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 google.com, 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?