Google Adds Favicons to Mobile SERPs, Already Handing Out Penalties

Ryuzaki

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Last week, Google added Favicons to their mobile SERPs along with some other redesign stuff. Here's what they look like:

You'll notice the URL and/or Breadcrumbs are now above the Title Tag. They also now feature Favicons.

In the case of Adwords ads, they now have a little black favicon that says Ad. Otherwise they show your site's favicon.

But, if you're not following their guidelines on favicons you're going to have some issues:

One dummy used the new "Ad" favicon as his own favicon and Google already yanked it out and replaced it with a generic globe:



There are other examples, like if your Favicon is a nude person or a "hate symbol" they'll replace it with the globe too. That's what the "penalty" is. It doesn't down rank your site or hurt your SERP visibility. It just takes away your ability to show a favicon, much like abusing the "updated date" will remove dates from your listings.

For those wondering, here's the main guidelines you need to worry about if you want your favicon to show:
  • Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).
  • Your favicon should be a visual representation of your website's brand, in order to help users quickly identify your site when they scan through search results.
  • Your favicon should be a multiple of 48px square, for example: 48x48px, 96x96px, 144x144px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16x16px for use in search results, so make sure that it looks good at that resolution. Note: do not provide a 16x16px favicon.
  • The favicon URL should be stable (don’t change the URL frequently).
  • Google will not show any favicon that it deems inappropriate, including pornography or hate symbols. If this type of imagery is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.
Favicons are easy to overlook. Take advantage of this new feature and get an extra click or two from the SERPs.
 

Ryuzaki

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This is also as good of a place as any to post this tiny bit of news too:

All newly discovered websites, starting July 1st, 2019, will now be indexed under the Mobile-First Index by default.

At this point, it should go without saying that if you don't have a responsive web design, your site is going to get reamed. Mobile / Tablet traffic makes up like 50% of traffic these days, and more depending on your site's niche and where you advertise, etc. If your site isn't 100% responsive, you're not even on the right playing field.