*Update: After much criticism from the community Google has removed the favicon from their search results for now. But in an ever evolving SEO world Google can make really bad decisions that affect your website’s SEO and the below is a case that almost played out!!
Google has finally rolled out their experimental layout of having the favicon next to the website url in their search results. And in doing so has officially made favicons an SEO factor!
Not in the traditional sense that it will help you rank, but from a users stand point of grabbing your attention in the search results. If you don’t have a favicon setup for your website you will surely be looked over in the search results. A non favicon will show a generic globe icon.
Based on their approach Ive come to the conclusion the reason for this is to actually help “hide” their search ads. I personally use Adblocker Plus to have an ad free web experience so I don’t see these ads but if you notice on the new search interface Google has cleverly just added an icon Ad next to the paid ads. Essentially “hiding” their ads with the organic search results. Probably a great experience for the advertiser as this means more clicks! And well more clicks for them means more money for Google. You can see below the Ad doesn’t really stick out any more. Looks like a legitimate search result.
So as part of SEO standards moving forward it’s best to make sure you include a favicon in your website code. It’s not that hard but the favicon meta tag will now be one of the factors to make sure you follow when it comes to SEO.
So just make sure you include this code snippet in your header of your website.
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico">
And you don’t have to use the ICO file format. Since it will take a special program to read or even render this file format. You can actually just use a png file.
<link rel="icon" type="image/png" href="/image.png" />
And on a side note if you are annoyed by this recent update of Google’s Search UI. You can actually hide these favicons from your search results. Now there isn’t an official Google setting to this, which would be super handy. You have to do it through an Ad Blocker and target:
For a step by step guide on how to remove the favicons in Google search results you can see my post linked below.