The 1973 US Rehabilitation Act was amended once in 1986 and also in 1998 in order to ensure all information technology entities also as computer software, hardware, internet, and documentation. These add-ons created further enforcement measures in order to manage the compliance of all websites and applications developed using Federal funding and also used by the US government agencies to be 508 compliant.
All these amendments are collectively called as Section 508, which regulates the accommodations of different types of web content. There was one final rule also by including more details about the standards also codified into Section 508 last in 2013.
Who Should be Compliant?
The law mandates the government websites, and also all the applications which are developed by using the Federal funds need to be compliant with Section 508. There are many state agencies, and governmental corporations adopted the standards and following the compliance measures. Owning a website, the websites which ensure Section 508 compliance can increase their audience by covering their users with disabilities also and can have a better reach.
The support of 508 web accessibility claims as its major benefit the increased market share compliant websites gets by covering millions of disabled customers also. The major benefits of 508 compliance for the business website are:
Attracting a Larger Number of Audiences to the Website
This is a little-known benefit of Section 508, which also offers an SEO boost to the websites. With the web content made accessible to a wider audience than normal users, 508 makes sure that the website is also better made for the search engine crawlers too to understand your site better.
It is a proven fact that the web crawlers also have a better time crawling the 508 compliant websites as they use a much straightforward design and text-based explanations of media, and clear descriptors for the content. The complaint website structure also lets the crawlers to access and assess the content of the web page easily. As a result, these websites are indexed accurately and on top of the others in search results.
Increasing Organic Traffic
Another known benefit of Section 508 compliance is the increase in sales by increasing the number of organic traffic to a website. On getting your business website better indexed by the search engines, it may naturally rank higher in the search results. This may ensure a holy grail in the organic search traffic and turn business. It is noted that 508 compliance straightforward websites also have the highest CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), which also the organic search power.
Impact of Compliant Multimedia on SEO
One major area, which is least known to the search engine optimization specialists is making the images, graphics, and multimedia more accessible. The regulations of Section 508 mandates easy to infer alternatives for all types of multimedia content. Say, for example, the audio and video content need to be transcribed for easy readability. Videos also should need synchronized captions and images need to have inferable alt text.
All these small but effective changes will take your website a long way towards usability, accessibility, and also search engine optimization. From a business marketing standpoint, being 508 compliant will also ensure a better call to action to all sort of customers including the disabled.