Searching the Internet for Handicapped Vans
How about handicapvans? Or vans for handicap?
At BraunAbility, we want people to easily find our products when they search on the internet. Unfortunately, to do so means using the same words people use when they start their search, which often includes the words ‘handicap’ or ‘handicapped’. Despite growing familiarity with mobility products and the disability community, the use of phrases like ‘handicap vans’, while not preferred, remains the top way people search for our products. So, if BraunAbility wants people to find our wheelchair vans, we occasionally have to use words like ‘vans for handicapped.’
So, what is our problem with the word handicap? Consider its origin: after a brutal war in 1504, King Henry VII was faced with huge numbers of veterans with physical disabilities and no way to provide for themselves. He passed a law allowing these veterans to take to the streets and legally beg for money with their ‘cap in hand’, which was eventually rearranged to ‘hand in cap’. The further-shortened word, handicap, came to represent those with physical disabilities, all of whom were assumed to be incapable and deserving of pity – a belief that we absolutely DO NOT agree with.
But even today in the information age, that horrible term and its misinformed stigma live on. Someone looking for a wheelchair van for sale will often open a browser and search phrases like ‘vans for the handicapped’ or ‘vans handicap’ or simply ‘handicap van’. The list gets even longer with terms that aren’t exactly grammatically correct, like ‘handicapped van’ or even ‘vans handicapped’ or ‘vans for handicapped for sale’.
The phrases used in this article are the most common ways people search for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. In fact, our shortened preferred term, wheelchair van, is the only preferred term in the top 20. Search engines even pay attention to plural or singular; handicapped van is different than handicapped vans, and both must be on our website for BraunAbility to show up when people are searching.
It works the same for wheelchair vans for rent. BraunAbility must use 'handicap van for rent’ or ‘handicap van rental’. And yes, you guessed it, we have to use the plural too: ‘handicap van rentals’. Our dealers would be happy to ‘rent a handicap van’ to you, teach you how to use the integrated ramps, guide you on proper restraint use and ensure you have a great experience. But first, we have to help people connect with our dealers through internet searches.
At BraunAbility, we make the world’s best wheelchair accessible vehicles to serve anyone who uses a wheelchair or scooter. Through our Drive for Inclusion, we’re also working hard to raise visibility to the issues faced by those who live with a permanent mobility challenge. We aspire to drive real change for our community. But, if we help more people start to use the preferred terms to search for our products, we’ll consider that a small victory along the way.