SEO and Accessibility: 8 Steps to Optimize Your Website

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and web accessibility are two disciplines that, although they may seem different, have a common goal: to improve the user experience on the web. Understanding how they interrelate is essential to optimize your website’s ranking.

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. In other words, SEO involves making specific changes to the design and content of your website that make it more appealing to a search engine.

On the other hand, web accessibility refers to the ability of a website to be used by all people, regardless of their physical or sensory abilities.

This means that your website must be designed and developed in such a way that all people can perceive, understand, and navigate it. But beyond being an ethical and legal issue, web accessibility can also influence SEO ranking.

Search engines like Google crawl your website in a similar way to how a person with visual impairments would. If your site is accessible, it will be better understood by search engines, which can improve its ranking in search results.

So, how can you improve both SEO and web accessibility? In this article, we will guide you step by step through this process.

What is Web Accessibility and Why is it Crucial for SEO?

Web accessibility is defined as the ability of web pages to be used by all people, including those with disabilities. This encompasses the perception, understanding, and navigation of online content autonomously and independently.

  • Vision: Enables users with visual impairments to understand texts and graphic elements.
  • Hearing: Allows those with hearing disabilities to access transcriptions or subtitles.
  • Mobility: Ensures that users with motor difficulties can navigate without using the mouse.
  • Cognition: Offers simple and clear navigation for people with cognitive difficulties.

Accessibility not only benefits people with permanent disabilities; it also assists those with temporary or contextual situations that may limit their interaction with a web page.

From an SEO perspective, web accessibility is crucial because:

  1. Improves indexing: Search engines like Google value accessible pages, which can improve positioning in search results.
  2. Creates a universal user experience: By considering a wide range of abilities, the overall usability of the site is increased.
  3. Complies with legality: Spanish legislation requires websites to be accessible, thus avoiding possible penalties.

Understanding and applying the principles of web accessibility is not only a social responsibility but also a strategic factor for success in the current digital environment.

Fundamental Principles for Achieving Good Web Accessibility

To achieve effective web accessibility, it is vital to adhere to certain principles. These are the pillars that guide web design and content to make it accessible to everyone.

  • Perceptible: Information elements and user interface components must be presented to users in a way that they can perceive them. This includes providing textual alternatives for non-text content, options to control the playback of audiovisual media, and ensuring that color and sound are not the only means of conveying important information.
  • Operable: The interface and navigation must be functional. This means that all interactive elements must be usable, regardless of the user’s device or input method. Functionality such as keyboard use must be fully accessible, and anything that could cause seizures or physical reactions should be avoided.
  • Understandable: Users must be able to understand the information and how to operate the interface. This principle advocates for clear language, understandable instructions, and consistency in navigation and layout of elements.
  • Robust: The content must be robust enough to be reliably interpreted by a variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. This involves adhering to standards such as HTML and CSS, ensuring compatibility with current and future assistive technologies.

Applying these principles of web accessibility is a crucial step in improving both the user experience and SEO performance, as both heavily depend on an accessible and easy-to-navigate website.

How to Address Accessibility in Different Types of Disabilities

Web accessibility should ensure a user-friendly browsing experience for everyone, without excluding those users who have certain disabilities. Here are some measures you can implement on your website:

Hearing impairment: People with hearing disabilities rely heavily on visual content. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate subtitles or transcriptions in videos and audios. The use of infographics and diagrams can also be helpful in effectively conveying information.

Visual impairment: For people with visual disabilities, assistive technologies such as screen readers are essential. To ensure their proper functioning, you should structure your content correctly using headings (H1, H2, etc.) and provide alternative text for images. Similarly, it is recommended to avoid bright colors or complex visual patterns that may be difficult to perceive.

Tip: High contrasts between text and background can improve readability for people with low vision.

By implementing these measures on your website, you will not only be complying with accessibility laws, but also improving the user experience for all your visitors. Remember that an accessible website has a better chance of ranking higher in search results.

