SEO Is About Accessibility

In the spirit of creating diagrams, like Kathy Sierra does, I present you the diagram for the overlap between accessibility and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Not as good, but something is better than nothing.

Overlap between SEO and Accessibility

This was a realisation that some activities did overlap for SEO and accessibility. In fact, I could say that accessibility is about allowing users to access content under all circumstances and SEO is about allowing search engines to access the content. SEO involves accessibility for search engines. Search engines today are at par with the Web users in terms of technology they can use. For example, both the browsers used by Web users and the search engines treat only the textual content as first class content, that is, they both can access only the textual content by default. For anything more there has to be support through additional behavior or plugins.

Accessibility ensures that whether a user has installed has allowed images or not, enabled JavaScript or not, install plugins or not, should be able to read all the content available on the web site. Search engines, today, understand only text, they cannot index non-textual content. Which is why providing alternate text helps both in accessibility and SEO, that is, for Web users and search engines both. If you look at the diagram, the overlap contains three elements, which can be called categories of tasks probably. The three things we need to ensure in accessibility and SEO are:

  • Provide alternate text for non-textual content
  • Use appropriate language
  • Make sure that each and every piece of content is reachable. Search engines go deep within a web site through links, which can be said about users too. If access to the content is dependent on options or plugins, make sure you provide alternate access paths.

Of course each of these fields are separate and have more tasks to make them complete, but this thinking lets me attempt at the white hat SEO before other approaches. That is one of the reasons I left the circle for SEO transparent! On more thought, search engines are also a way of letting Web users access the content through search. SEO finally is about the users and not just the machines. There is a big overlap between the two, not only in the tasks, but also in their intent. I am not sure if I can ever optimize a web site for search engines, but I sure understand SEO better.

When I realised this, I did some search to ensure if this is an original idea. And what do you think, there are many more people out there who have thought about this many more times in many ways! So here are some links that can probably give new perspectives:

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Link Selling - Unethical or Just Unwise? - Page 3 - WebProWorld said:

    […] W3C Markup and Web Content Accessibility guidelines. Please take a minute and have a look at this: SEO Is About Accessibility | iface thoughts […]

  2. Is SEO A One-Time Activity? | iface thoughts said:

    […] our best so that the content is most discoverable by the reader who is looking for it. It is about availability and accessibility of the content to the reader, and it is about appropriateness of the content to the context. Which […]

  3. Key Skills a Good SEO Must Have - WebProWorld said:

    […] and you will be one of the best on page optimization too. Take a second and look at this: SEO Is About Accessibility | iface thoughts __________________ SEO Workers – Search Engine Optimization Consulting Company | SEO Analysis […]

  4. Natural SEO | iface thoughts said:

    […] the content available and accessible for all readers of your content – humans and […]

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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