How to use emojis in your page title and meta description


With the rise of social media and smartphone adoption, emojis have gone from the cute icons we add to our text messages to an integral part of our daily communication. For many people, emojis belong to social media and text messages, as we mostly use them in those contexts. But did you know that you can also add emojis to your website title and meta description? In this post, we’ll explore why and how to use emojis in titles and meta descriptions. At the same time, we will discuss some precautions and nuances of their use in SEO.

Emoji search snippet

The emoji phenomenon 😍

We’ve become so familiar with the use of emojis in online communication that it’s hard to imagine a world without them. In fact, we love emojis so much that the ‘face with tears of joy’ was chosen for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the year 2015. Technically, it’s an emoji (tale: 🤣) and not a word.

This is all thanks to the rich and expressive nature of emojis, especially when compared to text. These little colorful icons can represent such a wide range of things – from faces to sports, food and many other things. We use them as a tool, a means of communication to express our feelings and emotions. Sometimes we use them to quickly replace an entire phrase or even an entire sentence.

Since texting and social media interactions are short forms of communication, it makes sense that people want to keep their communication short and simple. Not to mention, emojis are fun to use and fun to look at. It makes you connect with the people you chat with or the content in your social media feed.

Why use emojis in page titles and meta descriptions?

Did you know that search engines support search queries with emojis? Try searching by adding the donut emoji and the name of the city you live in. You will likely see a search results page with bakeries and restaurants that sell donuts. You may even see emojis in the title or meta descriptions of some results.

Google stated that adding emojis to addresses and meta descriptions is allowed but they have with no direct impact on SEO. This means you can use them as you please, but don’t expect to improve your rankings.

So using emojis will not directly affect your ranking. However, they can indirectly help with SEO by affecting the CTR of your search results. As already mentioned, emojis are colorful and fun to look at. This makes them immediately stand out on the search results page, where most of the information is displayed in text.

You can play with the dynamics of emojis and use them as a way to grab the attention of searchers and motivate them to click on your results instead of your competitors. This helps improve your organic CTR, which is good because it can also affect your search rankings.

Is there data for this?

It is important to note that the hypothesis that emojis increase CTR is not yet conclusive. Although some SEO experts believe this, there is not enough convincing data to back it up. However, small experiments have been carried out on this topic.

For example, SplitSignal conducted their own split test by adding a cocktail-like emoji to the title of their recipe pages. At the end of the test, they saw an organic traffic growth of 11.3%, which is quite a lot. On the other hand, Searchpilot also conducted a similar split test in which they replaced the numbers in the website’s category page meta descriptions with the equivalent number emojis. They actually saw a drop in organic traffic for page variations compared to their expected performance.

Because these two experiments were conducted independently and with small sample sizes, it is impossible to say whether one result is more conclusive than the other. At the same time, they had very different websites, target groups and research methodologies.

Our advice for using emojis

As you can imagine, we cannot say with certainty that using emojis will increase the number of clicks for your web pages. It’s more about having a hypothesis and testing it. However, if you want to add emojis to your page title and meta description, we’d like to make the following recommendations.

First, always consider your business and the niche/industry you are in. Undoubtedly, emojis work better in some niches and industries than others. Let’s say your company is in the healthcare industry and is concerned with the safety and well-being of others. Normally, you would want people to see your brand as useful and trustworthy. In this case, would adding emojis to your page titles help or hurt your brand image? On the other hand, if you’ve just opened a local coffee shop with a hip vibe, it’s not a bad idea to customize a few pages and add an emoji or two to drive clicks to your website.

Second, consider your audience and decide whether emojis will resonate well with them or not. For example, if most of your visitors are teenagers and young adults, they might be drawn to these colorful icons.

Third, use emoji sparingly and sparingly. And don’t add emojis to every page title and meta description. Having an emoji or two in your page title or meta description is more than enough to grab searchers’ attention. Overdo it and your search results can look forced, which may discourage people from clicking on them.

Last but not least, use the right emojis for your brand and audience. Emojis have a rich meaning, but that means they can be easily misinterpreted by people, especially when used in the wrong context.

Aside from the recommendations we’ve made above, you should know that there are some precautions and nuances when using emojis in page titles and meta descriptions, including:

  • How emojis are displayed is highly dependent on the font, device, and browser that searchers are using. This means that the same emojis can look different on mobile than they do on desktop. In some cases, the same emojis may not be displayed on certain devices and set browsers. Or worse, the same emojis may show up as empty squares because they’re not supported.
  • Google and other search engines may drop support for emojis on search results pages. If this happens, all your work will fail and searchers will be left with weird code and empty squares. In fact, Google did it once in 2015, but the company changed its stance and then reinstated support.
  • In general, there is no limit to the length of meta descriptions. But Google only displays up to 155 characters in search snippets. At the same time, emojis can take up more characters than text, so you need to take this into account.
  • Google’s algorithm already rewrites a lot of titles and meta descriptions to begin with. Even if you add emojis, Google may not show them on the search results page.
  • Too many emojis can be a bad thing for accessibility. Especially for people who use screen readers as shown here a tweet.

Easily add emojis with Yoast SEO Premium 🙌

Now that you have enough information about using emojis in titles and meta descriptions, let’s talk about how to actually add them there. At some point, you should dive into the HTML of your website and edit the codes. It’s not too complicated, but it would still be time-consuming and inconvenient, especially for those who are not proficient in HTML.

Fortunately Yoast SEO Premium makes it quick and easy with the new emoji picker tool. The best part is that you won’t have to fiddle with any codes to make it work.

All you have to do is select the place where you want to add emojis, click on the smiley and choose from a large library of emojis. Here you can also preview how your content will appear in search results. That’s it, nice and simple, right? 😁.

screenshot of the emoji picker in action.  There is a smiley face icon which, when clicked, brings up a list of emojis that you can add to your page title or meta description.
Easily add emojis with the emoji picker in Yoast SEO Premium

Final thoughts

Emojis are fun, colorful and expressive. You can use them to attract attention on the search results page, resulting in more clicks and visits to your website. However, the usefulness of emojis depends on many factors, such as your business and audience. There is no guarantee that they will have a positive effect on your organic traffic, so consider whether emojis are suitable for your site, conduct tests with them and use them sparingly.

If you’d like to add emojis to your page titles and meta descriptions, why not consider using the emoji picker in Yoast SEO Premium? It is fast, simple and easy to use. The best part is that you won’t have to fiddle with codes just to add a simple smiley face to your page title. Check!


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