High accessibility means effective search engine optimisation

Andy Hagans’ article High Accessibility Is Effective Search Engine Optimization highlights something that isn’t exactly news to most developers aware of web standards and accessibility, but it bears repeating: by making your site accessible to all human visitors, you are also making it more attractive to search engine robots.

Think about it: search engine robots can’t see your graphics, can’t hear your audio, and won’t execute JavaScript or Flash. Instead, they need alternative descriptions of non-textual content and navigation that works when JavaScript and Flash are not available.

In the article, Andy takes a look at several WCAG checkpoints and how they affect search engine optimisation in a positive way while improving accessibility.

Posted on November 8, 2005 in Accessibility, Quicklinks, Search Engine Optimisation


  1. a fairly fluffy article, and i was surprised to find a mention of 1.2 for server-side image maps…do people really still use them?

    still, not as worthless as the other ALA article this month, which is truly abysmal.

  2. Fairly fluffy, as opposed to extremely fluffy?

    Gee, thanks! ;-)

  3. The «Google is blind» thing is really important to think about when adding Flash or JS to your site. But as long as you have a fall-back solution, I guess it’s okay.

  4. Tor, Google indexes Flash.

    Patrick, a server side image map might be anything that passes on coordinates to the server for processing instead of processing it in the client. So it’s not necessarily limited to 1995-style .cgi-image maps, but applies also to Web2.01-style location-based services (think Google maps).

  5. November 9, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Tomas: Googlebot may index any text content it finds inside Flash files, but as far as I know it doesn’t navigate through the site if the navigation is hidden inside a Flash file.

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