Is there a difference between the “strong” and “b” tags in terms of SEO?

Today’s question comes
from Jean-Marc in Paris. Jean-Marc wants to
know, in terms of SEO, what is the difference
between strong and the b tag for emphasis
on certain words of text. From the user perspective,
both tags have the same effect, words are shown in bold. Which tag should we use,
in which circumstances? OK, this sounded like
a familiar topic. And I felt like I’d
answered this one before. So I went and I searched,
went through my mail. And I think we had
answered it before. But it was in 2006. So I’m going to give
you the state of the art answer as of 2006. I don’t think the answer
has changed in any way, but let me just add
that small caveat. Back then, whenever we
checked, strong and b were treated the exact same in
terms of ranking and scoring and how they’re indexed
and all that sort of stuff. Likewise, there’s
also the E-M, the em, and the i, stands for
italics, and those were treated exactly the same. And you could use
either one, and it wouldn’t make a difference
in terms of Google ranking. So things might have
changed since 2006. But I really kind of doubt it. I was always under
the assumption that b and i have kind
of been deprecated. But it looks like they’re
still around in HTML5. It does seem like
strong and em are sort of the new hotness that
a lot of people prefer to use. But technically, one is
talking about the presentation and is definitely saying bold. The other one is sort of a
semantic label that says, well, treat this as strong. But in practice, every
browser just goes ahead and makes it bold. So the short answer is,
don’t worry about it. As far as I know,
Google will treat the strong and the bold
the same and the em and the italics the same. And so you don’t need
to worry about it from that point of view. So whatever you want to do as
far as deciding the semantics and whether you feel strongly
about one way or the other, that’s totally fine. Because I don’t think that
it will matter to Google.

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