What are Breadcrumbs on a Website?
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A breadcrumb trail is marketing term for a small menu usually located at the top of a page, used as a navigational aid. It shows the path to go from the current page back to the homepage.
As you can see from the example above, the breadcrumb trail starts from the home page, then it shows the category name and then the current page. Each step in the path is clickable.
One of the website elements that Google loves is breadcrumbs. Google is stressing the importance of breadcrumbs in all their SEO related documents and guides.
The reason is simple: Breadcrumb trails have something to offer to both search engines and users.
Search engines use them to get a better idea on how your website is structured and they help users navigate a website easier.
In this post you will learn everything you need to know about breadcrumbs, why they are important, how to optimize them and how they help SEO.
Breadcrumbs can have different forms, but all types have the same goal i.e. to help users understand the relationship between the current page with the rest of the site.
For example, if you take a closer look at the breadcrumb menu of this article, you will see that it is part of the SEO Articles category.
The most common breadcrumb types are Hierarchy Based Breadcrumbs and Dynamic Breadcrumbs.
The example above was a typical hierarchical (or location based) breadcrumb menu. It’s the typical breadcrumb you can find on blogs or websites that have a simple hierarchical structure.
Dynamic or attribute-based breadcrumbs are used in cases a product has many attributes and the breadcrumb trail reflects that to make navigation easier.
Here is an example from an ecommerce website:
Notice how the breadcrumb helps users select different product attributes without leaving the current page.
The breadcrumb path trail is build based on the pages a user has visited. This is not a good SEO web design practice and it’s not used very often.
Breadcrumbs are an essential element of an SEO friendly website because:
They make navigation easier – that’s the main role of breadcrumbs and this is why users love them.
They encourage people to visit more pages of a website before they exit and thus, they reduce bounce rate.
They are good for SEO.
There are two main reasons why breadcrumbs are good for SEO.
First, they help search engine bots during the crawling and indexing phase. Crawlers can identify breadcrumbs and may use the breadcrumb structure to gather more information about a web page and site.
Second, Google shows breadcrumb information in the SERPS, instead of showing the permalink of a page.
For example, the permalink of the page below is https://www.reliablesoft.net/what-is-the-difference-between-seo-and-sem/ but because I have SEO optimized breadcrumbs, they show like this in the results, which is a better version.
Read more here.