Breadcrumbs and their Use in SEO
Breadcrumbs? In SEO? Well, yes and you might be surprised that digital breadcrumbs are quite useful for marketers, companies and consumers.
These breadcrumbs are a navigational feature for your website, and they have a significant impact on SEO and user experience.
Despite this being an important feature, many sites still don’t implement them. And that’s a huge mistake, not just because they impact SEO, but also because they are easy to implement.
Furthermore, breadcrumbs are also used by search engines to have a clear idea of how a website is structured and assist users to navigate a website easily.
In this blog post, you shall learn everything you need to know about breadcrumbs. So, let’s dive in.
What exactly are breadcrumbs?
A breadcrumb refers to a small text path, generally located at the top of a page showing where the user is on the website.
This breadcrumb trail instantly shows where you are. Every step of that path is clickable, all the way back to the webpage.
Just like internal links, breadcrumbs assist to keep users on a website and help them find the information they are looking for.
Breadcrumbs and their types
While Breadcrumbs have different forms, all of them have the same goal, i.e. to assist users to understand the connection between the current page with the rest of the website.
The most common breadcrumbs are:
- Dynamic Breadcrumbs: Dynamic or attribute based-breadcrumbs are utilised in cases where a product has several attributes and the breadcrumb trail reflects that to make navigation easier.
- History-Based Breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs are ordered by what you have been doing on the website. It is built on the pages a user has visited.
- Hierarchy Based Breadcrumbs: It’s the classic breadcrumb you can discover on blogs or websites that have a modest hierarchical structure.
Importance of Breadcrumbs
To have an SEO friendly website, Breadcrumbs are important because:
- They are good for SEO.
- They inspire users to visit more pages of a site before they exist and in turn, reduce the bounce rate.
- They make navigation easier. This is the primary aim of breadcrumbs and this is why audience loves them.
Furthermore, they assist search engine bots during the crawling and indexing phase. Crawlers can recognise breadcrumbs and might utilise the breadcrumb structure to collect more information about a webpage and a site.
Second, search engine showcases breadcrumb information in the SERPs rather than showing the permalink of a page.
How to add Breadcrumbs to your site?
Incorporating breadcrumbs on your website includes several variables.
Some examples are:
- Your type of breadcrumb
- Your website content management system (CMS)
- Your website’s type
On the basis of your website, implementing breadcrumbs can be as easy as installing a widget or add-on to your website.
However, it can be hours of work to design and launch the perfect structure for your website.
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Best practices for SEO Breadcrumbs
Follow these simple rules to better SEO optimise your breadcrumbs.
- Ensure breadcrumbs are mobile-friendly: It’s a usual practice to either hide breadcrumbs on mobiles or make them look like buttons.
When you keep breadcrumbs visible on mobile devices, ensure the font size is large so that links are easily clickable.
- Incorporate breadcrumb schema: Schema markup is a way to underline specific areas of your site to search engines crawlers so that they can know how a page is structured.
By incorporating pieces of code into your HTML, you can provide search engines with more information about the webpage and its content.
This, in turn, augment your chances of receiving rich snippets in the search results.
- Do not include nofollow links in a breadcrumb: Search engines need to follow links in a breadcrumb to notice category pages and other various content. Hence, keep it dofollow.
- Ensure that breadcrumbs are enabled and visible to users: This might look evident but many web designers hide the breadcrumb trail because they feel it is not in sync with the design.
However, this is not correct. Many breadcrumbs can be enabled and then become visible to users.
- Don’t utilise image-based breadcrumbs: Avoid using fancy items like multiple separators, odd font style and colour around your breadcrumbs and keep it only text.
Just showcase it like a normal navigation link.
Mistakes to avoid when using breadcrumbs in SEO
Incorporating breadcrumbs is quite straightforward when it comes to enriching a site’s SEO and offering better UX.
However, there are instances when implementing breadcrumbs can lead to more harm than good.
Check out a few breadcrumb mistakes you’ll need to avoid.
- Aim for the right, and not just big or small: Breadcrumbs should be easy to use, but modest. Too small text is difficult to see and to click on mobile devices.
Also, ensure you position the breadcrumbs at the top of the page, below the hero image, or directly above the H1 titles so they are easy to find.
- Don’t discard the navigation bar in favour of breadcrumbs: You would not like to completely depend on breadcrumbs.
They are only meant to act as an only complement, and not a replacement for other navigational features.
- Don’t repeat navigation bar: If the breadcrumbs just copy what is present in your navigation bar, then they are of no use.
Also, there is no need to include coding if it doesn’t help.
- Don’t hide the breadcrumbs with CSS code: Sometimes, people place breadcrumbs in the source code but hide them thinking that search engines will see the breadcrumbs code and users will not.
- Not utilising the right type of breadcrumbs: While location breadcrumbs are the most usual type, they may not be the best choice for your site.
Never use location breadcrumbs if your website doesn’t utilise a nested structure where most pages fit within a few categories.
Here, history-based breadcrumbs can be a perfect choice.
For doing SEO for your website please read The Ultimate Guide to Rank Math (2021) to get the ultimate guide about Rank Math.
Breadcrumbs are a simple, yet effective change that can help your website stand out on the search engines page.
While they don’t guarantee an impressive hike in SERPs rankings, they prove to be quite useful to users and search engines alike.