Strong and Bold Tags

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What are strong and bold tags used for?

Strong and bold tags are elements of HTML code that you can use to highlight important words or sections of text on your web page. The bold tag <b> was originally intended to display text in bold. In newer HTML versions, however, the meaning has changed and it is used to direct the attention of the reader. Strong <strong>, on the other hand, emphasizes the meaning of the text and usually displays it in bold as well. Both tags are now equivalent and hardly differ in their functionality and application.

Strong and Bold Tags Checker

Check if strong and bold tags on your web page are used correctly

The difference between these two HTML tags is often not obvious at first glance, as both are shown in bold print in most browsers. However, according to W3 Consortium, only a bold tag must be displayed in bold, while this is optional for a strong tag. In practice, however, this usually makes no difference.

Difference between strong and bold

The difference between the two tags is that the bold tag is intended to draw attention to the text, while the strong tag also highlights the text semantically and indicates that this is an important word or section of text.

This distinction is due to the fact that HTML code differentiates between semantic-logical and physical-visual HTML tags. While the former refer to the meaning (semantics = theory of meaning) of the respective areas, the latter merely define the optical display in browsers.

Correct use of strong and bold tags in HTML code

In HTML code, the two tags are used as follows:

<p>normal text <b>bold text</b> normal text</p>

<p>normal text <strong>semantically important text</strong> normal text</p>

If you want to highlight a text section as important in terms of content, you should always use strong. You should only use bold if you intend to draw attention to a section. With the introduction of HTML5, it is recommended to only use bold tags when no other possibility seems suitable. However, you should only optically emphasize smaller sections of text (up to 70 characters), which you should choose appropriately in relation to the total amount of text. If too many terms are displayed in bold, the effect of semantic highlighting is lost, comparable to a text marker, which no longer has any emphasizing effect if the entire text has been marked with it. In addition, only individual terms should be highlighted rather than entire sentences or paragraphs.

Alternative to bold and strong tags

If you want to emphasize whole paragraphs or text elements for aesthetic reasons without semantic meaning, there are alternatives to the use of strong and bold. For example, if the price of an article or a warning on a web page is supposed to be particularly eye-catching, this is of little importance for SEO and highlighting using CSS or HTML is an option.

This implementation could look like this:

 <p>Buy now for only <span style="font-weight: bold;">39,90 €</span></p>

You can also implement the highlighting with CSS classes:

.boldfont {
font-weight: bold;

Or directly in the HTML code:

<p>Buy now for only <span class="boldfont">39,90 €</span></p>

Relevance for search engines

Matt Cutts of Google has confirmed in a webmaster video that Google makes no difference between strong and bold tags when indexing websites.

For SEO it thus makes no difference which of the two HTML tags is used. Also, in general, the use of strong and bold does not offer much optimization potential for your website. Nevertheless, there are some reasons to use the HTML tags anyway.

On the one hand, they provide a good opportunity to make important elements in a text recognizable to users and thus improve its readability. Just like for the readers of a page, it also makes it easier for search engines to capture the content of your website and interpret it correctly. You should avoid using such HTML tags excessively, however, since this would make your page look overoptimized and unnatural to search engines.

Furthermore, strong tags are also used by screen readers to emphasize important passages in a text. Such programs are often used by visually impaired people to capture the content of a website.

The use of and distinction between strong and bold thus primarily makes sense for reasons of user-friendliness and is, therefore, a topic you should definitely look into if you want to improve the user experience on your website.

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