If you are a business owner, you’ve probably thought about varying ways to increase views on your website and gain engagement. But have you ever contemplated web accessibility?
It’s a hot topic on the internet right now as laws across the nation are being passed to set standards on how accessible websites need to be. However, many business owners don’t consider how web accessibility can also improve your digital marketing efforts.
A substantial portion of the population have disabilities; however, disabled people are usually left out of digital marketing efforts due to access barriers.
From visual impairments to physical limitations, how someone accesses the internet is affected by an extensive variety of disabilities.
However, a couple of steps can make digital marketing more inclusive to all users while also increasing your reach and revenue.
But why is web accessibility so important?
The U.S. Census Bureau approximated there were nearly 40 million Americans with a disability in 2016, which equates to 12.6% of the total American population. This number has grown considerably since 2016, and the U.S. Census Bureau defines disability status as severe difficulties performing daily activities. Other surveys have different definitions that have estimated a significantly larger population of Americans that have disabilities. Regardless of the estimation, everyone can agree that is a large and growing market with an overall disposable income of more than $175 billion. “$175 billion is more than four times the spending power of tweens (8 – 14-year-olds), a demographic highly sought after by businesses.”
As you can now see, it makes good business sense to include this marketing demographic. However, making websites and digital materials accessible is often overlooked and is viewed as too tedious and valueless.
This idea couldn’t be further from the truth as web accessibility brings a multitude of benefits, including contributing to superior user experience and boosting SEO.
Accessibility and Digital Marketing
The basic concepts of search engine optimization go hand in hand with web accessibility. A hierarchical structure that is plainly laid out, clearly labeled elements and meaningful titles of documents and headers are all necessary parts of both.
Giving text alternatives to links, images, and video by providing descriptions or alt text as well as transcripts and closed captioning transforms these elements, so they are accessible for hearing and visually impaired users. By providing this information, you are also helping search engines robots (spiders or crawlers) have a better picture or understanding of the content your website offers. You can also add relevant keywords to your text alternatives when applicable to help boost your SEO.
Once people find this out, many think “well why don’t I just put all my relevant keywords in my text alternatives to get the most out of my alt text?” This strategy may seem great in theory, but it’s called “keyword stuffing” and can lead to unhelpful descriptive text. When adding descriptive text to elements of your site, make sure it paints a picture of the media and throw in relevant keywords when appropriate.
Applying it to your website
When done right, web accessibility can improve your SEO and digital marketing endeavors. By including people with disabilities into your marketing efforts, you are widening your customer base to a demographic that is often not included, and as a result, you can be ahead of the competition.