Ensuring Site Accessibility Can Boost SEO and Improve Search Engine Rankings
Online shopping is an indispensable part of modern life. So much so that the Command C team believes everyone should be guaranteed full access to ecommerce, regardless of personal ability. Plus, not only is ecommerce site accessibility the right thing to do, there’s also a strong business case for it.
At any given time, between 12-19% of the population lives with a disability. (Some people have a temporary disability, like a broken wrist, while others live with more permanent issues.) As a retailer, what would it look like if your site suddenly brought in 10% more new customers? Or 19%? By ensuring ecommerce site accessibility, you open your online retail store to these new customers.
Additionally, there are many reasons to have a fully-accessible website beyond compliance alone. For example, let’s take a quick look at how accessibility also facilitates improved ecommerce SEO.
Search Engines Like Clear Information (Just Like Assistive Readers Do)
Focusing on accessibility makes your ecommerce site visible to people who cannot necessarily see all of the visual cues that are presented. Similarly, search engines are also unable to perceive visual cues. They work through processing the text on a site. Accessibility puts the focus on the text and meaning of your website. As a natural consequence, search engines can also better perceive and understand your website’s content.
The search engine benefits of an accessible site are partly achieved due to a focus on alternative methods of presenting information. The process ensures the information can be perceived and understood by all. (It is also partly due to the semantics and meaning given to site content.)
By tagging the site’s navigation in an accessible manner, search engines can better understand the site structure. They also better understand how you intend for people to navigate the site’s sections. This can improve a search engine’s ability to provide site links, the organized content sections indented underneath your site’s primary search engine entry.
In addition, accessibility requires any non-text content to also be presented in an accessible way. At its most basic level, this includes alt text on images. But beyond this, ensuring PDF files are built in an accessible manner allows search engines to index those PDFs. Providing transcripts of videos allows search engines to index the content of those videos. The benefits of providing textual versions of non-text content are endless.
For more information about how ecommerce site accessibility improves numerous aspects of your customers’ experience, see Tim Halbach’s article, 6 Benefits of Ensuring an Accessible Ecommerce Site (Beyond Compliance).