Emojis – tiny, colored icons representing anything from a smiley face to an eggplant – everyone has seen them in some form or another since they were first created in the late 1990s. In an attempt to make their websites stand out in search results, some companies have been adding them to the titles of their web pages.
It is easy to see why companies have been experimenting with emojis. They tend to be bright and colorful, and a tiny image situated among a wall of blue text is sure to grab attention. Most notably, Expedia has added a small bed next to the link to hotel reservations, and a tiny airplane seat to the link to purchase airfare. Unfortunately, some browsers cause the emojis to appear a solid blue, possibly negating their attention-grabbing effects.
Once Expedia rolled out its emoji page headers, other companies jumped on board, causing certain pages of search results to be overrun with the images. Because of the sudden influx of emojis in search results, Google has announced that it will stop showing emojis in results soon.
“Emojis serve only their purpose: messaging,” says Jorge Benito, Marketing Manager, Ibis Studio. “The information in web pages should stay clean and clear. Companies should focus on the quality of the design, content and images they use; not on these little temporary hacks that backfire after a while.”
John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, held a Google+ hangout on May 5, where he was asked his opinion on the Emojis. His response was that he initially thought they were fun, but saw their potential for overuse. He went on to state that, while Google will stop displaying the emojis, they would probably not decrease search engine rankings of websites that use them.
A similar situation occurred in 2003, when unicode symbols were removed from Google results. Mueller went on to state that web page designers should spend the time they would have put into including emojis into other endeavors that would yield more lasting results.