With the new update to the Google search engine results pages (SERPs) bringing favicons into the mix, this could be great for brands with familiarity…bad for those without.
What this update brought is the favicon being displayed next to the URL. As far as branding goes, if a Google user recognizes your brand they may remember you being a reliable source previously and snap-click your result.
How is this good for webmasters?
If the users that are doing searches for a given query recognize your favicon, that’s great. Say you’re the number 1 for a question like “best robot vacuums for apartments.” Someone comes to your website, likes what they read, and goes back to Google to ask another question.
“How much do robot vacuums cost?”
They enter the SERPs, start scrolling for an icon that they recognize, and find your article. They were just on your website so they recognize your favicon.
Now they’re going to stay on your website until they find your robot vacuum reviews and buy one from you or through your affiliate link.
Favicons are great for brands in smaller niches or in niches without a lot of competition.
How is this bad for webmasters?
Say you’re ranking for “best robot vacuums for apartments” at number four. Who’s number one through three? Wirecutter, Amazon, and Best Buy.
Chances are someone will recognize their favicon over yours, so you may lose out to those massive brands. Remember, this isn’t about reading the URL anymore, not it’s about knowing a logo versus not.
Favicons are bad for people with an unrecognizable brand or you have a favicon that either
- looks like the “AD” favicon
- looks bad on a white background
- looks like shit
How to make your brand stand out in the SERPs
Ensure your favicon is easy to see on a white background. Look at how much the Best Buy favicon stands out by simply adding a black border.
Another thing I’m seeing in the SERPs are favicons with grey text on black backgrounds. I mean, look at the NY Mag favicon. Might as well just have a black box.
Another thing, which I had to switch up, was not having a plain black text favicon. It’s the lazy guy’s favicon (read: me).
So I went from that, which looks similar to the AD favicon, to a bit more color. Of course, I don’t have any brand recognizability yet so it doesn’t matter for me. 😢
How do I switch to the old Google search results?
You can’t. Yet. I’m sure there will be a Chrome or Firefox add-on that allows you to remove the favicons from the results page, but for now, they’re here to stay.
And to be honest, they’re not that bad overall. It makes it easier to find a website you trust instead of having to read the URL or snap-clicking the first result.
The future is now, old man.