WCAG Compliance vs. SEO

WCAG compliance and search engine optimization (SEO) complement each other. When your website complies with WCAG guidelines, it helps improve your website’s SEO ranking.

It’s a prime example of cause and effect. A WCAG audit of your website identifies all elements that aren’t ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. ADA website remediation corrects those problems. Over time, many of those corrections improve your SEO ranking.

Here’s more information on how an ADA-compliant website can help your SEO ranking and in turn, your business thrive.

WCAG Compliance Can Compliment Your SEO Efforts

The number of lawsuits against non-ADA-compliant websites has shot up dramatically in recent years. In almost every case, the courts have ruled in favor of disabled users. These rulings mean websites must be accessible to disabled users in the same way brick and mortar stores or offices are.

In response to this new interpretation of ADA compliance, a universal set of guidelines known as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 Levels A and AA was formulated. Today, these guidelines are the standard for ADA website compliance.

Whether you have a company, organization or charity, you must make your website ADA compliant. Having a compliant website will also boost your SEO ranking.

The SEO Overlap in ADA Compliance

You’ve probably visited a website that was disorganized and hard to read. It might have had uncommon fonts and colors that clashed. It also may have taken you a while to find the information you were looking for. Because of all of this, chances are the website’s SEO ranking wasn’t very high. Now imagine being a vision-impaired user trying to navigate the same site. For them, it’s probably inaccessible.

When you run an ADA website remediation campaign and fix all non-compliant issues, it’s not just compliant, it’s also easier to navigate. A website that’s organized and visually appealing gives visitors a worthwhile user experience. These are the same qualities SEO managers strive for.

Examples of ADA compliance elements that enhance SEO:

  • Title tags – When you look at a list of search results, you’ll see title tags that give a summary of what’s in a link. For some disabled users, those search results read back what’s on the page. Your title tag should accurately relay what the website is about.
    • How title tags help SEO – Accurate title tags are one of the foundations of good SEO. A good title tag helps your SEO and makes users more likely to visit your site.
  • Header tags – Think of header tags as an outline of a web page. They should go in logical order. Each header should describe the content directly below it. Disabled users count on header tags to give them an idea of what’s on a page. It allows them to scan a page just like a non-disabled user would.
    • How header tags help SEO – Header tags that match the content on the page are vital to good SEO. Google rewards pages with good content that flows in a logical order.
  • Sitemap – Visually impaired users will often go to the sitemap to navigate a website. This is especially useful for websites with many pages and menus.
    • How sitemaps help SEO – Sitemaps help search engines identify the content on your website. When they crawl your sitemap, they can find and index every page included, which enhances your SEO.
  • Alt text – Screen readers give vision impaired users descriptions of images on your website. They need to be correct and provide detail.
    • How alt text helps SEO – Alt text gives search engines more information about your website. It also increases the chances of your image appearing in Google image results, which is a major plus for your website’s SEO.
  • Video transcripts – If you have audio and video media on your website, ADA compliance requires a transcript with accurate titles and descriptions. If anyone is talking, either on or off camera, their speech also needs to be transcribed accurately.
  • How video transcripts help SEO – Include keywords in the titles and descriptions of your media, help your organic ranking. If the transcripts of your media provide useful, interesting content search engines will take note. If there are no transcripts, search engines won’t know what your media contains and skip over it.

Excellent SEO Means Full Accessibility

Running a manual WCAG audit can help you identify all the non-compliant elements on your website. Once ADA website remediation is completed, you’ll have a fully accessible website. Over time, not only will you open your website to millions of new visitors, but you’ll also improve your SEO ranking.