A few days after being set up, the favicons in the mobile SERP have been abused variously. Google has removed the offending icons with a default pictogram.
Last week, Google introduced a new mobile SERP displaying favicons to the left of the URL at the beginning of the results map.
It did not take long for some sites to try to manipulate this new feature with favicons that had nothing to do with the content of the site in question, bypassing the official recommendations of the search engine, namely:
- The favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google. In other words, you can not prevent the engine robot from accessing it.
- The favicon should visually represent the brand of your website, to help users quickly identify it when browsing search results.
- The size of the favicon must be a multiple of a square of 48 pixels (for example 48 x 48 pixels, 96 x 96 pixels, 144 x 144 pixels, etc.). SVG files do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is accepted. Google will resize your image to 16×16 pixels for use in search results. Therefore, be sure to submit an image suitable for this resolution.
- The favicon URL must be stable. Do not modify the URL frequently.
- Google does not display favicons that are deemed inappropriate, including any porn symbol or hateful symbol (such as swastikas). If this type of image is discovered in a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.
It is this last point that has been detected by the site Search Engine Roundtable: several sites have already been penalized and their favicon replaced by the default pictogram (a planet). Here are two examples:
It is unfortunate that every time a feature is offered by Google, it is so distorted and diverted in the hours that unscrupulous webmasters. We had already known Authorship tags, finally abandoned before the mass of spam they had generated. It seems that the same phenomenon happens with favicons. Human nature is thus made … 🙁 Hope that the penalties will be stronger than a simple picto replacement to prevent this feature also disappear in a few months …