It looks like Google is testing the complete removal of URLs from the search results, instead only the website name is displayed.
This was noticed by a Reddit user who shared the following screenshot in the subject:
For comparison, here's how part of this search result is displayed when displaying URLs:
Since the advent of breadcrumbs (navigation elements) a few months ago, Google has gradually moved away from displaying full URLs. Now, it looks like Google is testing the impact of removing URLs, even to the extent that the domain name is not even displayed.
As one of the Reddit users in this thread claims, perhaps the most worrying about this change is the ability to verify the legitimacy of the website displayed in the search results:
“In this era of search results that don’t even display a domain name, how is Google going to deter phishing sites from using the names of companies they’re trying to display? Worse, can Google roll back after it finds that phishing sites can exploit this lack of domains in search results to get people to divulge passwords, credit card numbers, and any other sensitive information? ”
If you look at it differently, removing URLs from the search results is not likely to change much SEO and may even change the perceived value of the URL with an exact match.
Here is another Reddit user thought on this issue:
“I think that in principle this is a good thing for new domains trying to get into a niche. this will devalue the “vanity” of any given URL, which is good in conditions where almost any URL is used. ”
If this ultimately has a negative impact on sites in terms of clickthrough rates, we think that Google is unlikely to make this a permanent, widespread change.
Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for the URL in the search results.
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