As we all know Google has been displaying favicons within the Google Search Results on mobile since May 2019. This change was well received and users were happy that they could identify which brand the search result was coming from.
On January 13th Google brought this big change to desktop search results. Many would argue that this is the biggest change to how Google displays search results in the company’s history and I think it’s safe to say the decision was very controversial. Google faced a number of complaints within the marketing community and the general public as it became very difficult to tell which results were Google Advertising and which results were Organic. The only defining difference between the Google Ad and the Organic listing was small lettering or icon next to the link. Making them even more difficult to tell apart. This fuels speculation that Google is trying to get more users to click the ads than organic listings.
Due to the backlash Google received, on January 24 they decided to do some further testing and experiment with the new changes. This includes removing favicons for some users and testing favicons in other placements within the SERPs to “bring a modern look to desktop”.
Is this the end of favicons on desktop or does it have the potential to stay? Google stated that these experiments will take place over the next few weeks before we see a confirmed decision. However, let’s not get too comfortable as we all know Google algorithm changes never stop!