Breadcrumbs are very important if you have a hierarchical site. Breadcrumbs have proven to increase user experience of the site. In this post, we will discover why breadcrumbs are important and its role in SEO. If you have a website, blog or an online store, SEO helps you tremendously in growing your business online. Search engine optimization is paramount as users trust search engines and to be in the top position is what concerns them the most. There is a wide range of ways to optimize your site for search engines amongst which breadcrumbs navigation is something that most of the people prefer today. So you might be thinking what exactly is this “Breadcrumbs navigation”? Let us first take a plunge into what it means before we understand its importance in SEO.
What is Breadcrumbs navigation?
Breadcrumbs display a hierarchy of navigation links that allows the visitors to track their path from the page they are currently viewing to the home page of your website. This optimization technique is named after Hansel and Gretel who used to leave crumbs of bread to find their way back to home.
Breadcrumbs appear at the top of your page, between the main navigation menu and the content of your site. Here’s how a breadcrumb looks like:
So now you understand what exactly is breadcrumbs and how it allows a user to understand the overall hierarchy of your website while at the same time, helps them to spot out their current location
Types of Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are broadly classified into three categories. I will be explaining what each of this type means along with an example
This is one of the most common techniques used on the web today. These breadcrumbs create a hierarchy of pages, in the form of links, from the parent page to the current page that a user is viewing. Thus it tells you the position of the current page within a website. This is how it looks like:
So from the above example now you know where exactly you can find an Apple iPhone 8 on Amazon. This is how location breadcrumbs help in tracking your path.
Attribute or Category Breadcrumbs
Widely used by e-commerce sites, these breadcrumbs enhance your shopping experience by displaying the products based on the attribute or say categories the user selects. The only difference it has with respect to location breadcrumbs is that instead of displaying a default page, they use keywords and other attributes to display the page a visitor demands.
Let’s take an example of a site that sells a car. Not only will it display the car that you want but will also include attributes like the type of the car and its price range.
Path-based Breadcrumbs Type
Out of the three types of breadcrumb navigation, the path-based breadcrumb is the least preferred technique. As the name suggests, it exhibits the path that the visitor has taken to reach to a web page on your website. The reason behind its lacking popularity is that it provides the functionality that is similar to the Forward/Backward buttons that we use in the web browser.
You might have realized now why this technique is utilized the least as it will take more than one click to get back to the point from where you started shopping.
Now that we are aware of what breadcrumbs navigation and its categories are, you might be contemplating how will this helps us with SEO. Let’s have a look
How Breadcrumbs Proves to be Important for SEO?
Breadcrumbs are equally lucrative to the search engines as they are to the viewers. All the inner and outer pages of your site can logically be accessed with the help of breadcrumbs. It is a practice that is highly recommended by search engines. From the viewpoint of search engines, Google actually displays the breadcrumbs in the search engine’s results page giving you more links in each search listing, which is a great thing to boast about.
Breadcrumbs present a remarkable opportunity to make your site more optimized for search engines as it helps increase the click-through rate i.e the CTR as the person might not go after what’s exactly being listed on the results page. Instead, if they find something that they have been looking for, from the category of products being displayed, you will get a click straight away from them.
Below is a list of ways in which breadcrumbs optimization will affect the SEO of your website:
- This optimization technique helps in pointing keywords to your web pages
- It helps the search engines to understand the inter-relation of different pages on your website
- It serves the major purpose of SEO that is Inter Linking
- Search engine bots can easily understand the sitemap of your website
- Using schema to describe breadcrumbs will make search engine bots to understand that they are looking at a breadcrumb.
- They are given a lot of preference by Google
Design and development processes often fail to spot breadcrumb navigation. You can easily hire an SEO consultant to let you know a proper implementation of the breadcrumbs. Some people may find them needless while others may feel it is bothersome. The fact of the matter is, breadcrumb navigation will immensely increase the usability and SEO of your website.If your site has an intricate hierarchy that daunts users from digging deeper, Breadcrumbs proves to be a very useful tool to enhance the user experience. Not only this, it also helps the search engines to understand the internal structure of your site, flinging an overall positive impact on the SEO of your website.