Google Breadcrumbs launched: hierarchies now displayed

Wed 18 November 2009 10:00, Bas van den Beld

Google Breadcrumbs launched: hierarchies now displayed

This morning Google announced the newest way of showing where you are going when clicking on a search result. In stead of the 'regular' URL's string you now get breadcrumbs. This will have great impact on the way we use urls because the keyword rich urls are not shown anymore.

Google takes this step because many web addresses don't tell you well enough where you are going. The "URLs are too long, too short, or too obscure to add useful information." By adding the new text Google wants to give useful information about the page before you click on them.

On their blog Google explains how they choose the used breadcrumbs:

"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."

They also show some examples of how search results will change:


Roy yesterday in the Searchcowboys show already noticed the breadcrumbs showing up on one of his sites. He then mentioned the breadcrumbs don't just show up in the top results but also on the middle of the page. That indicates that Google looks at the site urls and structure and then decides wether or not the site needs breadcrumbs.

It's not yet clear what this will though for clickthrough rates. Some sites might benefit from them but others might not like the way Google structures their sites. And there is no indication yet on how users respond to this. Will users be temped to click sooner or not? What do you think?

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