Can bolded text help your SEO?
Simply put, yes. Bolding important parts or phrases in a site’s content does have an impact on your SEO. It helps Google to understand more about the paragraph or page content. Read on to find out more.
Why does bolding text help SEO?
When Google looks at a page’s content, it’s trying to quickly build an understanding of what the page is about and for which key search queries it should be shown on Google. Bearing in mind that Google looks at a page using its crawlers, not an actual person, making certain key phrases bold helps it give importance to the bolded section. However, the crawlers are designed to act like a human, therefore, manipulating this in any way doesn’t really have good or long-lasting results.
How to bold text for SEO
In the (in)famous words from Bananarama, “it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. And that’s what gets results.”
It’s imperative to remember that any content on a site should be written in a user-friendly way. This not only keeps your readers/users happy, it should help to keep Google happy too. The algorithm is smart and keeps user-experience in the forefront.
You should also bear in mind that Google is looking to understand more about what the page is about when it looks at a site. Therefore, the success of bolding text is relative. For example, bolding an entire paragraph is unlikely to have any impact whatsoever. However, bolding key phrases or sentences will have more of an effect on Google’s understanding of what the page is about. Google’s John Mueller states,
“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.”
Basically, the bolded sections need to be the important bits. Sometimes it helps to imagine Google is a person scanning the page quickly trying to work out what the page is about. The bolded bits would help give stronger hints as to what the page is about or what is important in the message you are trying to convey.
How to bold text on a site?
The easiest way to do this often comes down to which platform you are using to build your site. The typical way that developers create bolded text is through the HTML using the <b> tag.
That’s not to say using your platform’s built-in bold text option is any less effective. This usually does the same thing with the same impact.
How do we know bolding text impacts SEO?
This has been questioned many times in the past but never actually confirmed (or denied). However, it was addressed in the Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout on 12th November 2021. To sum it up, Google’s John Mueller stated,
“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.”
This was also further publicised in an article from Search Engine Journal: Google: Bolded Text Can Help Your SEO.
Should I be bolding text for SEO?
Simply put, yes. It does have an impact when done correctly. However, if it wouldn’t make sense to a user reading your content, then don’t. It’s significantly more important to make sure content is user-friendly so making changes to content purely because ‘Google said so’ is not wise.