Does anybody know the stance of search engines with regards to glitch text effects whether css or js?. Its kind of got me thinking that it could well lose you a few SEO points as in effect it is hindering (only slightly though) readability at clientside but then again search engines read the html source and what the user actually see's is of no consequence (unless its purposefully hidden text like they used to do in the bad old days, unnecessary -margins for keywords or text hidden as a background color). So the other side of me says that as long as the site is well structured, semantic and text is to the point then it should be no problem.

What are other peoples views / experiences on this, is it punishable or is it just an effect that will go unpunished?

For those who are not aware of glitch there are a few codepen examples here that show the effect.

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    "what the user actually see's is of no consequence" - On the contrary, the search engines (Google at least) tries to index exactly what the user sees and processes the page for both CSS and JavaScript (Check the Fetch as Googlebot tools in GSC). Google has been doing this for a while (years) now. From a design point of view... I'm struggling to think of a situation where "glitch" text would even be appropriate for prime, indexable, content? So, SEO might not even be a factor here?
    – MrWhite
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


Just to define your terms, it sounds like "glitch" text is text that has effects applied to it that may make it difficult to read such as:

  • quivering
  • "televisions static" effects
  • looks like it was digitally corrupted
  • partly faded

As long as the effect is meant for users and does not hinder their ability to read the text, Google will have no problem with it. I can see where limited usage of such text could enhance a website by giving it an appropriate atmosphere.

Using glitch text to the point that it degrades user experience or hides text from users could result in a penalty from Google. For example, you wouldn't want to render the entire text of an article in glitch text such that users get headaches trying to read it.

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