A (technical) SEO’s Guide to Emoji’s

search engine optimization

At this very moment in time, somewhere in a skyscraper in NYC or San Francisco there is a team of 10 or more highly paid marketers talking about an emoji campaign for a Fortune 500 company. Emojis are part of multi-million dollar ad campaigns, and are here to stay.

Today we are going to talk about how emojis fit into the internet marketing equation, from a technical standpoint. How to use emojis in SEO (or how not to use emojis in SEO and in search engines) as well as emojis in email marketing, PPC, and on social media.

Emoticons or “emojis” are no joke. They are standardized by the Unicode Consortium and have proposed to add another 70 something new emojis this year. Wired magazine proposed that emojis have truly become an extension of the English language. Emojis can show that your company is friendly and able to be related to, and “hip” and with the times.

 

Where to Get Emojis

We recommend using Emojipedia for all of your emoji needs while on desktop. Mobile is a bit easier, since there is a built in keyboard on most modern day phones. For Windows 10 users there is also a built in emoji keyboard, if you want to enable it. Just right click your task bar select “show touch keyboard button” then click on the keyboard icon on your taskbar and voila!

I personally like to use getemoji.com or Emojipedia, but it is really a matter of personal preference. Emojis can be copied and pasted, much like characters can be.

WordPress has also added support for emojis and has added it to their Codex. They also recommend using the Windows 10 keyboard tool. Remember, just because you can see an emoji in WordPress or on your website doesn’t mean that is how it will render in other browsers and operating systems.

For larger websites, access your analytics to see what the makeup of your average visitor is. For instance, if you see that a lot of your visitors are using older browsers, I would recommend not using emojis on your website. However, if most of your visitors use modern operating systems and browsers, emoji it up!

Our average visitor for instance mainly uses Windows, Mac or Android and newer browsers. So the majority of our website visitors shouldn’t have a problem seeing emojis on our website.

Emojis on Twitter

Twitter loves emojis and so do the people who use Twitter. So do it up! A carefully crafted and curated Twitter card title with emoji can yield some splendid results. As with anything, use in moderation. We ran a simple test here just to see some sample output. Twitter had no problem with emojis in the title (not shown) or the description, shown below.

If you are using WordPress like half the world, feel free to drop it into a plugin like Yoast or SEO Ultimate in the Open Graph / Twitter Card section. Just be sure to leave them out of the title tag section.  We don’t want to confuse Google.

Another great thing about Twitter is if you are lucky enough to get a Twitter carousel for your brand, emojis that you use in tweets will show up within Google search results. Cool, right?

Emojis on Facebook Posts

A properly placed emoji within your Facebook posts can net you some mighty fine results. Impressions for days. Again, don’t overdo it. A well-placed emoji can be interpreted as crafty and cute, while over-use is just obnoxious. (Totally guilty of that.)

 

To markup your Facebook posts with emojis, simply drop them into your open graph meta. As we said above in the Twitter section, if you are using WordPress just drop it into your SEO plugin such as Yoast or SEO Ultimate.

Keep in mind that other social networks such as LinkedIn have been known to use OGP data for their previews also, so be warned. A bunch of emoji’s on Facebook might be cool, but not does’nt necessarily translate so well over to LinkedIn.

We also don’t recommend putting emojis in your Facebook Page name, but you can try to put them in your Facebook page description.

Emojis in Email Marketing

I’m sure you’ve already started to see emoticons starting to appear in email subject lines and also the body of email messages. Be really careful with emojis in subject lines and email in general, for a few reasons:

Think carefully before adding emojis to your email marketing campaigns, especially with a huge list. Companies like MailChimp have added support for it, just be careful. We ran a MailChimp campaign a few months ago for our SEO quiz, and added emojis for the winner email.

This yielded some great results for us and definitely added some extra attention to the email when it hit people’s inbox.

 

Emojis in Pay Per Click

Short answer: Google AdWords doesn’t love them, but Facebook does allow emojis in ad text, at least the last time we checked anyway. Just be careful, not everyone interprets emojis the same way. The ❄️ snowflake emoji might look like a subtle way to talk about the winter season, but has a totally different meaning in the black market.

In PPC, we recommend sparse usage. 1 emoji per ad max, and again AdWords doesn’t use them anymore. You might find emojis in some current ads

Title Tags / Google Search

As of last year Google has officially dropped support for emojis in title tags. It was fun while it lasted but as with many things Google search related they shut it down due to abuse or at least overuse. With that said, we definitely don’t recommend using emojis in your title tags. Even if certain titles do show up in the search results, don’t do it. 

Emojis in permalinks

I debated even talking about this section. Yes, you can use an emoji in a permalink, but I really advise against it. It just isn’t prudent.

 

For some reason, Google still indexes emojis when they are part of your profile on Twitter or LinkedIn, so you can always take advantage of that.

Word of warning emojis don’t always translate from browser to browser or operating system to operating system. If you do want to use emojis make sure you stick with the standard versions and don’t use any of these add-on packs floating around.

Look at this very post as I work on it. Chrome recognizes some of these emoji’s perfectly fine during the edit process in the <title> tag, but Chrome chokes on it.

Emojis in your Domain Name

I had to really pause, and reflect before I started to type in this section. Godaddy has recently started a new initiative where you can register emoji domains.

Unless you are in some sort of highly specialized market, I’d really recommend staying away from emojis in your domain name. At least for now. I really don’t have much else to say about this. #nowords.

Final Words

Please remember, use emojis in moderation. Emojis are like the color pink on a mens dress suit: a subtle flair can attract the right attention, but too much can make you look like a total lunatic.

If you have any question for us, please feel free to leave a comment below, or reach out on social media.

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
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  • Written by: Jon Roig

    Don’t forget about emoji domains 🤑

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