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Thread: SEO and accessibility

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From: Jan Heck
Date: Mon, Oct 21 2013 3:56PM
Subject: SEO and accessibility
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Is anyone aware of specific conflicts between SEO considerations and
accessibility considerations when it comes to HTML headings (h1 through
h6)? I'm working with a group putting together a WordPress site, and they
seem to be under the impression that SEO and accessibility are at odds
over the appropriate use of headings. I can't find anything that confirms
that in my searching so far, so I thought I'd ask here.

Thanks,
Jan

From: Patrick H. Lauke
Date: Mon, Oct 21 2013 4:37PM
Subject: Re: SEO and accessibility
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On 21/10/2013 22:56, Jan Heck wrote:
> Is anyone aware of specific conflicts between SEO considerations and
> accessibility considerations when it comes to HTML headings (h1 through
> h6)? I'm working with a group putting together a WordPress site, and they
> seem to be under the impression that SEO and accessibility are at odds
> over the appropriate use of headings. I can't find anything that confirms
> that in my searching so far, so I thought I'd ask here.

It would be helpful if you could actually relay what the people in this
group think, in greater detail...but I'll take a stab in the dark and
rant from there ;)

It used to be that search engines gave higher weight to any keywords
found inside headings. SEO "experts" therefore often advised to stuff
these headings with all sorts of keyword-rich nonsense in an attempt to
gain higher ranking for certain terms. I've not looked into it in the
last few years, but I strongly suspect that search engine ranking has
gotten a lot smarter (as a direct result of SEO folks trying to game the
systems). This consideration ("Make sure you have all your keywords
featured in H1s all over the page" or similar) is, I'd posit, part of
the vast amount of cargo-cult that SEOs will insist on.

Headings are there to give sensible structure to content. Heading text
should be natural and well written, and follow appropriate levels (h1-h6
depending on nesting). Write for humans first...because well written and
structured content will also get indexed properly by search engines, as
that's what search engines are trying to ascertain through their ranking
("how valuable is this page for my human users"). Avoid any "tricks" to
attempt and fool search engine algorithms. They're volatile, if they
even work at all.

P
--
Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]

www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
http://redux.deviantart.com | http://flickr.com/photos/redux/
twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke

From: Ryan E. Benson
Date: Mon, Oct 21 2013 5:21PM
Subject: Re: SEO and accessibility
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I agree what Patrick said. I, too, haven't been on top of things. The two
things that are/were popular is shove everything important in an h1 (like
Patrick mentioned), and keyword stuffing inside of alt attributes. That is,
instead of writing alt attributes properly, "experts" advise using alts for
keyword stuffing, like you do with meta tags. When I tuned SEO out, people
were saying what Patrick said, clean structured code, generally fairs better

--
Ryan E. Benson


On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 6:37 PM, Patrick H. Lauke < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:

> On 21/10/2013 22:56, Jan Heck wrote:
> > Is anyone aware of specific conflicts between SEO considerations and
> > accessibility considerations when it comes to HTML headings (h1 through
> > h6)? I'm working with a group putting together a WordPress site, and they
> > seem to be under the impression that SEO and accessibility are at odds
> > over the appropriate use of headings. I can't find anything that confirms
> > that in my searching so far, so I thought I'd ask here.
>
> It would be helpful if you could actually relay what the people in this
> group think, in greater detail...but I'll take a stab in the dark and
> rant from there ;)
>
> It used to be that search engines gave higher weight to any keywords
> found inside headings. SEO "experts" therefore often advised to stuff
> these headings with all sorts of keyword-rich nonsense in an attempt to
> gain higher ranking for certain terms. I've not looked into it in the
> last few years, but I strongly suspect that search engine ranking has
> gotten a lot smarter (as a direct result of SEO folks trying to game the
> systems). This consideration ("Make sure you have all your keywords
> featured in H1s all over the page" or similar) is, I'd posit, part of
> the vast amount of cargo-cult that SEOs will insist on.
>
> Headings are there to give sensible structure to content. Heading text
> should be natural and well written, and follow appropriate levels (h1-h6
> depending on nesting). Write for humans first...because well written and
> structured content will also get indexed properly by search engines, as
> that's what search engines are trying to ascertain through their ranking
> ("how valuable is this page for my human users"). Avoid any "tricks" to
> attempt and fool search engine algorithms. They're volatile, if they
> even work at all.
>
> P
> --
> Patrick H. Lauke
> > re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
> [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
>
> www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
> http://redux.deviantart.com | http://flickr.com/photos/redux/
> > twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke
> > > > >

From: Carol E Wheeler
Date: Tue, Oct 22 2013 8:41AM
Subject: Re: SEO and accessibility
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Google has shifted their rankings toward using key words in context
throughout the page. This is part of their shift to supposedly ranking
"authoritative" sights higher in search rankings. Good writing and good
headings mean good SEO.

