Out of all the lesser known techniques of improving website’s SEO, the SEO-friendly web fonts are something people don’t give a second thought. Web fonts and website designing don’t affect the hardcore SEO of the website. What they do affect is click through ratio, user-experience, and bounce rate, average time on the website, website loading time, and speed. Now, these are considered hardcore SEO perspectives, but when these are affected you SEO goes down. So, in a way, you can say that Web Fonts can improve or damage your SEO. We will elaborate these in detail later. First read about the experiments done on web fonts.
An experiment did by Frank Goossen to check the effects fonts make on the website’s performance.
He created 4 identical pages with different fonts.
- 1st Page – basic
- 2nd Page – Cufon
- 3rd Page – Web fonts (local)
- 4th Page – Webfont (Google)
Then he analyzed these four pages using webpagetest.org. These are the results he found out.
|doc complete (s)||# requests||download size (Kb)||diff with basic (s)||full testresult url|
Source: Frank Goossens’ blog
Coming back to other parameters affected by Web Fonts
1. Click-through Ratio
CTR- Click-through Ratio is the ratio website visitors who click on a particular URL to the number of total website visitors who view the web page, advertisement or an email. If the visitors can see the link clearly because of the text, font, color scheme content is attracting the audience then your CTR will be good. But, if your font choice, color choice, and content are not differentiated from the rest of the text on the page then people won’t click. The clickable links should stand out as something user can click otherwise your CTR would be very less and you will face a drop in your SEO.
Better the user experience more will be the time spent by the visitors on your page. More time spent means there is a chance they share it, which will ultimately improve your SEO. How to improve your user experience? By putting interesting and informative content, adding adequate pictures, choosing the right color combination. Here, we are only going to talk about how web fonts affect user-experience. You don’t your visitors to lean down on their computer screen to see what you have written on the page or zoom onto the mobile screen for the same. So, a too small text is a no. Now, if not small text, then people completely shift towards the too large text. That’s avoidable too. Nobody wants to see only a few words on the screen at a time. Too small or too big text doesn’t count for good user experience.
3. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate shows the proportion of the visitors who land on one of your web pages and then go away without clicking to anyplace on your website. In other words – single page visitors. Focus on the phrase “without clicking at anyplace”. If the font is righty chosen for the clickable text then the visitor will click on it, if the clickable word or phrase is not highlighted or represented well then the visitor would never know that this is clickable and I should click on it. Don’t make it look like a spam, but something enticing. Make it bold, may be italics or underline it.
User experience and bounce rate are reciprocal to each other. If user experience is good, bounce rate will be less, which is good for your website. If the user experience is bad bounce rate is more, which you don’t want for your website as it directly affects your website’s SEO. If the font is not user-friendly then people would not want to read what you have written no matter how interesting or useful that content is. Don’t let your visitor struggle in reading. This way, users will spend only a few minutes on your website and then leave, increasing the bounce rate on your website.
4. Average time on Website
The first appearance of the website let the visitor decide in seconds whether he wants to stay on this particular website or not.
“A bad content piece written in a good font is likely to work, but a good content piece written in bad font is a waste of content”
Now, why it is a waste of content? It’s because the information you are giving through that content won’t be flashed in seconds to the visitor. He needs to read that content piece to get information. But, if the font is user-friendly then he won’t bother reading it. And, he won’t know what he missed in that content.
A bad content may have a chance to be read if the font is good. The reader decides it later whether it is a good content or not.
You now know how user experience is related to bounce rate. Same way bounce rate is related to average time on the website. If your bounce rate is high, then average time spent by the user on your website will be less, which is bad for your website’s SEO. Google keeps track of all the activities on your website. You can get that data from any third party website. If average time spent on your website if less then it will rank your website down.
5. Website loading
Fancier the fonts – more the loading time – lesser the speed
Bigger and bolder fonts – more the loading time – lesser the speed
And lesser the speed – your website will fail in the speed test, which is bad from SEO Perspective.
Too small fonts – better the loading time – bad user experience
Bad user experience – bad for SEO
So, what you need to do?
Format the content with appropriate size proportions. Use bigger and bolder text only n headings, sub headings and minor headings, and for the rest of the content, keep the size adequate for reading. For more on web fonts, read our guide about web fonts for designers.
Guest article written by: I’m Harjeet Bedi an SEO consultant and founder of SEO Professionals India. I’ve more than 5 years of experience as an SEO expert and have worked for many big brands.