Google has recently updated the mobile search design for highlighting a website’s name as well as the favicon, but you may ask that What is a Favicon, so first let me elucidate favicon first.
The search engine giant “Google” has made some important changes that are efficient enough to affect how the mobile search results will be displayed. Google now displays these favicons next to the organic search listings. It means favicons now assume some added importance.
The name of the website and its icon (that is called favicon) appear at the top of the results and it is put above the title of the displayed specific page. Google had not paid much attention to the source of the displayed search results till now as it was showing a website’s name in a smaller font beneath each link.
However, the new look is bringing the branding to the forefront of the search results which is designed to help visitors understand from where the information is coming and what pages or which websites contain the information you are searching for on Google. According to a Spokesperson of Google the design is “coming first to mobile” and includes both Google app and the web searches.
How to Rank Higher In Mobile Searches with the proper use of Favicon?
Some Countries are having more than 4 times higher smartphone audience as compared to desktop audience and due to that mobile Internet usage has exceeded the fixed access. Mobile conversion rates are much higher which makes the mobile search increasingly important. According to a Google study mobile users display a different behavior from that of their counterparts i.e. the desktop users.
In mobile searches there is more urgency to the request as they want to immediately find or buy what they are looking for. As per some studies more than 50% of consumers who searched for a store via local Google search in mobiles visited a store within a day which is just 34 percent in case of desktop users.
If you properly use the favicon then it brings you in the eyeballs of your target audience. As we all already know, images have a higher recall value and the use of proper favicons can help you stand out from your competitors. If your website has more no. of visitors that means you will have more click-through rates that ultimately mean higher ranking & probability of conversion.
Let us put it simple, the clever use of favicon can provide you the strategic advantage over your business counterparts or competitors. It makes your visitors happy and increases the conversion. You can improve how your website ranks in search results with favicon.
Top ranking does not necessarily mean that your website is shown on the top results of SERP as the majority of search engine users don’t bother to click on the first few links. However, it means that you could be very close to obtaining a new customer because the mobile users who are highly engaged can easily find you in the first place.
Will Favicon Consists of SEO Advantages?
There obviously are not too many direct benefits in SEO of using favicon properly, however, there are a lot of indirect benefits according to the SEO Experts are as follows :
- Provides better usability of site:
The chances of reaching to the top ranks on SERPs increases with the increased usability of your site, the better its chances of securing top rankings. As we have mentioned above in this article, favicon saves time as well as it helps your users to find the websites easily which are bookmarked or already visited. This can enhance the usability of the website as well as have a bearing on the search rankings.
- Helps when it has been Bookmarked :
It puts you ahead and provides you the advantage over websites which are not having it whenever a person saves and keeps a website bookmarked on the browser. Google has some mechanism in place for the websites being bookmarked which your site will be losing in the absence of a favicon.
- Provides Better Click-through Rate :
There is no doubt that having a dynamic image at the top of listing will make people compel for clicking on the link. So, ultimately, the CTR will go up and you will get more leads.
Let’s Explore Why Google needed to change this
Google always puts at the forefront it’s users’ experience and for that it keeps bringing many updates in order to improve the search experience of the users. However, to differentiate organic and paid listing in the mobile search result has always been an annoying thing for users but this is going to change forever.
With the use of favicon as organic listings are getting a new favicon treatment next to organic search results with Google displaying favicons. Google has also made changes in the appearance of Google Ads at the top. The paid ads now appear at the top of the ad altogether with the display URL in black text.
Some search engines other than Google incorporate Favicons in desktop search results as well. Look at an example below that was taken from search results on the search engine DuckDuckgo.com.
The World of Organic Search Listings in Mobile Search is Changing, Know How?
Google is all set up to display the favicons next to organic search listings which means that now favicons assume the added importance. The latest update related to favicon may seem small but its impact will be huge & significant in mobile search.
The new look with favicon brings branding to the most important place of the search results which helps visitors to understand where the information is coming from and what pages/which websites contain the information which you are looking for. Google said that, "The website’s name and its icon (known as favicon) appear at the top of the results in order to help anchor each of the results".
With this update, Google continues to evolve the types of content it shows in the search results such as 3D objects, video and hi-rise images etc. But not all digital marketers are sure about the impact of this update and they are waiting for any impact of the latest update on Google mobile search. During the testing phase of this update, Google said that users found it easier to identify websites with new favicon updates.
However, only time will tell us about "how it will be influencing traffic flow to your website".
How to Add a Favicon?
You can yourself add favicon in HTML and on other platforms for your website in case you have coding knowledge or you may ask your designer to do it for you. One of the easy approaches is to use a website like favicon.cc or any other online tool.
To add a Favicon to your website, you need your brand logo in the size of 16x16 & it can be in PNG, GIF or ICO image form; then you need to add following HTML code;
In the above example,”url_to_my_favicon” points out the actual location of your Favicon file.
After adding the favicon when you need it to visually represent your brand then you must add a tag to the header with a specific syntax. You can take help of a web designer in case you find some difficulty.
Which Favicon Sizes (px) do we need to support?
Favicons are always in .png, but their sizes are different for browser, desktop icons & for taskbar shortcut icons as shown below;
16x16 - Browser Favicon
32x32 – Taskbar shortcut icon
96x96 – Desktop shortcut icon
Is there any negative impact of not adding Favicon?
If you do not add Favicon to your website, then your web browser is likely to display as default blank document. Worse still, if your competitor has a Favicon on his website, then surely you will be going to lose credibility as Favicon plays a vital role in building trust as well as the credibility of a web page.
Nowadays, people are using websites in more ways than they were earlier used to. Some people like to bookmark the pages, and some want to add websites to their home screen. So it is imperative to keep our website up to date & we should update our every operating system properly to display images.
There might be some facts stating that Favicons affect search engine optimization. Nonetheless, whether they affect or do not affect SEO directly, but they are essential for building credibility & usability that can indirectly affect SEO (Search Engine Optimization).