Webvanta Blog: Creating Effective Websites

Cufon SEO - Make Great Looking SEO Friendly Headlines With Cufon

Thanks to the small set of fonts that you can depend on being available on most computers, typography on the web tends to be, well, boring.

There’s lots of ways around this limitation. The brute-force method is to use images instead of real type, but that is terrible for SEO and also makes it a real pain when you want to change the text. Clever folks came up with other methods, but these have their own issues.

For the Webvanta.com site, we chose to use Cufon, an excellent all-JavaScript solution. You use the online Cufon generator to turn your font files into JavaScript files, and then with just a little JS on your site, you can have all headings of the desired level or class automatically converted into the desired font by the browser, as the page is rendered. It works with all common browsers, it has no SEO drawbacks, and it degrades perfectly for visitors without JavaScript.

Our headline font is Omnes from Darden Studio. Whether or not you can legally use a font with Cufon depends on the foundry’s licensing terms, and we applaud Darden for allowing use of their fonts with Cufon.

We try to be very careful with intellectual property, and it wasn’t clear to us how Darden’s CPU-based licensing applies when you have multiple web servers, so we asked them. The response was just what we hoped: you need a license only for each computer on which you install the original font files. You can put the JavaScript file created by Cufon on as many web sites as you want, with no additional licensing fees.

There’s a lot of other efforts under way to enable the reliable use of a wide range of fonts, and in time, standards-based approaches are likely to prevail. But for now, we’ve found Cufon to be an excellent solution.

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