To coincide with World Emoji Day😃 Apple will be releasing 70 new emoji characters later this year to better represent people and facial expressions. While it may sound really silly that there is a day dedicated to these digital faces and objects, emojis should be celebrated as they’re so integrated into our everyday lives.

Psychology Today reports that many millennials and generation Z-ers feel more comfortable expressing themselves in emoji format over typing out their thoughts and feelings conventionally. Using emojis in marketing campaigns has become more commonplace. Just look at the Deadpool billboard below! Businesses are also using emojis in domains, as GoDaddy now lets you register.

“Dead. Poo. L.” In case you didn’t get it

This Deadpool movie billboard is the best use of emojis I’ve ever seen

But the question is – should you use emojis in your SEO strategy? Does the use of emojis affect search ranking results? In this blog, I’ll explore:

  1. Whether people are actually using emojis in search engines
  2. How you can use emojis to stand out in search results

Are people actually searching using emojis?đŸ€”

While we know that search engines allow users to search by emoji, are people actually doing it? Google has gone back and forth on whether to include emoji in search results. They originally disabled the feature in 2015, but then brought it back in May 2016.

Emoji SEO - Ranking results for the burger emoji

Emoji ranking results for burger

Searching for a specific emoji seems to generate results relevant to that emoji. For example, in Google, if you type in the burger emoji, you’ll likely see a list of local burger joints. If you search Google Images for a dog emoji, you’ll likely find images of that emoji in use, but also images of real dogs. Google is basically interpreting the ‘user intent’ and translating the emoji into text – i.e. to ‘burger’ or ‘dog’.

Can your business be found by searching for a specific emoji?

Until there’s more research and data, the best method of being found is to optimise for keywords and phrases related to that emoji, rather than stuffing that emoji on your home pages (which can annoy people).

Google translates the meaning of the emoji you include in your search. So to draw on the earlier example of burgers, if someone searches with the burger emoji, Google isn’t looking for other similar emojis. It understands (or thinks it does) that you’re looking for burgers and will look for burger joints nearby.

How you can use emojis to stand out in search results

Now that we now emojis are connected to Google search results, how do you optimise your site to appear for emoji searches?

A way is to optimise your title and meta description tag so it appears in your search engine results page. But make sure it’s relevant to your content and branding.

It’s worth noting that there’s no evidence to suggest you’ll rank better but adding emojis does make you stand out more against the other search results. And standing out in the search results means more clicks. More clicks mean Google will think “hey this is a useful and popular site, I’ll rank them further up”. Winning.

For emoji SEO, use them in your title and meta description tags

Use Yoast to add your title and meta description tags

So is it worth using emojis in your SEO strategy? Yes and no

We know for sure that emojis are here to stay (I mean they made a movie about it). You can still include relevant emojis in your title tags and meta descriptions. But for now, using relevant keywords to optimise your site is still much more effective.

How do you use emojis? What do you think of using them in Google searches? Do you think you’ll use emojis as part of your SEO strategy? Let me know by commenting below.