Understanding Text vs Images
Although at first glance it may be hard to tell the difference between normal text and text within an image, when it comes to search engine optimization the difference is night and day.
All files on the Internet for the one of two categories; ASCII (text-based) and binary (images, music, video). Since the search engine only reads text based content we must view our content as a search engine what–that is only textbased. For example, if you would open a webpage up in a text-editor, such as Notepad, you might see strange coding, however, you would still be able to read the content that is there. If you are open an image using the same text-editor, you would see nothing but gibberish. The search engine sees the same thing, that is, there is nothing there to read. Let’s look at this also another way. When a person opens a book they are able to read each word and interpret the overall topic of what is written. When a person looks at a painting or photograph there is no text to read, and while a person may interpret what he or she sees, a computer program lacks this ability.
What a Search Engine Sees When It Reads Text
What a Search Engine Sees When It Reads an Image
Reasons Why Images Are Used In Place of Text
Text within images are found in websites for three main reasons. First, text may appear within banner ads were similar content, which of course is unavoidable. Second, images may be used in place of text where a web designer wanted to achieve a specific look such as using a font or typeface. In this case, this is no longer an acceptable method. For years now, modern web browsers have been able to use imported and custom fonts and as a result, achieving a special font or style of text should not be done using images. Third, text is sometimes used in images in which a graphic designer or someone with no knowledge of web development has simply rendered the entire page as an image. Unfortunately this is more common than one would expect. Webpages rendered completely as images stand no chance of being correctly indexed by a search engine.
Why Text as Images Are Bad
Anytime an image or other binary content exists on a webpage, that content cannot be easily read and understood by a search engine. As a result, this content does nothing to help your search engine ranking or index. Search engines want to see a balance between text and images (readable and non-readable content). If you page consists of mostly or completely images, your site content cannot be discovered and indexed properly. Additionally, if you use images to contain textural callouts or other important areas of your site, these areas will not be picked up. Image logos are unavoidable but your site should include your business name and tagline elsewhere in plain text so it can be picked up.