-- cew

*Carol E. Wheeler*

Web Co-ordinator
American Institute for Cancer Research
1759 R Street NW
Washington DC 20009

Direct Dial: 202-600-3001
Tel: 202-328-7744
Fax: 202-328-7226

= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
http://www.aicr.org

From: Elizabeth J. Pyatt
Date: Wed, Oct 30 2013 7:14AM
Subject: Re: SEO and accessibility
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To add to what Patrick and Ryan have said, as long as you use headings properly (unique & concise headings, no keyword stuffing), then SEO and accessibility usually go together

An interesting point I saw was that search engine 'bots have the same experience as a screen reader user in that they can only process text. Therefore properly structured headings give the 'bots a good scan of the contents and properly descriptive ALT tags (again no keyword stuffing) also add context for the 'bots. Other accessibility accommodations like unique page titles for Web pages and caption text files for videos are also 'bot friendly.

So...optimizing for accessibility can also add a lot of SEO value.

My two cents

Elizabeth




On Oct 22, 2013, at 2:00 PM, = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = wrote:

> From: Jan Heck < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Subject: [WebAIM] SEO and accessibility
> Date: October 21, 2013 5:56:31 PM EDT
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Reply-To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
>
>
> Is anyone aware of specific conflicts between SEO considerations and
> accessibility considerations when it comes to HTML headings (h1 through
> h6)? I'm working with a group putting together a WordPress site, and they
> seem to be under the impression that SEO and accessibility are at odds
> over the appropriate use of headings. I can't find anything that confirms
> that in my searching so far, so I thought I'd ask here.
>
> Thanks,
> Jan

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = , (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building (formerly Rider II)
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801-4819
http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu
http://tlt.psu.edu

From: Patrick Dunphy
Date: Wed, Oct 30 2013 7:37AM
Subject: Re: SEO and accessibility
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Wanted to quickly share an article about the relationship between SEO &
accessibility. Joe Dolson has written an excellent article about it on his
website. http://www.joedolson.com/accessibility_and_seo.php

Thanks!
-PD


On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 9:14 AM, Elizabeth J. Pyatt < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> To add to what Patrick and Ryan have said, as long as you use headings
> properly (unique & concise headings, no keyword stuffing), then SEO and
> accessibility usually go together
>
> An interesting point I saw was that search engine 'bots have the same
> experience as a screen reader user in that they can only process text.
> Therefore properly structured headings give the 'bots a good scan of the
> contents and properly descriptive ALT tags (again no keyword stuffing) also
> add context for the 'bots. Other accessibility accommodations like unique
> page titles for Web pages and caption text files for videos are also 'bot
> friendly.
>
> So...optimizing for accessibility can also add a lot of SEO value.
>
> My two cents
>
> Elizabeth
>
>
>
>
> On Oct 22, 2013, at 2:00 PM, = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = wrote:
>
> > From: Jan Heck < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> > Subject: [WebAIM] SEO and accessibility
> > Date: October 21, 2013 5:56:31 PM EDT
> > To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> > Reply-To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> >
> >
> > Is anyone aware of specific conflicts between SEO considerations and
> > accessibility considerations when it comes to HTML headings (h1 through
> > h6)? I'm working with a group putting together a WordPress site, and they
> > seem to be under the impression that SEO and accessibility are at odds
> > over the appropriate use of headings. I can't find anything that confirms
> > that in my searching so far, so I thought I'd ask here.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Jan
>
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
> Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
> Instructional Designer
> Teaching and Learning with Technology
> Penn State University
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = , (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)
>
> 210 Rider Building (formerly Rider II)
> 227 W. Beaver Avenue
> State College, PA 16801-4819
> http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu
> http://tlt.psu.edu
>
> > > >