What is a “favicon”, and what’s the newest reason to have one?

Thanks to the Hallam Communications blog for pointing out a small but interesting development for AdWords advertisers, in last Friday’s posting AdWords Displaying Favicons in Search Results. It would appear that Google has been testing putting little logos from the advertiser next to AdWords ads, and you can bet that this will become standard if it results in more clicks on the adverts, which I suspect it will. The logos are what are known as “favicons” and it gives me the excuse to tell you what these are and why you need one.

If you’re using a modern browser with “tabs” (multiple websites open at any one time), you’ll see that most tabs have little logos next to the page title. On most browsers, you may also see the logo in the address bar (the field with the “http…” details in at the top), and if you pull down your Favourites or Bookmarks list, you should see the logos there too. These logos are called favicons, because they were originally designed to be shown only in the Favourites list.

If a site doesn’t have one, you’ll see a boring generic document icon. Still not sure what I’m talking about? Here are some screenshots of favicons.

Now we’re clear on that, does your site show a favicon when you look at one of your pages? Our site does, as you can see here. If yours doesn’t (or if it’s a bit dull), it’s time to get on to your website designer and get this situation sorted (they should have given you a decent one in the first place, it’s a pretty basic element to a website). If you need someone to do it quickly and cheaply, email me and I can point you in the right direction. As the development in Google AdWords shows, an increasing amount of use is being made of “favicons” and you need to make sure you have one.

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