Google’s John Mueller confirms bolding important text in a paragraph can help your site’s SEO as it allows Google to understand the content better.
This is stated during the Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout recorded on November 12, 2021.
A question is submitted asking about the benefits of using bolded text.
Is it purely a stylistic choice? Or can it also be utilized for SEO purposes?
Mueller states definitively that it does help SEO.
However, the extent to which it helps is relative to the rest of the content on the page.
There’s more on what that means in the next section.
Google’s John Mueller On Using Bolded Text For SEO
In answering this question, Mueller references a video from former Googler Matt Cutts where this subject was touched on once before.
“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.”
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I went back and watched the video to discover Cutts didn’t actually speak to the SEO implications of bolded text.
Does that make this news a Mueller exclusive?
Cutts’ video had more to do with the use of <b> and <strong> tags and whether there’s a difference between them.
There’s no difference, but that’s not the point of this discussion.
As it relates to SEO, Mueller says bold text can add extra value to a page.
Google’s crawlers look for text that’s either bolded or italicized in an effort to understand what’s important on that page.
Mueller adds that Google can usually figure out what’s important on its own, but bolded text makes the message more clear.
“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.”
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Related: Google Ranking Factors
SEO Benefits Of Bolded Text Are Relative
Mueller clarifies that the value of bolded text is relative to the rest of the content on the page.
A few snippets of bold text throughout an article can send stronger signals to Google. But bolding all text on a page would add no value at all.
“The other thing is that this is, to a large extent, relative within the webpage. 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.”
Mueller concludes his response by wrapping everything up with a definitive statement about the SEO value of bolded text.
“So if you want to kind of like simplify it to 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.”
Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:
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