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Archive for May, 2010
Search Engine crawlers are great at crawling text. They can pick out words and phrases and interpret the meaning of a page and then list it in search engine searches related to those words. However, search engines are not great at reading text in images. But, you and your client really want to use a font other than the Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, or Georgia. Lucky for you there are a few options for using uncommon fonts that will be displayed to your visitors regardless of their browser.
Font Display Techniques
canvas HTML5 element to display the font you want. The text is actual text and can be selected by a browser as well as crawled by the search engines. Because cufón leverages HTML5, there are still some complications with IE, though they can be overcome with some additional code. A full set of instructions are available to aid you in using this method.
Typekit offers a more plug-and-play option to add custom fonts to your website. You add a single line of code to your templates and you can then configure your font settings from the Typekit website. They offer a free version that supports a partial font library, but the paid versions incorporate many more fonts and more flexibility in how many fonts you can use and where. You can browse the full line-up of fonts to get a feel for the wide range of options they offer. Typekit supports all modern browsers and will cover 95% of traffic for most people.
Google Font Directory works in a similar way to Typekit, but without any required registration. We detailed this on the Schipul blog after it was announced at Google IO, but it should also be included as an easy option. Currently there is a very small selection of fonts available, but we are guessing that number will grow.
@font-face is a CSS option that allows you to point to a font file and have it displayed in the browser. While this is technically supported by most browser, the different font types are not very well supported. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera support TrueType/OpenType TT fonts and OpenType PS fonts. Internet Explorer supports Embedded OpenType fonts. The biggest difference in the font types is the licensing and security behind them, and it is unlikely any browser will support all font types in the near future. What this means is that it takes some work to use @font-face to display the proper font to all of your website visitors.
The Best Text for Your Site
The Google Font Directory offers the easiest way to implement a new look to those headings, menus, and sidebars. Typkit is just as easy, and expands the font library for a small yearly fee. Cufón and @font-face are a bit more technical, but give you more freedom in the fonts you choose to use. Pick the option you are more comfortable with and implement it on your website.
Of the four options above, all of them are better for optimizing your site than using images of that fancy font. Most often the areas that use images as text are loaded with great keywords, and if the site is coded right, they will appear in headings that have a heavier SEO weight than general text. This is also true of phone numbers and addresses, which in text can be crawled and displayed on Google local listing pages. Overall, you are better off using text, and the options above are currently your best bet to satisfy the SEO team and the design team.
A couple of good articles we worked through this week in measure and online advertising.
FBML can add Google Analytics tracking to your facebook pages.
You finally have the outer edge offices understanding the need to allocate resources to social media. Now, you want to measure some of your traffic to your faceBook Fan page? Facebook does a fair job of letting you see basic traffic, but for a more comprehensive view of where your visitors are coming from, you can now use Static FBML to add a Google Analytics tracking code to your pages. Excellent! Let’s do this.
Bidding vs. Profits for Google PPC Advertising
Folks over at Search Engine Watch published an in-depth article on the future of bidding for Google CPC advertising and how automation is becoming more prevalent. Efficiency in business is typically a good thing, but we still subscribe to the belief of more information is better when making decisions about where our advertising and ROI are focused. Google has done a great job of opening up much of its data in the past few years (Insights, Trends), but advertising hasn’t always seen that same transparency. Read to see the discussion about transparency and trust.
Google recently announced their application directory from a Google Analytics blog post. It includes links to online applications, mobile applications, and other add-ons to help you extend Google Analytics. Below are some of the applications we use.
Analytics App and Analytics HD
Available for the iPhone and the iPad, these two apps give you a preview of your data at a moments glance. Both apps allow you to load up multiple Google Accounts so you can track both work and personal sites. The iPhone app is very convenient for tracking on the go, and the iPad version gives you a bigger perspective and is a bit easier to navigate. One of my favorite parts about these apps are the Today and Yesterday reports which can be useful for checking traffic from recent content. The only downside I’ve seen thus far is the iPad version (Analytics HD) seems to be slower to load. This could be the app, or the fact that I monitor over 200 sites. Hopefully this will be improved in a future version.
This WordPress plugin shows your Google Analytics data within the WordPress back end interface. This is probably a great fit for publishers who aren’t interested in all that the web interface offers while still wanting to know basic things like visitor and pageview counts, keywords, and traffic sources. If you run a WordPress blog (like this one) or a WordPress website, this plugin is a great addition.
This is a personal favorite of mine. Ego allows you to view stats at a quick glance for Google Analytics as well as Mint tracking and other sites like Twitter, Vimeo, Tumblr, Feedburner, Squarespace, and Ember. At a quick glance you can tap through and see your stats for today, yesterday, the week, month, and year. The full iPad app allows you to swipe and load up the full statistics in the middle of the screen. I’ve yet to test that one, but I can attest to the iPhone version.