Breadcrumbs and SEO
Breadcrumbs provide one of the most common and effective ways to improve your website’s navigation. They help users to trace their paths and quickly to find information of interest. In this post, we will explain how this feature works, list the ways it can benefit your SEO and overall online presence, and discuss different types of breadcrumbs.
What are Breadcrumbs?
Remember Hansel and Gretel, the kids who created a breadcrumb path to keep from getting lost? This fairy tale inspired web developers to implement a similar pattern on websites, to give users an idea of their virtual location within the website’s structure.
Our website also uses breadcrumbs. If you look at the upper right corner, you will see the following path: Home / Blog / What are Breadcrumbs and How to Use them for Effective SEO. It shows that the blog post you are currently reading is located in the Blog section, which is secondary to our home page. You can click on “Blog” to find other articles of interest, or on the homepage to get a general idea of the website’s structure and content.
Advantages of Breadcrumbs for Your SEO and Online Exposure
Enhanced User Experience
People want to know where they are. Imagine yourself standing on an unfamiliar street corner with no knowledge of adjacent streets, or of the district, city or country you are in. This situation would no doubt make you feel lost and desperate.
Spare your website visitors from this depressing experience by providing brief navigational routes at the top of each page. This will make their visit to your platform more straightforward, productive and comfortable.
Breadcrumbs have become a common web dev element and have proven their worth. Your prospects have seen them on other websites, and they will expect to find them on yours.
Attractive and detail-rich search results serve as a storefront that invites potential clients to enter and make a purchase. Breadcrumbs may be used to generate snippets, increasing the likelihood of users following your links.
Google likes this navigational element, since it gives users and search robots an understanding of the page’s location on your website. It allows for a brief analysis of the website’s internal structure, saving time for prospective clients and sparing the resources of search engines.
Structured data is necessary to get breadcrumbs featured in your search results.
Low Bounce Rate
Technology has greatly increased the volume of information we consume daily. While the accessibility and diversity of information may be a positive change, you have to sort through tons of irrelevant data to find something meaningful.
People value their time and want to get straight to the point when purchasing products or seeking information online. They prefer to access content of interest directly from search, rather than spending additional time to understand your website’s navigation to find what they are looking for.
A large volume of failed interactions with users will increase your bounce rate and downgrade your position in search. If users abandon your website seconds into their visit, Google will assume its content is misleading or irrelevant, and not worthy of a top position in search.
Breadcrumbs in snippets instantly satisfy search intent, helping users to choose the most suitable entry point. They save prospects from having to navigate from your home page to product pages on their own, keeping them from turning to your competitors..
If a user gets to the wrong product page, they can quickly find their desired destination. Let’s say a person is looking for a certain brand of brown shoes, and arrives at a page featuring the shoes in black. If the top of the page displays the breadcrumbs, Shoes / Male / Brand / Size / Color, the user can quickly navigate to the Size page and select their preferred color.
Breadcrumb Generation Logic
Now that you understand the value that breadcrumbs can deliver to your website, it is time to choose the most suitable type. Let’s consider three commonly used options:
Breadcrumbs of this kind are based on the website’s hierarchical structure. They display the nesting levels of the page you are currently viewing: Home Page / Catalog / Category / Subcategory / Product. Breadcrumbs with location-based logic are particularly useful to customers coming to your secondary pages from search who want to quickly grasp the website’s navigation.
As in the example with shoes, if the properties of a chosen product do not completely satisfy the customer, they can navigate to a higher level page to find a more suitable alternative.
A common practice is to mention the current page in breadcrumbs without linking to it, but you can exclude the current page from the chain if you prefer.
Also, make sure the provided navigation path is not a copy of the website’s main menu. It would only take up space and deliver little value.
Attribute-based logic is common for product and service catalogs, where users can use multiple filters to find their preferred options. Once attributes are filtered, they become part of the breadcrumb chain.
You can combine location-based and attribute-based logic, providing navigational routes like this: Home Page / Catalog / Category / Attribute 1 / Attribute 2 / Attribute 3
This option is rarely used, since it works exactly like the Back button and adds nothing new to user experience. History-based breadcrumbs appear as follows: Entry Page / Page 2 / Page 3 /… / Current Page. Most visitors change pages randomly, and do not need their paths to be saved. This logic can also be combined with other schemes, for example, an attribute-based scheme: Back | Home Page / Catalog / Category / Attribute 1 / Attribute 2 / Attribute 3.
We hope our post has inspired you to use breadcrumbs to improve your website’s navigation for potential clients.. They will present your valuable content in a more convenient and straightforward way and provide a better user experience. Choose the most suitable breadcrumb logic to implement on your online platform, and enjoy an increase in conversions and higher positions for your brand in search.