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Google Changes Appearance of Mobile URLs

20 Apr, 2015 McKell Naegle

It’s pretty common knowledge now—Google loves updates. While it certainly means good things for usability and ease, it is a lot to keep track of. Yesterday, Google announced another minor algorithm update, a change in the way URLs are presented in search results. From Google’s blog:

“Well-structured URLs offer users a quick hint about the page topic and how the page fits within the website. 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.”

As Google mentioned above, there are two main changes:

  1. The website name to be used instead of the domain name.
  2. The URL structure of the URL as breadcrumbs.

The whole point of this update is to help users navigate search results, and to make them easier to understand. Google no longer wants to show a long, confusing URL in mobile search results. They want to show the real-world text, making it easier to quickly read and process.

GoogelBreadcrumbs1              Googlebreadcrumbs2

Left: An example of before, using the site URL. Right: An example of after, using the site name and breadcrumbs.

So what are breadcrumbs? Google explains:

“A breadcrumb trail is a set of links (breadcrumbs) that can help a user understand and navigate your site’s hierarchy. When you mark up breadcrumb information in the body of a web page, Google can use it to understand and present the information on your pages in our search results.”


Google has said that these changes are being rolled out gradually, and that this will only affect mobile results. The change from URL to site name will be US-only, while the breadcrumb format will be rolling out worldwide. It is now even more important to update your site, making sure your site name and structure are reflected well in the results.

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