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Business Name: Real Txt Vs. Image Txt

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Hello my fellow Cre8asite folks,


Here's a question I've wanted to bring up here for awhile to get your thoughts:


Some websites use real text for their company name in their masthead. I see this especially frequently on blog-based websites.


Others use their company logo (image text vs. html text).


On the one hand, keeping the business name in real text might have some search-engine related value, at least to the extent that Google will be able to read the name. The benefits don't appear to me to be very significant, as one would assume Google is reading the company name elsewhere on the site (title tags, meta, main body, footer, etc.)


On the other hand, those businesses with a recognizable brand could lose instant recognition if they choose to use a real text business name as opposed to their image-based logo.


There is also the issue of visual appeal to consider. Some logos are so outdated and unprofessional looking, the company might be better off ditching what they've got in favor of a plain text font. But, in many cases, logos add so much visual style to an otherwise relatively plain web page that is making good choices about users-and-SEO-first, rather than big, bulky imagery first. Replace the logo on a simple site with image text and you've taken the style of the site back to binder-paper-pretty.


What do you think about this area of decision-making? What do you think when you see that a site is using real text for their business name? Do they look less professional, smarter SEO-wise? If you're a designer, how do you make a decision about this when building a site? What do you think works best and why?


I hope you'll respond if you have any thoughts to share!

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Everything below is simply opinion.... you know what they say about opinions... :P


I think that the masthead should slap the face of the visitor when they enter the site and communicate... "YOU ARE HERE!" (and "HERE" is the name of the company or the domain).


When I use adwords I have a choice of using one of the following in my title line....


-- my company name

-- my keyword

-- my domain


I don't own a big brand company so most people have not heard of it so there is no use in putting the company name out there.


However, I am lucky to have a couple of keyword.com domains and have experimented with using "Key Word" as my adwords title line and "KeyWord.com" as my title line. The results for my tests have been crystal clear. Using "KeyWord.com" gets a higher CTR and results in a higher conversion rate.


So, if you are lucky to have a KeyWord.com or even a domain like KeywordGuy.com or KeywordGuru.com.... it might make sense to use that in the masthead in plain, bold unadorned text to communicate that the visitor is on the domain of the keyword guru.


TEST THE CONVERSION RATE ON THE RESULTS.... so you know you aren't guessin'. :P


As far as using a logo... let's pick something famous like golden arches or the swoosh or the Mercedes symbol... they are beyond famous but not everyone know what they mean..... but EVERYBODY knows the name of the company. So, if I had a company that needed a logo I would develop one that consisted of my company WORDMARK such as Coca-Cola or Facebook or Google. If I had to be artsyfartsy I would go for something like Harley-Davidson.


Those slap faces and even idiots understand.


So, if you have a good domain then use the domain in text to make a WordMark. If you want it in script like the Coca-Cola wordmark then use an image and add an alt tag.


For the SEO question... just on today's WhiteBoard Friday, Rand Fishkin says that the alt tag in an image has higher correlation with success in the SERPs than <h> tags.... so you could change the alt tag on the logo image by page to target a keyword.


Bottom line... instead of going with my opinion or the next guy's just use analytics and find out what makes more money. :P

Edited by EGOL

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A long, long while ago, Ammon argued that alt text for a linked image carries the same or almost the same weight as a text link. Nowadays, I tend to believe the "almost" part.


So if you really, really have to use a logo and are selling to the visual people, then yeah, a logo with an alt attribute should work.


However, if there's no real need for a logo, I'd use text.


Also, if a business name has a keyword or two, I'd try to use text as well, if possible, because it'd be the first link on any page to the homepage with the right keyword(s). But this depends on the keyphrase competitiveness and the business itself, naturally, as EGOL has outlined.


Moreover, the <h> tags don't mean as much as keyword links, so I'd compare the linked logo image alt text with a text link, rather than an <h> tag.

Edited by A.N.Onym

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I agree with all that has been said above.


Another factor is that if you make the logo clickable so that you go back to the Home Page, then this is another way that links (albeit internal) are associated with appropriate text.


As always, you should test what happens with alternative ways of doing things, although it can be very difficult to do tests that confirm slight differences. I always take into account what makes sense. On that basis, I believe alt text for an image should be at least as authoritative as link text for a text link.

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I'm greedy.

So I like to learn and follow the odds.


1. A logo is a basic business requirement.

logo: graphic representation/symbol that readily identifies an individual, company or organisation.


---our eyes tend to look to images before words.

---images can transcend language.

---branding (from the markings differentiation of livestock) allows logo overloading, i.e. an image is worth a thousand words.

---in browsers a logo (or identifiable part thereof) can double duty as URL icon (in IE: favicon).

---as mentioned, one can leverage the alt tag, even utilise title and longdesc if desired. Images allow several kicks at one can.


2. A text header is a basic business requirement and a basic website requirement.

Note: I prefer 'header' to 'masthead' as the latter has an established publishing meaning: list of editors and/or staff.

Note: from the same historical line 'header' (page header): material, at top of page, separated from main content body and often similar throughout.


---a text header is generally a usability requirement.

---a text header accompanying a logo encourages mutual identification and reinforcement.

---a text header allows leverage beyond company or website name.

Example: someone else owns the generic term domain.

Roger Dooley's neurosciencemarketing.com does this well:


[Neuromarketing: Where Brain Science and Marketing Meet]

An excellent combination of desired term and branding message without actually using domain name.

---including a slogan/service mark is an desirable optional consideration (See neuromarketing example above) because it can significantly increase both brand recognition and sales.


This is not a case of either/or but of having one's cake and eating it too. :)


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Great feedback from you 3 gentlemen, thanks!


Egol - your examples of WordMarks are good. Definitely agree that the name always needs to be prominent in any logo...and Rand's post was very interesting, wasn't it?


Sounds like it links into what Yura has mentioned about Ammon's old post (which I don't remember). This theory seems to push more strongly towards an image-based logo, in a way, doesn't it?


Iamlost - There is definitely a grey area in some of this terminology. To me, a 'masthead' in website design is the top area of the page, separate from the main body. It typically includes company logo, contact information and sometimes horizontal navigation, whereas a 'header' is, in my vocabulary, shorthand for a 'header tag' (h1, h2, h3, etc.).


There doesn't seem to be any real consensus about these terms.

Edited by SEOigloo

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#header is also a pretty common name for that div up at the top where the "masthead" goes.


Both Kubrick and TwentyTen use a #header div for that area. They're the old and new default themes for WordPress and 12% (and growing) of the Internet as a whole runs on WordPress. That's a lot of potentially hands-on css tweaking for people experimenting with design conventions.

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iamlost, it's brilliant! I got the idea myself...after reading the benefits from your post, too! :-D

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Well from a technical standpoint you can use both!


Cufon or Google fonts is a great way to showcase text with design in the logo area, so if you want to use text but still want that visual appeal you can use that.


The logo is also a big part of branding so if you want all the benefits of text but still want to use an image, you can use the text-indent css property and you'll get the best of both worlds.


#logo { background:url(path/to/image.png) left top no-repeat; height:_; width:_; text-indent:-9999999px; }


And that's it =D

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