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The Future of Web Accessibility & SEO

The internet, with its vast index of information, has become the world’s modern-day library. As such, it is important that all members of society are able to participate to the maximum extent that they can.

There are about 1 billion people living with disabilities. Some of these disabilities make consuming specific web content harder and require these people to make use of assistive technologies. However, if web content doesn’t meet the accessibility principles, many of these people can’t access web content.

This is where web accessibility comes into the equation.

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the focus on designing and developing websites that are accessible to people with disabilities and impairments. If a website has applied various accessibility principles, they can provide more accessible content.

Usability, on the other hand, focuses on general user experience, covering all users which include those with impairments and disabilities.

With the recent implementation of Google’s Core Web Vitals, there has been an increasing focus on user experience in the SEO world. Google has long promoted that usability and accessibility go hand-in-hand, which begs the question: Will we see a search algorithm update in the not-so-distant future that is centered around accessibility metrics?

As said on Google’s website: “Everyone should be able to access and enjoy the web. We’re committed to making this a reality.”

The Overlap Between SEO & Accessibility  

In the past, digital marketers often had to choose between SEO or web accessibility. However, user experience is quickly becoming a central focus and as such, marketers no longer have to choose between SEO and accessibility.

One thing that hints towards the notion that accessibility could soon have a broader impact on rankings for search engines is the overlap that exists between the SEO and accessibility. Let’s take a look at some of the elements that impact accessible user experiences and search engine rankings:

  • Metadata
  • Readability
  • Site Structure
  • Page Structure
  • Image Alt Text
  • Link Anchor Text
  • Heading Tag Structure
  • Accessible Website Design
  • Audio and Video Transcriptions

As you can see, there are many ways that SEO and accessibility overlap. Although Google already measures accessibility, it’s not too farfetched to think that accessibility could formulate part of the next big algorithm update.