User experience is at the intersection of SEO, web design, and accessibility — as these practices aim to make an online user’s experience as favorable as possible. By taking a closer look at how these different concepts overlap and working to improve them, your business can boost visibility, trust, and awareness — all of which are necessary to improve SEO.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a universal design for your website to improve the user experience (UX) and boost your SEO strategy and search performance.
Why Universal Design and Accessibility Matters When it Comes to SEO
SEO basics are essentially based on trying to create content that improves your search performance. In other words, you are creating something that will be ranked by Google’s search algorithm that simultaneously appeals to your customers or your audience. And appealing to customers is where accessibility and universal design come into play.
Your website design and content can technically meet all of Google’s standards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it meets your users’ standards. For a design to be universal, everyone should be able to access it. So if you only focus on the technical side of SEO and getting Google to rank your website, you could potentially end up excluding some of your users.
Of course, web accessibility in and of itself is technical, but it’s different than technical SEO. Technical SEO is optimizing your website so that search engines can index and crawl your site more effectively. But web accessibility is about creating a design that allows all users to find and navigate your site easily.
The more accessible your website is, the more people will find and spend time using it, which will also help boost your search performance. So essentially, the more universal your web design — providing an accessible format that appeals to all — the more you will capture your customers’ attention. Thus the better your website will perform in search results.
To create an accessible website, you’ll need UX design to create a better user experience. Your design should remove barriers limiting a user from accessing your content. Once they have accessed it, it should be easy to understand and navigate so they can find what they are looking for without any trouble.
The Importance of Accessibility as a Part of Your Long-Term SEO Strategy
Another important aspect of web accessibility and SEO is ensuring your content is constantly relevant. SEO and web design are not one-and-done things. You must make changes and updates regularly for your website to perform continually.
Many businesses wonder whether SEO is forever. They assume they can focus on it once and that content will remain relevant forever or that SEO won’t matter anymore. But SEO is not going anywhere. It will, however, change and adapt with the times and new trends and advancements.
The needs of people change just as rapidly as technology does, which means you have to regularly update your web design to keep up with those changes. A website that is accessible now won’t always be viewed as accessible if you don’t continue to update it.
Best practices for creating a universal design will change as technology shifts and your customers’ expectations evolve.
The Primary Principles of Accessibility and Universal Design
As mentioned earlier, UX design is key to accessibility. More specifically, an accessible website is about following essential principles when designing your website to create a better user experience.
These principles of universal design include:
- Equitable Use: A design that is useful and marketable to all people no matter their abilities
- Flexible Use: A design that accommodates a wide range of abilities and preferences
- Intuitive Use: A design that is simple and easy to understand, regardless of the user’s abilities, skills, or knowledge level
- Perceivable: A design that effectively communicates essential information, regardless of the user’s sensory abilities
- Error Tolerance: A design that is error-friendly or that minimizes the occurrence of human error
- Minimal Effort: A design that all users can access and navigate comfortably with minimal effort or fatigue
In practice, this can look like using appropriate headings and page titles that are easy to read and understand, creating a site structure that is easy to navigate whether someone is using a keyboard, mouse, or an assistive device such as a screen reader. It means providing alternative text for images and videos that certain users might not be able to see or hear and improving site speed and load times.
While specific SEO strategies like keyword-optimized content are vital, it is also necessary to include accessibility and universal design as a part of that strategy. Your goal should be to appeal to all users, regardless of their abilities, as well as what needs to happen to encourage search engines to read and rank your content more effectively.
The opinions expressed here by Guest Contributors are their own, not those of Rise Marketing.