There has been a lot of talk about accessibility as one of the things that Google wants to improve. In the end, all major search engines want to provide the best possible user experience, so it wouldn’t make sense to leave anyone out.

Given the importance of the internet and computers, people should be allowed to reap the benefits of this technology regardless of their impairments. Even if someone can’t hear the music or have trouble reading the text, they should be able to access some of the basic features.

In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of web accessibility. We’ll talk about the new technologies that can help this category of users and what kind of improvements we can expect in the future. On top of that, we’ll also talk a look at search engine optimization and how digital marketing is tied to all of this.

What is website accessibility?

As the name implies, website accessibility tells us how easy (or hard) it is to read and use some of the platform’s pages and features. And while accessibility hasn’t been a major talking point in the past, there are indications that search engines will put more emphasis on it during 2023.

Interestingly enough, the first web content accessibility guidelines were published back in 2008 by W3C or World Wide Web Consortium. They are a compilation of ISO standards that prescribe how an accessible web page should look like. These rules took into consideration the technology of the time and how it could be implemented for websites.

Nowadays, 15% of the world’s population is struggling with some kind of disability. Given these staggering numbers, it makes sense that companies are always looking to make their devices and platforms more accessible. And while technology is still in its early stages, we’ve seen numerous improvements in the last few years.

How to improve website accessibility?

For the most part, we use the term accessibility to talk about the needs of physically and mentally disabled individuals. However, the phrase might also refer to the lack of technological structure. In other words, website accessibility focuses on making internet content available to everyone, regardless of the problem they’re facing.

Here are the main issues preventing people from properly accessing websites:

  • Physical and cognitive disabilities
  • Hearing and speech disabilities
  • Sight disabilities
  • Using small devices that aren’t suitable for you
  • Struggling with connection
  • Various types of technological impairments (for example, lack of knowledge)

Some of these issues are minor and can be solved by changing the location or the device. However, in certain cases, there’s very little we can do to improve our surfing experience. This is especially true in situations where a person doesn’t possess the capability of using the device in the first place.

POUR concept

For a website to be considered accessible, it should meet POUR demands (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust):


Perceivable is perhaps the trickiest condition to meet. We use this term to assess whether a user can even see or hear website pages and web content. If a person can’t gain information with their preferred sense, it’s considered that the platform doesn’t fulfill this requirement.

Of course, we’re extremely limited by the technology we have nowadays. Lacking some of the senses might completely prevent you from using the site, regardless of how the marketing team improves the pages. So, in most cases, for a site to be considered Perceivable by search engines, it should have large buttons and things of that kind.


Operable mainly pertains to available technology or lack thereof. For a regular Joe, this would mean having a keyboard and a mouse. However, if you’re a person with special needs, this would refer to a Braille keyboard, joystick, or a head mouse. In other words, a site is considered operable when you can input commands without any issues.


Understandable is a bit different category, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with users and their available technology. Instead, this term refers to information on the website and whether it’s suitably modified for different users.

The concept analyzes whether the articles and pages are properly packaged to satisfy the needs of people with various impairments. For example, using shorter, understandable sentences is crucial for people with learning disabilities. Auto-correct is important for people who struggle typing; large letters are important for those with visual impairment, and so on.


Lastly, we have Robust. The concept shows us if the website is compatible with various technologies and devices, for example, whether the pages are mobile-friendly and work with different apps. This category is the simplest one to achieve, and most websites are Robust as it is.

How relevant is accessibility for Google?

As mentioned in the previous sections, search engines are always on the lookout for new technology that would improve overall accessibility. These companies are not only interested in spreading quality information but also in ensuring that the information reaches end users.

All that being said, accessibility isn’t currently considered an optimization factor. It doesn’t have a direct impact on your search engine rankings, so we can’t compare it to things such as links. Nevertheless, it can provide enormous indirect benefits.

To be specific, by improving your accessibility, you make sure that more people will read your posts. They will interact with the pages, sending strong UX signals to the algorithm. In other words, people with disabilities will remain on your pages for a longer time and will check out more pages per session.

