Google is testing a change to the way URLs in search results are displayed. The company is always testing new features and small changes and has experimented with several different ways of displaying URL info.
Now, according to some users that spotted the test, for some large websites, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on, Google no longer displays the full URL, just the site’s name.
This only happens for fairly big websites, in the example Facebook and LinkedIn’s names are shown, but the rest of the websites get the regular URLs.
It makes some sense that Google would do this, the vast majority of users have heard of sites of this magnitude and having the name displayed rather than the URL could make the result look more thrust-worthy. The lack of the URL certainly makes the results stand out as well.
However, it’s unclear whether this actually adds any value to the user, it emphasizes results from large websites rather than from smaller ones, even if the smaller ones rank better for that particular search.
What’s more, the sites’ titles, for both Facebook and LinkedIn, also show up in the page’s title in a much more visible position than the green URL text below the regular result, so the change is redundant, at least for these two websites.
But there may be good reasons for Google to implement this change and it’s only testing it so it may get some significant alterations before it goes live. That is, if it goes live at all, for every Google experiment that graduates, there are several more that don’t.
It’s great that Google does test all of these changes and tweaks, the site is always evolving and the team is always implementing new features, either to the UI or the ranking algorithm behind the scenes.