Web accessibility is about making sure everyone understands and can use your website, webshop or app. With better accessibility you can not only extend the reach of your website but also improve organic search positions, because Google will understand it better.
But how can you optimize your website to give all your users the best user experience? First, let’s have a look at what web accessibility exactly is and the benefits of having a web accessible website.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility ensures that everyone can understand and use your website. This includes not only people with visual, hearing, physical or other disabilities, but also people with temporary disabilities such as a broken arm. And to situations that involve limitations, such as a brightly lit room or when audio playing aloud is not possible.
Why is web accessibility so important?
Everyone should be able to participate digitally. People without and with disabilities, whether temporary or not, or who find themselves in a restrictive situation. That’s why web accessibility is important. And even mandatory for government agencies. From 2025, more companies must comply with the European Accessibility Act. Including webshops, audiovisual media services (such as Netflix and Spotify) and financial services. The guidelines for web accessibility are described in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
So as a business owner, you have until 2025 to make your website accessible. However, our advice is to start doing that already. It will save you time and money towards 2025. In addition, research shows that Dutch webshops miss out on €3.4 billion in sales annually because many of them are not accessible.
Benefits of a web accessible website
The most obvious and most important advantage is that everyone can use your website. Even those with disabilities or who are in restrictive situations. With this, web accessibility improves social equality and represents the creation of an inclusive society.
A website that is accessible is also automatically more user-friendly. This is because web accessibility guidelines focus primarily on how to understand and use a website. When your website is accessible, it is easily understood and used by all your users.
3. Better visibility in Google
With an accessible website, your organic rankings and thus traffic to your website will also increase. By using clear and catchy URLs, meta-descriptions, page titles, headlines, descriptive texts for images (alt-texts) and links (anchor texts), Google will also understand your website better. So it’s a win-win!
4. Higher sales
In the Netherlands, 20 to 25% have a disability, whether temporary or not, or are in a restrictive situation. Of these people, 69% will click away if your website is poorly accessible, according to the British Click-Away Pound Survey. For Dutch webshops, this means that they miss out on €3.4 billion in sales annually. However, if you make your website accessible, then everyone can use it and this will contribute to increased sales.
Google considers web accessibility very important
Investing in web accessibility, as mentioned above, has many benefits, including better visibility in Google. Google considers web accessibility very important. They include the most relevant websites in their search results and consider accessible websites to be the most relevant. This is because these are the easiest to understand and use. So it is a win-win situation: if your website is accessible, you will have more satisfied users AND your website will be better visible in Google.
3 best practices for improving your SEO and accessibility on your website
1. Write clear and catchy page titles and meta descriptions
Page titles and meta descriptions help the user understand what the page is about. They are shown in search results. The page title is also displayed in your user’s browser.
The page title is the clickable blue link in the search results. The meta description is below it.
2. Make use of headings and subheadings (H1 to H6)
Heading and subheadings (H1 and H2 to H6) are used to give structure to the page. The H1 is an overview of the content of the page, for example: Is your website accessible to everyone? + 3 best practices. Use only one H1 per page. H2 through H6 you use to further define the structure of the page. Reading software, which users with disabilities use, use headings to quickly navigate through a page or to get to a particular section of the page.
3. Provide relevant and descriptive anchor and alt texts
Anchor text is the text you use to link to another page within your website (internal) or to another website (external). It can be used to describe the content of the linked page and help users determine if they want to click on the link.
Alt texts are relevant text accompanying images. They are used by reading software and Google to understand an image. Make sure the anchor texts and alt texts are descriptive so everyone knows what the linked page or image is about.
An example for an anchor text: Learn more about search engine optimization (SEO) instead of Click here. It is also important that this text has a different color and is underlined.
An example for an alt text: A screenshot of how Nasa’s website scores on web accessibility by the WAVE Evaluation Tool.
How do you test the accessibility of your website?
Want to know if your website is already accessible? You can use a tool to check. The WAVE Evalutation Tool is such a tool: a browser extension that visually shows what’s wrong on the page and how important it is.
Need help with your SEO and web accessibility?
Want to get started optimizing your SEO and web accessibility, but don’t have the time or expertise for it? Our SEO specialists are happy to think with you! Get in touch with us!
Want to read more about what else we can do when it comes to SEO? Check out our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service.