SEO and Fonts
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
The fonts you choose for your website should reflect the style and branding you want for your business. This means the image you would like to project to the public affects how successful your website could be. An excellent font style will enforce your brand images. Poor font choices will hinder your potential customers' experience and maybe even cause them to go elsewhere.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) includes checking for font optimization. Fonts that render too slowly are an issue, optimizing them will be needed. Making smart choices at the beginning of a project could save you from slow speeds issues. If you already have a website, test your site for speed to see if the fonts cause problems.
Fonts for Websites Can be Confusing.
A bit of information will help you make smarter font choices.
Web Safe Fonts, What Are They?
Web safe fonts have a history of loading quickly, which means customers don't need to wait long for your site to render. Remember, people don't like waiting for websites to load. Three seconds is the average wait time for mobile users. If they wait any longer, you will lose their attention and possibly a sale.
Web safe fonts are either hosted with your website or are from a font service such as Adobe or Google.
Most web safe fonts have CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) specifications for each font file downloaded and rendered for your website. These CSS specifications help browsers render your fonts the way you intended in your design. Not all browsers and fonts are equal; accessibility to your fonts can be an issue. If it takes too much time to render your web pages, your SEO will suffer.
Knowledge About SEO Friendly Font Choices:
Keep it Simple!
Google is a useful resource for information about anything web related. John Mueller is one of their spokespeople. He has said that the choice of font doesn't matter for SEO. In my opinion, John Mueller doesn't want fonts holding you back in your design, and he would like you to use Google fonts. Remember, John Mueller works for Google to encourage people to use their products and services.
Web Safe Fonts and SEO
SEO is about optimizing for site speed and many other aspects like website findability on search engines. Google's ranking score could include site speed. We don't know what Google uses when ranking sites; Google keeps that a secret. Google does, however, have a testing option for site speed, which indicates that they are encouraging you to be looking at speed rendering times.
Test your website speed at Google.com.
The performance test will give you many suggestions to improve your site speed. Many of these issues listed may be beyond your control because of the web design platform you are using. Don't sweat the details too much. Look for the areas you understand and fix what you can within your scope of knowledge. Contact the web design platform, web designer, or web tech professional for help if you don't understand something.
Fonts are a Speed Issue You Can Control
Using web safe fonts from a reputable service can solve accessibility issues. When your fonts are easily accessible, they become more SEO friendly. If the fonts are not available quickly, they will negatively affect your site speed, affecting your SEO.
Web safe fonts are either be hosted on your server or on a web safe font services that connects to your site as needed.
Choosing fonts from reputable companies is a good suggestion. Google and Adobe are two reputable web safe font services out of many. There are many font companies, so check their reputations before you get too involved with their services. Most of these companies have a complete selection to choose from, with website download and rendering times at a minimum.
If you choose fonts from an obscure online company, you may not be getting everything you need for the font to work in most browsers and on different devices. The coding for these fonts can get complicated, and you want to make sure you are getting something ready to use without too much-added work.
Optimizing for SEO with Fonts
Font optimization happens with the style choices, the number of style choices, and the font's location.
What Happens if I Don't Choose Web Safe Fonts?
Your SEO ranking score could be affected.
Your fonts might not render correctly.
Your fonts might take too long to render.
Your fonts might fall back to system fonts and not look like the design you intended.
Your fonts might not work in some browsers and on some devices.
Font Faces, Styles, Families, and More
Using web fonts for your site can involve understanding code. If you don't understand code, use a reputable web safe fonts service. These services do an excellent job, including the coding you need when you upload your font to your web page design program and hosting server.
Here is a sampling for the coding that a service could help you with
Font-display is what determines how your font looks when rendered to your web page.
Font-family is the name of the font you are using.
Font-stretch is the stretch or expending you assign to your font.
Font-style is the character assigned to the font. An example might be; regular, oblique. Regular is the font-family, and oblique is an artificial slant from selecting oblique within your web site design platform.
Font-weight is the thickness and thinness of the font you want. The font family you choose should offer different weights for each family. Selecting an extensive font family will give you more options to choose from. Standard weights are thin, extra light, light, regular, medium, semi-bold, demi bold, bold, extra bold, and black.
Note: Variable fonts are fonts that you can adjust within your web site design program. Not all web site design programs support variable fonts. Look for that support to be changing in the future. If the fonts you choose are variable, make sure your web design platform supports them.
Font-variant is a truncated code within the CSS instruction.
Font-feature-setting is featured within OpenType fonts for advanced control.
Unicode-range is code points used within the font.
scr is specific font data, for example, the font file storage address, or possibly your web safe font service with the information they provide.
Fall Back Fonts
Fall-back fonts replace your fonts when a browsers or device does not understand your font coding. When a fall back font is inserted, your site will not look like you intended.
Some of the back-up fonts are,
Times New Roman
Comic Sans MS
Popular Web Safe Font Services Include, But Are Not Limited To,
Fonts from Google's free list are open-sourced and ready to use. For fonts from Adobe, you will need to purchase a subscription to use them. Fonts from other sources will need to have their licensing checked and sometimes paid. Do the right thing, make sure you are not using stolen fonts; there could be consequences.
Choose fonts with a larger font family.
Using a web safe font service is a good idea.
Choose reputable font service providers.
Use font faces, styles, and weights sparingly for faster site load time.
Make sure you have the license to use your font.
Test, test, and test again.
Note: Font don't – choose too many fonts for your site.
You are making your site SEO friendly by limiting the number of fonts, styles, and weights.
As you can see, fonts get complicated. If you don't understand how to code them correctly, it is best to leave that to a professional. When you choose fonts, it is recommended to use a reputable web safe font service. Make sure you test your site for speed rendering issues and correct any font issue that appears in the report.
Most of all, have fun choosing the fonts that make your site look professional.
About the Author
Wendy Danko is an SEO and Web Design Consultant at WenKo LLC. Having a design background has its perks, especially when it comes to website design and SEO. Wendy is determined to help every one of her clients improve their website and SEO. With website improvements, her clients have uncovered new leads to grow their client base.