Best SEO and Accessibility Practices to Apply on Your Website

An effective combination of SEO and web accessibility can take your website to new heights. Here are some recommended practices you should consider:

Accessible design: Having a design that is friendly both to users and search engines is essential. This includes using contrasting colors for easy reading, having a legible font, and providing alternative text for images.

Optimization of loading speed: A webpage that takes too long to load can drive away visitors and negatively impact your SEO ranking. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help you identify areas for improvement and optimize the loading time.

User experience: Intuitive navigation and ease of use are crucial for providing a good user experience. This not only helps to keep visitors on your site, but also improves the site’s indexability by search engines.

In summary, good SEO goes beyond keywords and backlinks. Web accessibility and user experience are increasingly relevant factors in the search engine ranking equation. With this in mind, make sure to incorporate these elements into your digital strategy so that your website is truly inclusive and performs well in terms of SEO.

Essential Tools to Evaluate and Improve Web Accessibility

To ensure that your website is accessible, you need effective tools that help you identify and solve accessibility issues. Here are some of the top tools for evaluating web accessibility:

  1. WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool): This free tool allows you to analyze web pages for accessibility errors. It provides detailed visual information about the elements that need attention.
  2. Axe Accessibility Checker: Axe is a powerful tool for developers who want to perform automated audits and receive correction recommendations. You can integrate it as an extension in your browsers.
  3. Lighthouse: It is a built-in tool in Google Chrome that performs automatic tests and generates reports on the performance, SEO, and accessibility of your web page.
  4. JAWS (Job Access With Speech): JAWS is a screen reader widely used by people with visual disabilities. You can use it to test how your website is presented through assistive technologies.
  5. NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access): NVDA is a free and open-source screen reader that you can also use to verify keyboard navigation and the auditory experience of content.

Using these tools regularly will allow you to maintain a high level of accessibility on your website. Remember to review not only the main page but also different internal sections of the site, as accessibility should be comprehensive.

The effective implementation of the suggestions provided by these tools will significantly contribute to SEO, thus improving the visibility and reach of your page in search engines.

Case Studies: Direct Impact of Web Accessibility on SEO Ranking

The relationship between web accessibility and SEO ranking is more than a coincidence; it is a reflection of how inclusive practices can directly benefit online visibility. The following are some examples that demonstrate this impact:


The British corporation improved the structure of its headlines and the color contrast, resulting in an increase in users and a better understanding of the content by search engines.


After facing a lawsuit for inaccessibility, Walmart implemented improvements on its website. This not only solved their legal problem but also increased their ranking on search engines thanks to the improved navigation and content structure.

Government of Canada

By adopting web standards WCAG 2.0, the Government of Canada not only made its site more accessible but also observed an increase in organic traffic due to improved indexing.

These cases demonstrate how accessibility optimization can result in tangible gains for SEO. Web accessibility enhances the user experience and allows search engines to crawl and index content more effectively.

Key Details:

  • Better content structuring
  • Conscious use of contrast and colors
  • Compliance with standards like WCAG

These elements result in superior navigability and a better understanding of the content for both users and search algorithms. This is how good accessibility practices translate into a strong SEO positioning.

Following these examples, a clear guide is established to improve both accessibility and SEO. The next step is to identify how these practices specifically apply to different types of disabilities.

The Future of Web Accessibility and its Continued Relevance for SEO

The projection of web accessibility shows no signs of slowing down, with a clear trend towards its incorporation as a standard in web design and development. The intersection between web accessibility and SEO is growing stronger every day, as search engines like Google refine their algorithms to reward sites that offer a better experience to all users.

  • Artificial Intelligence: AI will continue to play a crucial role in automating analysis and improving accessibility.
  • Assistive Technologies: Significant advances in software and hardware will help people with disabilities navigate the internet more efficiently.
  • Legal Regulations: An increase in global legislation requiring minimum accessibility standards, similar to the European model, is expected.

