Recently, Google began rolling out some mobile search redesigns— specifically, a brand-new black label for ads and favicons for natural search results. The business stated that during screening, the favicons made it easier for the bulk of users to identify sites and more than two-thirds of users reported that it was easier to scan outcomes more rapidly.
Whether that’s an accurate reflection of user belief or not, content creators and digital marketers feel as though Google has developed aspects of its organisation model to ride on the coattails of what’s best for the user while leaving them to do the heavy lifting.
Ads? Favicons? Fadvicons?
Part of the controversy is how subtle the new advertisements label is, particularly compared to past versions.
Google hiding the ad label a little additional.
Next action light grey? pic.twitter.com/KStBzx3k2M
— Thomasbcn (@Thomasbcn) May 23, 2019
While this might be useful for marketers who do not desire to transmit that they’re paying to appear at the top of search engine result, it’s irritating for SEOs …
Google’s brand-new favicon labelling for organic and paid outcomes isn’t clear enough for the typical user. It’s blurring the lines to far, I can hardly find the distinction on your common inquiry and I have actually depressingly been working in the industry for 10 years. pic.twitter.com/EwWkDIjT7N
— Pete Reis-Campbell (@petecampbell) May 28, 2019
… particularly due to the fact that our content becomes less distinguishable from paid placements and because Google generates income every time somebody clicks an advertisement– whether they understand it’s an ad or not. This mix can possibly mislead users on a big scale, particularly in circumstances when the URL isn’t visible.
To which phishing websites & bad actors are going to have a field day with.
Something already expressed by lots of to their team obscuring URLs.
Inform me which is the best website?
— Kristine Schachinger (@schachin) May 26, 2019
Can the standards save us?
Introducing new functions can inadvertently introduce brand-new ways to make use of the system as well. To Google’s credit, it usually releases guidelines so webmasters understand what’s level playing field. The SERP favicon guidelines are as follows:
- Both the favicon file and the web page need to be crawlable by Google.
- Your favicon need to be a visual representation of your site’s brand, to help users rapidly determine your website when they scan through search engine result.
- Your favicon need to be a several of 48 px square, for example: 48 x48 px, 96 x96 px, 144 x144 px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a particular size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16 x16 px for usage in search engine result, so make sure that it looks proficient at that resolution.
- The favicon URL must be steady (do not change the URL often).
- Google will disappoint any favicon that it considers improper, consisting of pornography or hate signs (for instance, swastikas). If this kind of images is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.
The second product is the most unclear as publishers are the ones that specify what their brands are about. Costs Hartzer chose to put this to the test.
— Expense Hartzer (@bhartzer) May 26, 2019
And, 2 days later …
So, Google (manually) replaced the “Advertisement” favicon I had as my favicon with the default. However now, the mobile SERPs result for “Bill Hartzer” now looks like this: pic.twitter.com/aRTO01 nQII
— Expense Hartzer (@bhartzer) May 28, 2019
But, how did Google learn?
We have actually automated methods and already can take reports by those who utilize the Feedback link at the bottom of the page or though our spam reporting page https://t.co/n8jLZFWVJ5
If we think we require more specific tools, those may get added.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 27, 2019
Online search engine Land’s own Barry Schwartz reported that there doesn’t seem to be a penalty in regards to rankings or placement in search– simply the loss of your custom-made favicon in SERPs.
This has some website owners scrambling to change or replace their favicons to meet the standards and yearning for more information on how the entire favicon screening procedure works. And, where there’s a lack of openness, people will attempt to earn money … or a minimum of, joke about it.
The length of time until “Favicon Optimization” is a thing that people charge for?
— Kyle Menchaca (@KyleMenchaca) Might 24, 2019
As enthusiastic and poignant as some SEOs are about these modifications, some are just as eager to share a meme, have a laugh and remind one another that we’re all in it together.
Here’s Itamar Blauer’s take on the brand-new black ads label:
Currently just looks like a favicon. Live scenes at Google pic.twitter.com/KxR7qjzBtn
— Itamar Blauer (@ItamarBlauer) May 23, 2019
Lily Ray on the limiting favicon measurements:
There goes my plan to post porn in 16 x 16 px
— Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc) May 27, 2019
And, Cyrus Shepard, trying to make author images a thing again.
If your site’s favicon is LIKEWISE your photo, it suggests it will reveal in Google’s brand-new mobile search engine result– only tiny.
Do you know what this suggests?
Yep, Google Author Pictures are BACK! pic.twitter.com/qohlxcM1RJ
— Cyrus (@CyrusShepard) Might 24, 2019
Gifs and jokes aside, these unilateral choices have huge ramifications for the marketers, publishers, brands and creators whose content Google relies on to draw in searchers.
Earlier this month, the announcement of support for How-to markup had numerous SEOs feeling as though Google was appropriating content so that it might keep users on SERPs and serve them more advertisements. In March, an extremely belated pagination statement also made SEOs feel like they had actually been unnecessarily kept in the dark.
As this habits becomes more widespread, so too do the discussions about how we can impact the functions and policies that Google puts in location, and if not, how we can free ourselves from them.
About The Author
George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in material marketing, journalism, and storytelling.