On 27 October 2014 Bing published a blog post “Do you Speak Emoji? Bing Does” where announced the support of emoji characters in Bing search in all English markets. With this new feature, it was possible to do a search query using emoji, and Bing would be able to return the results based on the semantic meaning of the typed emoji. The same for DuckDuckGo but not for Google as reported by Barry Schwartz in October 2014 (Search Engine Roundtable).
Although trying this now on Bing.com it doesn’t seem to work anymore 🤔 .
But Searching the same 🍎 on DuckDuckGo.com it works 😛
Coming back to the emoji SERP story, almost 2 years after, Google woke up and started to support emoji search too. See here a current example searching for a red apple.
Now the question and topic of this post is to ask yourself if you are currently using emojis into your meta title so that it might appear in the SERP. It has been said by many that this helps with increasing the Click Through Rate (CTR) while other SEOers see this “technique” as just a desperate measure to climb up the page ranking ladder with no results. Who is right? My answer is nobody. It all depends on what is the purpose of using it and what value you are going to bring when using it. Read more below.
This year (2019) Search Engine Journal wrote about this emoji SERP topic, telling that Google might not show them in their search result page all the time. This would dipend, according also to Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends analyst John Mueller if the emoji in the website is relevant with the user’s query.
We don’t always show exactly what is listed in the description and title. So that might be playing a role there.
With regards to emojis we also filter some of these out in the search results. So, in particular, if we think that it might be misleading, or looks too spammy, or too out of place, then we might be filtering that out.
So depending on what you’re showing, and what you’re seeing otherwise in the search results, if the same emoji is being shown in other sites then we could be able to show it for your site as well.
It’s probably just a matter of us picking up the title and description and actually showing that to users.
Being said that, first thing to keep in mind if you want to use emojis in your title or description is to be relevant with the topic of your content. Adding something that doesn’t improve the value and it is there just to try catch attention of the user it is just considered too spammy or too out of place. Also it depends on what kind of business you are. Emojis are mostly used in an informal context and towards a young audience. Best to do is analysis and A/B tests. This will be based on analytical data. Start from just one page to see if you can get results.
My Test using a red heart ❤️
I am currently doing a test on this Irish website called Moitif where it sells home furniture. This website is online since September 2019, so still fresh in organic traffic. Another reason why I wanted test it. I choose a page with low traffic , “Bed furniture” so to be sure that in case of bad results it won’t impact the current performance. I modified the meta title into: “Beds ❤️ Bedroom Furniture – Moitif”. See the landing page here if you want to check on the meta tags or maybe want to buy a sofa or a bed 😂 . Here is the screenshot of the current SERP in Google, either using the “site:” query or the normal query. This means that currently Google is happy with the emojii and it doesn’t see as spammy. Why?
My hypotesis is because there are currently no competitors using emojis for this market so there wouldn’t be any sort of war between two or more similar meta titles. Also, the heart emoji might represent something like “lovely beds” or “your favourite beds”, so that doesn’t spam the title. Another more practical conclusion is that currently that page it is not ranked on the first page, so saying that, it is also out of the Google’s radar to even be spending time to filter it in the SERP 😀 . Having said that, this could be the starting point for a a title optimisation with emojis when your page is not under the radar rather when your start climbing the ranking. Also now it is for me better to conduct experiments and A/B tests.
In conclusion, the use of emojis in the title of a page might be worth a try to see if your target audience might love more that not having any. But who knows, Google might also change its mind and get back to the standard text, as in many other cases it deprecated some SERP features in the past.
If you did some experiments on this and you got something to share please do so in the comment section.