Favicon and SEO – one signal

Favicon and Google algorithm change

How could this little icon 16 by 16 pixels matter for SEO and your ranking? You never know, it certainly makes your website look more professional. Remember the new mantra in search, if it is good for the end user it will probably good for positioning.

The Google Panda update has made me change in terms of the way I look at SEO. It took a lot of self-reflection to become aware that I approaching SEO too serious and not my users. It will take time to improve my websites. But here is one simple graphical idea I need to start with a favicon. As search algorithms become more refined subtle signals of quality are the way of the future. It is adding a little more of the tender loving care to your website that helps you stand out.

Google signals are more about details in the post Panda update world – One pet idea for example is maybe,  just maybe Google is paying more attention to style details, so as crazy as it sounds, could having a favicon.ico be a ranking factor for example.

  • Think about it, Google did focus groups for this algorithm change and how Google might develop signals based on design without getting into subjective things like colors.
  • These groups were people off the street, not techies. People would rank how much they trusted a website.
  • A simple thing like a favicon might be a thing spam sites do not use but real sites do.

Think about it how many scrapped sites and spam sites have this? None that I can think of.

How many real sites do?  I notice Matt Cutts’s favicon – a nice flashy one on his blog he has up there. Could this be a hint? Google employees can not say directly what is going on but some to hint at it and clever people can pick up on ideas.

Using something like a favicon, makes the user feel better generally to have one up on the site. It is one idea that I have not seen floating around the blogosphere and forums but I think might help the user if not you.

Google is gravitating towards a female mind – For years Google was a geek run shop, focusing on numbers and left brain equations. Now Google is trying to balance the yang with the yin. It is trying to do this for logical reasons. That is users are not just looking at what is one the page, but how the page looks.

My wife will sometimes ask ‘are you going to wear that shirt’? I ask ‘what is wrong with it’? Trust me women see details better than men. I get my best inspiration from females webmasters when it comes to making blogs look nicer.

The above is only a metaphor of course but one to consider. I now and starting to ask my wife and people I know about my website more and more and what sticks out about it in their mind.

It would not help the big websites on competitive terms as they all have this icon, but if yours does not why not put it up there? It goes up there with looking at spelling and sentence structure. Not for Google but for the users.

Further, like Michael Martinez from  SEO Theory (someone who I consider a good guy when it comes to SEO and understanding people’s struggle with this) has stated to think we know Panda is the pretense of knowledge. So do not scrap your whole website, just try to improve it slowly.

Over two hundreds factors – Not one signal but a chorus of voices will determine if your website makes noise or music. This is Google and other search engines today. I personally think the 200 signs of quality is a myth and the formula is more complicated.

Art favicon Search engine optimization
This is just a lame photo of a gas station near me, yet with free online tools you can make it a more interesting image. Anyone can be an artist and make their website look better with a little effort.

How to create a favicon to use on your website?

What would it hurt if you created one. So the three tools I recommend are GIMP, Pixlr and Cartoonize.

  • I use the program GIMP to simply save an icon to the 16 x 16 pixel size and save it as a .ico. Of course paint.net has a favicon plugin also. The you upload it to the root of your server. I am cheap and do not have Photoshop.
  • I also recommend Pixlr the new cloud version of Photoshop (not literally but I like it better).
  • Use cartoonize to make your icon more carton looking but not juvenile. Online it is free.

Let me know what you think of the idea of a favicon being a factor in search engine ranking.

3 Replies to “Favicon and SEO – one signal”

  1. Great article. I am no SEO expert but had heard that Google was looking more and more at design (though I had been confused at how they could incorporate that into their algorithm to influence search engine results). I didn’t even think that having a favicon.ico file loaded in your root directory could be one way they’d do that. I think your argument makes a lot of sense.

    A favicon is just a tiny detail, but think about it, though it may not be the first thing their eyes land on while your page loads, it’s probably the first thing people see about your blog as their eyes flick across the many browser windows they might have open. It makes your page stand out, and also builds a brand. It is like a company rep sporting a nice watch–a subtle sign of professionalism.

    Coincidentally, before I read this article I recently incorporated one into my blog as part of an ongoing step-by-step design overhaul (still not sure if I’ll go with this exact one or some modification of it).

    I guess we can’t know for sure the SEO value of a favicon, but one immediate benefit is more obvious–my blog looks a lot better know that it has an eye-catching image as its favicon rather than the default “sheet of looseleaf” image.

  2. Interestingly (albeit not directly SEO related), I’ve found Chrome almost requires favicons; a number of dynamic sites will not display in Chrome unless you have one.

    I know it’s odd, but there’s a lot of chatter on support forums about this one. It’s to do with the order in which Chrome loads what it believes are required files.

  3. Well, I suppose, even in 2018, SEO related or not, it looks nice to have that little detail added to your web page.

    To be honest for me, it is a must.

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