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Why Breadcrumbs are Essential for SEO Success

Who can forget this timeless fairytale classic? At the edge of a vast forest, a poverty-stricken woodcutter led his two children to their intended doom. Unbeknownst to the woodcutter, his two children, Hansel and Gretel, were fully aware of his intention to abandon them and already had a crafty plan to navigate home – following a trail of breadcrumbs.

It’s easy for web users to feel lost while exploring deep within the structure of a website. Inspired by Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumb navigation allows users to find their way back from any page on a website.

What is a Breadcrumb?

A breadcrumb refers to a small text path, often located at the top of any given web page. The breadcrumb reveals a visitor’s location on a website and provides a clickable path, even as far back as the home page.

Breadcrumbs come in three types: Hierarchy, Attribute, and History-based breadcrumbs.

What are Hierarchy-based Breadcrumbs?

You will probably hierarchy-based breadcrumbs more often than the other two types. Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs reveal a visitor’s location within a site structure and show how many steps it takes to return to the home page. For example, the path may look something like:

Home > Blog > Category > Post Name

When viewing this trail from left to right, you’ll notice that each text link represents a page from a higher navigational.

What are Attribute-based Breadcrumbs?

The breadcrumb trail you see may resemble something like:

Home > Product Category > Gender > Size > Color

This type of navigation displays the attributes of a product, rather than a visitor’s location. While not as common as hierarchy-based breadcrumbs, visitors will frequently encounter this type of navigation on eCommerce websites because its descriptive nature allows shoppers to find the product they want. For example, you may find yourself searching for a new coffee machine at Best Buy. As you dive deeper into your search, you’ll notice the structure gets more granular.

SEO Breadcrumbs

What are History-based Breadcrumbs?

As its name suggests, history-based breadcrumbs resemble a history trail and serves as a back button. The History breadcrumb tracks the steps that users took to a particular page. Due to its dynamic nature, most SEO (and web usability) experts recommend staying clear of these history breadcrumbs because it ultimately causes too much confusion for visitors.

Why are the Benefits of Breadcrumbs?

Not all websites implement this helpful navigational tool. While the answer isn’t always clear as to why some sites ignore this element, they’re only hurting their profits and ROI. So why should you use breadcrumbs?

Well for one, they’re convenient and enhance a user’s experience. Unable to identify any recognizable landmarks, people will grow frustrated when they’re lost. In fact, they grow so frustrated that they may click away from your website and never return. Breadcrumbs help increase user experience because they show a clear way back to the starting point.

Your visitors aren’t the only ones who appreciate breadcrumbs. Google loves breadcrumbs because they offer another way for the search engine giant to catalog your website’s structure. Even better, Google often show your breadcrumbs in search results.

Finally, breadcrumbs can help you lower your bounce rates. Due to the rise of organic search, people don’t always land on a website’s homepage. When thrown into unfamiliar surroundings, what’s stopping a visitor from clicking away? Breadcrumbs can lower bounce rates because you’re offering visitors an alternative means of browsing your site. Sending a visitor to your home page is always better than sending them back to Google’s SERPs.

Navigating the Path to Success With Breadcrumbs

If you haven’t already taken advantage of breadcrumbs, now is the time to reap their benefits. Strategically adding breadcrumbs to your website will provide a stronger user experience while potentially lowering bounce rates. While this does not guarantee any significant boosts to SERPs, breadcrumbs are helpful to your visitors, which should always remain your top focus.

While following the trail of breadcrumbs caused some problems for Hansel and Gretel, your web visitors will appreciate its convenience. Need help adding a trail of breadcrumbs to your website? Let the SEO experts help make your website sweeter than the witch’s house of candy. Contact Premiere Creative today or give our marketing experts a call at(973) 346-8100.