It’s an absolute necessity to make sure your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This isn’t just a legal requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s also a moral obligation for fostering an inclusive online space for everyone.
Understanding ADA and WCAG compliance
The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including the digital world. In 2010, the US Department of Justice published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, which established accessibility guidelines for websites. These guidelines include providing alternative text for images, ensuring website functionality through a keyboard, and ensuring website content is navigable by screen readers.
WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) are a set of guidelines for website accessibility published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines provide a comprehensive set of best practices to improve web content so that it is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. WCAG guidelines are categorized into three levels: A, AA, and AAA. The WCAG 2.1 Level AA is the most commonly used and widely accepted level of accessibility compliance.
The importance of website accessibility and SEO
An accessible website helps users with disabilities navigate and interact with your website and access the same information as users without disabilities. Moreover, website accessibility can improve user experience, increase website traffic and improve search engine rankings.
5 ways to implement effective website accessibility compliance with SEO
While optimizing your website for accessibility is essential, it’s also important to balance ADA and WCAG compliance with SEO.
- Website accessibility first: While optimizing for SEO and CRO is important, website accessibility should always be a priority. Ensure that your website is fully accessible to all users before optimizing for on-page SEO as well.
- Optimize images with ALT text: Providing alternative text for images is critical for website accessibility and beneficial for SEO. Descriptive alt tags help improve your website’s search engine rankings in both standard and image search results.
- Use headings and structure: Using proper heading tags (H1, H2, H3) not only helps users with disabilities navigate your website, but it’s also important for SEO. Search engines use headings to understand the structure of your content, and properly structured content can help improve your search engine rankings.
- Use descriptive link text: Utilizing descriptive anchor text not only helps users with disabilities navigate your website, but it’s also important for SEO.
- Carry out routine testing: Use accessibility tools like WebAIM’s WAVE tool and SEO tools like Google Search Console to test your website for both accessibility and indexability.
Managing website ADA and WCAG compliance with SEO can be challenging, but it’s necessary for creating an inclusive online space for all users. By prioritizing website accessibility first, optimizing images, using headings and structure, creating descriptive link text and regularly testing for accessibility and SEO, you can be sure that your website is both accessible for humans and search engines.
Website accessibility is not only a legal requirement, but it’s also an important aspect of good website design that can improve user experience, increase website traffic and improve search engine rankings.
Contact us to learn more about optimizing your website for accessibility compliance and SEO.
Jtree is a boutique SEO agency that provides sustainable SEO solutions for organizations located throughout the US.
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