Recently, Google announced a new look for Google search, with the main news for search marketers being that the ad tag format has been tweaked so that ads blend more naturally with search results. , and that favicons are now visible next to search results. While the first change is likely to be expected and may continue to blend in even more with natural search results to encourage more ad clicks, the favicon change has likely caught a few marketers by surprise.
In the screen recording below, you can see the new ad wording and search design in action.
What is a favicon?
A favicon is simply an icon used by your Internet browser to indicate how a website would appear in your favorites – hence the name favicon. Usage has changed since its inception, as it now also appears at the top of your browser to indicate which tabs you have open.
Made up of a square image, usually 48×48 or 96×96 pixels, this is an opportunity to give your website visitors a sharper experience.
As you can see from the screenshot earlier, the favicon is now very prominent in search results for users on mobile devices.
Tools to create a favicon
Fortunately, there are a handful of online tools available that can speed up the process of creating a favicon. All you really need to do is upload an image of your hotel logo, in square format, and the tool will resize if necessary – and output as required.
How to add a favicon to your website
If you have FTP access to a website host, you can simply upload your favicon to your root folder or wherever your website content exists. If you are using a CMS like WordPress you can do all of this from the dashboard – just go to Appearance> Customize> Site Identity where you can then download and select the icon you want.
How to get your new Favicon to appear in Google
Once you add the favicon to the website, you might also need to include a reference to it from the
element of your homepage, such as:
Google’s recommendation here is to wait until they find your favicon the next time you crawl your site. If you’re a little impatient, the next best option is to inspect and submit your hotel’s homepage in Search Console.
If you’re still having trouble viewing the favicon, you might want to make sure that Google can access that favicon without any issues – sometimes your robots.txt file may block crawling for some reason.
Try inspecting the favicon URL in Search Console, as well as accessing it from your browser.
Google will not display images that do not represent your brand well; which is open to some interpretation here. It would be interesting to see how this works for hotels that are chains or whatever, or that have corporate / independent websites – and whether they have to share logos or not.
What is the benefit for my hotel of using a favicon?
The main point of using a favicon is to give your customers branded search results. It looks nicer and more professional if your hotel’s website search results contain your logo – so it will likely encourage a higher click-through rate compared to a search result that doesn’t have a favicon displayed.
For this reason, it falls under the umbrella of SEO; Ultimately, it’s about making your website look better in search engines, but with more emphasis on your brand.
This leads to the other reason given by Google for this change: it helps users associate the content with a specific brand. Unfortunately, this has already resulted in “brand hijacking” whereby some people upload an image similar to that of a larger site, in order to trick the user into clicking on their site.
Ultimately, this update from Google helps deliver a sharper search experience, allowing for more control within SERPs – so far limited for webmasters to only meta tags and structured data / rich snippets. .
Will this impact my hotel’s Google Ads performance?
Although the ads have blended more into the search results since the new update (see screenshot below), they still make it clear that this is an ad, so it’s unlikely that ‘it has a huge impact on the CTR of your ad.
When you consider what Google’s SERP landscape looked like almost 20 years ago, the differences are quite astonishing, especially when you consider the direction Google has taken in the last few years in the search landscape. of hotels.
It would be interesting to see how these changes from Google affect organic CTRs as well as paid search results.
If I had to guess I would say you shouldn’t see a big difference in the numbers in your reports here – but it’s always good to stay on top of these changes in the search landscape and to optimize the experience of. research your customers as much as possible.
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