"Special text" (as it is used here) is any content on your page that is set to stand out from rest. This includes bold, underlined, colored, highlighted, sizing and italic. This text is given weight higher than standard content and rightfully so. Bold text, for example, is generally used to define sub-headings (see above), or to pull content out on a page to insure visitor reads it. The same can be said for other "special text" definitions.
Search engines have thus been programmed to read this as more important than rest of content and will give it increased weight. For example, on our homepage we begin content with "Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning …" and have chosen to bold this text. This serves two purposes. The first is to draw eye to these words and further reinforce "brand". The second purpose (and it should always be second) is to add weight to "Search Engine Positioning" portion of name. It effectively does both.
Reread your content and, if appropriate for BOTH visitors and search engines, use special text when it will help draw eye to important information and also add weight to your keywords. This does not mean that you should bold every instance of your targeted keywords nor does it mean that you should avoid using special text when it does not involve your keywords. Common sense and a reasonable grasp of sales and marketing techniques should be your guide in establishing what should and should not be drawn out with "special text".
Inline Text Links
Inline text links are links added right into text in verbiage of your content. For example, in this article series I may make reference to past articles in series. Were I to refer to article on keyword selection rather than simple making a simple reference to it as I just have it might be better to write it as, "Were I to refer to article on keyword selection rather …"
Like special text this serves two purposes. The first is to give reader a quick and easy way to find find information you are referring to. The second purpose of this technique is to give added weight to this phrase for page on which link is located and also to give weight to target page.
While this point is debatable, there is a relatively commonly held belief that inline text links are given more weight that a text link which stands alone. If we were to think like a search engine this makes sense. If link occurs within content area then chances are it is highly relevant to content itself and link should be counted with more strength than a link placed in a footer simply to get a spider through site.
Link "special text" this should only be employed if it helps visitor navigate your site. An additional benefit to inline text links is that you can help direct your visitors to pages you want them on. Rather than simply relying on visitors to use your navigation bar as you are hoping they will, with inline text links you can link to internal pages you are hoping they will get to such as your services page, or product details.
For those of you who have never heard term "keyword density" before, it is percentage of your total content that is made up of your targeted keywords. There is much debate in forums, SEO chat rooms and like as to what "optimal" keyword density might be. Estimates seem to range from 3% to 10%.
While I would be first to admit that logic dictate that indeed there is an optimal keyword density. Knowing that search engines operate on mathematical formulas implies that this aspect of your website must have some magic number associated with it that will give your content greatest chance of success.