Google Web Fonts

Good news… upcoming ‘Web Fonts’ from Google mean that websites in the future are going to look much, much more interesting and still adhere to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) friendly standards!

CSS design in the past has been hampered by the lack of font support on older computers. Using a “Helvetica” H1 tag for example may show up perfectly well on web designer’s iMac (with lots of fonts installed) but not on an average 6 year old PC with a limit set of default system fonts.

Converting a HTML heading into an image means that search engine spiders cannot read the text within the tag, also the heading cannot be converted into a traditional hover-over link. Turning a whole website into a set of images to keep a certain font has several major disadvantages towards SEO and can hide entire sites from Google’s search engine.

The font “Arial” is commonly used on websites as it’s a font found on nearly all computers and devices such as mobile phones. Arial also has the advantage of being the highest converting font with the best usability rating for readability rigorous testing has shown on high traffic sites.

“Cufon” fonts can be used to add in unsupported fonts onto a web-page yet we have had several issues with them recently and recommend not using them too often. Cufon fonts use Javascript to replace each letter with the right font, they are costly, the filesize is usually quite large and it can take up to a second or so for the new Cufon font to kick in when a new page is shown. All these issues have lead us to find alternatives and it seems like Google have recently come up with the goods…

Google’s Web Font Examples

Google’s Web Fonts allow you to quickly and easily use different SEO-friendly fonts – check them out on this URL: http://www.google.com/webfonts

Finally web designers are free to use a whole host of crazy, stylish and unique fonts, some examples are shown below. Try highlighting the text below to see that that font is within normal XHTML standards and how it uses a separate CSS file to control each font style:

Irish Grover Font
Cardo Font
Lato Font

There are now over 100 web fonts from Google, if you are inventive with CSS placements you could create a whole XHTML news website for example without using a single image.

Google warns that any ‘beta‘ feature may disappear at any time without warning so whilst we’re not changing out sites just yet, just be prepared for the upcoming web font explosion worldwide!

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