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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Accessibility

SEO and Accessibility go hand in hand - picture of a Key

SEO and accessibility go hand in hand in many ways. The factors – both technical and contentual – behind SEO and accessibility are identical to a large extent. Both are based on machine-readability of the website.

The ranking of a website on Google’s search engine is based on how Google reads the web page’s code. This code is the very same code e.g. screen readers use.

For both SEO and accessibility, it’s important the website has the following features:

  • Alternative texts (alt texts) for images
  • Clear structure and navigation that steers the visitor on the page
  • Descriptive headings that structure the content and offer keywords
  • Meta data that tells the visitors what they can expect from entering the page
  • A responsive layout that adjusts to all devices

Google examines the pages code and looks e.g. for the above-mentioned things as well as repetitive keywords. Based on its assessment, Google ranks the pages and their usefulness to the readers for the keyword found on the page.

In addition to the factors set out in the code, search engine rankings are also affected by user behaviour, which depends e.g. on the following qualities:

  • How easy and pleasant it is to read and understand the contents
  • Whether or not the page offers what the reader is looking for
  • Page speed

What comes to accessibility, it’s clear that the website content has to be easily understandable. You need to be able to comprehend the contents even if you’re dyslexic or suffer from cognitive challenges. However, a good reading experience affects the SEO as well. When a visitor enjoys surfing the page, moves from one article to another and recommends the contents on social media, this grows the search engine visibility indirectly.

Read more about what accessibility is and how it plays out in PDF publications.