Why you should be bolding text in your articles

Estimated read time: 3 minutes



Bolding text in your articles can be beneficial for a number of reasons – including:

  • making it easier to scan for readers
  • SEO value
  • helping the writer to focus on what’s important

But, how much content should be bolded, and how often should we bold content? Over the years, this is a discussion, I’ve had more than I would like to admit. Some editors or even leaders in companies, like it their way. Forget about content performance per se. They don’t like anything bolded, so we shouldn’t bold anything. So if that’s your stand, consider moving more into a content performance model.

Read next: What does an editor do? Avoid editing for preference, I hope!

And as livestreaming expert Ross Brand said in a comment on my LinkedIn post on the topic “bold selectively though. Bolding everything doesn’t help.”

Bolding text 100 percent of the time makes it hard to read. Just like italicizing all the text makes that text also hard to read. Bold when you want to highlight specific phrases while keeping the different content consumption methods in mind.

Scanability

Roughly 80 percent of online readers skim content. I know this is hard for us writers to admit, but it’s the world we are in. So we might as well keep that in mind and design our content with all the different audiences in mind. That includes:

  • The majority of people who scan or skim our content. Those are the people that read the bolded words and the subheadlines.


  • The few who read the content.

Bolding the right copy can make the user experience way better for the majority of our audience.

SEO value

Google’s John Mueller did confirm that bolding text can help with showing up in search engine results pages. When we bold text well, we can make it easier for search engines to identify the most important pieces of our content.

Considering that most organic visitors end up on blogs because they are looking for an answer to a question they have, it’s probably wise to bold text that specifically answers questions in your content.

Bolding text can help writers focus

Making the bolding of text a priority can also help writers focus on specific topical areas while writing. After all, if I can’t find anything to bold, maybe there’s just too much fluff in my content. Maybe I need to focus and hit home the points I’m trying to make and the points my readers are after.

How to decide what text to bold

Certainly, this is a judgment call for now. Until there’s a software that gives us recommendations – if that doesn’t exist already. Highlight the keywords that tell the story. The words that could be put into a bullet list might also be the ones that you can bold.

The bolding of text also adds another task to the writer’s list of things to do. In my opinion, that’s another reason why we should be writing content directly in the CMS whenever possible. That way, writers can consider how everything interacts together.

  • The photos
  • Embedded podcasts
  • Images
  • Graphics
  • Subheadlines
  • (And now) bolded text

At the end of the day, making all these elements work together can make the content better. And that’s ultimately the goal.



Listen to my podcast