Thursday, December 18, 2008

<strong> and <b> / <em> and <i> - Which is for what?

A question that has been bugging me all day today when I was conducting some SEO work today was is the <strong> and <em> tag any different to the <b> and <i> tag. The conclusion I have come to after researching the topic is that you use the <strong> and <em> instead of <b> and <i> tag when you are trying to emphasize keywords on a page as readers treat the two tags differently. They achieve the same visual effect however the <strong> and <em> tags are "logical" tags. This means that they are for when the developer wants to add emphasis to particular words or phrases. A reader for a user with disabilities may say the word louder for example. The <b> and <i> tags are for visual layout effects on a page and do not have the same effect on a reader or add any weight to your keywords in the search engines. I suggest when crafting a page and that if you want to format something purely for visual effect then you use the <b> or <i> tag, as they will reduce you page size very slightly, hence increase load time. This post by Nikki Pilkington also states that there is no effect in the SEO world.


  1. Thanks for referencing 299 Steps to Website Heaven.

    And thanks for pointing out that using the shorter versions mean that the page size is smaller - not something I have thought of before! It might not make a lot of difference, but sometimes every little counts!

  2. Anonymous2:10 pm

    I have been wondering about this for a while.. Thank you for doing hte invesitation and outlining this so clearly.

  3. And this is an added knowledge for me too as an SEOs. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Checkout the W3C standards

  5. Yeah, thanks for that, I'll be using strong tag now instead of the bold tag, but then again the bold tag is so much quicker and I am super lazy!

  6. Thanks so much for this! I haven't been this moved by a blog for a long time! You’ve got it, whatever that means in blogging. Anyway, You are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the good work. Keep on inspiring the people!


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