- Accessibility underpins stellar user experience and positive brand perception, the key factors that appeal to value-driven consumers
- According to WebAIM, 98 percent of US-based websites aren’t accessible
- Although digital marketing strategies are not glamorous, there are many layers to “why” and “how” brands that must be available across the internet
Marketers develop and execute numerous strategies to broaden their business reach. Web accessibility is a critical aspect that marketers often overlook. This neglect can lead to the business being closed off to a large number of potential customers.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility ensures that the internet is accessible, usable, and beneficial for everyone alike. Web accessibility considers all disabilities in order to make sure marketing messages reach every audience member and maximize the value of the website.
As important as it may seem right now, web accessibility is often the last thing marketers think of when building a website. It is also often overlooked.
Despite the World Wide Web Consortium, commonly known as W3C developing dedicated web content accessibility guidelines to make the internet more accessible, digital inclusivity remains a rarity.
And this unfortunate reality acts not only as an accessibility barrier, but a growth barrier as well.
The value of web accessibility in modern marketing initiatives
Acknowledging and adopting web accessibility enhances the customer experience, opens new doors for your business, uplifts marketing outcomes, and boosts revenue in more ways than just one.
1. Extends your market reach
15 percent of the world’s population is disabled and belongs to a highly valuable market segment with strong spending powers.
With a digitally inclusive web presence, your business interacts with an increased volume of people who it would’ve missed otherwise. Web accessibility opens up new opportunities for your business to interact with prospects, win customers, and increase revenue.
2. SEO benefits
Search engines prefer to rank websites that are secure, accessible, and valuable to all kinds of users. They also consider digitally inclusive websites to be trustworthy sources of information, and rank them higher in search engine rankings.
As a result, enhancing web accessibility undeviatingly supplements your online marketing with an SEO boost, helping you get to the coveted top position in SERPs. This opens up a new channel of web traffic which connects you to your target audience.
3. Enhanced user experience
User experience is at the heart of your digital presence as it relates directly to conversions. The basic principle of UX optimization dictates that you research what your target audience wants and deliver it.
In the case of differently-abled audiences, it’s common sense that they would want you to deliver a website they can interact with and benefit from.
By optimizing your website’s accessibility, you boost its usability which is a core element of user experience.
If all other elements of UX are optimized, enhanced usability wins customer satisfaction and gives the prospect a final push towards conversion, contributing to your revenue.
4. Positive brand perception
Web accessibility enables your brand to appear as a strong advocate of digital inclusivity and works to build positive brand perception. Isn’t this a crucial outcome of modern marketing?
Today where people seek a business’s values before engaging with it, a concrete stance on digital inclusivity reflects your values of empathy, compassion, and equal opportunities for all. This creates a community of like-minded individuals who will then help you increase your revenue.
Five-point checklist to get started with web accessibility
For maximum effect, web accessibility should be considered a priority rather than an afterthought and must be included in your digital and marketing strategy.
Following are a few ways through which you can uplift your digital inclusivity and leave a larger impact:
1. Multilingual SEO
Web accessibility not only aims at eliminating accessibility barriers for people with permanent, temporary, or situational disabilities. It also removes linguistic barriers, so people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds can have equal access.
Given that English is spoken by a meager 4. 83 percent of the world’s population, multilingual SEO eliminates linguistic barriers and helps searchers from all linguistic backgrounds to benefit from the internet.
Here’s a guide I created on multilingual SEO to get you started.
2. Voice search
The introduction of smart assistants such as Alexa has pioneered a new era of voice search ubiquity and the consequent web accessibility.
As an excellent avenue to pursue for businesses looking to be more digitally inclusive, voice search unlocks your website’s chances of interaction with people who cannot search the conventional way.
These are the best practices for optimizing voice search SEO:
- Use long tail keywords that are descriptive, specific, and natural for the users’ language
- Serve up Content that provides direct answers
- Optimize ‘Google My Business’ account
- Create voice search FAQ pages
- Implement Schema is a code you can add to your site that increases search visibility
For more depth, check out this voice search SEO guide for trends and best practices.
3. Alternate (Alt) text
Alt text helps visually impaired visitors understand what a web image depicts. Image optimization makes it easier for web visitors to absorb all the information on your website. It also ties back to a better user experience.
Tips for using alt text:
- Keep it descriptive and keyword-specific. This will be visible if your page loads slowly or if an audio description was needed
- For ecommerce sites, make good use of structured data to give the search engine more specific details about your products’ color, type, size, and a lot more
If you need more details, here’s an evergreen image optimization guide.