I am really trying hard to understand the process webmasters and SEOs can take when it comes to first learning that their favicon was removed from Google’s mobile search results page because it violated the guidelines and then if it was, how they can make a change and then notify Google of the change so their new favicon can show back up in search.
As you know, Google launched favicons in mobile search and some were against the favicon guidelines and removed from the search results. But it seemed to me that those removals were only done manually because someone reported them to Danny Sullivan of Google over Twitter.
So I asked Danny Sullivan on Twitter – who didn’t respond to me – about it.
Further more – is any of this automated? if your favicon is removed, how do you fix it and notify Google of the change?
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) May 28, 2019
So then I asked John Mueller of Google in a webmaster hangout about the process at the 6:38 mark into the video. He basically hinted that it would make sense for the removal of the icons to be automated and then when Google detects a change to your favicon file, it can then reprocess it for inclusion. But I said it seems more like rich snippet manual actions and he said he isn’t sure yet. For now, to me it seems like a manual action, not an algorithm – but here is what he said:
Barry Schwartz: Let’s start with a favicons. It seems to me if you remove a favicon because it’s violating the guidelines, the favicon guidelines, that it’s similar to a manual action when you remove I guess rich results or rich snippets for violating rich snippet guidelines. I mean right now it’s very new, people were playing games and testing things, you guys remove stuff. Are there gonna be manual actions via Search Console about removals with favicons?
John Mueller: I don’t know. It is possible. But I think it kind of depends on what what all happens there and how that plays out.
To a large part these these things are meant to be handled in an algorithmic way. In the sense that if we can algorithmically figure out that this is an image that is against our guidelines, then we can just filter it out. And then when you update your favicon file and we see that oh it has changed then that’s something that we could algorithmically pick up and say oh it’s different now we’ll double-check it with our guidelines and if it’s okay then they won’t just let it go.
So in general my my preference would be to have something that just works automatically so that you don’t have to do any kind of I don’t know a manual action and manual review type process. But I don’t know we’ll see how things work out.
Barry Schwartz: All right so currently right now it’s not automated? It seems like whoever’s complaining on Twitter and gets Google’s attention might see the icons removed.
John Mueller: I don’t know, I don’t know, we do have a lot of experience with automated image recognition.
Barry Schwartz: But I’m asking right now. Is it automated or is it not?
John Mueller: I’d assume that there definitely aspects which are automated. Because I mean we have a lot of practice with with images in general. So that’s something that from from my point of view
there’d be nothing in a way of saying well we’ll just apply the same knowledge to other types of images.
Barry Schwartz: Okay if you are, if your favorite called defaults to automatically defaults to some generic favicon and they’re like wait oh this might have been bad let me go ahead and change it. Then you do change it, how do you tell Google about that or is that part automated?
John Mueller: I don’t know what what the current process is there.
Forum discussion at Twitter.