Google might kill URLs in mobile search and ruin things for everyone

Google might kill URLs in mobile search and ruin things for everyone

Our own Napier Lopez spotted an odd change in Google’s search service on Android today: search results don’t include URLs like they used to. Instead, they only display the page’s title, a thumbnail of a featured image from the site, and a blurb.

It isn’t clear if Google is merely running a test or gradually rolling out a change. But it’s hard to see how this helps anyone, besides making the interface a bit cleaner. The company also seems to be testing another way of displaying URLs and AMP badges:

I’m not a fan of the new experiment. For users, it becomes more difficult to figure out which site they’re be directed to when they tap on a result. That’s annoying if you roughly know where you want to go, and only need help finding the right page.

There’s a chance that webmasters will lose out on traffic from those people who are looking for their sites specifically.

The move might be driven by a belief that SEO and Google’s indexing are now good enough to accurately point people to the best search results without displaying URLs, but it seems like a premature step at this point, especially if Google can’t figure out a better way to tell you what site you’re heading to.

We’ve contacted Google to learn more and will update this post if there’s a response.

 

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