Does Poor Website Accessibility Affect Your Rankings?

October 24, 2022

By Neil Patel

We know Google has hundreds of ranking factors when it comes to determining where a URL will land on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). According to Google, website accessibility is not a direct ranking factor because it’s difficult to quantify.

So if that’s the case, is there any correlation between accessibility and SEO?

While there may not be a direct link, there is likely to be an indirect one. This comes down to user experience metrics. So what exactly is the correlation and what should you expect as a website owner?

In this post, we’ll introduce website accessibility standards and why they exist. We’ll then compare the performance of four websites with varying levels of accessibility compliance to see if accessibility does have a noticeable impact on SEO. So let’s dive in!

Why We Have Website Accessibility Standards

Accessible websites that are intuitive and easy to use for all visitors are the right thing to do. Unfortunately, that doesn’t often translate to what website owners actually do.

It’s not out of malice. In fact, it’s mostly from a lack of knowledge on the topic. How can one even begin to make their website accessible if the definition of “accessible” varies from person to person?

That’s where website accessibility standards come in. These standards lay the foundation for accessibility best practices. So instead of website designers and developers creating what they think is accessible, they can know the techniques they implement are part of the approved standards.

Where Do Sites Struggle Most With Website Accessibility?

The greatest struggle for sites is in the marriage between design and accessibility. That is, web designers and developers feel like they have to prioritize one over the other. A few common examples of this include:

  • Popups or flyouts that may confuse visitors or screen readers
  • Text on images without a high enough contrast for visually impaired visitors
  • Text on images with too small font size
  • Complex nested navigation
  • Poorly structured tables
  • Lack of “skip to content” link

There are plenty of ways to combine design and accessibility whether you’re using a pre-built layout or building your own from scratch.

What We Learned From Analyzing 4 Websites

In this part of the article, we’ll look closely at the breakdown of accessibility issues for each site. We’ll also consider the last six months of domain ranking information and that domain’s keyword positions for the month of June. This will help us to develop a fuller picture and understand the true impact of web accessibility and SEO.

Amazon: Not As Accessible As You Would Think

Surely a global giant like Amazon would have website accessibility all figured out, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case based on our analysis. Amazon is actually number two on our list when it comes to the number of total accessibility issues.

The breakdown of issues, as of this writing, is one critical issue, 18 serious issues, and 114 minor accessibility issues.

To provide some …read more

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