Today, Google began to use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, but the search giant isn't stopping there in its push to promote good experiences for mobile users.  

Last week, Google announced that it is changing the way URLs are presented in the SERPs.

On the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Google's Bartlomiej Niechwiej and Rob Ennals detailed how the algorithms that display URLs in search results on mobile will be updated to reflect sites names instead of domain names.

The post also detailed how the URL structure of the page being returned in search results will be displayed in a breadcrumbs format.

At the current time, the site name change will only affect US search results; use of breadcrumbs is a global update.

Website owners who want to ensure that the site name and breadcrumbs displayed are accurate are encouraged to use structured data markup, a standard that Google and other search engines support to enhance their content indexing efforts.

Documentation and examples for signaling a preferred site name and breadcrumbs can be found on the Google Developers website. According to the documentation, markup for breadcrumbs "is being finalized and will be preferred when ready."

Not surprisingly, Google is cognizant of the potential for abuse and has issued a number of requirements around the use of structured data. Site names, for instance, must be "reasonably similar to your domain name" and cannot be intended to mislead users.

Despite the fact that website owners have been encouraged to use structured data for years, according to a study by Searchmetrics, well under 1% of websites actually implement it.  

This is despite stats which suggest pages with structured data rank four positions higher in search results.

With Google's latest changes to mobile search results only making markup more important, now is a good time for website owners who haven't adopted markup to reconsider and take a second look. 

For more information on how to use structured data, read What is Schema markup and why should you be using it?

Patricio Robles

Published 21 April, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)


Chris Monkman, Web Developer at E-Dzine

With regards to the implementation of breadcrumbs, could it be that there's no clear guidance on exactly how to do it?

If you look at what google advises for breadcrumbs and the version they're not the same (to be honest, there not even close) so I think it'd be nice to have some constancy before it gets widely implemented. The same goes for searchmetrics chart, which version did they check for? One or both?

over 3 years ago

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