Posted November 19, 2009 8:46 am by with 6 comments

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google-logo1While Google made the announce of their new inclusion of site hierarchy to help searchers understand the context of a search result more clearly on Tuesday, it also stated that this will be seen globally over the next few days. Well, that brings us to today right? So keep an eye out for the latest update that Google has put into play to try to make their flagship offering, their search engine, better. After all there may come a day when some ‘competitors’ may need to join forces and actually challenge Google search supremacy (oh that’s right that’s already happening).

Google’s blog tells us

Google usually shows a green web address, or URL, at the bottom of each search result to let you know where you’re headed. Today we’re rolling out an improvement that replaces the URL in some search results with a hierarchy showing the precise location of the page on the website. The new display provides valuable context and new navigation options.

As most know, oftentimes the URL of search result that would give an indication to those who would think this way that the page they are looking for is part of a larger scheme. Since many URL’s are too long and get cut off on the SERP’s then that benefit is lost.

Google’s answer is to provide a breadcrumb presentation of a site’s hierarchy is it is available for the result. The look of the result (in which each individual word is a link to a different destination) is like this


The information in these new hierarchies come from analyzing destination web pages. For example, if you visit the ProductWiki Spidersapien page, you’ll see a series of similar links at the top, “Home> Toys & Games> Robots.” These are standard navigational tools used throughout the web called “breadcrumbs,” which webmasters frequently show on their sites to help users navigate. By analyzing site breadcrumbs, we’ve been able to improve the search snippet for a small percentage of search results, and we hope to expand in the future.

Whenever anything like this is rolled out I always try to think about this kind of improvement as it relates to the vast majority of Internet users and search engine users. I suspect we over estimate their level of sophistication quite regularly. While this is interesting I don’t even really feel compelled to go to another page within the hierarchy because there is just a little information about the direct result I am looking for and it’s not even the same page so why would I go elsewhere right out of the gate?

Personally, I like to keep things simple. Is this a true improvement or just something else to talk about? Google’s take is that they are impressed with what this does.

When we design the way results appear on, our goal is to get you to the information you’re looking for as quickly as possible. Sometimes that means improving how we represent websites, and other times that means giving you new ways to explore content. We’re always happy when we can introduce a feature, like site hierarchies, that does both!

Maybe my persoanl need for simplicity in an increasingly unsimple world is missing something? How do you see it?

  • This is a really interesting idea, I am wondering how much roll out it will actually receive as I do not think it will have a huge effect on people clicking the site hierarchy links. I think for the average searcher they will gloss over it and not even notice it as additional content they can click.

  • Dont know if I like the idea of Google offering breadcrumb choices to other pages after I finally get the page I want the visitor to see ranking well.
    .-= Jaan Kanellis´s last blog ..Google Will Roll Out “Caffeine” Update After Holidays =-.

  • As a Internet Entrepreneur any change Google makes, makes me a bit nervous, but I accept that the Internet and search will always be changing. I think it is good for sites that are well designed with good hierarchies. It may be problematic for older site with really long urls.

    Will people use it? I’m not sure. I would think it more likely to explore once on the site.

    I have a suspicion that this is more to let you know that the content that is ranking high is on some article database site or Squidoo type site that is reverse engineered to rank high for content as apposed to a site that is specifically about the topic.

  • I’m not sure there’s much impact to be had … in my job, I’m constantly explaining to people what that green link actually is. Can’t say I ever pay too much attention to it myself, either.
    I guess there’s SEO scope for naming your folders and files correctly though ???

  • A lot of info, this could be quite useful. I’m anxious to see the SERP results with Caffinee too when it gets to all datacenters. This new addition to the way the url is formatted could be helpful, but how many people actually pay attention to where the Results Link points to?
    .-= TenshiWeb´s last blog ..Submitting to Bing =-.

  • I’m seeing some e-commerce client sites earning these breadcrumbs in the SERPs already. There’s no such thing as a “typical searcher” but if there were I could imagine the breadcrumbs might help them figure out if the result they are about to click on is within a relevant section of the top-level site (or if the site is relevant at all).

    Seems to be a subtle, but potentially high quality, “whiff” of relevance for a user that can help entice them to follow the scent.
    .-= Andrew Miller´s last blog ..What Makes Me Smile =-.