A Quick Guide to Breadcrumb Navigation. Why Do Breadcrumbs Matter for SEO? | DevsDay.ru

IT-блоги A Quick Guide to Breadcrumb Navigation. Why Do Breadcrumbs Matter for SEO?

UX Planet 19 июля 2022 г. Diana Ford


Image credit: freepik.com

Breadcrumbs. You’ve likely seen them on many websites before. These breadcrumb navigation menus are typically small and unobtrusive, but they can significantly impact your website’s UX and SEO.

In the article below, we’ll take a closer look at website breadcrumbs and how you can use them to boost SEO and your users’ website experience. We’re going to explain:

  • What breadcrumbs are, and how do they affect SEO and UX.
  • How best to use website breadcrumbs.
  • The benefits of using breadcrumb navigation on websites.

Additionally, we’re going to take a closer look at the different types of breadcrumbs with a detailed review of their functions in the context of the site structure, UX, and SEO.

What Is Breadcrumb Navigation?

Breadcrumbs are named after Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs to find their way home. Like their namesake, website breadcrumbs are a secondary form of navigation designed to help users find their way quickly and easily. They also help users understand the relation of the current page to higher-level pages at a glance.

Breadcrumb navigation can improve UX and SEO. Breadcrumbs are typically located just under the navigation bar or just above a page’s primary content. Website breadcrumbs are commonly used on e-commerce websites, but they’re also found on evergreen pages and sites with much hierarchical content.

Does Breadcrumb Navigation Affect SEO and UX?

In a word, yes. Including breadcrumb navigation on your site can give users a much better experience, improve crawlability, decrease bounce rates, and enhance mobile navigation — and these are just some of the benefits.

Breadcrumbs don’t duplicate the primary menu. Instead, they help users find their way back to previous categories to look for a different article or product. Similarly, breadcrumbs help search engines like Google categorize your content in search results. To put it simply, breadcrumbs are a game-changer for both UX and SEO.

How to Use Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs can be highly beneficial — if you use them correctly. It’s critical to:

  • Choose the best type of breadcrumb navigation for your website.
  • Structure the breadcrumbs and add links correctly.
  • Optimize your website breadcrumbs for UX and SEO.
  • Understand when and where you shouldn’t use breadcrumbs.

Below, we’ll explain each of the above points in more detail.

Decide On The Type Of Breadcrumbs

First, you must select the breadcrumb navigation type suitable for your project. Website breadcrumbs must improve the user experience and add value. There are three types:

  • Location / Hierarchy-based.
  • Path / History-based.
  • Attribute-based

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Location or Hierarchy-based Breadcrumbs

These breadcrumbs show you which page you’re currently on and its relation to the larger website structure. It’s one of the most commonly used types of breadcrumb navigation and helps users find the information or products they need. This type of breadcrumb navigation also helps search engines like Google better understand your website’s content hierarchy.

Here’s an example: Home > Web Design & Development> 5 Ways For…

Image credit: digital-web-services.com

This breadcrumb design is straightforward. Users can immediately see where they are and how to navigate back to other categories to find the information or products they need.

Path or History-Based Breadcrumbs

These breadcrumbs are similar to your browser’s back button and allow users to go back to the page they visited previously. This type of breadcrumb navigation is typically used on e-commerce websites, where users can use filters to refine their category search.

By using history-based breadcrumbs, users can quickly jump back to their search without losing their selections. It most commonly appears as a “Back to results” link, as seen in the example from Amazon below:

Image credit: amazon.com

Attribute-Based Breadcrumbs

Attribute-based breadcrumbs are most commonly found on e-commerce sites. They show the different attributes you’ve selected, and the breadcrumb trail includes those attributes in a hierarchical navigation menu.

Here’s an example of breadcrumb navigation in e-commerce, as seen on Amazon: Electronics > Computers & Accessories > Data Storage > External Hard Drives.

One more example is the Nike online store. When the user specifies the filter features for more precise search results, attribute-based breadcrumbs appear in the trail above the catalog items selected. Here, we can see that the searcher chose the “lifestyle” attribute. This attribute-based breadcrumb appeared on the trail.

Image credit: nike.com

Add Links To Your Breadcrumb Navigation Items

Without links, website breadcrumbs are of little use. To keep the user experience consistent, you’ll need to add a link to each item in the breadcrumb trail. However, there’s no need to link the final item since it’s typically the user’s current page.

Website Breadcrumbs Should Progress From The Highest To The Lowest Hierarchy

Breadcrumbs give users context regarding the current page and its relation to other pages in the website structure. It’s vital to progress breadcrumb navigation from the highest to the lowest hierarchy rather than basing it on the user’s history. That allows users who enter the site on a deeper level from an external source to easily see where they are and find their way to other relevant information.

Your website’s breadcrumb navigation should start at the homepage and show the whole path from there to the current page.

