Semantic Markup, Accessibility, Better Search Engine Rankings
Creating an accessible site has the added benefit of helping search engines spider your content better, too. Search engines rank keywords and take cues from semantic markup, such as using heading tags for headers.
Additionally, you can position your navigation with CSS to visually appear at the top of the page or in a left side column, even though the order in the page behind the scenes actually has the navigation below the content. This approach provides better accessibility and can also help search engines utilize your more important content first, which can potentially help your search engine rankings... provided you’ve used keyword-rich content and semantic markup, too, of course. Adding a “skip to navigation” link at the top of your page provides a helpful accessibility link for users to skip past the content to your navigation if they wish, too.
More on Accessible Design and Development
Accessible Web Site Design: How to Design An Accessible Web Site at elderweb.com. You’ll find plenty of helpful tips and information there for accessible web site design and development.
See also the Accessibility archives here.
More on Semantic Markup
I wrote an article/reference recently, Semantics, HTML, XHTML, and Structure that covers some basics. A couple of recent posts include:
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