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About Strong and Bold Tag

 10:33 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

In terms of SEO, which adds more value to the text. Is it Strong or Bold Tag.



 11:00 am on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Neither, there's a commonly repeated myth that <strong> and <em> are somehow better for screenreaders than <b> and <i>, but I am still to see any evidence that this is the case, and have read things that suggest this has no basis in reality.

I always use <b> and <i> (unless I am also using <em> and <strong> for an alternate bold/italic style) simply because they are less characters = faster to type and create easier to read markup.

To be honest, I don't think that this kind of presentational mark up really means anything in terms of SEO anymore - Google would interpret it just the same as <span style="font-weight:bold"> - as in it's the way something is rendered on the page that counts, now how it is written in the source code.


 3:27 pm on Sep 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree - there's little if any power in either of those mark-up tags these days. The relevance algorithms at the major search engines are much more sophisticated.


 1:33 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

It depends what version of HTML you use.

If you use (X)HTML, opt for <strong>
If you use HTML, opt for <b>


 1:39 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

@jabz - Why?


 2:20 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Many browsers render the <strong> tag in the same fashion as the <b> tag. The <strong> tag is more correct for standards-based XHTML.

<b> is HTML, <strong> is (X)HTML.


 2:45 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

jabz, you're incorrect. Both <strong> and <b> are in both HTML and XHTML specs.

Now, there have been arguments that <strong> is more semantically correct than <b>, as <b> (for bold) implies presentational meaning (for example, how would content that was read by a screen reader apply "bold" type text when reading) whereas <strong> implies more than just a typographical meaning. In reality, though, there is no real difference.


 2:55 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Fotiman: You convinced me.

The HTML <b> tag is used for specifying bold text.

The intention with this tag is to markup text as bold without conveying any extra importance. For example, this could be useful in article abstracts, where the beginning of an article is set in bold text.

According to the HTML5 specification, this tag should be used as a last resort when no other tag is more appropriate. In particular, headers should use the <h1> to <h6> tags, stress emphasis should use the <em> tag, importance should be denoted with the <strong> element, and text marked or highlighted should use the <mark> tag.

You can also use the CSS 'font-weight' property to set bold text.

Therefore, from a SEO point of view, strong seems the right choice.


 3:15 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree, semantically, <strong> is more appropriate than <b> in most cases. However, from an SEO point of view, <strong> is not given any more or less "weight" than <b>, so hence they are basically interchangeable. I generally prefer <strong> over <b>, because if I'm applying semantic meaning then the <strong> element is more appropriate, whereas if I just want something to be bold I'll use CSS for that instead. But many developers prefer the shorter <b>.


 4:00 pm on Nov 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oft argued again [webmasterworld.com] and again [google.com] . . .

I'll give jabz a little credit though, one of the ideas of XHTML was to lend context to the content by extending HTML. Example: <movie>Titanic</movie> as opposed to <shipname>Titanic</shipnname> (when paired with a working custom DDT.) So while it's not true that "strong" is XHTML, it does give the content a semantic context over the letter "b" - in the spirit of XHTML. It's a Ford vs. Chevy, Mac vs. Windows, men vs. women debate.


 8:58 am on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

This will depend a lot on the spider. Many spiders completely strip all HTML from the document, remove stop words and then index the remaining words. Search engines use algorithms such as PageRank and topic PageRank to sort results.

To be quite honest with you, I would not spend any time modifying my HTML for SEO. Your position in a search engine really has more to do with content than anything else. And even though you did not ask, I would be highly suspicious of any company claiming that they can greatly improve your position in a search engine. Spend your time creating great content and the rest will take care of itself.


[edited by: engine at 1:25 pm (utc) on Nov 18, 2010]
[edit reason] Promotion removed [/edit]


 9:44 am on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bold is bold. Strong is Strong. One is visual the other semantic... at least that's what I got out of all this wunderbar of doing the same thing two different ways. I read it as markup for accessibility and some pissing contests between the spec writers. Haven't changed my ways <b> does exactly what I want it to do for a visual person and in most cases I don't want my text shouting at a visually impaired visitor. That would be RUDE! :)

And if I got it wrong, no worries. Either way I seriously doubt that b will be completely ignored... too many sites, too many lagging tech, too much web and... if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

But as far as SEO is concerned I haven't met a bot yet that parses TAGS/ELEMENTS for serp returns... they want the CONTENT.


 9:57 am on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

One is visual the other semantic

Based on what? I have seen no evidence that this is true and it makes no sense. Even if the spec suggests this is the case, what difference is there in the real world?

There's no evidence that browsers, screen readers or search engines treat these elements differently, so for developers to treat them differently is a fallacy.

See this article: [paciellogroup.com...]

"Using the semantic elements strong and em does not convey any useful information to users of JAWS or Window Eyes under typical browsing conditions."


 11:38 am on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Guess the left out :) at the end of above was apparently required for tongue-in-cheek commentary. Apologies!


 11:56 am on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry Tangor, I think I was missing my morning coffee today.


 4:05 pm on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

no evidence that browsers, screen readers or search engines treat these elements differently, so for developers to treat them differently is a fallacy.

If browser makers don't support something and coders don't follow it either, then it doesn't belong in the spec.

This whole area is a classic (but minor) case for why the WHATWG split off from the W3C. Now they're working together again and we have a new underlying philosophy for HTML5. "Pave the cow paths" is one way of saying it.

There's no reason for any change just because there is some academic or or theoretical "purity" to it. It's time to get real.


 5:44 pm on Nov 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bold is bold. Strong is Strong

But . . . it's not <bold> any more than i is not <italic>. :-)

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