Today’s video from Google’s head of search spam Matt Cutts is a 2006 throwback where Matt reassures us that there is no difference between using <strong> or <b> tags when it comes to SEO best practices.
The full question asks:
In terms of SEO, what is the difference between <strong> tag and <b> tag for emphasis on certain words of text. From the user perspective, both tags have the same effect (words in bold). Which tags should we use in which circumstances?
Cutts recalled answering this question in 2006, saying there was no difference in how Google treats the <strong> tag and the <b> tag when it came to ranking, scoring or other search factors. He added the same is true for or the <em> and <i> tags when using italics.
“Things might have changed since 2006, but I really kind of doubt it,” says Cutts, offering a not completely definitive answer on the topic.
To clarify the difference between the two tags, Cutts explains the <strong> tag is technically talking about presentation. The <b> tag is a semantic label, but, he says, “In practice, every browser just goes ahead and makes it bold.”