Google asserts knowledge of fonts

Posted on February 25, 2011


Google has announced that it is to greatly expand the number of web safe fonts that web developers and site owners can use on their pages.

Up until now, anyone who was creating a new website or web application was strictly limited to just a few fonts that were considered “web safe”, such as Arial and Times. Any deviation from these fonts would mean that a developer would need to incorporate Adobe Flash or use an image to embed the text. As anyone in the search engine optimisation industry would attest, this proved to be a hindrance to any SEO campaign as Google would ignore images when it came to ranking a website.

However, this is all due to change. Web developers can now choose from the hundreds of typefaces available through Google Web Fonts to inject some character into their sites. After settling on your font, it allows you to embed a snippet of CSS and HTML. Google claims that within seconds, you can have an eye-catching font that will display in the correct manner in the majority of popular web browsers, including Firefox, Opera and its own browser, Chrome.

This should ease relations between web designers and SEO experts. There has always been a dichotomy between SEO and web design – what may look attractive to someone visiting a site may not appeal much to Google’s search crawlers, and what appeases search engines may look dull and uninteresting to the human eye.

Google’s web fonts are served via a request from the browser, meaning that any font can be displayed on any machine and behave in a manner exactly as you would expect from the standard Arial font.

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