No need to choose: SEO-friendly images

by Ruud Hein April 26th, 2007 

Images to represent text may look very nice but they really do hurt search engine wise. Search engines don't see, read or understand text on images at all. Just plain don't. No plans to change that either.

So, for styling, for making that headline or logo look just the way you want, you have to resort to CSS.

Now although there are literally thousands of fonts out there, one of them closely matching the style you like, you have to keep in mind which fonts users have installed. Oh, and Mac users might have different fonts, of course.

Fortunately, when it comes to headlines and headings, you can render text in any font you want regardless of whether or not the font is installed on the target computer. The technique is called Scalable Inman Flash Replacement and is in its second generation. Beautiful solution which presents the text the way you want it to while keeping it 100% accessible to search engines.

Fine and dandy — but what about those other images, like logo's for example?

For those you can use one of the CSS image replacement techniques or you can fall back on using JavaScript. Write out the text and replace it on the fly, through JavaScript, with an image. Readable text for search engines, images for human browsers.

Our "keep it real" tip: make sure the text is identical to what the text on the image says. Why open yourself up to a spam report?

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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3 Responses to “No need to choose: SEO-friendly images”

  1. Don't the "alt" and "title" tags for images help?

  2. Ruud Hein says:

    Unfortunately not.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is best, anchor text (that is the linked text itself) scores a 10 for assigning meaning. An image scores -1. Alt and Title attributes score a 2.

    The past has shown search engines that relying (too much) on alt and title attributes opens their indexes to be gamed.

  3. image replace are the best way forward, alt text doesn't help too much unless you're trying to get your images to come up in the universal search or google images