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Breadcrumbs In SEO: Examples And Best Practices

Breadcrumbs In SEO: Examples And Best Practices

Breadcrumbs Rich Snippet
Breadcrumbs Rich Snippet

Breadcrumb (navigation)

The graphical control element "Breadcrumbs" or "Breadcrumb Trail" is a navigation aid used in user interfaces. Breadcrumbs allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. The term "Breadcrumbs" comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairy tale.

When analyzing how usable a website is should be to make sure people are able to easily find their way around no matter which page they first landed on. Huge websites with 1000 pages, breadcrumbs can be a great way to help users identify where they are located.

Here are a few essential things to help you understand more about breadcrumbs:

Why Do We Need Breadcrumb? 

  • Enhances the ability for search engines to crawl the website.
  • Potential chances for Breadcrumb to appear in SERPs thus enhancing your listing
  • Usability - Users tend to attempt using a breadcrumb for navigation, and find it easier to understand how the website is built and how the navigation works
  • More pages are likely to be viewed by the site user as breadcrumbs provide easy access to similar and alternate products
  • Popular sites such as Amazon uses breadcrumbs alongside other navigation to help customers.

Breadcrumbs For SEO

There is no proven SEO value recorded yet in the use of breadcrumbs except where they may be the only navigational links on a page.

There is also no proven SEO negative value in the use of breadcrumbs except where they may be part of a footprint of a "made-for-SEO" Website (E.g. lot of "SEO friendly" directories were probably identified in part because of breadcrumbs in 2005-06 algorithm update).

Using Breadcrumb may help search engines understand your breadcrumbs. As long as breadcrumbs actually helps your visitors and do not clutter up the page you should be okay.

Types Of Breadcrumbs

1. Location Based Breadcrumbs:

It shows the user which is the current page location depending on the relevance to the website. 

Location based breadcrumbs shows the user where they are in the website’s hierarchy. It is typically used for navigation schemes which have multiple levels (usually more than two levels).

Location based breadcrumbs
Location based breadcrumbs

2. Path Based Breadcrumbs:

It visualize the user’s path which landed him to the current page. These breadcrumbs are created dynamic and are usually based on the search results. Using this type of breadcrumbs one and the same page can be accessed through several paths:

Path based breadcrumb trails shows user the steps by which they've taken to arrive at a particular page. As mentioned above these are dynamic and display the pages the user has visited before arriving on the current page.

Path based breadcrumb
Path based breadcrumb

3. Attribute Based Breadcrumbs:

 It lists the attributes of the current page.

Attribute based breadcrumb trails displays the attribute of a particular page.

Attribute Based Breadcrumbs
Attribute Based Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs Best Practices

Use breadcrumbs when they help a user such as for large, and multi-level websites. Keep in mind these are for users; if this also help SEO – that’s an additional benefit. Adding breadcrumbs just for the sake of adding good internal anchor text must be avoided.

Do not link the current page to itself (the last step in the breadcrumbs should be un-linked).

Do not replace your website's main navigation with breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs visualize your website structure horizontally while the main navigation shows its vertical structure listing its other categories and content types).

Use breadcrumbs consistently (this makes the user browsing your website feel safer and allows him to faster familiarize himself with how the site is structured).

Do not use breadcrumbs in the web page title tag ( <title> - this makes title too long and un-targeted ).

Never put SEO before usability: people will know what “Home” link means and where it is going to bring them. Don’t make them guess: always follow the universally accepted standards. As we’ve discussed earlier, too much keyword-focused anchor text may look strange it must be avoided.

Useful Resources:

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