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Bolding text for SEO purposes

I’ve been out of the game for a while and learning a few tips since I was last in to SEO. Penguin 1 and Hummingbird pretty much killed a lot of old school SEO. These new SEOs live in a completely different world to what I was doing a decade ago.

Its quite rare for anything new to come up that is actually useful. Its all about building great sites for users. That’s basically it. You just need to keep up with the Google raters guidelines and build a good site. So when I heard from John Mueller that bolding text on site actually helps, I was quite surprised.

Here it is straight from Google.

Someone was arguing that bolding important parts in a paragraph can boost your SEO. Does it? Yeah, I think this is something that comes up every now and then. I double checked before the session, actually, and Matt Cutts did a video, I think, in like 2012 or something around that, about bolding and strong on pages. [I have watched that video and its not really relevant, he’s talking about whether Google treat <b> and <strong> differently]

So usually, we do try to understand what the content is about on a web page, and we look at different things to try to figure out what is actually being emphasized here. And that includes things like headings on a page, but it also includes things like what is actually bolded or emphasized within the text on the page. So to some extent, that does have a little bit of extra value there in that it’s a clear sign that actually, you think this page or this paragraph is about this topic here. And usually, that aligns with what we think the page is about anyway. So it doesn’t change that much.

The other thing is that this is, to a large extent, relative within the web page. So if you go off and say, well, I will just make my whole page bold and then Google will think my page is the most important one, then by making everything bold, essentially, nothing is bold because it’s all the same. Whereas if you take a handful of sentences or words within your full page where you say, this is really important for me, and you bold those, then it’s a lot easier for us to say, well, here’s a lot of text, and this is potentially one of the most important points of this page. And we can give that a little bit more value. And essentially, what that kind of goes into is everything around semantic HTML where you’re giving a little bit more meaning to a page by using the proper markup for the page. And from our point of view, that’s good. It helps us to understand the page a little bit better.

So if you want to simplify it to a one word answer, does bolding important points on a paragraph help the SEO, yes, it does. It does help us to better understand that paragraph or that page.

So there you have it. Bold way but not too much. Keyword research is going to become a whole lot easier too.

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