At one time, emojis were showing up in all Google Search results in URLs, titles, and descriptions until they were removed by Google after only two months. They were back for a moment –not in organic search results but in Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) or Google Shopping Ads – and now they’re no more.
Following Google’s update of its store name guidelines in the Merchant Store policy centre, emoticons, ALL CAPS, and emojis are specifically listed as don’ts when entering your store name.
Like emoticons and ALL CAPS, emoji were categorised together with existing guidelines that forbid the use of unnecessary symbols, capitalisation, or punctuation. But prior to the recent updates, these guidelines only specifically mentioned ‘ALL CAPS’ as the example of unnecessary use of symbols, punctuation, or capitalisation.
The use of Emojis
Previously, you could get a variety of emojis displaying in Google’s PLAs, comprising both single colour and full colour emojis. Google had previously disabled the use of emoji (the first time) in both AdWords and organic search results since 2015.
But when they were later permitted, businesses could display emojis in PLAs by simply inserting the emoji in the name settings found in the merchant settings. An assortment of emojis could be applied, though advertisers preferred to stick with emoji that were a good match for the ad copy.
Some people considered the placement of emojis as ‘rather awkward’, claiming that the icons felt as if they were trying to reflect how a person should feel about the information being relayed, which could easily blur the neutrality of the content.
That said, the use of emojis has been rather entertaining, as was the case in a five-month period in 2013 when emojis were used for more than 1.7 billion times on Twitter. The Japanese style of smiley, which translate into a letter and picture, make you feel good and allow for better communication.
Unlike face-to-face communication, online communication lacks non-verbal tools such as facial expressions, gestures, intonation, and body language that you to convey a message more accurately. Emojis help to deliver some of those missed social cues and enrich written communication.
Emoticons are to written communication what nonverbal cues are to face-to-face communication. They help to reduce ambiguity while intensifying or toning down emotional expressions and enhancing social intimacy.
Implications of the update
Considering Google’s recent update to disallow emojis, it is possible that the giant search engine had an issue with its operation. Perhaps the use of emojis in PLAs was not as widespread as Google needed it to be; or maybe internet marketers were reluctant or unable to properly use emoji.
Another problem with the use of emojis could have been the varied display on different types of browsers. So even though a full colour emoji might look great in organic search results, it may be distorted in a certain browser.
Unless a business chooses to adopt an emoji as part or even all of its name, PLAs will remain an emoji-free area, which is not necessarily a bad thing.