quantity three, doing accessibility work, fascinated by accessibility, fascinated by whether or not my web site, whether or not my advertising and marketing materials goes to give you the option to be consumed and loved by folks goes to assist these household and pals who’re working with folks with disabilities. It is going to make issues potential for folks with disabilities. It is going to make their lives extra impartial and due to this fact launch just a little little bit of that burden on household and pals.

It is also going to permit you, as a practitioner, as an SEO or perhaps one other self-discipline, to have an opportunity to work together with folks with extra numerous views, be taught extra, get a richer, extra intimate expertise with these totally different customers and craft a greater total expertise. 

In order you possibly can see, accessibility and SEO are very comparable, and it is necessary to acknowledge that we’d like to type of shift our mindset from fascinated by simply optimize for bots, how can I get Google to see this, how can I get different search engines like google to see this, and take into consideration folks first and use the wealthy insights that we get from SEO and the instruments they provide us free of charge to make a big effect on folks and on a regular basis life.

Now what?

Okay, so now what do I do with this info? — is the query you may need. Nicely, you possibly can be taught and take a look at. So you possibly can be taught just a little bit extra about accessibility by testing International Accessibility Consciousness Day. You possibly can be a part of a meetup. There are tons of individuals on the market who’re as passionate as I’m about accessibility, who can present you the best way and provide you with suggestions and tips on how to take into consideration this.

You possibly can subscribe to a publication. I’ve included a bit.ly hyperlink right here, bit.ly/wbf-week, for White Board Friday. You possibly can join a weekly publication from Accessibility Weekly and get extra suggestions and tips and actually cool tales about how persons are doing this and implementing this work on their very own enterprise. Then it’s also possible to take a look at your precise pages. When you type of get this consciousness and begin understanding how accessibility suits into your workflow, you need to use both WAVE or Axe, and I’ve included the bit.ly hyperlinks right here and down beneath, and you possibly can take a look at these instruments as simply one other factor you are able to do to guarantee that the belongings you’re producing are seen, they’re accessible, they’re in a position to be accessed by assistive know-how.

Thanks for spending a while with me right this moment and speaking about SEO and accessibility. I actually hope that this modifications your perspective and offers you a broader thought of how one can affect folks’s every day lives with the SEO and the accessibility work you are doing to your personal enterprise. Thanks. Have an excellent one.



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