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What Are Breadcrumbs and the Significance of Breadcrumbs in SEO?

Updated: Aug 25

Breadcrumbs provide website visitors with an effective means of navigating your site. By helping them to quickly locate their destination on your page and keeping them there for longer periods, breadcrumbs can help improve SEO rankings while simultaneously decreasing bounce rates.

Breadcrumbs are small text links that occupy minimal space on your web page and are familiar to most visitors, ensuring they won't disrupt their experience.

what are breadcrumbs

What are Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs are an indispensable navigational aid that helps users quickly discover how they've reached a particular page on a website while encouraging exploration of additional pages on the website and hopefully clicking through to more sections, improving user experience. In addition, using breadcrumbs effectively for SEO purposes makes your website simpler to use while also ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Path-based breadcrumbs are the most frequently seen type of breadcrumb navigation and will show users where they are in your site hierarchy, from starting on your homepage to wherever the user currently resides.

what do breadcrumbs look like
Breadcrumb links Should Match Website Design

Where Should You Put Website Breadcrumbs?

They begin at your homepage and end at whatever page is being viewed; these breadcrumbs can also help navigate backward from deep levels.

Also, ensure they appear above page titles and content but below any site-wide navigation systems. So they will be easily findable without interfering with any other links on your website, and won't cause confusion among visitors who cannot locate what they need. Doing this will also help visitors feel more at home on your site, leading to lower bounce rates and providing them with a superior user experience.

What Are Breadcrumbs Used For?

Breadcrumbs give users an enhanced understanding of a website's structure by enabling them to navigate up or down through its hierarchy, making navigation simpler for sites with complex navigation schemes, many pages or categories, and an abundance of categories or pages.

But it's important to keep in mind that breadcrumbs should never replace or overshadow its main navigation bar - they should just supplement its main function!

What Should Breadcrumbs Look Like

Breadcrumb trails are typically presented as simple text links, making them intuitive for users to understand and utilize. Nordstrom's breadcrumbs, for instance, can be found at the left side of its page below the menu and are clearly identified as links with a regular font that matches other links on their website.

what are breadcrumbs used for
How Breadcrumbs Look On A Website

Google has implemented breadcrumbs into search results pages in order to enhance user experience and increase the odds that a searcher clicks a relevant result. This feature is particularly beneficial when visitors arrive via search engines and wish to explore further.

Offering an easily understandable pathway from the search results page directly into the main navigation can significantly lower bounce rates while simultaneously improving essential usability metrics like time on site.

What is the Significance of Breadcrumbs in SEO?

Breadcrumbs are web design features that inform visitors where they are on a website, typically at the top of each page. They display as a trail of text with hyperlinks back to pages previously visited; their namesake comes from Hansel and Gretel as they emulate how breadcrumbs left behind by children when walking through forests help prevent getting lost.

The Benefits of Using Breadcrumbs On Your Website

Breadcrumbs provide several advantages to websites, from improved UX to enhanced navigation and reduced bounce rates. But the primary benefit lies with search engines being able to more accurately interpret the structure of a site's hierarchy - leading to better rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), with more relevant and accurate search results being delivered back by search engines.

Hierarchical Breadcrumbs

Hierarchical breadcrumbs are the most prevalent type of breadcrumb format, using a trail of links to show users where they are on a website and how they can return to its homepage.

They are particularly beneficial when applied to websites with clear site structures and indexable subpages like news websites and ecommerce platforms.

what are breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs On A Webpage

Look-Ahead Breadcrumbs

Look-ahead breadcrumbs provide more advanced navigation aids, using links to display where users are on a website while providing a list of higher-level categories they can click to reach their target pages more quickly and efficiently. These breadcrumbs can be especially helpful on e-commerce websites as they enable users to navigate quickly between product types.

Dynamic Breadcrumbs

Dynamic breadcrumbs provide another option for displaying breadcrumbs, which are tailored more toward product categories than page titles and URLs. This approach is especially helpful for e-commerce sites that sell multiple products within one category and want to provide their visitors with more relevant results.

Location Based Breadcrumbs

Location-based systems are another form of breadcrumb navigation that is frequently seen on sites, typically consisting of links leading to both the homepage and the current page. Location-based breadcrumbs are designed to indicate where users are in a site's hierarchy.

Starting at the homepage and including links for every level of navigation on subsequent levels (usually with '>' symbols or other means), location-based breadcrumbs give users an indication of where they stand within the site.

Attribute-Based Breadcrumbs

Attribute-based breadcrumbs provide more detailed information about the page being viewed and are commonly employed on eCommerce websites to aid user navigation of products.

Should I Use Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumb trails can be useful additions to a website, but it's essential not to overuse them; otherwise, visitors could become confused and lose their place within its structure. Furthermore, overoptimizing may send up red flags for search engines.

We recommend using breadcrumbs on your website for the benefits we already discussed.

Is It Better To Have Breadcrumbs On Your Website?

Breadcrumbs provide visitors with a user-friendly means of navigating your website, particularly those arriving via search results or another site. Breadcrumbs help visitors understand how they reached your page as well as provide one-click access to higher-level pages in your hierarchy.

Breadcrumb Hierarchy
Breadcrumb Hierarchy

There are different kinds of breadcrumbs but hierarchy breadcrumbs tend to be most intuitive for users and most effective in terms of SEO due to being structured data using breadcrumb schema markup.

Breadcrumb Implementation Mistakes

Breadcrumb implementation mistakes include creating breadcrumb trails that are too large or prominent. They should be smaller than your main navigation, placed below it on the page, clearly labeled, linked back to their respective pages, and easily identifiable as to whom they correspond.

Some websites fail to make it obvious that their breadcrumb links can be clicked by employing nonstandard fonts or failing to underline them; such instances should be avoided at all costs.

One common error many websites make when using breadcrumbs is failing to format them as links; this can rob their value and harm the SEO performance of their site. Make sure that your breadcrumbs are formatted as clickable links with underlines and have the same color scheme as other links on your website.

Testing Breadcrumbs Effectiveness

To ensure the effectiveness of breadcrumbs, it's crucial to follow some key best practices. First and foremost, ensure your navigational paths maintain a uniform style with limited levels and reduce confusion or lostness for users.

Furthermore, including all navigation paths from the homepage to the current page in your breadcrumb trail ensures all links can be clicked upon easily while search engines properly reflect the structure of your site.

Finally, testing is key to ensure its effectiveness; otherwise, it could become frustrating and lead to higher bounce rates from visitors.

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