If you’re running a website, it’s important to make sure that it’s accessible to everyone. That’s where Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) come in. WCAG is a set of guidelines that helps make websites more accessible, usable, and crawlable. Meeting WCAG standards is important for SEO, as it can help your website rank higher in search results. Find out more about WCAG and how to make your website accessible below!
4 Principles of Web Content Accessibility
There are four main principles of WCAG that you should keep in mind when designing or redesigning your website for SEO:
Your website content should be easy to see and hear. This includes using contrast ratios that make text readable, adding subtitles and closed captions to videos, and using audio descriptions for images and other visual content.
Your website should be easy to navigate, with clear labels and instructions. All interactive elements should be easy to use, and buttons and links should be sized appropriately and placed in easily accessible locations.
Your website content should be easy to understand, regardless of language or literacy level. This includes using clear and concise text, providing context for images and multimedia, and avoiding jargon and technical language.
Your website should be compatible with a wide range of browsers, devices, and assistive technologies. It’s also important to test your site regularly to ensure that any changes or updates haven’t introduced any new accessibility issues.
WCAG’s Impact On SEO
Now that we have learned the rules to follow, what are the ways in which the WCAG impacts SEO in a positive or negative way?
The principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines can be applied to help your website be crawled and indexed more easily by search engines, even though it isn’t specifically designed to improve SEO crawlability. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Making sure all images are properly labeled and have descriptive alt text
- Ensuring that all content is properly tagged with relevant keywords, including titles, headings, and meta descriptions
- Creating well-structured navigation menus and using breadcrumbs to help spiders navigate your site
- Providing clear and concise page titles that accurately describe the content on the page
- Minimizing the use of Flash and other multimedia elements that are not crawled by search engines
One way usability suffers when developers don’t build websites following WCAG is that the websites can be difficult to navigate. Often, when developers don’t follow WCAG, they create websites with dense text and many different links, which can be overwhelming for users. Additionally, website features may not be as accessible as they could be if developers followed WCAG guidelines. For example, videos may not have closed captions or audio descriptions, making them difficult or impossible for some users to watch.
If a website is difficult to use, users will leave it more, which will cause the website’s SERP ranking to drop. This is because Google tracks how long users stay on a website and how often they return. If users are leaving a website quickly, that indicates that the website is not meeting their needs, which will cause Google to rank it lower in search results.
Creating responsive websites that can be viewed on a variety of devices is important for both users and SEOs. For users, it means they can access the website from any device, regardless of its size or capabilities. This is especially important for those who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers, which are software programs that read the text on a website aloud to people who are blind or have low vision. By making websites accessible and inclusive for all, developers can ensure that everyone has equal access to the content and information on the website. Additionally, optimizing websites for various devices and assistive technologies can help improve their ranking on search engines.
Keeping your website usable, crawlable, and accessible plays a very important role in both the search engine optimization process as well as WCAG compliance. NetGain SEO can help you ensure your website meets WCAG standards so that you can reach the widest possible audience. Contact us today to learn more!