This gives an enormous opportunity to companies that have already adopted these practices. Given that accessibility still isn’t commonplace, people with disabilities tend to revisit websites that are optimized for them. In other words, you can cater to that 15% of users who are still vastly neglected.

How to improve site accessibility?

For the most part, accessible websites use similar practices as all SEO-optimized sites. In other words, marketers focus on making their platform better for all users and search engine crawlers alike. Aside from improving the layout of your pages and increasing the size of the buttons, SEO specialists also adapt web pages for screen readers.

Anyway, here are the things you need to do to make an accessible website:

1. Improve your architecture and layout

Accessibility improvements should benefit everyone, not only those with hearing and visual impairments. In other words, web developers need to create a site structure that would simplify browsing even for the greenest of users.

Site architecture

First off, let’s take a look at the site as a whole. Here are a few things you should emphasize to make your platform more accessible:

  • Create simple sitemaps
  • Improve overall navigation
  • Leave breadcrumbs for users

Like people, search engine crawlers use links and menus to get from one page to another. That being said, simplifying your navigation should be one of your top priorities for web accessibility and SEO.

The general rule is that it shouldn’t take more than 3 clicks to reach any page on the site. So, that’s something you need to keep in the back of your mind when creating sitemaps. This small adjustment makes life significantly easier for people who aren’t tech-savvy or struggle browsing numerous pages.

Among other things, clean website architecture is vital for your SEO performance. Search engine algorithms rely on user experience metrics to assess page content. That being said, by simplifying browsing, you ensure people stay on your site longer, thus sending a strong signal to Google.

Page layout

Similar to the site navigation, you need to make sure that every page is skimmable. Specifically, you need to put a lot of emphasis on creating easy-to-understand page titles and subheadings. By doing so, you’re making the content better for people with visual impairment and those struggling with dyslexia.

Here are a few tricks that can help out:

  • Make sure that the title properly reflects the topic
  • Split the content into smaller sections and use proper subheadings for each of them
  • Create a table of content on the top of the page, and link to individual sections

As impaired users often have trouble going through long, hard-to-read texts, you need to make sure they can easily reach the answers they’re looking for. Even if you have to minimize the word count and provide less information, make sure that it’s relevant to their queries.

Like with website structure, the improved page layout will improve both accessibility and your placement within Google search results. Although you might think that it’s better for a person to stay longer on your site, getting frustrated when looking for answers will increase the website bounce rate.

Font and font size

Using simple font and large letters is especially great for people with visual impairment, but it can also help those having trouble reading.

Going with a simple font such as Calibri or Arial is usually the best choice. There’s no need to experiment with fancy letters, as most of your website visitors are used to these styles anyway. Similarly, you should use moderately-sized letters that don’t interfere with regular or impaired users’ browsing experience.

When talking about the size and type of font, we also have to mention assistive technologies. Web designers need to make sure that a platform is optimized for screen reader users and magnifier technology. This is a significant site-wide improvement, which can have a major indirect impact on your search rankings.

2. Use alt text

Search engines understand images by reading the alt text that you assign to every piece of visual content. The alt text can come in the form of shorter or longer explanations that allow you to rank in Google image search.

Besides algorithms, alt text can be of major help for people with poor eyesight or complete visual impairment. As these individuals can’t see what’s on the picture, they rely on the tags that you leave them. To be more precise, they use assistive technology that can interpret the associated alt text and describe the visual.

Nowadays, there are a few SaaS that can help you perform alt text analysis. These tools can create a list of all images lacking tags, thus allowing you to backtrack and optimize your content.

Furthermore, you might also tinker with an AI image recognition tool that can automate this process for you. These platforms are pretty good at deciphering the visuals in a file, even if you haven’t used any image alt text. That being said, optimizing images can be much easier than you might think.

Still, given that the alt texts work for algorithms and impaired users, you need to ensure that the phrases cater to both groups. In other words, you can’t overoptimize your tags for search engines, as this might return incorrect information to disabled users.

