So I’m a big fan of CSS image replacement, for several reasons, most importantly because it allows for a semantically correct page while having some text replaced with images, but also because I love sprites and I love using them well.
I’ve also always been in favor of the use of CSS Image Replacement for headings, while not wanting to fake the search engines, I’ve kept a simple rule: if you OCR the page, it should be exactly the same as when you read the HTML.
Now Matt, how would you go about doing something like my menu, here on Yoast.com, without doing CSS Image Replacement? You know that thing, Speed that your colleagues are going for? Well so am I. My navigation looks like this (when shrunk heavily:)
And the HTML for it looks like this:
<ul id="nav"> <li id="a1"><a href="http://yoast.com/wordpress/">WordPress</a></li> <li id="a2"><a href="http://yoast.com/articles/">Articles</a></li> <li id="a3"><a href="http://yoast.com/tools/">Tools</a></li> <li id="a4"><a href="http://yoast.com/hire-me/">Hire Me</a></li> <li id="u1"><a href="http://yoast.com/advertise-here/">Advertise</a></li> <li id="u2"><a href="http://yoast.com/sitemap/">Sitemap</a></li> <li id="u3"><a href="http://yoast.com/contact/">Contact</a></li> <li id="u4"><a href="http://yoast.com/speaking/">Speaking</a></li> </ul>
I think that’s a pretty cool use of CSS, HTML and the possibilities it offers to mark up websites in clean, semantic code, with a great look, while going for speed. I mean, how would you do that with alt tags?
I hope you agree Matt, because otherwise you’re contradicting yourself… And that even violates my own guidelines… It says “Google” in the text (notice the quotes?) and Google on the image (notice the lack of quotes?).* And by the way, the Google Webmaster blog said something else as well.
Maybe you were trying to be friendly to people and not make it too hard on them, or you didn’t feel like telling the complete story because that confuses people. But please, please, please, be aware that there are some SEO’s out there who actually trust what you tell them, like I do, and who don’t like to be disappointed twice in a month.
You took away PageRank sculpting as a valid technique, which was a technique you said had its merits, although it was only used by a few, now you’re going to take away CSS image replacement? A technique used by just about ANY decent web designer out there? I think a bit of clarification is needed here.
Matt, you know I allways use tons of text. Real text. All over my cloaked pages – and it works really well, thanks
* Update: as noted by Thijs in the comments, the quotes are added by Safari’s web inspector, they’re not in the source.