Small but Mighty: How Small Businesses and Publishers Can Harness the Power of Favicons
25th Feb 2020, Author: Victoria Campbell
Google’s evolutionary trajectory is a lesson in invention and reinvention. First conceptualized in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the now-ubiquitous search engine was originally dubbed BackRub, operating as an algorithm used to determine a website’s relevancy by the number of pages, as well as credibility of those pages, that linked back to the original site. Today, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second per day, ensuring that, in 2020 alone, Google will exceed two trillion searches.
Despite these staggering figures, Google is never complacent. In 2019 alone, Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP) underwent major changes, including colorized ad labels, shortened title tags and personalized Google Shopping recommendations. In addition to these updates, 2019 also saw the rise of favicons on mobile SERPs, a visual component that will be tested on desktop SERPs in early 2020.
The colloquial adage claims a picture is worth a thousand words, and with the implementation of favicons, it’s clear that Google agrees. A favicon is synonymous with a shortcut icon, website icon, tab icon, URL icon or bookmark icon. In brief, a favicon is a file that contains one or more small icons that are visually representative of a website or webpage. The icon(s) manifests on browser tabs, bookmark lists, search history, search ads and, most recently, SERPs.
Why Favicons Matter
As a society inundated by choices, it is vital for publishers
and small businesses to distinguish themselves from their competitors or risk
being lost in the digital melee. Given this profusion of choices, the advantage
of recognizability and memorability is at an all-time premium. Businesses that
use favicons make their brands that much more recognizable, ensuring that
potential consumers interact visually with their favicon again and again,
building brand recognition and awareness.
In addition to increasing recognizability, favicons
streamline user search, allowing users to find your page with increased ease.
Rather than scrolling through lines of conventional text, users can navigate
SERPs visually, saving them the most precious commodity of all: time.
Lastly, favicons build trust. If your site is sans favicon, a web browser will display a standard default image. When your site is stacked side-by-side against a competitor’s, a user is infinitely more likely to choose the site with the visual icon, as a logo-like image engenders trust in the user.
Why Small Businesses and Publishers Should Care About
For publishers and small businesses hoping to broaden
readership and customer base, integrating favicons into existing digital
strategy is a simple step toward attracting new readers and customers.
Consider the following two examples:
While both journals publish literature on food science, the second journal’s use of a favicon makes the website look far more trustworthy than its unmarked counterpart. By adding a favicon to all pages across a publication’s website, journals, not to mention businesses, can take full advantage of the benefits that accompany a visual digital strategy. Not only will journals and businesses increase exposure to their logo-centric image—and consequently themselves—, but publications and businesses will also build trust with potential customers who will feel more at ease sharing sensitive information via a visually-verified webpage.
Of those two trillion searches Google anticipates in 2020, small businesses and organizations must ensure no potential readers bypass them due to lackluster digital imagery. Favicons operate as a digital flag, signaling recognition, guiding users safely to an organization’s pages.
Need help raising your own digital flag? We can help. Contact us here today.