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‘Breadcrumbs’ replacing URLs in Google search results

You might notice in the Google results that the green URL under each result has now changed from the actual URL to what they call a ‘breadcrumb’ link, showing the page’s position within the site. Make a Google search and take a look (here’s one if you’re lazy). This won’t have come as a startling change because the format has been standard in mobile search for some time, and it’s been used in desktop search for many results, such as where Google can see an obvious ‘breadcrumb trail’ to use on the page. However, it looks like it’s now the standard for all results.

Users will therefore see URLs such as:

…replaced by something like: › Sensors and Sensing Equipment › Pressure Transducers

In that case, Google may have been given the breadcrumb information by the website, or it may have worked it out. Where Google isn’t given the breadcrumb information to use, and can’t really work it out, the result will not be dissimilar to the URL. For example, this blog doesn’t really have much classification beyond the date, so there’s not much Google can use. The URL of this page, a typical one, is:

…so when the page appears in the Google results in breadcrumb form, it’ll probably be nothing more than: › 2019/09 › breadcrumbs-replacing-urls

However, we can guide Google as to what we’d suggest it shows as the breadcrumb link, using something called ‘breadcrumb markup’ in the web page code. If you want to do this, and you’re using a content management system, it may be offered as part of the system (or through an add-on, such as the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress). Otherwise, you’d need to work out a way of adding the breadcrumb markup yourself. There’s an introduction from Google here.