Google’s Plan to Remove URLs From Search Results

You may have noticed that your Google searches are looking a little different but maybe you can’t place your finger on why. Over the last few years, there have been several Google search layout changes including the addition of Featured Snippets as well as the Local Map Pack, among others. But is your digital marketing agency aware of Google’s plan to remove URLs from search results?

Google’s Plan to Remove URLs From Search Results

Google is currently testing search results without displaying the URLs. So instead of placing the URL under the search result, only the title tag is visible. This change has been happening slowly  but searchers now taking notice that URLs have are disappearing from search results. Google plans to take things a step further by permanently removing the URLs, and not even displaying a domain name.

Impact of Removing URLs from Search Results

Though most people haven’t noticed Google’s plan to remove URLs from search results, there are still concerns from SEO experts about the impacts this can have for page ranking and credibility. The looming question on their minds: how is Google going to be able to differentiate between legitimate sites and fake sites pretending to be other people?

The impact that removing URLs from search results may not cause too much harm in the realm of SEO. In fact, this change may be more beneficial for exact match URLs. This change could also benefit new domains that are trying to claim a niche. For example, a site that has the domain name www.bestbakery.com doesn’t necessarily make better baked goods than www.bettyskitchen.com. Without the URL showing on the search results, people are less likely to make the decision based solely on a domain name with a keyword.

Latest Google Search Layout Changes In 2019

Ad Placement
They’ve changed where and how advertisements are displayed. Advertisements are no longer located under the search results, but rather, above it. Ads are also no longer differentiated in green, which makes them stand out to catch your attention, but instead blend in with other search results in black text.

Google has also added icons for most of its results. For example, if you’re searching for the history of a city and a Wikipedia page comes up in the search results, their icon appears on the left side. According to Google, this is to help users better understand and identify where the information is coming from.

Organic Search Placement
Organic search placement is no longer at the top of the SERPs for Google. Instead, they have been pushed more than halfway down the page. Before you’re able to find the organic search results, you might find Ads, answer boxes, related searches, and more.

You will also notice the number of organic listings has lowered as well. Google used to present 10 organic listings, and making the list was the ultimate SEO goal. Now, Google only presents about 7 organic search listings. It is estimated that almost 20% of results pages have fewer entries, especially with navigational or branded keywords.  This means that the competition to land on the first page of Google is now more intense than before.

Mobile UI
Google has implemented the use of icons on their mobile UI, which is great for companies with very recognizable logos. This helps the target audience spend less time searching and increase the number of clicks for the brand.

What Do the Google Search Layout Changes Mean for SEO?

  • Update your keyword research
    Don’t focus on organic competition only. PPC marketing ads move organic search further down on the page. Try to get more clicks where there are fewer ads or layout elements Google has recently added by using keywords that aren’t as visible and are more niche or more specific to your page.
  • Update existing content
     Refresh and optimize your content to match Google’s recent changes. When a new update is introduced, assess your content and make any necessary adjustments.  A great way to see where your content is currently ranking is through resources provided directly by Google such as Google Search Console. If some of your content is ranking at #7, you’re right on the cusp between the first and second SERPs so it might be a good idea to refresh it a little to boost those rankings.
  • Include voice search optimization
    As voice search becomes more popular, you will want to try to optimize your sites accordingly. Voice searches don’t always produce the desired search results but can still put your site in front of searchers and increase brand awareness.
  • Implement proper schema markup
    Since the current trend for organic search is that it’s displayed lower on the page, it’s important to have an effective schema markup for a better chance at a featured snippet on the SERPs. This way you’ll stand out against the competition and shows potential customers more information, resulting in higher click-through rates.
  • Focus on the Local 3 Pack
    As you’re working on local SEO marketing and trying to rank for competitive queries, the best way to attain a spot in the 3 pack is to optimize your Google My Business listing. This will help you stay on the first page of Google and keep your page from being pushed to the bottom with organic search.


The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, as the Google search layout changes demonstrate, and as an expert SEO agency, we need to adapt our strategies in order to best serve our clients.