About 10 years ago, I had a customer who was an attorney who came to me for SEO services for his website. When I went to check out his site, it turned out that it was actually a photo of his Yellow Pages ad. This is a huge mistake, of course, because search engines aren’t going to be reading a photo and trying to do optical character recognition and extracting the text from the image.
This is actually something that I see frequently when web designers get lazy. They aren’t thinking ahead with their design or they don’t know how to properly overlay text using CSS. It can be tempting to open up Photoshop or whatever your graphic tool is and just design exactly what you need because you want it positioned a certain way, but it doesn’t translate well between devices, and search engines may penalize you.
If you use images instead of text you’re losing the potential SEO value in keywords. It would be better to invest the time to create headers and an actual navigation instead of dropping in images that the search engines can’t read.
Problems aren’t only with how the images translate to mobile, but you need to make sure the search engines can read everything on your page. You may have good intentions, but people in the past abused SEO by using images to hide keywords and trick the search engines.
You need to make sure that the search engines can read everything that’s on your page. They can detect that the text is there and it sends the wrong signals sometimes to the search engines that you’re trying to hide something like people did in the past, and that can actually penalize your website.
When people are looking at your website on their mobile phone, photos get shrunk and if there is text as part of the image, they won’t see it at the same size as they would on their desktop computer.
Text is best as a header of caption around a photo. Make sure that you’re not covering up anything with the photos, and make sure that all of your text is visible on the display.
Photos can be properly leveraged to increase the media value on the site. Rich content is going to give you a better ranking when planned to give the visitor the best experience.. However, text should always be the priority.
Special browsers for people with disabilities along with news reader applications need to strip away everything that’s not photos. If that happens, what will remain of your websites? You’ve got to plan out your content carefully to consider the experience of each type of visitor to your website, without taking any shortcuts.