How to create copy that is screen reader-friendly and SEO friendly?
Hello, and thanks for listening to SEO tips today.
Today we’re going to talk about how to write copy that’s friendly for a screen reader most of the time when you’re optimizing for a screen reader you’re also optimizing for search engines.
- Use descriptive headings. This is also super helpful if you are optimizing a page for ranking purposes as Google will often use those headings for “Fraggles” – or the micro answers within your text that answer a searcher’s question.
- Write descriptive link text also helpful for a search engine. Google will use the clickable part of the link and the text around the link in understanding the page to which you are sending the bot.
- Provide your information in a list format if the information you are providing makes sense in a list. I always tell my clients that if they’re writing a sentence with multiple commas, they should just flip it to a list. If you’re going to be providing information in a list, make sure to use the <li> tag. The <li> or <ul> markup is helpful to Google as it needs the markup to pull your information through as a featured snippet (if the featured snippet that is ranking is in a list format).
- Provide the most important information at the top of the page – often, this also helps you rank for a future snippet.
- Write short, succinct alt-text for your images. Google uses alt texts, captions, the page title and the file name when understanding your picture.
- When typing out hashtags that are combinations of words, make sure to capitalize each word’s first letter. The screen reader can then read it as different words instead of one, smooshing it together. Here’s an example. Type it like this: #DigitalMarketing not this: #digitalmarketing.
- Write your paragraphs with a who, what, when, and why first. This format helps people (all of us) reading your web copy that are scanning quickly.
- Write descriptive page titles; this also helps Google search, and as I mentioned before, Google will use the page title as the label in Google search for your image on the page.
- Use tables for tabular data. Make sure you choose to use HTML table formatting. This will also help you rank when Google is looking for tabular data and in a Featured Snippet.
- If you’re writing a page with long content, add a table of contents at the top and then link with anchors to the headers within the text. A table of contents not only helps Google find the information and presents the answer to the searcher (Fraggles, like I previously mentioned), but it also supports users visiting your site with people using a screen reader.
And one more bonus tip:
Always provide a way to suppress autoplay. Otherwise, this can be a painful experience for your user as the screenreader will be talking along with your audio playing.
There you go the top 10 ways to adjust how you write copy to be more accessible for screen readers and Googlebot.
Thanks for listening, come back tomorrow for another SEO tip.
Listen to the previous episode: SEO – How to understand the bigger picture
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