The Impact Of Emoji On SEO: Is It Worth Using Them In SERPs? - The Semalt Answer

You may have already encountered pictograms in the descriptions and titles of pages in search results. It can be a smiling face, a car, an exclamation point, a question mark, and many more. These pictures are emoji. What are they for? How to use them? What is the effect of emoji on SEO?

Emoji: what are they for?

You probably know emoticons, which are pictures that you use on social networks, text messages, or emails to express your emotions. Are emoji's and smile the same? No, but they certainly have similar uses, as they are used to emphasize emotional states and convey messages without using words.

Emoticons are typed and emoji are pictorial. They were not created at the same time. Emoji were shown for the first time in 1999, i.e. then they were presented by Shigetaka Kurita from Japan, while the emoticons saw the light of day in 1982. The important difference between them is that emoji not only reflect emotions - images can include animals, objects, plants, and more. There are many categories of such pictures. Below you can see the most popular emoji on one of the sites where they can be downloaded.

Emoji quickly found application in SEO. How can these images be used and is there any effect of emoji on SEO?

The impact of emoji on SEO

By using pictograms, you can replace a few words and at the same time increase the visual appeal of the text. This solution attracted the attention of marketing specialists as well as SEO specialists. But can the use of emoji translate into greater visibility of your website in Google's organic results? What is the effect of emoji on SEO?

SEO emoji - is it worth using emoji in SEO?

Pictograms quickly became popular among SEO specialists. Their presence in the text attracted the attention of readers. Emoji in title or meta description could translate into higher CTR (Click Through Rate), which made them worth using. However, in 2015, Google announced that it would no longer support emoji, i.e. they would no longer appear in search results.

What was the reason for this decision?

Well, the owners of websites abused them to stand out from the competition. As time passed, the number of pictograms in the search results decreased until they finally disappeared. It turned out, however, that Google does not part with emoji forever. Colored icons returned to SERPs relatively quickly, in 2017, but the search engine modified the rules for displaying them.

Why has Google changed its decision? 

Including due to the popularity of pictograms on the web. However, this does not mean that they can be used without restrictions, and the search results will show all emoji you put in the title and Meta description. Google has reserved the right to show emoji only when it is justified. What does this mean in practice? You cannot be sure that the pictograms used will be displayed in the SERPs.

What can emoji do for SEO? It is worth considering them in your strategy for several reasons. Thanks to their use:
  • You will make your website look more attractive in search results.
  • You will determine the nature of the message in question.
  • You will increase CTR - if this indicator is high, it signals to Google's algorithm that the URL is attractive and this may translate into its higher position in search results. At the same time, even if you maintain the same position, a better CTR means more visits to your website. 
When is the Click Through Rate satisfactory?
  • There is no single, clear limit of value after which we can confidently consider that our advertising is effective. It is different for every business, and even for every type of campaign. If you want to determine how satisfactory CTR is in your campaign, create a comparative rating based on the results under similar conditions. Remember that a low Click Through Rate score does not exclude your ad. There are always a few factors you can improve to enhance your score. Most often it is a change of description or headings. Sometimes the lower result is due to ad testing. Each ad group will have one that performs excellent and one that fails.
You can use emoji when searching on google. I.e. you can add them in the search field, e.g. replacing a keyword. 

Google has displayed only those results with the pictogram we used

For example, if the pizzeria uses such an emoji in the title, Meta description in the content, then it may appear in high positions in the search results for such queries. Of course, searching with the use of emoji is not very popular, but even if you get a few more visits thanks to such a simple modification on the website, it's worth it. After all, these users can become your regular customers.

Moreover, research shows that by using positive symbols, you can improve your interlocutor's mood and confidence. Adobe shared the results of a survey of 1,000 US users on World Emoji Day 2019. It was the Emoji Trend Report. Respondents say that:
  • interlocutors who use emoji are more friendly and approachable - 81%;
  • using emoji increases the friendliness of the interlocutor - 80%;
  • the use of pictograms has a positive effect on credibility at work - 63%;
  • they use emoji to express emotions that are difficult to express in a text - 65%.
As you can see, emoji are a good solution not only for SEO. They can have an impact on the greater effectiveness of the message on the website, which of course does not mean that it works in every case.

Where to use emojis?

You can place emojis in different parts of the page code. Belong to them:
  • Page URL
It's not the best place to use it though. It is better if the address is legible and user-friendly. Importantly - it is not certain that the search engine will show emoji. If it doesn't, you'll see a string instead. It won't look good.
  • Title
That is between the <title></title> tags in the <head> part of the page. And that's definitely a good place to use emojis.
  • Meta description 
That is between <description></description> tags. This is also a good part of the page to use emoji, as long as you don't go overboard with them and make the message less attractive.
  • The content of the article
This is an adequate solution. You may interest the recipient with the content, and its fragments may be displayed in SERPs.

How to use emoji well?

As you already know, in 2015, Google decided not to display pictograms in search results since they were abused. Currently, despite the use of emoji, you cannot be sure that they will appear in Google results. It depends on the search engine algorithm. When using pictograms, try to follow these rules:
  • Don't go overboard with the number of icons
Emoji can have many benefits but use them wisely. Some authors used far too many pictograms in the URL and title. Does it look good and inviting? It's even hard to say what you will find at this address.
  • Emoji not for every brand 
While in the case of a pizzeria, the use of a pictogram is a good idea, the use of the doctor icon by a doctor may not always be positively received. Before you apply the icons, think about the reaction of your target group.

Once you've implemented your emoji, keep track of how it affects your CTR. Use Google Search Console for this. Check how much this indicator was originally and how much after modification. However, do not forget to include possible position changes in the analysis.

How to add emoji?

Already know you want to test the emoji? Their use is very easy and requires no programming knowledge. First, go to the page that will be your source of pictograms. Here are some examples of icon sources:
To add a pictogram, use the resources of e.g., the first of these websites. Using the search engine on the website, find the icon that interests you. Let it be, for example, a gift. The gift icon will be displayed on the results list. Click on its name.

Then you will see the description and the "Copy" button below it. Click on it. First, try searching for it in Google search results. Click in the search box, then use the paste option.

It's just as easy to add emoji to a page. Suppose you want to edit an article about attractions in the mountains, adding an icon showing the mountains in the title. After copying it, go to the article edition. If it is a WordPress website with the All in One SEO or Yoast SEO plugin installed, the icon should be pasted in the same way as when searching on Google, using the copy and paste commands in the title field.

The effect is as follows. If you do not use this or that plug-in with the same application, it is enough to paste the pictogram in the title of the post and you will get the same result.

For the pictogram to appear in the search results, you have to wait for the visit of the Google robot and the re-indexing of the page. However, you cannot have 100 percent. Make sure the emoji will be visible. In the same way, you can add an icon to the page description.

Conclusion: Emoji - use, but in moderation

It's worth using pictograms. They can result in you getting a higher CTR and the content more attractive to the user. However, remember to exercise moderation. Don't overdo it with the number of icons. If there are too many of them, the effect may be counterproductive, and possibly even Google may not display them at all.

However, if you have any difficulties in using emoji's in your site's SEO, simply contact Semalt, an agency specializing in SEO. Indeed, Semalt has qualified experts available to assist you 24 hours a day, regardless of your language of origin. Because Semalt works in more than 11 different languages with high-performance SEO tools and high-quality services. 

Speaking of tools, we can quote Powerful SEO tools for your company. All you need to do is enter your domain to launch a complete analysis of your website.

Also, speaking of quality service, we have 3 main services: that I strongly invite you to consult to discover these benefits for the rapid growth of your website. These are:
Thank you and see you next time J