Google Not Bolding Keywords in Search Results in Some Cases?

Aug 13, 2008 • 8:42 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google has been bolding the search phrase within the search results for as long as I can remember. For example, a search on [search engine roundtable] will bold the words "search," "engine," and "roundtable," on the Google search results page. Here is a picture of one search result for that search phrase:

Google Bolding

But according to a WebmasterWorld thread, Google is not always bolding words. I have confirmed this to be true, in some cases Google will not bold an exact matched phrase, in the Google search results. Why? I am not sure. Especially after seeing the latest Google blog post on search quality describe how Google will not only bold exact matches in the search results, but also implied matches, such as with a search on arod, which matches on and bolds "Alex Rodriguez," picture:

Picture 1

So which examples can I show you that do not bold? How about my fun big blue pineapple chair example. Notice that in the third result, the title is not bolded:

Bolding Not?

That is just one quick example. I have seen more and I bet I can trigger more.

We have seen Google not bold URLs in some cases, and Google AdWords started bolding matches about a year or so ago. Even Google China bolds, but they bold in red.

Is this a bug, is there something more to this?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Michael Martinez

08/13/2008 08:35 pm

Interesting ....

Paul Haahr

08/15/2008 03:54 pm

There was a bug in highlighting for some documents which should be fixed now. Thanks for the report.

Matt Cutts

08/15/2008 04:00 pm

For people who don't know, Paul Haahr is also an engineer in search quality; in fact, he sits in the office next to mine. You might remember him from the Search Bowl at SMX West. Thanks for stopping by to give folks an update, Paul! :)

Barry Schwartz

08/15/2008 04:02 pm

Thanks Paul and Matt. :)


08/20/2008 09:00 am

I saw this issue on a client this week, good to see it is a bug as i thought it may be some sort of filtering and that unbolded title tag keywords weren't getting recognised...


12/26/2008 07:47 pm

I don't think it's been completely fixed. When I search for "shoji style" (with a space), the URL part "shojistyle" (of is bolded, but not the title link "shoji style" (with a space). Strange that the concatenated term is recognized only in the URL part and not the title.

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