Most people are familiar with breadcrumbs from the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. The siblings drop breadcrumbs on the forest floor so that they can find their way back home. Breadcrumbs in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work much in the same way but with more success.
Breadcrumbs act as a map so that visitors can find the way back to the homepage of a website. It helps the visitors to better understand the structure and layout of your website.
Types of Breadcrumbs
There are three types of breadcrumbs – location breadcrumbs, path breadcrumbs, and keyword breadcrumbs.
- Location Breadcrumbs
This is the most common type of breadcrumbs found on websites. Location breadcrumbs allow a user to know the position of the page on the site hierarchy. If a visitor views a page of your site, they can easily find their way to the homepage. A location breadcrumb may look like Home > SEO > Breadcrumbs > Location.
2. Path Breadcrumbs
Path breadcrumbs show the path that the user has used to reach a webpage. Not everyone thinks the same way. Hence numerous logical paths lead to the same webpage. Path breadcrumbs display how that particular user accessed the webpage.
Keyword breadcrumbs are otherwise known as attribute keywords. Similar to the location breadcrumb, a similar path is displayed. However, instead of displaying the title of the page a keyword or attribute of the page is displayed. E-commerce websites are most likely to use this type of breadcrumb.
Advantages of Breadcrumbs
For the user
- Users can understand the layout of a website quite easily
- It makes it easier for users to navigate the website
- Easy navigation allows users to find similar content
- Users can scan through the general layout and type of content found on a website
- Users can view more content at a faster rate
- Breadcrumbs are easy to implement
- Technical knowledge is not required to understand how to use breadcrumbs
- Breadcrumbs do not overwhelm the user
- Breadcrumbs point to a keyword and search engines can classify the relation of the web pages on your website
- If breadcrumbs are implemented to a site hierarchy, the SEO to category pages and the innermost pages are considerably improved
- The bounce rate is reduced. As the user sees the breadcrumb trail, they are more likely to view a higher tier link. This allows them to see related topics
- The user experience is much more improved and friendly. People browse the internet at random. If they can see the breadcrumbs, they can visit other related pages that pique their interest.
- As far as navigation tools go, breadcrumb trails occupy little space. They are horizontally oriented and typed in a small simple font. This frees up more space for content and makes the page look neater.
- Search engines rank breadcrumb trails as a positive influence on a website. Using breadcrumbs, one can improve their SEO ranking.
How to Optimize Breadcrumbs for SEO
- Use breadcrumbs on the top of all web pages of your website. If one page has it, all of them should.
- The breadcrumbs should be appealing but it shouldn’t take away from the content of your page.
- Starting from Home, use the full navigation in a breadcrumb trail.
- You should not link the current page the user is on as it can make navigation confusing.
- You should use arrows like ‘>’ to separate links in the breadcrumbs.
- The names of the breadcrumbs should be short and to the point.
Proper implementation of breadcrumbs can enhance the SEO stats of a website. Overall, it adds a positive user experience.