I always ask myself, is it correct to put a link in bold anchor text (or a text with
<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?
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)
strong (just like any other HTML element except
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
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
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.