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Google Changes URLs in Search Results Pages

Google recently announced a change in how URLs will be displayed I mobile search results.

When doing a search, the URLs that would be displayed with individual search results have always been an indicator to searchers as to the topic of a page. With the recent roll out of the new mobile Armageddon rollout by Google, there is going to be a change to how URLs will be displayed on mobile devices. Well, the change is they are going away.

Instead of showing the URL, results will now display parts of the URL broken apart into a “breadcrumbs” format.

[blockquote type=”left”]“To help mobile searchers understand your website better when we show it in the mobile search results, today we’re updating the algorithms that display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites, using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name, and the URL structure of the sites in a breadcrumbs-like format.”[/blockquote]

Here is a before and after screenshot of what this will look like.


mobile url changes from Google


URL changes in serps

Notice the domain has essentially been replace by the name of the site.

Google states that these changes will be rolled out gradually for mobile devices only. I would expect this change to make its way to desktops at some point. Additionally, the site name change component will be for the US-only for now, but the breadcrumbs will be rolling out worldwide.

How this can affect your site

Well, the structure of your URLs, which has always been important, is now even more so. If you have ugly URLs (dynamically generated or lacking in keywords), they will become even more visible in the search results than before.

It also means you have to make sure that your site’s name is reflected well in the search results. You can always leave it up to Google to figure this out, but that’s a bad strategy in my opinion. Google has some new markup tools to help you out with this. They have introduced support for structured data to help websites signal the following to their algorithm:
The name of your website – to be used instead of your actual domain name
Your URL structure as breadcrumbs

Details on how to set this up can be found here and here

As with most of Google’s algorithm changes, it remains to be seen as to how this will affect site owners and what influence – if any – it will have on search behavior.

To be continued…

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