Continuing my deconstruction of the elements of a Google results page, let’s look at the third and final element of the Google “natural search” results, which is the green website link. In terms of the encouragement it offers to click on the link or not, I think that this is underrated in importance by most people. Google’s constant testing would agree, because the green website link was permanently moved up to a position directly underneath the title a year or so ago.
I think the website link plays a large part in a Google searcher’s decision on which links to click, as many people instantly scan the results to see if there’s a website they recognise. That’s why nothing can beat a familiar brand.
Google is always looking to make this line more human-friendly, and you might find that if your website has a clear “breadcrumb trail” on its pages, these might be grabbed and used instead of the URL:
Alternatively, just last week I saw a page of results where Google had pulled out the website (or company) name from the site, and had added that to the green website link. This is a trial which has been reported on many occasions in the past, and which I think Google will continue to test until it get evidence that people prefer the format. That could be as soon as now.
It’s generally accepted that having key search terms in the green website link is a major advantage. If you’re allowed to specify the page address (“URL”) when you create a page, take advantage of that. But short of a major restructuring of your website, there’s probably not a lot you can do to improve the addresses of your existing pages. If you’re stuck with a content management system which insists on defining each page by a number or by IT-speak, like the example below, hard luck. At least next time your site gets a major rebuild, specify that the system gets proper words into the URLs like the example at the very top of this article.