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A friend of mine is worried that changing the font of the <h1> tag will cause Google to penalize it (or not assign as much weight to it). He described a situation where small <h1> text could be used to fake the important keywords on a page. I assured him that this was silly, but he insists on hard reference. Could anyone link me to something written by Google?

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possible duplicate of Overuse of H1 was bad, but now, with HTML5? –  toomanyairmiles May 29 '12 at 19:46
    
I don't think this is a duplicate, the question is about changing the font style. –  martinstoeckli May 29 '12 at 20:06
    
situation where small H1 text could be used to fake the important keywords on a page If we're talking about tiny, unreadable text positioned outside the visible view window for keyword stuffing purposes, yes you will be penalized. If it's font/size change as design element on a human readable keyword rich heading, Google doesn't care. –  Fiasco Labs May 29 '12 at 20:18
    
@FiascoLabs if you read the answers you'll find all the answers to the question in there. –  toomanyairmiles May 29 '12 at 22:08

2 Answers 2

Of course a header in another font face or size has no less weight. What your friend was describing is that Google will sort out headings, which try to get a better rank for keywords, that are not actually visible to the user.

That means, Google will penalize pages that try to show different content to search engines as to the user. A font size of 1px is only one possibility, you could as well use a black font on a black background. If your page changes the font, but remains visible to the user, that should be no problem.

Edit:

I missed the point of providing a link to a Google article, so the article Hidden text and links of the Google Webmasters page should be helpful I think.

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I was asking for links to something google-advocated. –  Glycan May 29 '12 at 20:25
    
Sorry, this page can give you more information: Google: Hidden text and links –  martinstoeckli May 29 '12 at 20:47
    
I'm asking for a link to somewhere where google says "changed fonts for H1 tags are okay", although I suppose that isn't very likely –  Glycan May 29 '12 at 21:38
    
@Glycan - That's a bit like proofing that i didn't see that yellow elephant. –  martinstoeckli May 30 '12 at 5:39

@Glycan - You're not going to find something from Google that says: "changed fonts for <h1> tags are ok", because that doesn't exist. Typeface changes are presentational; search engine optimisation deals with content and code structure. SEO helps users find your page. Good visual presentation helps you keep users ON your page once they're there.

Google spiders aren't looking in your CSS files to find out whether you've changed your paragraph tag typeface from Arial to Courier; they're too busy sifting through markup to get at those keywords in the content.

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