Have We Screwed Ourselves?

Google Hier
Google Hierarchies

Rewriting urls for dynamic websites has been a long time, huge debate and even big business for some. Whether or not you chose to rewrite your urls for usability or keyword strength (which is really almost nil)… Many shop owners have chosen to do so.

The original push to rewrite urls really had nothing to do with keywords. The issue was in fact that Google an the other search engines had difficulty handling all those nasty parameters. Adding logical keywords to these urls really doesn’t help you rank, but rather is a pretty big usability punch in your SERPs. People use the SERP url to help them determine if the result is what they are seeking.

Google has known searchers do this for sometime…and they have preached the use of great and unique descriptions along the same line. Remember, your Meta description does not help you rank… but is rather a unique opportunity to elicit a click from searchers. This element however, if not appropriate for the query will be replaced by a snippet to better serve the searcher…. All good, no arguments here.

Now, however, Google has taken the matter of SERP usability in to their own hands with their new hierarchies for the SERPs. These are beyond cool, and very similar to a sitelink. The process itself produces an very helpful search environment for searchers.

This example from Google shows that, ugly… unusable urls can now be displayed in a very helpful manner for searchers… and the site owners as well.

Click to see the actual search result

So, how have we perhaps screwed ourselves?

What you cannot see in the image is that the “Healthy Recipes” and “Other Healthy Recipes” are linked to different qualified pages… Add the listing link and this one small search result and it now has 3 links to the site… Tripling it’s click through ability!

The information in these new hierarchies come from analyzing destination web pages. For example, if you visit the ProductWiki Spidersapien page, you’ll see a series of similar links at the top, “Home> Toys & Games> Robots.” These are standard navigational tools used throughout the web called “breadcrumbs,” which webmasters frequently show on their sites to help users navigate. By analyzing site breadcrumbs, we’ve been able to improve the search snippet for a small percentage of search results, and we hope to expand in the future.

Maybe those pretty urls will prevent you from this huge benefit? We can’t know that yet. In any case turn your breadcrumbs on (they should already be) immediately!