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5 Reasons Why Accessibility Is Good For SEO

Feb 14, 2008
1) Validation of HTML

When creating an accessible website it is essential that you use valid HTML to allow all web browsing software the best chance to correctly read and display/output your website pages.

The SEO advantage of this is that the same rules apply to search engine robots that visit and spider your website as part of the process of adding your site to their listings. If the robot is unable to correctly read the HTML then this may result in it hitting a dead end and will prevent it from listing the full web page correctly and may also prevent further pages within your website from being found by the search engine.

2) Correct Structuring of HTML

As with all programming and markup languages, there are correct and incorrect ways to structure a document. For optimal output, HTML provides tags that each have their own purpose. Some examples are: title, h1, h2, strong, em alt=, title=. For accessibility these tags should completed and used correctly to help provide users with easy to read structured information.

Search engines uses these tags to help weigh how relevant your web page is for certain search terms. So by correctly including your targeted search terms within these tags you can help your web page rank for these specific terms better than they would without using the tags.

3) Descriptive Titles and Links

To help users quickly determine the subject of a web page it is important to include relevant terms within the title of the page. It is also necessary to include relevant link descriptions for screen readers. So rather than having a link that would read "Click Here" you would use a descriptive link such as "Blue Widgets".

To tell a search engines the subject of each of your web pages it is important to include relevant search terms within in the individual page titles. By using descriptive search terms in links you help pass relevancy to the targeted page for that search term and this also helps describe to search engine what each linked web page is about. This becomes even more important when you ask other websites to link to your website as this will count as a "vote" within the search engines for your website for the search term within the anchor text.

4) Lowers Bounce Rates

The purpose of accessibility is to allow as many users as possible to correctly view and use your website without hitting barriers that prevent them from accessing information. This includes people with disabilities or temporary injuries (eg. a broken arm) and can also help people with lower spec computers or poor Internet connections.

Whether the purpose of your website is to provide a service, sell products or simply offer a source of information, then the more users who are able to use your website without hitting barriers the more chance the website will have of being successful. If users have a positive experience they will stay and use your website for longer, this can also increase the traffic to your site through word of mouth referrals.

5) Reduces Code to Content Ratio

In the early days of creating websites using HTML, tables tended to be used to structure a web page design. This causes problems for accessibility mainly due to certain screen readers outputting the information in a linear fashion rather than column by column.

Tabled structured web page designs tend to be bulky and require a lot more HTML coding than is necessary. Through using CSS to correctly style you web page design you can reduce the total HTML code whilst also keeping the exact look and feel that you want. This prevents the actual content of your website from being diluted by code and will help search engine more efficiently detect what search terms you web page is relevant to. Another advantage is that with less code the page will load quicker in a web browser making your website a better experience for users.
About the Author
Steven Balfour wrote this article for search engine optimisation company Position Gold Ltd. -
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