Don’t Replace The Primary Navigation Menu

Breadcrumbs aren’t meant to replace, repeat, or distract users from the main navigation. Instead, they should add additional value to the user’s journey by making it easier to explore your content and find relevant information.

Optimize Breadcrumbs UX Design

To optimize your breadcrumbs UX design, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Test font sizes, padding, and positioning before publishing the menu on either desktop or mobile. Ensure that they’re visible and user-friendly without distracting from the primary navigation menu or page content.
  • Use clear separators. The “>” symbol is usually the go-to choice since it quickly shows users the relation of one link to the next.
  • As mentioned earlier, always start with the homepage and show the whole path from there.
  • Place your breadcrumb navigation menu above the content but below the primary navigation menu.

Most importantly, remember that they should make it easier for users to explore your site and find the information they need.

When and Where to Avoid Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs can improve a user’s website experience and improve SEO. However, they aren’t necessary everywhere. For example, you shouldn’t have a breadcrumb navigation menu on your homepage if the user is already at the highest level of your site hierarchy. For pages with a flat structure with only one or two levels, bread crumbs aren’t technically necessary either.

Is Breadcrumb Navigation Necessary for SEO?

In short, yes. While it might not be vital to a smaller site with a vertical page structure, the benefits of breadcrumbs for SEO for larger websites are undeniable. We’re going to look at a few of the benefits below.

  • According to Google guidelines, breadcrumbs help a search engine categorize and contextualize the content. Since 2018, Google has included breadcrumbs in the results pages. This way, the site’s breadcrumbs trail helps visitors where the page of interest is located in the context of the website’s structure. The Local Visibility System presented a case study when breadcrumbs complemented a local SEO strategy and allowed the website owner to climb up in the state-specific search results.
  • Breadcrumbs improve the site’s structure by lowering the number of crawl levels. Additionally, applied schema markup provides the custom breadcrumb list that allows business representatives to enhance the search results of their websites. This way, the CTR of the site’s page is improved. People see ready-to-click links to follow in the search result.
  • Improve the search appearance of your snippet. Search engines can easily identify a site’s structure with the help of breadcrumbs. For example, even Google replaces some page URLs with breadcrumb trails and snippets to improve website navigation. But it’s recommended to apply the breadcrumbs schema to avoid distortion of data entries by the search engine crawlers. SE Ranking comes in handy when you need to check the performance of the snippet. This tool also helps check keyword ranking by monitoring and analyzing ranking for different periods, detecting a URL for a certain keyword, charts with keyword ranking dynamics, checking search snippets, etc. It’s worth noting that it’s possible to monitor snippet insights according to the specified keyword and analyze the breadcrumbs and other data in the context of their relevance and correspondence to the page content and offers.
Image credit: seranking.com
  • Enhance the user experience. Breadcrumb navigation makes the site’s browsing easier through the well-understood location of the searcher in the context of the website’s hierarchy. This way, the user’s site experience is improved. Additionally, excellent UX can boost SEO with the help of decreased bounce rates.
  • Keep users on-site longer (lower bounce rate, increase page depth). It’s easier to retain visitors because they won’t face challenges related to complicated navigation through the website.

To sum up, breadcrumbs are essential for search engine optimization. They bring a range of advantages in the context of SEO. If the schema markup is applied to create a breadcrumbs list, it’s expected to increase CTR, making a perfect ranking signal that Google won’t ignore.

What Is Breadcrumbs Schema List and Its Benefits

Breadcrumbs SEO is impossible without the Schema markup applied to the generation of the breadcrumb list that is added to the search results by Google and other search engines. It’s possible to implement the breadcrumb list with the help of:

  • HTML coding
  • WordPress plugin (select the one related to the Schema or breadcrumbs).
  • Magento plugin (select the one related to the rich snippets).
  • JSON-LD coding

Right after the breadcrumb schema implementation, it’s possible to check Google indexation statistics for the amended pages. SE Ranking tools will come in handy to check the traffic volume and regularly watch the CTR.

Among the benefits of the breadcrumbs schema list is higher click-through rates. Many Internet searchers pay attention to the custom breadcrumbs in the search results. That’s why you have an opportunity to stand out from your competitors who don’t have this option.

Summary

Breadcrumbs have been around for decades; in that time, they’ve proven their worth and usefulness. Not only does breadcrumb navigation make it easier for users to explore your site, enhancing their website experience, but it also reduces bounce rates, keeping visitors on-site longer. It also helps search engines crawl and understand the structure of your site and content and makes your search snippets appear more attractive.

In short, breadcrumb navigation might not be necessary for all websites. However, including well-designed breadcrumbs can improve UX, boost SEO, and enhance the overall performance of your site and content.


A Quick Guide to Breadcrumb Navigation. Why Do Breadcrumbs Matter for SEO? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Источник: UX Planet

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