Having an accessible site is still important for users with disabilities and SEO. There's some overlap in providing content effectively for users that also allows for search engine bots to crawl and index content effectively. What's great is that if you use the recommendations in this book, some of the key areas of accessibility are covered.
Focusing on accessibility is important because the Internet has significantly evolved in the way people consume and seek content. If you're with an SEO Agency that's bound to rank you higher, particularly for difficult to rank search terms such as SEO Consultant. Content should appeal to all users and website visitors. Google seems to agree; in fact, following some of its recommendations tends to equate to more and better search engine rankings.
Here are the key areas outlined by ADA.gov that promote good SEO and accessibility on websites:
Use descriptive image tags: As we outlined earlier, image alt tags provide an area to input copy explaining what the image is about. This benefits your site by explaining to search engines what the image is about and what to rank it for. Additionally, screen readers or refreshable Braille displays that are used by visually impaired visitors rely on alt text. Also, consider using the longdesc= tag for more complex images that require a longer description.
Use text-based formats: Documents in PDF or in image-based formats are not accessible to screen readers and text enlargement programs or in different color and font settings. Text-based formats are the most compatible with assistive technologies, so be sure to put copy in basic HTML text format versus other kinds of file formats. Additionally, search engines have a difficult time scanning copy that's not in HTML text format, so using a text-based format will also provide SEO benefits.
Consider your video content: Video content is a commonly consumed form of content on the Web these days. In fact, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index report, video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020. Video creates problems for users with vision or hearing impairments. It's important to make video accessible to these users and consumable to search engines, which also have a difficult time consuming content that's within a video.
Consider adding audio descriptions of image changes (changes in setting, gestures, and other details) for visually impaired users and provide text captions for users with hearing impairments. Also consider adding the transcript of the video in the description or in the HTML text.