Does Cufon Affect SEO

We have been using Cufon recently on our latest batch of website design projects which is a great as it allows designers and developers to use custom fonts within your website i.e. customising headings and text. This has added a whole new dimension to website design as designers no longer have to:

  1. Create designs that are limited to using standard web fonts such a Arial or Verdana;
  2. Incorporate the customised font text within each image on the website (images that need to have the customised font text within it) which can be extremely time consuming.

This was going fine until recently, when an SEO company working with one of our clients mentioned that we shouldn’t be using Cufon as the search engine bots (Googlebot in this case) don’t recognise the Cufon text as standard text. It instead reads the text as an image after Cufon has rendered which essentially removes the positive SEO from your website.

This was strange to me as when I previewed the rendered source of the website, everything looked normal i.e. h1’s were still h1’s with the inner text still being text. I also thought that the javascript renders on the clients side as well as after the page has loaded which would elude the Googlebot. Here is an article mentioning that it doesn’t affect SEO:

http://www.aerodesigns.co.uk/blog/negative-seo-effects-of-cufon/

And here is one on the other side of the fence:

http://www.nineteenfortyone.com/2010/06/cufon-vs-css3-vs-google-font-api/

In the end I suppose it’s better to be safe than sorry. We have now looked at a CSS3 option using @font-face which works on most Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers but not on Firefox. The other option is using the Google API font directory which is unfortunately quite limited at the moment.

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Recreating an original vector logo from jpg or gif format

Vector Graphics Conversion

Almost every web and graphic designer during their website design career  has encountered the following scenario. A client sends their company logo to you as a small JPEG file which they want enlarged for their wide aspect, high resolution billboard rotator on their home page.  After a few sighs, you fire up Photoshop and proceed with agonising hand tracing which seems to last forever!

In this article, we explore two alternatives to this laborious task; Adobe Illustrator’s live trace feature and Vector Magic, an online vector graphic conversion tool.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 – Live trace feature

Adobe Illustrator CS5 is one of the most comprehensive illustration tools available for graphic designers and artists.  The Live Trace feature automatically traces the original image and creates paths for a vector object allowing you to easily enlarge your image with minimal loss. The vector image can then be exported to EPS, SVG and PDF formats and can easily be exported to other Adobe solutions.

Vector Magic

Vector Magic is an online and desktop tool that converts BMP, JPEG and PNG files to vector graphic formats.  This lightweight tool automatically traces an uploaded image file and converts it to a scalable vector object which can be exported to EPS, SVG, AI and PDF formats.  Additional features include a professional hand tracing service and a developer API which allows developers to implement the online conversion tool on their own websites.

Both tools provide simple and effective solutions for vector graphic conversion, saving hours of work with professional results.