Google has recently begun testing the removal of URLs from the search results, displaying only the website name instead.
This new test makes SERPs appear as follows:
For comparison, here’s how the URL used to appear in SERPs, it has made quite a difference.
Since the introduction of breadcrumbs, Google has been trying to move away from showing the full URL of websites in SERPs. Now they’re finally testing the full removal of URLs altogether. They don’t even show the domain anymore as the screenshot shows.
As one Reddit user states in the thread, the biggest concern about this change will be being unable to see whether a website is legitimate or trustworthy when being shown in search results:
“In this era of search results that don’t even show the domain name, how’s Google going to keep phishing sites from using the names of the businesses they’re trying to impersonate? Worse yet, might Google have to roll this back after discovering phishing sites were able to exploit this lack of domains in the search results to get people to divulge passwords, credit card numbers, and all other sorts of sensitive information?”
Because URLs do not affect the ranking of websites in Google, the removal of URL shouldn’t affect your website and Google could potentially modify the perceived value of exact-match URLs.
One Reddit user said that they don’t think it will affect SEO in the statement below:
“I don’t think this is going to change much in terms of SEO, it just removes one factor that separates good content from good ranking. This is going to normalize the perception of users between traditional tld’s and modern tld’s because they can’t subconsciously decide whether or not to click on something based on the perceived trustworthiness of the URL.
I think that fundamentally it is a good thing for new domains trying to get into a niche. this is going to devalue the perceived “vanity” of any particular URL, which is good in a climate where basically any URL is taken.”
If this test ends up negatively affecting the website’s click-through rate, then there’s a good chance Google will not make this change permanent. Though that will be determined through testing.
Could this be the beginning of the removal of URLs in SERPS? Comment below on your opinion of how you think this will affect websites.