Emoji Searching – Would you? Should you? Did you even know you could?

I often think it would be quite exciting to be a search engine; with all that information to your fingertips and all that power over who gets to see what, you could perhaps rule the world. You would certainly rule the world of keywords but what if you became bored with words, especially sets of words, which all essentially mean the same thing? You might like to lighten things up and let people use emojis in their search queries.

Well we have some good news, emoji searching has been around for a while now and, to give an example, if you search using only the Hamburger emoji (which, on some Android versions, still has the cheese underneath the burger instead of on top of it), you will find some useful information about what hamburgers are, some not so useful information about McDonald’s burgers and an interesting discussion on where different platforms place the cheese (talk about obsessions). If however, you search using the Hamburger emoji and the words ‘near me’, you will probably find out the ten best burgers in your town.

If you have tried this (of course you have, who wouldn’t) you will have realised, like I did, that swapping from emoji panel to typing panel takes time and that if you are typing the relevant word ‘hamburger’ to find the Hamburger emoji, you might as well miss out a step and use the word instead. It was at this point I tried to be clever and, instead of typing ‘near me’, add the emoji for House (formerly known as ‘House Building’ but presumably, at some point, Unicode decided that we all knew houses were buildings). Sadly this cleverness didn’t work and lots of videos about burgers appeared instead.

Before we all get carried away with our fun emoji searches, you might want to know whether or not you should be including emoji on your website, just in case people are using them in their searches. The answer to this requires a few facts:

  • At present Google include emoji in search results (this has not always been the case)
  • In June 2018, the Unicode Standard included 2,823 emoji (Unicode are kind of like the emoji police)
  • New emoji are introduced every year (useful 2019 emoji searches will include Skunk, Axe and Stethoscope)
  • Not all emoji are available on all platforms (they also look slightly different across platforms – back to the burger cheese again)
  • Each emoji has a word translation so, instead of distracting your website readers with irritating symbols, optimise your web content for keywords that relate to relevant emoji.