Google is tidying up its search results, removing URLs from the results page and replacing them with a ‘breadcrumbs’ structure that will show where on a site a result is coming from.
Where the site used to show a full URL underneath the page title — filled with slashes, and describing where in the page’s hierarchy the site sits — it will instead show it as normal words, cleaning up the page for mobile users.
The move comes as part of a re-organisation by Google of its algorithm for mobile users, which will be changed to prioritise sites that are easier to read on mobile. From April 21, “mobile-friendliness” will become one of the most important ways of ranking pages, so that sites that are not easy to read on mobile devices will be punished in search results.
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For now, the new search page will only be seen on mobile. It will be rolled out gradually and will affect Google search results worldwide.
The company said that it had made the change to “help mobile searchers understand your website better when we show it in the mobile search results”.
“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,” wrote Bartlomiej Niechwiej, a Google software engineer, and Rob Ennals, a product manager, in a blogpost announcing the change.
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