As a webdesigner, I wonder if a design where the texts is displayed only when your mouse is over an image would be impacted in term of SEO. (it would be almost all the texts, except on device without mouse)

For example: https://www.w3schools.com/howto/tryit.asp?filename=tryhow_css_image_overlay_fade

But with proper heading and paragraphs.

I think of many way to achieve that in a technical aspect, but I have no clue about the impact on the SEO.

1 Answer 1


Search engines look at page source, not the cosmetic aspect of a design directly*. Providing you are using CSS for your overlays and transitions, not scripting that hinders crawlers you will be perfectly fine.

Just be sure to provide correct HTML attributes such as Alt ( unless you're using a background image ), Title and make sure the text still has a good ratio over code. It's also worth noting that because your site maybe image heavy, optimise images and keep an eye on page loads with both:

Especially on mobile/responsive view ports.

  • "Search engines look at page source, not the cosmetic aspect of a design directly" > I thought that search engines would sanction a "display: none;" or a "text-indent: -9999px", meaning that they do look at your css, am I wrong ? Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 19:52
  • I should have phrased it differently, ethically designing a user friendly website with various design aspects which add to the functionality then you would be fine. If your intentionally hiding text which has no relation to the functionality or cosmetic appeal, or making text colour the same as backgrounds etc then yes, of course you are asking for trouble. Whether that be via algorithmic or manual review. Google's had the ability to crawl CSS and Javascript for a couple of years now, I suspect with similar algorithmic detections to highlight possible intentional "issues".
    – Randomer11
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 20:09

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