Additional benefit while optimizing for accessibility is making your website SEO (search engine optimization) friendly since assistive technologies and search engines read the same HTML code to understand the content on the website.
The better your site serves all users, the better it will serve search engines.
So how and what you write for assistive-technologies can drive more traffic to your website as a result of ranking higher on search engines like Google or Yahoo.
Elements where optimizing for search engines and assistive technologies intertwine are:
- Accessible design enhances user experience
- Metadata (title tags and meta descriptions) provide context for screen readers and search engine crawlers
- Clear headings help users with cognitive impairments or limited reading comprehension decide which section is worth reading and also serve to help search engines understand the content
- Breadcrumb links show search engine crawlers and screen readers how the website is structured
- Image alt text provides textual alternative for visually impared users by also providing context of the image and keywords to search engine crawlers,
- Schema markup helps screen readers with providing additional information and improves click through rates on search engine results page with snippets
- Sitemaps are important for accessibility as they provide clear overview and access to website structure and help crawlers find links
- Anchor text provides content information of the link to users navigating keyboard or using screen readers and to search engines
- Audio and video transcriptions for users with hearing impairments are crawlable for search engines
Also, Google is measuring accessibility in their website performance tool Lighthouse, providing scores and pass/fail audits for accessibility components of the web, so it is not far fetched to assume the possibility Google will make accessibility ranking factor in the future. Having said that, implementing accessibility should not be about increasing rankings, website traffic and conversions, it should focus on making the internet that is usable for everyone and practice understanding and empathy.