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Discussion on: How to make your code blocks accessible on your website

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial

Great article but do you have evidence that accessibility has any bearing on search rankings as you mention it a couple of times and from experience I can say that search rankings do not appear to affected by accessibility (which is a shame as I spend all my days making sites accessible).

Would love to see some evidence of it if you have it as it adds another reason to implement accessibility and makes my job even easier of getting buy in from project leads, business owners etc.

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whitep4nth3r profile image
Salma Alam-Naylor Author

Thanks for your comment! You raise some good questions.

I don't know where you are in the world, but there are laws in support of accessibility, for example in the EU, the European Accessibility Act was introduced in 2019 - ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId.... This might be really useful in helping get buy in from other areas of the profession.

With this article I was taking a broad accessibility approach and prioritising humans with regards to colour contrast and non-keyboard focusable elements. However, I've found quite a few articles that discuss search engines being able to more effectively crawl and index web pages that use best accessibility practises. For example, if your web page includes an audio file/movie file with no transcript or textual content, a search engine won't be able to 'understand it' and therefore won't be able to index it and/or rank it according to search terms. This might not be as relevant for optimising text code blocks for people who don't use a mouse, but however as we know, accessibility is a hugely broad issue.

What's interesting is I found this article from 2005 that feels like it was written much more recently - alistapart.com/article/accessibili... - because the nuances of it are still so relevant today - and maybe more so.

Thank you for spending all your days making sites accessible :)

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial

Yeah I am aware of indirect improvements in SEO, just wondered if you had seen some case study where Google actively pushed items up its rankings because it was accessible, sadly it seems we are still not there yet.

Nice article you linked though, who knows maybe the next Google algorithm update after the "User Experience Update" coming in May will be the "Inclusion Update" and they will penalise sites for accessibility issues 😋

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rpearce profile image
Robert Pearce

While there is a good deal of overlap between SEO and a11y (deque.com/blog/seo-and-accessibili...), it looks like as of last year Google apparently has no plans: twitter.com/JohnMu/status/12463483....

IMO, all web developers should be striving to create accessible experiences as part of their daily work, but there are still significant knowledge and tooling gaps that need to be filled across the industry.

Getting buy-in to go back and fix things, though, is hard until the company gets sued or misses out on a big client. Then it's easy!

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial

Oh I have a bank of arguments that make getting accessibility on the table relatively easy but saying that Google was actively promoting for searchrankings...it would be the icing on the cake!

Unfortunately as you pointed out this is not the case, maybe it is the next thing after the User Experience update in May (one can only hope 🤣).