Google Changing the Look of Mobile Search Results

As everyone knows Google is rolling out a major algorithm update this week which will significantly impact websites that aren’t mobile friendly (essentially they’re likely to see major falls in their mobile rankings). However this isn’t the only change Google is making in the mobile space.

At the end of last week Google announced they’d rolled out a change in how they present mobile search results. Instead of showing the URL structure of pages appearing in mobile results Google are now representing this in breadcrumb-like format.

To illustrate, up until last week our SEO services page was shown in Google’s mobile search results with the URL m.surefiresearch.com/what-we-do/seo/. Now Google is no longer displaying the URL but instead shows elements that look like navigation breadcrumbs after the domain name m.surefiresearch.com > what-we-do > seo.

In the US Google has gone one step further and is using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name as illustrated below.


Why should you care?

Google’s rationale for these changes is that they help mobile users more quickly understand the topic of a page and looking at the above examples we agree. Note this impacts mobile searches only and the site name change only applies in US only at this stage. Breadcrumbs however have rolled out worldwide and so these are our focus here in NZ.

One thing to note is that these breadcrumb-like elements are generated by Google from the URL structure. Sites don’t have to feature breadcrumb navigation in their design, as is the case with our site.

We’ve noticed that in many cases breadcrumbs end up truncated & don’t present that well, particularly pages with long and complex URLs. The good news is that, in conjunction with this change, Google has introduced support for schema.org structured data you can use to notify Google of the URL structure to use as breadcrumbs. So if your breadcrumb structure in Google’s mobile results don’t present as well as you’d like this gives you an opportunity to modify it.

Other search marketing news this week:

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About the Author Jeremy Templer & Mark Sceats

Jeremy and Mark are two of the partners behind SureFire Search. Despite their deceptively youthful appearances, both have worked in search marketing for many years. To put that in context, Google didn't even exist when Jeremy started.