The Implications of Google’s New Emoji AllowancesJune 17, 2021
In a decision sure to excite teens and youth all over the world, Google has revealed that it will once again begin including emoji in search result snippets after originally deciding against it. This isn’t just exciting for our kids, however – the decision could have a real impact on search engine marketing and internet marketing as a whole.
Let’s look at the history and present of Google’s stance on emoji, and what it all might mean for your business.
Google initially embraced the idea of the emoji, along with basically the rest of the internet world. However, in 2015, after noticing that many brands were heavily over-indulging in the trend, Google decided to take a different approach – they removed them from their results completely.
Like keywords and some other common SEO features, sites had begun to try and game the system. They’d stuff emoji throughout title tags and meta descriptions, trying to draw more attention than just text-only results. This practice is still used in many app store descriptions.
Why the Change?
First of all, note this: Google is not totally changing their position, but rather tweaking or softening it. They’re not just reverting back to the exact same system, instead using a limited form of this capability. They’ve incorporated filtering capabilities into their RankBrain machine learning algorithm, meaning that over-stuffed emoji posts will be filtered out and better, more organic results will remain. Google is also leaving open the possibility that they’ll ban emoji again if too many brands use them in the wrong contexts.
For marketers, there could be major advantages here. Certain queries might be even easier to match with result snippets using emoji, with more accuracy. However, the waters will need to be tested here – both from a user-benefit standpoint, and from a Google-benefit standpoint.
Firstly, there’s no way to figure out Google’s preferences for certain types of emoji search until they’re tried out. The types of businesses that will benefit from this sort of thing also have to be ironed out.
Secondly, we have to assess whether these strategies will actually yield and positive engagement results. In both these cases, getting started on testing early is the name of the game – early observations on things like ranking, impression and CTR trends can cause the first experimenters to reap the rewards first as well. Google clearly isn’t going to let things go back to the way they were before 2015, but there will be major value in finding the pressure points they’ll allow now that emoji have returned.
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