Almost everyone loves emoji! Sure, there are a few people who look down on them, thinking they’re an affront to the written word. But all over the world, a huge majority across demographics enjoys adding these little portraits and ideograms to their communications. In fact, according to AdWeek, 92% of the online population uses emojii! You see them everywhere in text messages, email, tweets and other social media, and online articles.
According to VentureBeat, at a recent press event, the head of Samsung’s IT and Mobile Communications Divisions said, “Nothing is more important than how emojis are replacing words. Images are becoming the new mode of expression.”
If you follow SEO trends, you’ve likely seen emoji used even in meta descriptions–those paragraphs that show up on Google for each search listing, describing the content at the link. You may even have seen them used in the meta titles of those listings.
Does Using Emoji in Metadata Help Boost Search Rankings?
For a time, from 2015-2016, Google disabled the use of emoji in metadata. Search Engine Watch writes that marketers and brands were using emoji too frequently, trying to attract more clicks. Google probably felt their search results were cluttered and unappealing to look at, with this inundation of emoji.
However, as more users began to rely on emoji every day to communicate, Google changed their position and let emoji be used again in search results, when they are “relevant, useful and fun.”
In fact, Google supports emoji so strongly today, you can search for a taco restaurant by entering near me in Google’s search bar. This applies to using other emoji in search as well.
If you’ve seen emoji in metadata, you might be wondering if this means they help boost your search results. Does using them in meta descriptions help you land higher on Google’s list of results? The general consensus among SEO professionals is no, not directly. Adding an emoji to your meta title or description doesn’t give you a direct lift.
However, there’s evidence that using emoji does increase click-through rate. Engadget reports that apps with emoji in their descriptions are downloaded more often than those without. And many companies have found this is also true for using emoji in their metadata. When they use relevant emoji in their titles and descriptions, they see higher click-through rates.
This is because in addition to being fun and eye-catching, using emoji will show that your company has some personality.
As you may know, higher click-through rates on your links will lead Google to show those links higher on search results. To put it in Google’s own words, “Searching users are often the best judges of relevance, so that if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.”
If your link is selected more often because the emoji in the description make it more appealing, yes, emoji can indirectly boost your search results.
There are other SEO factors that are still more important, like writing your meta description so that it succinctly answers the potential question of an internet query. Also, performing strong keyword research is still vital. However, if you haven’t used emoji in your metadata, this is an excellent time to give them a go. They’re popular, ubiquitous and fun and well worth trying out, always keeping in mind Google’s advice to make sure they’re relevant.