SEO tricks make Internet surfing difficult for visually impaired users

John Mueller, Search Advocate and Developer Relations at Google, has recently posted on his Mastodon account about his experience when he met someone dependent on screen readers to surf the Internet.

John described how outdated Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features make web surfing a bad experience for people who use screen readers. As per his post, tricks such as adding keywords or using alternative texts in small images are not even visible with stuffed keywords.

According to Randy Resnick, one of John’s followers on Mastodon, hashtags are read for those who rely on screen readers. He believes that they should be allowed to change this setting and turn it off, as it won’t be much of a problem to get this thing done. The use of hashtags is becoming more frequent on many platforms, and such people are the ones who suffer the most due to this trend.

However, Mueller did add that the person he met with told him that things are getting better, making the SEO experience less of a torture as the use of these old SEO tricks is beginning to decline on several webpages and platforms.

It is important to understand that screen readers are different from the text-to-speech feature available on a computer. These screen readers use a speech synthesizer or a braille display through a software programme that assists visually impaired users to read what is being shown on their device screen. It is the interface linking the operating system with the apps and the user behind the computer. To add an input for the command, the user will simply press keys on the keyboard or on the braille to guide the speech synthesizer on what to read aloud whenever any change takes place on the screen. because the braille is not fixed and can be refreshed in sync with the screen.

Those who are visually impaired and want to browse the Internet, can install screen-reading applications such as JAWS or NVDA and have an experience of their own with SEO tricks.

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