Why You Need To Use Emojis In Your SEO Strategy 💃📈

7 min readJun 7, 2019


Your SEO strategy most likely involves on-page copy optimisation but do you have an emoji strategy for SEO? The average person suffers information overload viewing around 5,000 ads per day. People are now looking for simpler ways to communicate and emojis are everywhere on social media, email and even outdoor advertising.

The average person wants to communicate with a combination of words and emojis. Our research shows that Google is happy to let you use emojis for important SEO listings. The future of SEO is clearly communicating with users and emojis can definitely help.

The rise of the emoji

The humble emoji was first created by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita in 1999.

In 2015, over 50% of all Instagram captions used emojis and 92% of online consumers use emojis.

In 2017 emojis are used over 5 billion times a day on Facebook Messenger and Google announces support for emoji’s in search listings.

In 2018, emoji use in marketing increases by 775% in the past 5 years and linguistic scholars host an international workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications at Stanford University.

In 2019, there are 3,019 emojis emojis in the latest release of unicode standard 12.0 and machine learning is being used to understand emoji usage.

Can you use emojis in your title tags and meta description?

Emojis appear in snippets when Google believes it is “relevant, useful, and fun”. Emojis are surprisingly easy to feature in the search results.

In a recent Optimistics study, we did an experiment to see just how easy it is to get emojis featured in the search results for businesses.

For our test we used Evolutionary Tutors, a private tutoring business in Sydney and Melbourne. This was the perfect case study since the domain received less than 1000 users per month and the website had no backlinks. The website did have a 3-year domain history providing a base-level of authority.

We wanted to see if we could get the 📖 emoji to appear in the title tag of the search results.

It worked.

In less than 3 days the website was being featured in #3 position for the term ‘private hsc tutoring’ with our favourite 📖 emoji.

Interestingly, we even received the 📖 emoji when ranked in #55 position for the higher value term ‘hsc tutoring’.

We did notice that only some of our website pages did not receive emojis in the SERP results. For example our ‘Private High School Tutoring Melbourne’ page did not appear with an emoji in the SERP results.

The ‘HSC Tutoring Sydney’ page is a moderately high traffic page with 133 unique pageviews each month and a 12-month history in the website.

Why do emojis only sometimes appear in the title tags and meta description?

We believe that Google shows emojis based upon a combination of website authority and page authority.

In the experiment, we looked at a series of brand new pages launched during our emoji experiment.

What we discovered is that one of the brand new pages received the emoji and the other page did not receive the emoji.

This is incredibly interestings considering ‘HSC Tutoring Sydney’ and ‘High School Tutoring Sydney’ both received emojis and these pages are nearly identical to the Melbourne pages shown above.

The new page with emojis receives 33 unique page views each month and the new page without emojis receives only 14 unique page views each month.

It is very likely that the amount of traffic your page receives is a strong indicator on whether or not Google will show your page with emojis in the SERP results.

Our analysis suggests that you are likely to receive title tags in your emojis if your page receives over 20–30+ unique page views each month*.

*The research has been completed on a very small scale and upon a very small sample. This figure is purely a rough guideline to help other SEO’s.

How do emojis effect SEO?

Customers can already search products by using emoji for product searches like “🍕 near me” and even searches for actors like “Kevin 🥓”. Google’s machine learning algorithm RankBrain, can understand the semantic language behind your emojis and return accurate search results.

We don’t necessarily believe that ranking for novelty terms like “🍕 near me” will result in a huge increase in traffic. The true power of the emoji, is the ability to make your 🍕 search listing stand out and improve your click-through rate.

How do emojis improve your SEO?

Using emojis in your rich snippets helps you stand out in the search and help attract users to click on your search result. Emojis help you improve your SEO by improving the click-through-rate of your pages.

Employees at Google openly acknowledge that CTR and behaviour data is used as a ranking signal.

“It’s pretty clear that any reasonable search engine would use click data on their own results to feed back into ranking to improve the quality of search results. Infrequently clicked results should drop toward the bottom because they’re less relevant, and frequently clicked results bubble toward the top. Building a feedback loop is a fairly obvious step forward in quality for both search and recommendations systems, and a smart search engine would incorporate the data.”

Edmond Lau, Former Engineer at Google (2006–2008)

Google is extremely clear that user behaviour (in particular click-through rate) is crucial to improving your SEO. In Google’s patent ‘Modifying search result ranking based on implicit user feedback’, they state:

“Search engines aim to identify documents or other items that are relevant to a user’s needs… searching users are often the best judges of relevances, if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.”


Do emojis actually improve your click-through rate?

Larry Kim tested how emojis can improve Google Adwords campaign by testing title tags with and without emojis 🐼🐧:

“Bulk Animal Erasers 🐼🐧”

“Bulk Animal Erasers”

The results are as follows:

  • Emojis improved CTR by 331%.
  • Emojis improved the average advertising position from 1.8 to 1.3.
  • Emojis reduced the average CPC from $0.39 to $0.29.

The research shows that using emojis significantly increased click-through rate (by a whopping 331%). Clearly, emojis are a powerful tool that can be used to improve the click-through rate.

Emojis usage can directly improve your SEO by improving the click-through rate and therefore your Google ranking.

What are the most effective emojis for SEO?

The positive SEO effects of emojis come from the capacity for emojis to improve the click-through-rate of your search results.

A recent study investigated what emojis improve click-through rates and provide inspiration for how you can use emojis in your SEO strategy.

The results are very surprising. The emojis that are most likely to improve click-through rate are completely unrelated to the most popular emojis and most engaged emojis.

The research suggests that your use of emojis needs to be hyper relevant to the platform, audience and industry of your business.

The emojis relevant to SEO, are emojis most likely to improve CTR. But the top ten emojis to improve CTR are completely random.They look like an ancient hieroglyphic from an obscure cave painting.

This leads us to believe that the most effective emojis for SEO are quirky yet hyper relevant to your business.


Emoji usage is widespread in digital marketing and it is becoming an increasingly important component for your SEO strategy. It is clear that emojis have the power to improve your click-through rate and therefore the SEO performance of your website. Google is happy to feature emojis in the search results and there is no reason to ignore emojis in your 2019 SEO strategy.

How will you use emojis in 2019?

Written by Tim Kelly, Digital Marketing Executive at Optimistics




Optimistics is a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company & digital marketing agency in London 🚀www.optimistics.co.uk