Keyword use in bold body text

Overview

Search engines like Google use the text visible on the screen as one of the factors used to determine how important a page is to a certain search phrase.

Bold body text as expected plays a role in this ranking.

In short if a section of text is tagged as bold or strong, search engines like Google assume this text is a more important part of the page.

History of Keyword use in bold body text

In the first versions of HTML the <b> tag was used to determine text which should be displayed as being bold.

With the evolution of HTML, a new tag was created to really replace the <b> tag. With regards to the website visitor both tag visually do the same thing, but on a higher level using the <strong> tag is more consistent with the aims of the tag.

Although both can still be used, the convention is now to use <strong> in all situation <b> is used.

Going forward Google may weight <strong> over the <b> tag although currently they are treated the same.

As with all signals Google sees as important, this tag has been used to spam in the past and ‘over doing’ the SEO on the b and strong tags can backfire.

Google proof your search engine optimisation for Keyword use in bold body text

While it is true that no one outside of Google knows the mechanism for determining rank in its search engine listing, we do know Google likes the top ten pages for a given phrase for a reason, and it is this fact we can use to formulate our strategy.

The reason for looking at the top ten as a whole is that it allows us to remove the ‘freak’ results of any one website.

Optimising the body text for the phrase April Jones on 17th December 2012 on Google UK

We could look at any phrase but it makes sense to look at a popular term. It’s also important to note that the internet is a fluid place and analysis on one day and with one search engine can be different on another day on another engine.

Looking at the top ten results the following can be seen

Search term: “April Jones”
Number of keywords: 0 to 2 0
Keyword density: 0% to 10%

Search term: “April”
Number of keywords: 0 to 4
Keyword density: 0% to 5%

Search term: “Jones”
Number of keywords: 0 to 2
Keyword density: 0% to 5%

Keywords “April” or “Jones”
Number of keywords: 0 to 6
Keyword density: 0% to 5%

Generally you would look to get as high in the above range as possible without going over the largest figure. If you were to work though the above you would quickly discover if you tried to hit the top of the range for ‘April Jones’ you may not be able to hit the individual elements within the long tail search term.

In this instance the best way forward would be work out ‘your best fit’, wait for Google to reindex and re evaluate that that point.