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Making something bold makes it more important for search engine ranking and even improves readability for humans.

To get the search engine ranking benefit, do we need to use <b> or <strong> tag or are CCS rules to do this recognized?

In other words, do search engine crawlers actually read and apply CSS when analyzing content?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The generally accepted way to emphasise text is to use the <strong> tag. You can then style that using CSS.

Looking through our logs I can see some evidence that some spiders fetch CSS files. Specifically,

  • Googlebot-Image/1.0
  • DoCoMo/2.0 (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1)
  • Googlebot (http://www.google.com/bot.html)

Anecdotally there's evidence that some search engines use this to detect if text is being hidden (and therefore someone is trying to fool a search engine with bogus keywords).

I think your safest bet is to use <strong> and don't rely purely on CSS to emphasise important words or phrases.

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+1 for theory and taking the conservative approach –  John Conde May 13 '11 at 2:01

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