Marketers and SEO gurus alike strive to design dynamic websites, while keeping their SEO strategy in check and attractive for Google and other search engines. One of our key problems in this process is incorporating ‘fancy fonts’ while avoiding SEO value for ‘hiding text.’**
To avoid this problem, there are a set of new SVG/Flash techniques that render fonts as images. There are currently several systems available for this, but the two major ones are sIFR and CuFon. Both translate the ‘real text’ into Flash or SVG commands, [SVG is a graphic format based on text commands- it’s very fast], which is then executed by the browsers.
** What is hidden text?
[This question may seem obvious for experienced SEO programmers, but let’s take a moment to cover the basics.]
Hidden text is textual content that is readable by search engines, but is invisible to your visitors. It’s commonly been used for ‘Black Hat’ SEO practices, in which developers jam their websites full of keywords that improve a site’s page rank. Google and its compatriots have caught on to this scheme and have developed scam parameters that denote the site as a sham. As Google warns , “Hiding text or links in your content can cause your site to be perceived as untrustworthy since it presents information to search engines differently than to visitors.”
sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement)
Here’s a diagram  that breaks this process down:
- Faster loading times than sIRF
- No plug-ins required
- It works on all major browsers
- Easy to use
- Been noted to claim copyright rules- because fonts are being embedded
- Not every font can be rendered with this method
- Text cannot be selected
- Patrick Devito  [Uses CuFon for headings]
- Atoxi  [Uses CuFon for body]
- Design Experience Project  [Uses CuFon for headings and navigation]
I personally like CuFon because it works without Flash and I have been using It on my websites without any impact. While neither of these methods is completely perfect, they do help developers, designers and those of us concerned with Page Rank find a better balance between engaging design and searchable content.
To learn more about these systems and to start implementing them into your website design, check out the following links: