Google’s Oct 18 2023 Algorithm Update: Favicon Specifications Refined

Favicons in Search Results

Google, known for its periodic updates to its core algorithm, has recently introduced a fresh change that specifically revolves around favicons in search results. The emphasis now is on the implementation of a 1:1 stable icon, echoing Google’s persistent efforts to improve user experience in search results.

For the uninitiated, Google’s algorithmic updates aren’t new. Over the years, the tech giant has regularly tweaked its algorithm to ensure that search results are as relevant and user-friendly as possible. These changes sometimes focus on the quality of content, backlinks, mobile usability, or even the display of elements like favicons.

A screenshot of search results featuring "VonClaro" listings. The top result is from, describing it as a Growth Marketing Agency from Waterloo, ON. Other results include an SEO-specific page from the same website and a LinkedIn company page for VonClaro highlighting SEO best practices. Red arrows point towards the first two listings. A screenshot to show favicons in search results.
A quick screenshot to show favicons in search results.

The Favicon Challenge: Why .svg Might Be Problematic

One of the standout changes in this update is Google’s position on favicons. For those unfamiliar, a favicon is the small icon that appears next to a site’s title in browser tabs and bookmarks. Favicons in search results play a crucial role in brand recognition and user experience.

Specifically, Google’s revised guidelines highlight:

  1. Favicons need to be crawlable by Googlebot-Image, while the home page should be accessible to Googlebot.
  2. They should represent your brand, aiding users in quickly identifying your site in search results.
  3. Favicons should be in multiples of 48px square (e.g., 48x48px, 96x96px). While SVGs don’t have a specific size, their versatility can lead to inconsistency in presentation.
  4. Google emphasizes using a stable favicon URL.
  5. Google reserves the right to replace any inappropriate icons.

source: Favicons in Search

For sites using .svg as their favicon, this update means you might not be aligning with Google’s preferred format. Switching to a .ico or .png format would be a wise move.

On a side note, additional updates were rolled out for Search Generative Experience and Rich Results.

The Larger Picture: Core Algorithm Updates and Their Impact

Beyond favicons, Google’s core updates can bring about significant shifts in search rankings and website visibility. This recent alteration is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of search algorithms and the need for website owners to remain vigilant.

For businesses, these changes could mean a drop in website traffic, leading to potential revenue losses. Therefore, understanding, monitoring, and quickly adapting to these updates becomes essential for online success.

Attractive smiling young african woman working on laptop computer at the table at home

The Importance of Staying Updated

Google’s search algorithm is a complex machine, with minor tweaks and adjustments happening regularly. However, major core updates, like the one mentioned, can bring about drastic changes in how websites are ranked and displayed.

By keeping an eye on these updates, webmasters can ensure their sites remain compliant, thereby safeguarding their online visibility and user experience. With tools and communities dedicated to monitoring these updates, staying ahead of the curve has never been easier.

In the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and SEO, staying updated is not just recommended; it’s essential. With this recent change in favicon guidelines and the broader implications of core algorithm updates, now is the time to review and revise your online strategies. Ensure your website’s favicon aligns with Google’s new standards, and more importantly, always be prepared for the next big change.

Did you enjoy this blog? Check out our blog on “Email Deliverability 2024: Navigating the New Email Sender Requirements of Gmail and Yahoo in 2024

Article by Scott ChandlerSenior Director of Demand Generation, VonClaro

Scott Chandler holds the position of Vice President of Growth Marketing at VonClaro. In this capacity, he orchestrates sophisticated marketing strategies, primarily focusing on paid advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). His deep comprehension of the digital marketing sphere empowers him to produce substantial and measurable achievements for the clientele.

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