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Google’s changing things up on mobile devices again. This time it’s the way that URLs are displayed on mobile devices.

As part of this new launch, Google will make these two changes:

  • The website name will be used instead of the domain name
  • The URL structure will be displayed as breadcrumbs

Website Name Used Instead of Domain Name

April 16, 2015 Google updated their algorithms to display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites, using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name. The site name change affects only mobile results in the U.S. and will be rolled out gradually.

To have your website name displayed instead of your domain name, Google says to use structured data markup on your public website to indicate the preferred name you want Google to display in Search results. You can also provide more than one possible name for your site, and let Google Search algorithms choose between them. Once Google has crawled and indexed the updated page, they can use the provided name in Search results.

When using a website name instead of your domain name, Google has set the following criteria:

  • Be reasonably similar to your domain name
  • Be a natural name used to refer to the site, such as “Google,” rather than “Google, Inc.”
  • Be unique to your site—not used by some other site
  • Not be a misleading description of your site

For more details and code examples, refer to Google’s documentation for providing site names. Their website also includes troubleshooting in the event you don’t like the website name displayed or no name is displayed at all.

URL Structure Displayed as Breadcrumbs

What are Breadcrumbs?

PC Magazine describes breadcrumbs as “a description of the trail you took to arrive at your current location. Text breadcrumbs are common on Web sites to help users navigate the site. For example, breadcrumbs such as Products->TVs->Plasma indicate that the Plasma TV Products page you are looking at was retrieved by first clicking Products, then TVs and then Plasma.

When you mark up breadcrumb information in the body of a web page, Google can use it to understand and present the information on your pages in their search results, like this:

tim

So in the example above that page is accessed when a visitor selects Arts ► Books ► Poetry on the www.theguardian.com homepage.  For more details and code examples, refer to Google’s documentation about breadcrumbs.

Going forward, Google search results on your mobile device will support websites that are mobile-friendly. If you’ve got an old site, it’s more important now than ever to make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Otherwise, your website will begin to disappear to the bottom of the search results and all your hard work will have gone to waste.

Do you know if your page meets the mobile-friendly criteria? Google has a tool to check your own pages to see how they stack up against Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test criteria. If you’re not as friendly as you think, give us a holler and we’ll help you come up with a plan to move forward.