Image-Fonts that Search Engines Can Read
 by Ian Cook

Image Fonts that Search Engines can Read!
— by Ted Harrison

Have you ever had or heard the conversation that goes something like this:

Web designer: "I've got a great idea for the headline for that gardening center website - flower letters. You know, letters shaped like flowers. It'll pull in the gardeners like bees to honey!"

SEO: "Well how would you do that? I don't think you can get "flower" fonts."

Web designer: - "We'll just draw the letters in Photoshop. No problem."

SEO: "But won't they just be pictures? Bitmaps?"

Web designer: "Sure, but who cares? People can still read them."

SEO: "But computers can't read them. How will search engines know what our headline says?"

Web designer: "Well what's more important, attracting humans or attracting computers?"

Every time you do a web headline you have to make that choice - use HTML text and a generic unattractive font (because there are only a handful of fonts you can reliably predict will be on the viewer's computer), or use a bitmap which will attract the humans but be invisible to the search engines. We all know that having keywords between your <H1> tags is important for search engine ranking, but our designers tell us they (and presumably our viewers as well) are bored to tears with the Arial/Times New Roman/Georgia/Verdana crowd.

Fortunately it looks like things are changing. A couple years ago a debate started about how to include fonts into web pages. Several abortive attempts had been made over the last decade, but they were all proprietary solutions and none of them "stuck". Now the CTO of the Opera browser c...

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