Google’s John Mueller recently came out and stated that bolded text can help with your SEO. Naturally, this will drive a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding of what that means. Having been in this industry for over 15 years, I see how many that don’t pay close attention or look for shortcuts tend to take a piece of information like this and blow it up, rendering it useless. I would say the most important word in that link text above is “can”.  As I always say, the most common answer to an SEO question is “it depends”.

Text as a Google Ranking Factor

Google’s job is to provide users with the best response to a query. That response included the user experience.  It is helpful to provide thorough and useful information on your pages that you want to rank highly, but it is also important that users can find exactly what they are looking for. Most are not going to read every word of the page. They will skim the page searching for that key piece of information that is at the heart of their issue.

This is why using headers and bold text effectively can be a difference-maker. It can help make your content much more digestible. Having important statements or facts stand out will help your users get to that important piece of content more quickly.  For example, someone looking for costs or pricing may scan that service page looking for those words. If you provide it in a paragraph with an obvious header, you have a better chance of them finding what they want. If you link to it in bold or put the pricing words in bold it will help it stand out. It is that simple.

Remember, the more bold you use, the less effective it is.  A wall of all bold text is even more confusing than a wall of plain text.  It will chase people away. It doesn’t help clarify it or filter it down to the main points.  Use it well and sparingly to support your key points.

Ranking Factors Abused by Bad SEO Companies

I have had many prospects tell me they were told by another company that certain things were critical ranking factors, but they were totally abused and made to actually be a detriment to the website.  In SEO, everything is relative and everything is trending to reward a better user experience. As John Mueller said, the bold text helps the algorithm understand what is important on a page. If everything is bold, then nothing is important. Write your post or page and then stand back and think what the major points are that need to stand out. Then decide how to break up the content with headers, bold, and lists to help it be more digestible and understandable for the user. You are writing for humans, not for an algorithm. The algorithm is smart enough that it doesn’t just give you a boost for using bold. It gives you a boost for using bold properly.