Does Website Accessibility Count In SEO?

Published Nov. 18, 2020, 10:40 p.m. by Samuel Mukuria

As each day unfolds, the dream of everything going digital is materializing into reality. Many are terming this as the digital era. Everything a person wants to know about a company is no longer found on the brochures anymore. Websites are the real deal. Businesses have moved from having physical stalls to online stores. Soon banks will be empty as online banking is the new norm. New purely online-born companies are here with us. A perfect example is ErrandsGuy. No doubt, the digital era is now in charge.

Now, here comes the questions many are asking. Are we visible in the digital space? Are our customers satisfied with what they are experiencing online? How can we make it better as compared to our competitors?

The search for answers to these questions has led to the rise of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Due to this, every company is fighting to be at the top as far as digital space is concerned. So, let's ask ourselves, what is SEO? According to Neil Patel, a known digital marketing expert, SEO is the art of ranking high on a search engine in the organic listings. This means that every time a person searches for a service or a product on Google, the search engine will show it as a top result without the company paying a dime. An optimized site has more traffic that converts leads into business. The goal is to execute sales.

Let's now talk about this engine. Most companies fail to differentiate between Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and SEO. In SEM, the company pays for its site results to rank high on the search engine, but it doesn't have to pay a coin in SEO. You will only need to hire an SEO expert to do the optimization. SEO has made companies realize that results associated with them ranking high doesn't automatically lead to more traffic, leads, or conversions. Accessibility does. SEO alone can't hack it. Users need easy access to websites for your company to rank on top.

Website accessibility means the site is accessible, accommodative, and usable for everyone interacting with it. No matter how high a website ranks on the search engine, a bad user experience (UX) renders it useless. User experience is simply the interaction between the users and the website. For instance, a company that decides to run an e-commerce website must ensure that the user journey is not a bumpy ride. From the time the customer lands on the website to the point where s/he pays for a good/service, it should be friendly. Click-through rate(CTR) should be high, no skimming. A good user experience means customer satisfaction.

The user interface (UI) is key in SEO. Some websites may rank high in the search engine, but with poor user interface makes, they are inaccessible. It affects CTR. Users are not willing to open sites more than once, affecting ranking. The user interface should make the first impression to have the clients glued on the site. This comes down to the color(s) used, graphics, font type, and size, etc. If the font size used is too small, people with an eye problem may skim through. Low-quality images used on the website leads to a bad experience. 

The device website is optimized for is another accessibility factor that affects SEO. According to CNBC, almost three-quarters of the world will use smartphones to access the internet by 2025. There are 3.7 billion people as compared to 69 million who will access the internet using their PCs. This shows that the company that will optimize their website view with accessibility based on PC alone even though they rank high in the search engine will not have a greater impact than those that will optimize their website view for both PCs and smartphones. Lower traffic into the website will affect the ranking in the search engine.

Another way accessibility comes in as far as SEO is concerned is through the backlinks. When a website is accessible and has rich content, other websites link to it. That's backlinking. The more backlinks, the higher the search engine's ranking, and the better the access.

Last but not least, accessibility affects SEO on loading time. In the 21st century, time is a precious but limited resource. Therefore, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are working day in day out to increase their internet speed to save time, and so do gadget manufacturers to ensure their gadgets are ready for high-speed internet. Even with high-speed internet, a heavy website takes time to load, and most users are annoyed by this. A light fast loading website ranks high in the search engine as compared to a slow-loading one. Users are also likely to open a fast loading website as many times as possible, compared to a slow loading website.

All these shows that website accessibility is key in SEO.