1. Is Accessibility a direct ranking factor for SEO?
Accessibility is not a ranking factor for SEO. In an interview in 2022, John Mueller clarified that Accessibility is not a direct ranking factor. At the same time, he says it might be at some point, but there are no plans for it.
However, Google is committed to promoting Accessibility and helps web developers to address Accessibility issues on their websites. We see this commitment in the fact that Google added Accessibility testing in Chrome Lighthouse. Chrome Lighthouse is a part of the Chrome Devtools.
Accessibility is not a direct ranking factor for Google.
2. What is the Positive Impact of Accessibility on SEO?
Improved User Experience
Improving accessibility can have a positive effect on people without disabilities as well.
An example of a common accessibility issue is insufficient color contrast. Adequate color contrast between text and background makes the text readable for people with visual impairments. However, improving color contrast also makes it easier for people without visual impairments to read the text.
This positive experience leads to lower bounce rates, and higher conversions - all of which search engines like Google consider when ranking websites.
Larger Target Audience
According to the World Health Organization, around 15% of the world's population experiences some form of disability.
If you don't address accessibility on your websites, you might have a smaller target audience.
Optimizing for accessibility demonstrates a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility which has a positive impact on brand reputation.
Strengthening Technical SEO
Accessibility guidelines have a positive impact on technical SEO.
For instance, providing alternative text (alt text) for images not only benefits visually impaired users but also assists search engines in understanding and indexing your content accurately.
Another example is the usage of landmarks. Landmark elements such
<nav> provide context for Assistive Technologies such as
screen readers. At the same time, Search Engines have a better understanding of the
content on the page.
Although Accessibility is not a direct ranking factor, it is important enough to address for a website. Accessibility might have a positive effect on SEO indirectly because of improved user experience.
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