Tags STRONG, EM, B and I in SEO

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Which tag is better to use in terms of SEO: “strong” and “b”, “em” or “I”? Until now, a number of optimizers find the tag “strong” and “em” better when formatting text on the site. There is a need to clarify a few points.

  1. W3C recommends to use the tag “strong” instead of “b” but it is only a recommendation not standards. Same about the tag “em”.
  2. Search engines and users see no difference between the bold and italics tags.

The beauty of it is Google gives to tags bold and strong one and the same weight. Moreover, you can use those and other tags at the same time, highlighting them by different styles with CSS.

So, I can draw the next conclusions:

  1. Highlight keywords in these tags, and if you just need to highlight the key phrase in bold, then use CSS style font-weight: bold. I want to notice that it would be better to highlight the titles in corresponding tags Hx, and to use “strong” for key phrases on the page, making the pages more relevant to these keys. The same goes for the tag “em”, use it for keyword phrases rather than to highlight the text like “Welcome” or “Only this spring, we have discounts.”
  2. Do not use the embedded construction of the same tags:


It does not increase relevance of the page to your keywords, but it will be considered as spam and malicious competitors certainly complain to the representatives of search engine-optimization about your pages in order to manipulate the SERP.

  1. You can use tags in combination to give a different style to different parts of the text or to some elements of the design. For example like at this page of the competition between websites:

different style to different parts of the text

  1. Use the “strong” and “em” on the recommendations of W3C but do not bother to change tags on old pages of your website.

So, now you know what to do. Follow the recommendations of W3C, create a semantically correct code and don’t worry about the tags on the old pages of your website.