We are in the middle of a week of Daily Golden Nuggets all relating to the hardships jewelers will face when we are all forced to use the up and coming HTML 5 technology.
On Monday this week we talked about web browsers and how their advancements are forcing us to make changes.
On Tuesday this week we told you about a few common HTML programming tags that are being phased out and gave you a clues how to protect yourself.
Today we are going to explain the difference between the 2 different ways you can bold words on your page, and give you solid examples that you, the jewelry store owner will understand.
As an introduction, let's begin with the tags themselves. We have the "Bold Tag" and the "Strong Tag," and in their default functionality both will make words bold on your web page.
Here's what they look like:
So why are there two ways create bold text?
The original <b> tag was created by the web browser companies a long time ago. It was technically not officially part of HTML, but was widely adopted and eventually accepted. (Just like the expression yada-yada was eventually adopted officially by Webster Dictionary.)
The official method to create bold words was by using the <strong> tag, but since typing the letter B is much easier than typing out the word STRONG the usage didn't really catch on amongst web programming neophytes.
A few years ago there was talk amongst web programmers that eventually the Bold Tag <b> would be unsupported, and there were many debates within SEO communities about the correct SEO value of each tag. Thankfully Matt Cuts with Google set the record straight in one of his videos and told the world that Google treats B and STRONG the same. At least that's how it was in 2006. Have things changed since then? We don't actually know because Google hasn't said anything.
With the rise of HTML 5 we are now faced with new issues between the bold and strong tags because HTML 5 give us specific reasons to use each one. Although we can't find an official word yet from Google, many other SEO experts claim that the best SEO value will come from using B and STRONG correctly. That idea makes sense to us too, so let's show you how to use these tags correctly.
The bold tag should be used when you want to call the reader's attention to a specific word, without giving it any SEO importance. You should use this to identify jewelry product names, jewelry designer names, the first sentence of the first paragraph on the page or anything else that you really don't want SEO credibility given to.
The strong tag should be used to indicate something very important, and something that the reader really should pay attention to. Screen reading programs will specifically indicate words that are strongly emphasized.
As an example of correct usage we're going to excerpt a piece from the International School of Gemology's July 28, 2011 newsletter. They commonly use bolded text in their emails and we think you will understand proper usage after reading this. (Original ISG article is here: http://bit.ly/n75qrt although you should note that the website does not use the same bold formatting that the original email does.)
The heading in the email is larger and bold. For the heading we suggest using the strong tag like this:
<strong>Diamond Coated Gemstones?</strong>
The STRONG tag indicates greater importance at the top of the page. (Advanced Programmer's Note: because this is an example of <strong> vs. <b> we are not saying anything about <h1>.)
We then move on to the first sentence of the article is not necessarily important for SEO, but you do want the reader to take notice so that one should use the bold tag like this:
<b>Is this really a diamond coating they are putting on these cubic zirconias?</b>
Google will see the phrase "cubic zirconias" on this web page, but if you don't sell them you certainly don't want to give extra SEO value to them. That's why it's better to use the B here instead of the STRONG.
Continuing throughout the ISG article they are comparing 3 different types of CZ's. This paragraph below uses the bold tag 2 different times:
Above are the CZs in ambient light. Below you see these same three in long wave ultraviolet light. Note that the stone from <b>He Who Must Not Be Named</b> has a significant brownish yellow UV reaction while <b>Brand "X"</b> has a more subdued brown reaction. The control CZ below left is inert. While these are all CZ, something is strange about the specimens from the companies claiming diamond-like coating.
As you can see the <b> was used to indicate "He Who Must Not Be Named" and "Brand X". These are the companies referred to throughout the newsletter, but the names were not specifically stated in the original article. You don't want to give SEO value to those names; you should reserve all SEO value for words that truly matter for your page.
With all the new content management systems available you might wonder if you need to worry about the difference between the bold tag and the strong tag. We think you do because your CMS will make assumptions and could work against your SEO efforts by inserting <strong> everywhere when you actually just need to use the <b> tag.
Don't let your CMS decide when to <strong> and when to <b>, instead figure out how to control it on your own. Ask for help from your website company if needed.
Make sure you start using these correctly now. We expect SEO ranking will thank you for it.