How does SEO help with digital accessibility?


SEO stands for search engine optimization in the digital marketing industry. It is the process of optimizing your content pieces for search engines like Google. The main purpose behind this process is to push your content piece before a larger audience base on the internet.

In 2022, SEO has been one of the most crucial factors for the growth of an online business. Here are some stats that reflect the importance of SEO in 2022.

  • 49% of all marketers believe that Organic SEO has the best ROI of any marketing channel.
  • 53% of US customers purchase any product through the search engine and the business with the best SEO practices wins the race
  • 51% of internet users get to know about a new company or brand through search engines. And again, businesses with the best SEO practices win the race.

All these stats are for normal persons.  But the world isn’t full of fit people, is it? Over 15% of people in this world are with disabilities. And they need digital access too. For this, accessible companies’ websites help these people access and use their digital content. This improves the website’s user experience. Also, it attracts more such users to the websites, contributing to their growth.

In this article, we will be looking at some of the best ways you can leverage search engine optimization to improve your website’s digital accessibility.

4 ways how SEO helps with digital accessibility

Optimizing your website for search engines can improve its digital accessibility considerably. It will not only help disabled people get what they want but also boosts your site in the SERP rankings. (SERP stands for search engine results page).

Here are some of the best ways to do SEO on your website for improving its digital accessibility.

1.   Optimize page titles meaningfully help users to decide what they want

The page title or the <title tag> of your website is one of the first things that the users see when they are searching for something in your niche. They inform the searchers what your post is about.

The title tag of a post is not visible on the post itself. It is visible in two locations;

  • The tab at the top of your web browser, and
  • The search engines result page

How does optimizing your page title help SEO?

Optimizing your page title is very crucial from an SEO perspective. More than 46% of online users open a web page because of their page titles. Also, properly optimized page titles that match the user’s intent help search engines rank your content higher in the SERP.

To optimize your page title for the search engines, here are a few tips you should follow;

  • Keep the title clear and concise. Make sure it reflects the intent of the web page.
  • Use the main keyword in the title tag naturally.
  • Avoid forcefully using the keyword or overusing it.

How does optimizing your page title help with digital accessibility?

When you have optimized your page title properly, it becomes easier for people using screen readers to comprehend the differences between multiple web pages in a quick time.

In the SERPs, the page title is the first thing that the screen readers observe and conveys to the users. Because of this, it becomes so important for you to keep the title of your page clear and concise.

2.   Structure your content headers for a better hierarchical structure

Headers or Header tags define your website’s hierarchical structure. The process is quite similar to outlining an essay that you would have learned in your high school. Running from H1 to H6, there are six levels of header tags in a website.

How does structuring your header tags help SEO?

  • Header tags improve the intent of your content, making it easy for the users to find it in the SERPs. 
  • It provides the readers with a structured piece of content that is easy to consume.
  • According to SEO experts, a good header structure in your content helps you rank your website in the featured snippets (the quick answers provided by search engines such as Google). This boosts your website visibility and user experience to a great extent.

Optimizing header tags for search engines is very important. But how to do that?

  • Make sure your content headers follow a logical sequence.

While optimizing the header tags in your content, do not skip any tag. Always start from the H1 and then lower the tag levels respectfully. (H1…..H2……H3….)

  • Make sure each header tag of your content conveys a clear message. Also, the information in that tag section should be relevant.

Okay, so now we know what a header tag is, how optimizing it for the search engines can benefit your site, and how to optimize it.

How can doing SEO on your headers benefit your website accessibility?

When your content headers are optimized properly, users with cognitive impairments or limited reading comprehension will find it easy to decide which sections they need to read and which to skip.

Also, screen readers can scan the headers of a website and share them with users so they can decide what to read and what to not. This way, users who use screen readers for reading content online can get a better website experience with properly optimized headers.

3.   Optimize your ALT text to provide a better context to your readers

Alt texts are one of the key components in improving the visibility of your website as well as its digital accessibility. ALT text is optimized to give a textual context to the visuals used in your content. This applies to the featured image, and the other general images used on the page.

Many people get misunderstood with captions and alt texts. They are different. While captions also provide a textual context to the visuals just like the ALT texts, they are visible to everyone viewing the page. Unlike that, ALT texts are particularly there for visibly impaired users and do not appear for normal people.

How does optimizing the ALT texts of your page for the search engines help you?

Search engines tend to reward web pages with proper ALT texts on visuals and controls with higher rankings, better visibility, and more traffic.  According to Google’s Image Publishing Guidelines, it confirms that it uses ALT text along with the computer vision algorithms and the content present on the page for understanding the subject matter of that visual.

Also, ALT texts help search engines to get a proper idea about the contents of your website. This is why doing SEO for the ALT texts is a smart choice for enhancing the technical side of your website.

Do you remember how you get tons of results when you search for images on Google? There is a ranking system too. And optimizing your ALT texts can help you win there.

But how will you optimize the ALT texts of your content for the search engines?

  • Keep it short and precise
  • Give the context of the visuals to the readers

How is your website accessibility affected by doing SEO on your web page ALT texts?

According to Google and many experts in the digital market, ALT text is one of the basic elements for improving the digital accessibility of a website.  If you see the WCAG guidelines, it’s written that non-text content presented to the user has a text alternative, ALT text, that serves the equivalent purpose.

Screen readers read out ALT text loud and clear for the disabled so they can understand what the image is all about and what it conveys. ALT texts that clear the context of an image help improve your website user experience and digital accessibility quite amazingly.

4.   Higher content readability helps the visually impaired to understand easily

One of the most crucial factors of SEO for years, readability refers to the simplicity of your content. It indicates how easy it is to read your content. Content pieces having jargon words, lengthy sentences, and difficult language affect the readability of your site negatively.  On the other hand, short sentences, simple words, and easy-to-understand language boosts the readability of a content piece and helps it rank higher in the SERP, and improve the website’s digital accessibility as well.

How does readability help your website in terms of SEO?

According to several studies and research conducted, it’s said that content with higher readability improves user experience. It is quite common for a simple reason. People will obviously prefer reading content that is easy to understand rather than anything hard.

Technically speaking, search engines tend to track the behavior of your website visitors. When your content has high readability i.e it is easy to understand, visitors spend more time on your page. It makes the search engines understand that your website is helpful for your readers and is actually good.

Also, with this immense growth of voice search, the cruciality of readability is going to grow only. Because search engines do not want to waste their users’ time by providing them with complex and lengthy answers. Short and precise will win the future, that’s confirmed. 

How does readability help digital accessibility?

Readability has a clear connection with accessibility. Not everyone is literate equally. And websites that leverage the knowledge of this stat win. They make sure that their content readability is high and everyone, from a 5th standard student to a scientist, can understand it. And when they do that, their user experience gets improved quite amazingly.

Also, screen readers can read out short and simple languages and narrate them to visibly impaired users quite easily. And this boosts your digital accessibility as well.


SEO and accessibility work hand-to-hand

It is clear that SEO has a major impact on digital accessibility. Websites that optimize their content for search engines have better accessibility in the digital world.

Both SEO and digital accessibility are practiced with the vision of helping more and more users online. And after the latest Google algorithm update of 2022, the intent of content will be prioritized over other things. That means websites that are working hard to help their readers in an easy, convenient, and simple way will be regarded.