I heard that styling <strong> tag with css (for example to make in in normal font weight) could lead to penalties in ranking.

I am wondering if I can css styles <abbr> tag without be penalized in SEO (Google)?

  • 2
    Wherever you heard that, stop going there
    – John Conde
    Jul 16, 2020 at 20:17
  • I've never heard this, unless you actually hide the tag using css Jul 16, 2020 at 20:19
  • 1
    Stuffing keywords inside <strong> tags and then styling the tags to look like normal text is likely to lead to an over-optimization penalty. How are you planning to use the <abbr> tags? Jul 19, 2020 at 11:18
  • @StephenOstermiller : I want to use the <abbr> tag to describe an acronym wich is the brand name of the website I am designing. I browser it lead to underline the words wrapped in <abbr> tag to be underlined with dot. This is a good affordance since it shows to the user that he can hover the work to read the description. My question was really design oriented to, know if I could overwrite the default rendering because the overall design looks more fancy without these underlined words, however I also want to be SEO friendly.
    – Ousmane
    Jul 19, 2020 at 13:12

2 Answers 2


Styling any tag in an attempt to manipulate SEO performance is a bad thing.

Styling any tag so it looks nice on your page is not a bad thing.

Basically, the rule is - if you are putting keywords in <strong> or <h1> (or even <abbr>) tags and then reducing the visual emphasis of these through CSS, and then using other words in whatever takes the place of these tags in the actual design of your site, then you're running the risk of being penalised by search engines.


No - using CSS will not hurt your SEO.

IF you do not use it heavily to fool search engines.

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