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Does Google still need text to understand my site?

Does Google still need text to understand my site? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from the UK. Danielroofer asks, I have removed a lot of text from my site and replaced it with images. My bounce rate has dropped considerably. Conversions and time on the site are up. Will Google have an issue with the lack of textual content on the site? Does Google still need text? Wow, really great question. Google does still want text, so there’s a couple options. One is if you have an image that you’ve made of some text that’s really beautiful, you can include some textual content there. You can sort of say, Alt, or the title, that sort of thing. So you can say, for an image, here’s some text to go along with that. And that can help. But one thing that I would recommend is– one of the reasons why your site might be having more user interaction, time on the site, conversions, all that sort of stuff, is because it’s prettier. And we see that. Better design can help people enjoy and use your site more. So one middle ground that I would recommend that you might want to investigate is there’s something that Google provides for free called Google Web Fonts, and they continue to iterate on it. Just a few weeks ago, they released a poster modes that you can do all sorts of cool stuff with that. But there are 521 free fonts available on google.com/webfonts– all one word, all lowercase. So with that, you can make really pretty text, but you can still copy and select it. You can paste it. So you can have business hours or stuff that people can copy and mail to each other, which is really handy, and that text can be indexed by a search engine. So I would explore that as a middle ground rather than going all images. At this point, I wouldn’t count on Google being able to do, like, OCR of all the images on your site or something along those lines. If you can give us a little bit of hints, either with Alt information or that sort of thing, or explore Google Web Fonts. And there are other ways to do free fonts online, where the fonts are pretty but they’re still indexable. That would be the middle ground that I would try to veer toward, if you can, because that helps everybody. It’s still a pretty user experience, but search engines can index it and users can still copy individual words or a paragraph and mail that to their friends and stuff like that.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: