Search engine optimization (SEO), website accessibility and usability go hand in hand. Accessibility refers to making a website approachable for a wider range of users including those with special needs. Whereas, website usability refers to making a website easy to browse for an improved User Experience (UX) and, hence, to increase engagement and conversion. A website which is easily accessible and relevant for users or searchers is also going to be more accessible and relevant for search engines as well and, therefore, is good from an SEO perspective.
Here are top 10 tips to improve the accessibility and usability of websites which affect SEO.
Tip # 1: Purpose, Keywords Selection and Contents
Make the purpose of the website clear; carefully select the keywords and build quality contents around those keywords in order to deliver a consistent message.
Tip # 2: Load Time
Web pages should be able to load quickly. It becomes even more important with the increasing use of mobile devices for browsing purposes.
Tip #3: Enough Text
Though there is no limit of minimum and maximum text on the page. But, every page should have at least couple of paragraphs of unique quality content.
Tip # 4: Appropriate Front to Background Color Contrast
The same font and background colour can create problems for SEO and users (especially for those with special needs).
These types of technology/ methods can create problems in terms of accessibility of the website for users and search engines. If excessive use of these technologies is a ‘must’, also offer a text-only version of the website.
Tip # 6: Navigation
Use clear and consistent Navigation; Descriptive and User Friendly URLs; Suitable internal linking; Avoid unnecessary deep pages.
Tip # 7: Meta Data and Image Alt Tags
Intelligently use Meta description and other metadata necessary for smooth and meaningful indexing of the website; Image alt tags are important from optimization as well as user experience purpose.
Tip # 8: Search, Headings and Keyboard Short-cuts
‘Search’ option should be given for the website and be prominently displayed. Headings: Headings and sub-headings should be clear and descriptive for visually impaired persons (and for search engines). Appropriate keyboard-friendly shortcuts should be given.
Tip # 9: Error Handling
Both users and search engines simply hate page not found error message. A sitemap or any other appropriate page (e.g. search page) can be shown in case this error occurs.
Tip # 10: Fewer Steps
Avoid trying to get detailed user data by offering detailed sign-up forms.
These are just ten tips, there can be many more usability and accessibility issues. A true SEO Specialist takes all accessibility and usability issues into account when recommending ‘on-page’ changes. In other words, he helps to make the site equally valuable not only for search engines but for users, as well.