Today, September 21, 2017, I went down the rabbit hole of researching a network of attorney websites who are all linking to themselves using very poorly written content (by someone who obviously doesn’t speak English very well) and I was checking their rankings to see how these sites performed. Sadly, they perform quite well. But in the local pack I saw something which I thought at first was brand new: First Place Ribbons. I Googled this emoji and according to emojipedia, this is the “1st Place Medal” emoji. 🥇
Are the 1st Place Medal Emojis in the Local Pack a test?
At first glance, I thought that this was a test being done by Google. But, I then realized that people are simply adding an emoji to their business name in Google My Business.
A quick Google search revealed that this has happened before, as reported by Jennifer Slegg over the The SEM Post. Business owners can simply add an emoji to their business name in Google My Business. I would be careful with this – more on that below.
Here are the emojis on mobile:
I looked around and couldn’t replicate this in the other cities I checked, although in Chicago one lucky attorney gets a featured snippet:
The emoji in the Knowledge Panel is what tipped me off:
Here it is on iPhone:
Should I add an Emoji to my business name?
I would advise against it. Jennifer also points out in the above referenced article that this has happened multiple times over the years in AdWords advertising and in many other places.
I am guessing that the emoji in the local pack will be very short lived. I’m sure one lawyer added it, then another attorney saw it and added it, then a third added it. This is the kind of thing which spreads like wildfire. Although attorneys heavily abuse rich snippets and seem to get away with it for years on end, I am betting that these go away rather quickly. Attorneys are in a bit of a unique situation; in larger cities, they are forced to push the boundaries to compete with other attorneys who are constantly bending (or breaking) the rules.
Adding an emoji to your business name or law firm’s name is not directly against the rules, as far as I know, at least… However, Google is obviously not going to be happy with one law firm or any other business prominently standing out against all of the others simply because they pasted emoji into their profile. Average users will automatically jump to conclusions, and Google wants to keep their trust.
As a side note: I’ve spoken to Tina Willis before and I can assure you Tina Willis Law is not the law firm that I was researching. I’m not going to “out” the spammers here but I can say that they are active in Orlando and working with a variety of attorney websites. Not that news like that should surprise anyone..