A favorite question by many. I think this is one of the more hotly debated topics in search engine optimization when you are trying to squeeze every ranking signal you can out of your website. Before I get into the pro’s and con’s of using bold and italic, I must state no official documentation was released that says Google ranks or does not rank content based on the use of bold and italic. So, this should not be a tactic used to define your entire SEO strategy.
Pros for Bold and Italic Text In Online Writing.
In today’s fast-paced world of content consumption bold and italic should be used when it makes sense for the content you are writing. For many bloggers and website writers, it is an effortless way to quickly point out information on a page that is relevant to the user. This engagement is what helps with ranking as the more your users scroll, click, and navigate around your website the more google looks at the site as a resource for its users and sending traffic your way.
Does It Help with Ranking?
The answer is not as simple as you would like to be. Search engines are immensely “smart” today when it comes to content crawling and mathematically weighing the relevance towards specific keywords it finds vital on a page. Keep in mind the mathematical part.
Ultimately your page is scored by a secret formula developed by Google to see if your page is good enough to show as a top result in search results. Bold and Italic alone does not rank your page quickly or even at all, but it has the potential to be one of the signals used to help rank keywords for a page through its weighting algorithm.
What Are the Cons of Bold and Italic?
Like with anything, it is the overuse of these tactics that cause problems for websites. People desperately want to game the system for one reason or another, so they resort to abusing SEO tactics for the sake of ranking. In the short term it may work, but in the long run, these websites are penalized, and usually de-indexed by google.
Mainly what happens with Bold and Italic writing methods is black hat writers overload the page different HTML tags to force relevance. They think it ranks the page for a specific keyword, but they forget all the other signals Google and other search engines track in their weighting algorithms. They may “max out” one weight signal but devalued for other signs that may boost the pages weight score.
So, When Should I Use Bold and Italic For SEO?
The answer is simple; when it makes sense! This page is a notable example of when to use bold and italic when it is necessary. It flows with the article and helps with readability or it flows with the material and design. Ultimately your writing should be about the user experience as this should always be your primary focus.