I always ask myself, is it correct to put a link in bold anchor text (or a text with <strong> / <b> tags). If I am not wrong, this is like saying to Google that that word is doubly important... Maybe it is seen as stuffing?

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    Do not put anchor links in <strong> and especially not in <b> because <b> is deprecated in HTML5, use CSS instead and set font-weight: bold; property for anchor links, then use CSS and make a class for 'font-weight:400;' anchors for navigation and footer menus. – knif3r Feb 22 '16 at 21:01
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    @knif3r <b> is not "deprecated" in HTML5. w3.org/TR/html5/text-level-semantics.html#the-b-element – MrWhite Feb 22 '16 at 23:00
  • I might have used the wrong word sorry for that, but it's strongly not recommended to use <b> tag check Tips Section here : w3schools.com/tags/tag_b.asp – knif3r Feb 23 '16 at 8:37
  • knif3r and w3dk, thank you both for the recommendation. – Biss Feb 23 '16 at 17:08
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    No, it is not strongly recommended to not use b tags. It is recommended to use them semantically. The writer of the article writes the b tags when they want to express some bold text, same as they write i tags to express italics. Bold and italic text is part of literature, not HTML5. The HTML5 spec only details how to express bold and italic text runs. – Simon White Feb 25 '16 at 5:14

Using bold on links is neither correct nor incorrect; however in terms of UX (User Experience) users should be able to distinguish what a link is and is not. Sites that contain links that are not apparent may be subject to a punishment by major search engines as it could be identified as a form of hidden links and text.

Google and Bing’s stance on the matter is that links should be identifiable, i.e using:

  • Colours (Difference in font colour)
  • Font Style (Difference in style eg: italic, bold or underline)
  • Thank you very much, I really appreciate your answer Simon :)! So, there is no problem in using bold in anchor texts and maybe it is even better for UX. – Biss Feb 23 '16 at 15:37
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    I disagree. Wrapping a b or i around all links is definitely incorrect. If you want bold links you style the a tag as bold. A b or i only gets wrapped around runs of bold or italic text, as written by the writer of the article. If the text in a word processing document is bold, use a b tag to express it in HTML, and use the b tag for nothing but that. The b tag is used regardless of style, it is used semantically to express the writer’s intentions, not the designer’s or coder’s intentions. – Simon White Feb 25 '16 at 5:19
  • Actually, the answer perfectly describes the uses of bold tags in content. It is recommended to use them semantically. Make text bold when you feel something should be highlighted. It doesn't matter if it is a link. But avoid overdoing it. – Robert hue Mar 1 '16 at 7:01

The elements b and strong (just like any other HTML element except div and span) have a meaning. Only use these elements if your content matches their definitions. How they are displayed by default or how you want to display them (e.g., in bold) doesn’t matter for that decision.

About the effect on search engines: It’s conceivable that search engines use these elements as signal, but it’s unlikely to make a measurable difference.

If you find that neither b nor strong are appropriate for your case, simply use CSS to display the link anchor in bold (e.g, with font-weight:bold;). If you need an additional element for this purpose, use span.

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    I read that recent SEO testing has shown that Google pays no attention to tags. Google cares about how text is presented to users. Using CSS to bold text and make it more prominent is equivalent for Google rankings to using <b> tags. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 24 '16 at 16:32
  • Yep, its true... Google cares about the end result, why would they care about the before-results... in CSS <span> can work exactly the same as <b> and <strong> in terms of style. You can even make b and strong normal text using b, strong {font-weight: normal;}, more reason why Google perfers to render pages before ranking them. Bottomline, better to obsess yourself in building the best in content rather than the best in code, because Google cares little for code and more for content. – Simon Hayter Feb 25 '16 at 9:50

Here is what is semantically correct HTML:

  • wrap links in an a tag
  • wrap runs of italic text in an i tag
  • wrap runs of bold text in a b tag

… and that is completely without regard to styling. The writer decides what is a link, what is italicized, what is bolded — not a designer or programmer. The links, italics, and bold text will be there in a word processing document that precedes the HTML coding.

For example, the writer of the article writes:

Danger: do not put your finger into the Blendomatic.

… and you put b tags around “Danger” and i tags around “not” and a tags around “Blendomatic,” and that is the only correct way that b, i, and a tags with hyperlinks get into your HTML code.

The strong and em tags are deprecated. Use b and i, respectively.

You don’t write for Google, you write for the humans who read the Web, and Google rewards you when the Web enjoys your writing and links to it more and more. If you want better Google results, improve the correctness of your code and the quality of your content. Don’t try to game Google because they love to penalize you for that. They want you to treat Googlebot like any other reader of the Web.

If you want to style all links as bold text, you can do that by styling the a tag to appear bold, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the b tag. If you style links bold, consider adding additional letter spacing (or another attribute) to distinguish them from runs of bold text.

  • In terms of SEO using either <b>, <strong> or a.link {font-weight:bold;} makes absolutely no difference. Also your very wrong about <em> and <strong> being deprecated, they are perfectly valid in HTML5. – Simon Hayter Feb 25 '16 at 9:39

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