Nearly Half Of Cancer-Related Websites Analyzed Lack Accessibility, Affects Google Ranking

It's not the shiny object catching the attention of agencies and brands, but it should be on every company's list to ensure it happens. Web accessibility refers to the ability for all people -- regardless of disability type or severity of impairment -- to access content online.

In some instances, it can mean having the correct information to make life or death decisions. 

It’s difficult enough trying to search and locate the exact information required to make decisions, but when someone has a disability it can make matters hundreds of times worse.

For example, research from web accessibility platform AudioEye found 47% of the more than 600 breast cancer websites across the U.S., including free or low-cost screen programs, hospitals, cancer centers and treatment locations have accessibility issues that can potentially limit users with disabilities from getting the information and services needed.

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“We looked at things that might make it difficult for people with disabilities to navigate on websites,” said AudioEye COO Dominic Varacalli. “Companies could be wasting marketing budgets or, at the least, not gaining enough efficiencies out of their marketing dollars.”

If site visitors are not finding what they want they typically leave the site and search for the information elsewhere. If someone has an issue navigating a website, they are likely to bounce to another site or close the browser window.

“There is a correlation between accessibility and general SEO,” he said. “The more accessible, the higher the ranking of the website and the likelihood to rank on some of the words the company targets.”

Out of the 612 sites that AudioEye tested, 34% experienced medium impact, and 13% experienced high impact, including the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah, mostly related to visual impairment. Some 13% had issues of significant impact to users with visual disabilities. Memorialcare.com also experienced the same issues at a medium rate, according to the data.

“If a link opens additional content in another browser window without warning, for example, a blind user will not know to click on that other tab,” he said.

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Recent research found that many parts of the U.S. saw a significant drop in breast cancer screening of older, low-income women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable without easy access to the information or treatment they need to fight breast cancer.

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