Impact on SEO

  • Mobile Ranking: With the growing use of mobile devices, Google already prioritizes mobile-optimized pages, where accessibility is key.
  • Featured Snippets: The clarity and structure of the content favor its selection for featured snippets, which are inherently more accessible.
  • Voice Search: Accessible design promotes content optimized for voice searches, a growing area.

Commitment to these practices not only fosters greater inclusion but also translates into tangible benefits for organic positioning. Web developers and designers must stay updated with these trends to ensure that their websites are both accessible and competitive in terms of SEO.

Steps to Follow to Optimize Your Website Accessibility

Implementing web accessibility and SEO strategies is not only a matter of legal compliance, but also a way to provide an optimal user experience and improve search engine rankings. Below are key steps to optimize your website accessibility:

  1. Use HTML semantic tags: Create a clear structure with headings (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) and tags that appropriately describe the content (<p>, <nav>, <article>, etc.).
  2. Ensure that all content is keyboard navigable: This includes menus, forms, and any interactive elements.
  3. Provide textual alternatives for non-text content: Use alt attributes for images and provide transcriptions for videos and audios.
  4. Choose a color scheme with sufficient contrast: Check the readability of text on the background color.
  5. Implement descriptive headings and metadata: Include clear titles and use meta tags to describe the content.
  6. Optimize loading speed: A faster website improves the user experience and favors indexing by search engines.
  7. Conduct tests with real users with different disabilities: This will provide valuable information on how to improve accessibility.
  8. Use specialized tools like Lighthouse or WAVE to evaluate web accessibility and make necessary adjustments.

Incorporating these steps will ensure that web accessibility and SEO work together to make your website optimization more effective, reaching a larger number of users and increasing online visibility.

Furthermore, it is important to consider the accessibility guidelines established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are widely recognized as the most accepted standards in this field. These guidelines include recommendations such as providing textual alternatives for images, using appropriate colors and contrasts, ensuring clear and consistent navigation, and allowing keyboard use to access all site functionalities. By following these guidelines, you will not only be fulfilling your ethical responsibilities towards all users, but also improving the user experience and enhancing the usability of your website.

Furthermore, by making your website more accessible, you will be expanding your potential audience. People with disabilities represent a significant portion of the population, and we must not leave them out of the online experience. By creating an inclusive environment, you are demonstrating a commitment to equality and diversity, which can enhance the image of your company and strengthen your reputation.

Another reason to prioritize web accessibility is legal compliance. In many countries, there are laws and regulations that require websites to be accessible to all users. Failing to meet these requirements can result in legal penalties and damage to your reputation.

In summary, investing in web accessibility is not only ethically right but can also improve the user experience, expand your potential audience, and avoid legal issues. Therefore, make sure to consider these aspects during the design and development of your website.

Additionally, web accessibility not only benefits people with disabilities. Many of the features that make a site accessible, such as clear and concise design, intuitive navigation, and structured content, also enhance the user experience for all visitors.

It is important to note that achieving web accessibility is not a one-time process. You must keep your site updated and conduct regular tests to ensure it remains accessible. Furthermore, it is essential to have feedback from users to identify possible barriers or difficulties and make necessary improvements.

Investing in web accessibility is a valuable investment that can have multiple benefits for your site and its users. Not only will you comply with laws and regulations, but you will also provide an inclusive experience for all your visitors, which can result in long-term success.

Remember that technology and accessibility guidelines are constantly evolving, so it is important to stay updated and adapt your website as needed. The inclusion of all users is a shared responsibility, and working together to create an accessible digital environment is a key step towards equality and equity online.

Some additional ways to improve the accessibility of your website could include using captions in videos for people with hearing disabilities, providing color contrast options for those with visual impairments, and ensuring that links and buttons are large enough to be easily selectable. The use of alt tags in images is also key to allowing people who use screen readers to understand the visual content. Remember, every small change can make a big difference for someone and promote digital inclusion.

     2023 © | All rights reserved.