3. Introduce video transcripts

Video content has become extremely important in the last few years. Aside from enriching your blog posts, you can use them to improve your social media posts. Videos are especially popular among younger users, who don’t have time or a long enough attention span to read traditional articles.

Given all the benefits, more and more marketers are investing in YouTube and video content creation. They use this type of content to sell products, provide valuable information to users, and accomplish other goals.

Unfortunately, a large segment of the population is completely unable to enjoy these posts. If you’re deaf or blind, you might not understand what’s the video all about. Luckily, Google has done its best to improve the experience of disabled users by adding the transcript feature to them. Here’s the list of users who can benefit from subtitles:

  • People who are deaf or have damaged hearing
  • Those who can’t properly understand the language and/or are foreigners
  • Users who struggle reading, aka dyslexic users
  • People who watch content in a noisy environment and can’t properly hear the sound
  • Viewers who, for whatever reason, can’t turn the volume up
  • People who are listening to something else while watching the video

Nowadays, you can write or auto-generate text for your videos that would help deaf viewers. This small adjustment is fantastic for your SEO, as it helps keep website visitors on your pages for a longer time. Of course, if you’re running a YouTube channel, you can also use this practice to improve its performance.

Aside from disabled users, transcripts also assist people who want to consume content in a different language. As mentioned, it can also help in situations where you can’t or won’t increase the sound.

4. Add schema

Schema markup helps convert unstructured into structured data, thus helping crawlers interpret website content. Specifically, it explains things such as product prices, recipes, events, various website information, etc.

Most importantly, by using schema, you can gain rich snippets in the Google search engine. You can also use it as a method of ranking in voice search. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why adding schema is important for impaired users.

By ranking your pages in voice search, you can obtain much more organic traffic from people with vision impairment. Furthermore, once this content starts ranking, it becomes easier to access by assistive devices. The system can significantly improve navigation and help retain users who couldn’t otherwise interact with your pages.

5. Improve links

Previously, we briefly touched on the links and the fact you should have a proper internal page structure. However, there’s much more to the hyperlinks than meets the eye. Specifically, you need to find better ways to utilize anchors and provide better information in advance.

Here are a few tips as to how to improve links:

  • Make sure to use links in logical situations where they can actually improve user experience
  • For the best user experience, you should use link anchor text such as “Click here” or “Read more.” This is especially important for users who aren’t tech-savvy
  • Don’t use too long links because a person might get confused as to what the link is pointing to
  • If you’re using internal links, make sure they point to related topics that could be a part of a larger funnel or cluster.

People with limited technical knowledge or dyslexia might struggle to use links properly. In fact, they might not even understand the point of clicking on them. This is why you need to be very open and transparent about the link destinations and what to expect on other pages.

Basically, you’d like for people to click on your links as frequently as possible. This is especially true when it comes to external links. Having a high click-through rate will send a strong signal to Google, telling its algorithms that your pages provide solid answers to users’ queries.

6. Limit advertising and obstructions

For a while now, search engine engineers have been considering methods of limiting rampant site advertising. There was chatter about limiting pop-ups, auto-play videos, and other types of promotional content that would interfere with user experience. And while some sites still live and die by their banners and ads, this approach has been losing popularity.

Aggressive ads are especially troublesome for users with limited technical knowledge and disabilities. Someone who doesn’t work well with a mouse and keyboard might take too much time closing all these windows. Besides that, the ads might also pose a security threat to their computers and systems.

So, if you’re looking to improve user experience, there isn’t a better way to do so than by removing all these interferences. Not only will this increase goodwill toward your brand, but it might also provide direct SEO benefits. Specifically, it will increase the time people spend on your site while leading to various commercial perks.


In the next few years, there will be much more emphasis on accessibility. So, if you wish to stay in the game, you’ll have to optimize your site for people with technical issues and various disabilities.

If you wish to improve your platform the right way, we suggest you contact MiroMind. Our SEO services are second to none, and we can easily modify your site for future algorithmic changes!

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