Tuesday, May 14, 2013

No URLs in Search Results from Google

Google is testing yet another user interface change – this time by not showing the URL of the search results for SEO, search engine optimization, on the results page.

The snapshot is from search engine land.


I feel that this would be detrimental to the current efforts Google is making. I understand the concept of not showing the URL means that someone won't be influenced by a URL which makes the content more valuable, but my problem is a lot of crap is on the internet (about.com, ehow.com) when SOME of those articles, NOT all, need a serious re-vamping. I would much rather look at someone's website where they have personal exp. or at least relevant to the year, over a mass out-dated wiki. This would hurt SEO on many levels. I want my site optimized for search engines, but I want my branding recognized more.

Responses from LinkedIn

Rob S:

As with many of Google’s updates relating to what the user gets from using Google search - I don’t like it and am almost to the point of routing for a competitor to make some serious inroads to Google’s commanding lead in the search engine market. I’m not a Google hater, rather a frustrated lover. For so many years Google has been so awesome and earned the position of most used engine due to its delivery of such great products and ideas. 

To the point of this post - So Google has been great at giving tons of information to its users over the years. However, since 2011(?) When citations where hidden from Google Places results, then the Place Owner’s “other information” was hidden, then huge chunks of reviews hidden all in the name of ‘cleaning up the page’… Now Places is no longer and option in the “More” drop-down and the “See more places” has been removed from the bottom of the local search ‘packs’… Now the hiding of the actual URL you’re about to go to is being considered for removal. So, I guess it’s not important for us to know where we’re going on the web, just trust Google that it’s going to be fine… 

Ok, so the more savvy user know they can still take a peek at where they are about to go by using the status bar and hovering over the link (relating to what Bob said - the popup functionality is actually already there, just not as apparent as a popup bubble on the spot that Bob suggested). But, many people don’t even realize what the status bar is for. In addition, I was just watching a news spot on how to use a computer safely, for the novice user, and one recommendation the speaker made was that novices and experts alike to run the risk of going to a bad site by simply using the address bar to type in the address of where they want to go and making a typo… His solution was to avoid typing the web address in the address bar (which is now the search bar too) and use search all the time to get where you want to go. His reasoning was that by seeing search results and looking at the green text of the URL, one can be sure they are going to the place they intended. 

Taking Google’s side for a moment - perhaps Google is trying to continue ‘cleaning up the page’ by taking away ‘unnecessary’ elements… If that is the case, I can see that taking away the URL line will reduce the average search result from 4 lines down to 3 which opens up room for 25% more white space or room for other information. If this is the case - is it reasonable? I guess it depends on what is done with the extra space.. 

Maybe I’m to cynical, but for me, the bottom line is that I don’t care for the reduction of information I get from Google. I don’t feel that Google is ‘looking out for me, or making my life easier’ by eliminating information they deem ‘unnecessary’. I know, Google is owned by Google and they have a right to do whatever they want with their products. But, users also have the right to use whatever search products they want - insinuation intended.

Daniel S:

This is probably a stupid question, and I can see why domain owners and domain SEO people would be upset about it, but mightn't this be part of a turn toward the idea i heard a while back that actual websites or domains are to someday be a thing of the past? I mean, when i intentionally vaguely ask people (to see what they think), users I mean, my friends for example in the lower fields I have worked in, construction, etc, about the usefulness/need of a certain kind of web page, they tell me as they mostly use their phones for the web, that websites aren't the thing anymore, that everyone only uses apps?

Bob P:

Perhaps Google is trying to de-value exact-match-domain names a little more, and along with it exact-match file and folder names. IMHO it is a good thing. 

The URL is not needed as long as clicking on the title in the listing takes you to the site, which it does. I think that removing the URLs reduces clutter and makes the search results page cleaner. 

On the other hand, I sometimes look for specific URLs in search results. For example, if I want to buy something I might be drawn more strongly to the URL of a known merchant. It might be a good thing if Google allows the URL to be displayed on mouseover.