Ever heard of breadcrumbs? Not the ones used for breading chicken parmesan. In SEO, breadcrumbs are a navigational aspect of a website that allows greater user experience and offers exceptional value to your SEO. Here’s how.
Breadcrumbs are simply a trail shown as a small menu that can be found at the top of a page, which is used as a navigational aid for users. They tend to look something like this.
As shown above, this breadcrumb stage takes the user from the homepage to a category to a specific product. Thus when they can’t seem to find what they are looking for, each trail is easy to backtrack as they are clickable, allowing them to navigate to pages within the breadcrumb path.
As with internal links, breadcrumbs focus on keeping users on the website for longer, aiding them in looking for the information that they may be after. Being such a useful UX feature, breadcrumbs are loved by Google for an array of reasons.
Breadcrumbs aren’t all the same. They tend to come in different forms despite having the same goal, i.e making website users aware of the relationship a specific page would have with the pages it took to get them there.
There are three common types of breadcrumbs that each hold their own purpose. Figuring out which one is beneficial to you will help when it comes to improving the SEO on your website. These types of breadcrumbs are attribute-based breadcrumbs, history-based breadcrumbs and hierarchy-based breadcrumbs.
An attribute is simply pieces of information that have a lot of attributes behind it that would allow breadcrumbs to simplify the website, Thus, these types of breadcrumbs are most commonly found on eCommerce websites that illustrate what attributes that the user has clicked on to get to a specific page.
An example of this could be: Home > Travel > Trains > London
On the other hand, history breadcrumbs are built based on the pages that the website user has visited. This is quite similar to a website history browser where you can visualise all the links that you have clicked through time.
Example: Home > SEO blog post 1 > SEO blog post 2 > Current page
This type of breadcrumb isn’t as SEO friendly as the previous two and isn’t used as often as they are.
These types of breadcrumbs are the most common as they show users around a website and how to get back to the homepage. This is the type of breadcrumb that you would find on most blogs of a website or websites with a very simple, clean hierarchical structure to help users around the site.
Example: Home > Resources > Digital Marketing
Breadcrumbs aren’t just there to make a website look clean and pretty. They have a lot of functions and play a huge part in the SEO of a website. So, if you’re unsure whether breadcrumbs are worth it, you should probably keep reading.
Breadcrumbs, as mentioned, encourage users to surf a website and stay on there for longer (reducing bounce rates!), browsing other areas of the website. Let’s take Nike for example, you’re looking for women’s shoes and end up on the homepage. You would have to head to the navigation bar and hover over ‘women’ to get to ‘training’ and then to ‘shoes’.
Using these breadcrumbs, users can quickly navigate back to ‘women’s’ or ‘home’ without having to repeat the whole process again. This is a handy way of helping them find what they’re after whilst allowing them to delve deeper into the website.
Breadcrumbs keep Google happy. Back in 2018, Google began adding breadcrumbs to result pages on SERPs, which made it imperative to get them onto websites. They look like this, which you’ve probably come across many times in your searches:
Breadcrumbs found in SERPs can help users to determine where the page they’re looking for will be on a website, so SEO efforts with this valuable tool are crucial.
Breadcrumbs can help with bounce rates if your rates are quite high. Although it may not be a directly related aspect, it can help still help. Having those paths there to help users will allow them to keep looking within those pages to find what they’re searching for. The longer they search, the lower your bounce rate will be. That’s the power of breadcrumbs. They’re not just to sprinkle on your dinner in the evening.
Need a helping hand? Be sure to contact the Colewood team to help improve all things SEO, breadcrumbs included.