Can Beautiful Fonts Lead to Better SEO?
Textual graphics are a big part of beautiful web design. As the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) began swinging its way through the Internet jungle, many stylish and beautiful fonts faded away like gorillas into the mist, as web designers began choosing fonts that were easily crawlable and recognized by the search engines, instead of designing for the reader.
Blogger Mars Cureg recently wrote a compelling article about the relationship between SEO and user interface, with an emphasis on font and text selection. Cureg writes, “Graphics allow us to have all those nice, little finishing touches (drop shadows, gradients, fades etc.) that make a website pleasing to look at and easier to understand which increases user engagement. In the past, in order to make a site better for SEO the design ended up suffering quite badly since the amount of graphics were cut down considerably and replaced with plain web safe fonts like Arial and Tahoma – not the most exciting choices since they’re literally everywhere.”
The site owner’s dilemma has long been (for far longer than Wordpress vs Drupal), choosing an attractively designed site with beautiful fonts that attracts little traffic, or choosing a site that is highly optimized for better SEO, but uses generic text styles. As a growing solution, Cureg describes Webfonts as, “gaining huge popularity amongst designers now because they allow us to create websites with style that are also easily crawl-able by search engines. With the smart use of webfonts, HTML and CSS it’s possible to create graphical elements that look like highly designed graphics but are actually largely made up of live text. You can get all the juicy H1s, bolding, body text and titles you want this way and the search engines see it as nothing more than regular, old HTML.
Webfonts aren’t the ideal solution, but work well for now. Cureg cautions, “Just don’t use too many different webfonts in a design as each one is around 50k so they can slow things up creating a sluggish website. However, if done right the site will usually be smaller and faster than using heavy graphics anyway.”