In a website I'm developing the client wishes to use certain icons as links to different sections of their site. I'm currently working on Search Engine Optimization and would like to still provide text inside the <a> tags without the text being visible. This would let the Search engine index the links. I've read somewhere that using a text-indentation CSS hack actually hurts your Google Search Ranking however I have no proof of this. Is it safe to use a text-indent CSS hack to hide this text or is there a more SEO friendly way of providing image only links with hidden text content?

2 Answers 2


Anchor tag :

Google crawler doesn't see that you have moved text away from visible part of the page, it can still find out the text that you have hidden with text-indent. This shouldn't hurt the SEO.

I would suggest you :

use an image tag and put the text inside its alt attribute.

Only for H1 tag : Hiding text through CSS is against Google's TOS.

Your H1 should tell your users what your page is about, if you have to hide it for whatever reason, there may be something wrong with your design.


Putting keywords in hidden text is not something you should do. Google (and other search engines) will think you're trying to trick them and hurt your rankings. If you have important images that could use some text, use the IMG "alt" attribute.

  • If the text is relevant & non-spammy, then using CSS text-indent won't necessarily draw the ire of search engines - these techniques - while not "best practice" - are common enough to use with good intent. However, I concur that use of alt attributes is the recommended approach and will provide the appropriate SEO value. Commented May 20, 2014 at 6:42
  • What about when you are using background images for the elements? They aren't inline <img> tags.. Commented May 20, 2014 at 7:32

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