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Importance of Breadcrumbs for SEO
Are you familiar with the hyperlinked phrase “breadcrumbs”? If so, congratulations! You’re one step ahead in your understanding of SEO. Breadcrumbs are an essential part of a website’s navigation experience and have recently become increasingly important for helping search engines place content accurately within its categories. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what breadcrumbs are, why they matter for SEO optimization, and best practices for implementing them on your site. Let's get started!
What are Breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumb is a small text path usually located at the top left of a page. It indicates where you are on the website. Each step of the path is clickable. It makes it easier to return to the homepage or the section you came from.
Breadcrumbs example of menswear in a fashion retail website −
As you can see in the example, breadcrumbs include a navigational path for you to access. You can return to the "shirts" section or men or directly to the homepage with a single click.
The name "breadcrumb" comes from the Hansel and Gretel story. When they entered the woods, Hansel dropped some pieces of bread on the ground so they won't get lost.
Advantages of Using Breadcrumbs
It may seem like a simple feature, but it has enormous benefits such as −
It Adds Structure to Your Website
Google loves your website when your visitor loves it. So, any step you take to enhance your user experience is not a waste of time. Breadcrumbs add structure to your site, and it helps google's spiders to crawl easier and faster on the website. Google may use specific webpages in the SERP, increasing the chances of getting more traffic.
It Enhances the User Experience
Breadcrumbs bring structure to your website. It makes any part of your website an entry point. They make it easier for visitors to go to another part of the website without clicking the back button repeatedly.
Let's take www.xyzfashion.com>men>shirts>casual as an example
Imagine you searched for ten casual shirts, and you changed your mind. Now you want to check formal shirts. Now if you don't have breadcrumbs, you need to click the back button ten times to return to the "shirts" section. However, with a breadcrumb, you can go back simply by clicking the "shirts" option.
It Decreases the Bounce Rate
Visitors often leave a website within seconds if they need help finding what they are looking for or if the website structure needs to be simplified.
Like Hansel and Gretel, nobody wants to get lost in the wood. In this case, losing inside a huge website while browsing. When you have huge content on your website, you need to classify and segregate them, so they don't get cluttered.
Breadcrumbs allow visitors to keep a tab on the pages they visited or want to return. This increases user experience and makes the interface user-friendly. As a result, your visitors are likely to spend more time on your website. This decreases your site's bounce rate and increases user engagement, resulting in a higher position in SERPs.
Types of Breadcrumbs
There are commonly three types of breadcrumbs used on websites. They are −
These are the most standard breadcrumbs you will see on sites. It states where you are on the site and how many steps you have come ahead in the website.
For example, in Home > Blog > Category > title
Attribute-based breadcrumbs are primarily great in e-commerce sites.
Example of an attribute-based breadcrumb − Home>product category>Gender>size and so on.
History-based breadcrumbs are placed according to the page you visit. It is similar to your internet history bar. It allows you to see a previously visited page with a click.
Example − Home>previous page>previous page>current page
Breadcrumbs' Impact on SEO
Breadcrumbs was added to Google search results in 2009. Ever since, it has become a part of SEO. This changes the way site hierarchies are displayed in SERPs.
Before the change, Google used to display only the web dress or URL at the bottom of each search result.
Example − www.xyzfashion.com/shirts
After the change, the URL was changed to the site's hierarchy structure. It tells you where you will land if you click the link.
Example − www.xyzfashion.com>shirts>men>formal
Each breadcrumb becomes a clickable link. This means, you can click on any breadcrumb and visit a specific page.
Instead of going to the "formal" section, you can click the "shirts" option directly from the search results.
So this is all Linked to SEO?
Well, breadcrumbs are not only a tool to simplify navigation. You can also use it to optimize the internal link structure.
To optimize your breadcrumbs linking, you can apply keywords to the information architecture within the website's contents.
The anchor text in the links plays a crucial ranking factor in Google. When you enable breadcrumb navigation, it creates anchor links on every page linking back to the home page.
How to Implement Breadcrumbs on Your Website?
Breadcrumbs can easily to add to a site using one of the following ways −
It takes only 10 seconds to add breadcrumbs in Yoast SEO.
Log in to your WordPress or any other CMS with Yoast SEO plugin.
Go to the "breadcrumbs" tab in the Yoast SEO window.
In the "Breadcrumbs Settings," click "Enabled."
There are several plugins in WordPress for Breadcrumbs, such as Breadcrumb NavXT or Yoast SEO. Both plugs are easy to install. However, NavXT allows you to generate a location-based breadcrumb and customize it.
WooCommerce has built-in plugins that automatically generate breadcrumbs. However, if you don't see it, you can do it manually, or want to restyle it, install the official WooCommerce breadcrumb plugin.
Note − Some WordPress themes, such as Ocean WP, have a built-in breadcrumb feature. However, you must add the manual codes to add breadcrumbs in platforms like Wix or Squarespace.
4 Mistakes not to do While Using Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are a great way to improve SEO and user interface. However, sometimes it could be counterproductive.
Make sure to avoid the following mistakes −
Keep the Visual Elements in Balance
Please don't use too small text as it would be hard to see. It would be even harder to tap on your mobile screen.
Place them strategically, such as right above the H1 title, so that users can see them easily.
Don't Copy the Navigation Bar
Using the breadcrumbs similar to the navigation serves no additional purpose. You don't have to add any additional coding.
Don't Rely Entirely on Breadcrumbs
The navigational bar still has relevance in SEO. They are not supposed to be ignored completely.
Use the Right Type of Breadcrumbs
Hierarchy and attribute-based breadcrumbs are highly functional and easy to operate. However, location-based breadcrumbs are great for sites with a nested structure. In this type, most pages are covered within a few categories.
In conclusion, breadcrumbs are a powerful tool for SEO. They provide visitors with an easy-to-follow navigation path that makes it easier for them to find the information they need. Additionally, search engines use breadcrumbs as an indicator of how relevant a website is, so optimizing them correctly can give your webpages greater visibility and rankings in search engine results pages. Although ensuring optimal breadcrumb setup isn't always simple or straightforward, there's no doubt that investing the time and effort upfront to create an organized structure will ultimately provide more valuable rewards in the long run.
That's why understanding what breadcrumbs are and how to utilize them successfully should be a critical part of any savvy digital marketer or website owner's toolkit. By learning about available tools and following best practices for creating effective navigation links with appropriate titles and URLs, your website can become increasingly visible in search engine results pages!
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