ADA Compliance

Understanding ADA Website Compliance in 2019

When you think of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), you may think about a department store, restaurant, a hotel or even public housing, such as a condo or apartment building. What you may not be aware of is the fact that the internet is now being included as a place of public accommodation based on Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What This Means for Your Website

If the website has components which are seen as significantly inaccessible, it can be considered discriminatory and be deemed to be in violation of Title III of the act. No excuse is allowed for the violations even though there is no current legal prescription to determine web accessibility.

New standards for accessibility to the web have been published. At the same time, attorneys are filing lawsuits based on the ADA against websites that are noncompliant. To prevent this from happening to you, it’s important to make sure your website is compliant.

Defining Compliance

Website accessibility can be confusing for the average site owner. It can mean two separate but related things. First, it may mean that all content and functions of the site are accessible to those with a disability. Secondly, it may mean how accessible the site itself is, which is the technical aspect of the issue.

Website owners must be concerned with the legal side of this issue, but they can’t forget about the technical side either. They not only need to be compliant but accessible.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA is considered the standard for accessibility by the court system and the Department of Justice (DOJ). This guideline includes 38 requirements.

What Should You Do?

If you’re like a lot of website owners, just the mention of a lawsuit has you in panic. However, you don’t have to worry about meeting all 38 requirements in the next 24 hours. The best place to start is with your images. Make sure you have alt text to each image. Begin working on the Homepage and the most trafficked pages of your site.

The WCAG 2.0 is rather complicated to understand and it’s a long document that makes you feel lost the more you read. There is also the Web Accessibility Standards from Accessible.org, which provides information in bullet points.

While the determination of website compliance with ADA hasn’t been settled in court, Stephen E. Boyd, the Assistance Attorney General, has stated that most sites have some flexibility for how they can comply with accessibility.

Some of the things covered in WAS include the following:

  • Website presentation, including uniform labels, clean code, descriptive text and nested headings
  • Website appearance, including color contrast and having a consistent layout and navigation
  • Content Alternatives, including no images of text, closed captioning, table data and text transcripts
  • User Control, including no automatic pop-ups or video, no unexpected changes, and the ability to adjust time limits
  • Website Usability, which includes only the keyboard, the ability to skip navigation and the search function

Accessibility is a Continual Process

Getting your website to be compliant isn’t a one-time thing. It is impacted every time you create new content and upload media. There is already a set of legal best practices to maintain compliance, which includes creating a web page which explains your accessibility policy, training on compliance, and hiring a consultant and an accessibility coordinator.

An independent consultant won’t do much to help you. They will tell you what’s wrong, but they won’t do the job of fixing your website. Don’t rely on automated scans because they will only tell you part of what’s wrong with your site.

If you decide you need an audit, make sure it’s a manual one. It takes hours of time, but it’s the only way to know if your entire site is compliant. However, the best option is to work with a web development company to make the necessary changes for compliance.

If you want to make changes immediately, make sure all your images have alt text and your videos include closed captioning. These are two changes which are simple and effective for your website going forward.

Since the lawsuits involve the ADA, it means there are no excuses for noncompliance. You can’t say things like:

  • I never heard about this issue
  • I just hired a developer to fix the problem
  • Part of my site is compliant
  • I only missed a couple of things

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big Fortune 500 company or a Mom and Pop store. Anyone can be hit with a lawsuit. Now is the time to act before you get dragged into court. Digital 1 can not only let you know if your website is in compliance today, but we can also fix the issues so you don’t have to worry tomorrow.

To learn more email sales@digital1group.com or call 424.452.8484.

 

Worried About Duplicate Content

Are You Worried About Duplicate Content for Your Dealership Website? You Should Be.

If you’re hoping to rank well for your website, you need to know the dangers that exist to prevent you from reaching that goal. One of the worst culprits and most common is duplicate content. In fact, some experts estimate that almost 30 percent of the content on the internet is duplicated. To stand out from the crowd, you need original content that grabs Google’s attention and that of your audience.

What is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is a serious problem for website owners who want to rank well with Google in searches and rankings. It’s important to understand what it is so you can identify it and take care of the problem.

The definition of duplicate content is content that shows up on more than one page online. The most common reference is content that has been copied or plagiarized, but it most often happens unintentionally in several ways. If you have an e-commerce site and use the manufacturer’s description for the items you sell, your content will match what other sellers have for the same items.

Another way duplicate content happens is when you create multiple URLs for the same site, such as WWW. pages and non-WWW pages or Http and https. If the content is the same for both sites, it’s listed as duplicated even though you own both sites. If you have a print version of a page, it’s also a copy. These are prime examples of how duplicate content can be created.

Consequences of Duplicate Content

So, you’ve discovered you have duplicate content on your website. What’s the big deal? How will it impact the site? Content that has been copied can cause serious consequences.

When Google detects multiple pages with the same content, it must decide which one to prioritize. Only one can be the authority, and it must choose which one appears to be the best. Another issue with ranking is the importance of linking. With multiple pages saying the same thing, links on the topic may be spread out instead of all going to one page. This causes the pages to cancel each other out instead of improving rank.

If too many pages on a site are duplicated, it will reduce the authority of the entire site. In fact, in rare cases, Google can even ban the domain from its index. At the very least, it won’t index the duplicated pages so they won’t rank in searches at all.

Example of Duplicate Content on Dealer Websites

The following excerpt is from a dealer’s “about us” page. It’s a decent paragraph.

 

However, when you search in Google for that exact sentence, you see that there are a total of seven dealership websites with the exact same words on them:

What is Digital 1’s Solution?

Now that you understand what duplicate content is and how it can impact SEO and website ranking, your next concern is probably how you can fix it. Digital 1 can help you with this issue. First, we’ll identify all content that is duplicated from your dealer’s website. We will remove it so that the pages aren’t penalized and replace it with new content.

Before we add new content to your site, we will evaluate your competitor’s site and the strengths and weaknesses of their keywords to know what to target. We will create original content that is focused on location and utilizes the keyword weaknesses of your competition. You can rest assured that our content follows Google’s guidelines. Instead of focusing on search engines and trying to rank through a formula, content is written for people. This means it has value to readers and will organically contain the information necessary to rank well.

We continue to promote this new, original content by driving high-quality backlinks to the site. As Google indexes the pages, they will rank higher and be seen as the authority.

If you are worried about duplicate content or not ranking well and want to implement these SEO strategies to create fresh, authoritative content that Google likes, contact Digital 1.