Understanding Breadcrumbs on Websites: Navigational Aid and SEO Boost

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Breadcrumbs are a useful navigational tool on websites that display the user’s path from the homepage to the current page. 

They are similar to the breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the fairy tale, which helped them trace their steps through the forest. 

Breadcrumbs on websites serve the same purpose by helping users to navigate through the site’s structure.

example of hierarchy breadcrumbs from the HubSpot Knowledge Base

Image source


What Are Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs typically appear near the top of a webpage and follow a hierarchical structure, reflecting the site’s information architecture. For instance, a product page might display breadcrumbs like:

“Home > Category > Subcategory > Product.”


Benefits of Breadcrumbs for User Experience:

  1. Navigation Aid: Breadcrumbs serve as a helpful guide for users, allowing them to understand their location within a website’s structure. This aids in efficient navigation, especially on complex sites with multiple levels.
  2. Reduced Clicks: Users can quickly backtrack or jump to higher-level pages without relying on the browser’s back button. This streamlined navigation minimizes the clicks needed to reach a specific section.
  3. Improved User Orientation: Breadcrumbs provide context, helping users understand the relationship between different pages and facilitating a better overall understanding of the site’s organization.

Benefits of Breadcrumbs for SEO:

  1. Enhanced Internal Linking: Breadcrumbs contribute to internal linking, a crucial factor in SEO. Search engines use the link structure to understand the hierarchy and relationships between pages, improving indexation.
  2. Keyword Usage: Each breadcrumb link can contain relevant keywords, contributing to on-page SEO. This adds another layer of context for search engines to understand the content of the linked pages.
  3. Lower Bounce Rates: With more precise navigation, users are more likely to stay on the site and explore further, reducing bounce rates. Lower bounce rates can positively impact SEO rankings.
  4. Mobile-Friendly Navigation: Breadcrumbs are particularly beneficial for mobile users, providing an alternative to traditional navigation menus and making navigation easier with limited screen space.

Implementation Tips for Effective Breadcrumbs:

  1. Consistent Structure: Maintain a consistent breadcrumb structure throughout the site to avoid confusion and ensure a seamless user experience.
  2. Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure that breadcrumbs are optimized for mobile devices, adapting to different screen sizes without compromising usability.
  3. Schema Markup: Implementing schema markup for breadcrumbs can enhance search engine understanding, potentially leading to rich snippets in search results.

In conclusion, breadcrumbs are valuable for user experience and SEO.

They guide users through a website’s structure and provide search engines with useful information about content relationships.

By implementing breadcrumbs effectively, website owners can enhance navigation, improve SEO, and create a more user-friendly online environment.

If you are looking to add breadcrumbs to your website pages but are unsure how to do this, we have created a guide for websites built using popular CMSs such as WordPress or Wix: View Breadcrumb Setup Guide.

Would you like us to implement this on your website for you? Speak to one of our team members about the technical SEO packages we provide. 

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