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  1. #1
    Senior Member diddy's Avatar
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    Hello all.

    I was reading an article a while back, and it was talking about HTML tags and how they can improve your search engine results and page rankings etc.
    It said that tags like <h1>, <h2> etc were good to use, as the crawler could easily point out headings.
    It also said to use <strong></strong> for keywords, instead of styling with font-weight: bold; in CSS.

    I was wondering if any of you agree/disagree with these tips of advice, and can you give any tips of advice that you know of?

    Thanks
    -diddy.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member jyuill's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple of references to <strong> and/or <b> tags for SEO. I've never actually heard or read anything stating that other than here on WDF, though. I'd be interested in the answer, as well.
    Especially since "semantic" code is so important these days...is it a case of "choose your evil"?
    Semantic, Valid, and Accessible Design!


  4. #3
    Senior Member jyuill's Avatar
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    I asked this question in one of my classes, and here was the instructor's response:

    "Good question. Semantic markup should never be sacrificed in favor of artificially boosting SEO. But if a word or phrase is semantically emboldened and happens to be a keyword or keyword phrase, that fact is relevant to users who are searching, and it is appropriate that Google give it some weight. I would venture to say that the difference that it makes is fairly minimal."
    Semantic, Valid, and Accessible Design!


  5. #4
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    I would agree with said instructor. However, keep in mind that the strong element, alongside the `em' or emphasized element, is semantic, as long as you use it that way. That is to say, these describe the structure of the page -- it just so happens that we style strong text as bold most of the time, and we style emphasized text as italic. You can switch those around with CSS if you want.

    If, however, you find yourself styling strong elements to have normal font weight so that the user doesn't see them, that's a good sign that you're not using them semantically.

    That said, pragmatism may overcome intellectual purity when it comes down to running a business. If marking keywords strong on the page does boost your site's rankings in a search engine (which I currently have nothing but hearsay evidence for, mind you), and you need a boost, then it makes good pragmatic sense to do it, even if it is not technically (some might argue even morally, to some extent) correct.

  6. #5
    Senior Member diddy's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks for the responses! That was helpful.

  7. #6
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    http://scottmoniz.com/programmingBlog/?p=19

    Check this out for SEO Advice.

    Also, In terms of strong/bold.

    If you need something styled boldly for effect id say use CSS.
    If you need something styled boldly to help with SEO id say use <strong>

    Semantically its better to use <strong> to describe markup and <b> if its for visual effect.

  8. #7
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    Not exactly. <b> is never semantic -- it indicates `bold', which is a purely stylistic distinction. If you need to style something bold for visual effect and you don't have a <strong> element, you (a) consider if maybe it SHOULD be a <strong> element (after all, you want to emphasize it visually, should it not be emphasized semantically?), and, if not, then (b) use a span tag with a semantically descriptive class (`bold' is not a semantically descriptive class).

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowfiend
    Not exactly. <b> is never semantic -- it indicates `bold', which is a purely stylistic distinction. If you need to style something bold for visual effect and you don't have a <strong> element, you (a) consider if maybe it SHOULD be a <strong> element (after all, you want to emphasize it visually, should it not be emphasized semantically?), and, if not, then (b) use a span tag with a semantically descriptive class (`bold' is not a semantically descriptive class).
    Lots of debate on that from what ive read. <b> isnt semantic, but do SE's look at semantics? Also, running a page with <b> tags through XHTML strict validation does not fail...so its not deprecated per se, just probably not good practice

  10. #9
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    I doubt search engines care whether you use <b> or <strong>, honestly, but <b> is not semantic, so why use it when there are alternatives?

    And yes, I think the fact that XHTML did not remove the b and i tags is a bit silly, honestly. XHTML 1.1 has them in the `presentation module', which `defines elements, attributes, and a minimal content model for simple presentation-related markup', but I don't know why you would need most of the elements there, other than hr.

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    Thanks


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