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The Value of Mutant Augmented Search Results

Google has been transforming search results for Forum threads, for Q&A pages, for pages that include listings of events, and others for a while now.

Sometimes they also include breadcrumb navigation in a search result instead of a URL for the page listed, and announced in a 2009 blog post that they would be. A Google patent application published this week describes some of the ways that they might learn about the structure of a site to include search result breadcrumbs.

You don't necessarily need to have breadcrumb navigation on your pages for Google to augment your search result that way, but it looks like it might help.

The question is though, is it worth it?

Does having that kind of navigation draw more eyeballs to your search result, make it stand out, and possibly engender more trust or credibility in searchers because of how your page is presented by Google?
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Jeremy Chatfield's profile photoRyan C.'s profile photoIgbo Anyanwu's profile photoBill Slawski's profile photo
6 comments
 
Software and process patents should be abolished.
 
+John Bill Thanks, John. We should probably just get rid of things like PageRank while we are at it since that's pretty much a software patent, and it really didn't add any value to anything.
Ryan C.
 
Google wants people to know more about a page before they click it. That is good, but I am afraid that some day Google will switch from letting people "know more" to "do more", which makes your users theirs.

For those product/service/business review websites, Google is already kind of doing that by showing user reviews on their SERPs.
 
+Ryan C. I reckon that Google thinks users are theirs. They just send them to you, and if you don't treat the users well, you get dropped. Treat them well and you get kept as a useful resource. Google wants lots of users because users click adverts - there's plenty of sites to choose from. So losing a site isn't a big deal. Losing users is a big deal.
 
I feel that Jeremy and Ryan have hit the nail on the head, but I like to ponder Bill's question of "does this engender more trust?" Maybe for some sites that could be the edge. If your competitors have a static site with few pages, but they are ranked well, wouldn't such a display for your site, a blog with many posts/pages, infer that your site is more authoritative? (even if you are down in the SERPs). I think that if I were choosing between two displays in the results, I may click on the one that makes more sense to me or where the breadcrumbs have a clear path. Maybe this would not be a bad thing for a website, but in the end, Google is trying to innovate to keep its own users.
 
+Frank Schulte-Ladbeck When Google shows us at the top of search results that they have tens or hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pages that are relevant for a particular query, it's hard to imagine that just the few at the tops of the results are the best of that many pages, but I think most people do place some faith in the rankings the search engines provide.

I do think Google's "special" treatment of search results to include things like breadcrumbs may convince some searchers to click through a page based upon the unique appearance of those search results, especially if the breadcrumb categories displayed seem relevant for the queries.
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