What are Breadcrumbs and Why are They Important for SEO
Breadcrumbs help find the way – for Hansel and Gretel through the forest; and for internet users, through the website they are visiting. They also help Google crawl a page better. Why are breadcrumbs important for SEO? Anything good for UX and Google is important for SEO. Let’s see what our SEO experts in Perth say about breadcrumbs and why they matter.
What are Breadcrumbs?
It is a navigational path that shows where you are on a website at the moment. It is mostly located on the top of a page. Each text on the path will be a clickable link that will take you to that page.
Look at the example below.
It shows how you reached the page you are on now and can go back to a previous page.
What are the Different Types of Breadcrumbs?
Hierarchy-based Breadcrumbs – These are the most common and are based on your website site structure. They tell you how many steps you are away from the Home page.
Example – Home > Blogs > Post
History-based Breadcrumbs – These tell your browsing history and how you reached the current page.
Example – Home > Previous Page 1 > Previous Page 2 > Current Page.
Attribute-based Breadcrumbs – These are used on e-commerce websites and shows where a user is based on the product attributes.
Example – Home > Product Category > Product specification 1 > Product specification 2
Why are they Important for SEO?
Better Crawling – Breadcrumbs help Google understand webpage context and categorise them better. They are another way that Google can use to crawl your page better.
Increased Traffic – Google may include the breadcrumb in the search results. This helps to make your webpage more attractive to searchers, hence helping to increase traffic.
Reduced Bounce Rate – Majority of visitors will enter your site directly on a webpage from the search results. A breadcrumb path will tell them where they are now and how they can go back to a previous level if they didn’t find the current page useful.
Increased Dwell Time – With a breadcrumb, a user can easily go to the previous level and find more related information. This can contribute towards a user staying more time on your website, which is a good UX sign.
Best Practices while Implementing Breadcrumbs
- Breadcrumbs are important for SEO. But if it just repeats your navigation menu, it doesn’t make much sense to incorporate them.
- Consider which type of breadcrumb is the most suitable for your site before you implement them.
- Breadcrumbs are linear paths of text. So, if you have sub-level pages that can be reached from multiple pages, breadcrumbs will confuse users when they land on the same page from multiple sources.
- Give the full navigational path in the breadcrumb. Leaving out linking pages in the path can confuse visitors. Also, this prompts the users to explore other pages on the path.
- Differentiate the links and the non-links with different colours. Make every page that can be linked clickable.
- Ensure that the breadcrumb titles match the page titles. This is especially true if it is a high-conversion page, or you are targeting certain keywords with those titles.
- Progress from highest to lowest. Progress the breadcrumb navigation from the highest level page, i.e. Home page on the left, to the lowest, i.e. the current page. For most people, the left side of a screen is the highest visibility area. Keep the navigation from left to right for a clear path.
- Keep the audience in mind while designing the breadcrumbs. They are a helpful aid secondary to your main navigation menu. Ideally, they should not take up too much space or be a bigger font than the main menu. Also, most users will expect to see navigation paths at the top of a page, and again, at the left corner. So, that is the ideal placement for a breadcrumb.
Site structure – Refers to how the individual pages are linked to each other, i.e. how your website is set up.
Bounce rate – Measures the percentage of visitors who enter and leave a webpage without taking any further action or interaction.
Dwell time – The length of the time that a user spends on a page before leaving it.