Google Expands AdWords Fav Icon Test

Earlier this month we reported on Google’s test of favicons in Germany and Poland in AdWords. Subsequently I was alerted by someone in email that this was happening in the UK as well. Dave Naylor noticed it today in the UK and has some screenshots. I was unable to find any conducting various searches on

In addition Blastmodo found them in AdWords in the US:

Source: Blastmodo

Previously Barry also noticed favicons being tested in organic results.

So why is Google doing this? A cynic would respond it’s to boost CTRs, which the Checkout icon has reportedly done in many cases for companies that participate. However I believe there are a number of issues converging here:

  • The pressure to allow “branding on SERPs” (a la Search Monkey)
  • The shift to a more “visual” SERP via universal/blended search
  • And . . . the desire for higher CTRs

Assume that Google rolls this out. If everyone gets to do it and/or they’re inserted with all ads it could result in clutter and “favicon blindness” to some degree. But I believe that we will see favicons on SERPs.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: AdWords | Google: Universal Search | Google: User Interface


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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