Breadcrumbs are fairly popular and recognizable in the SEO world. But are breadcrumbs good for SEO? If you want to find out more about breadcrumbs, how to use them and what is their impact on your SEO rankings, you should definitely read this detailed article about them.
What are breadcrumbs in SEO?
In order to answer the question are breadcrumbs good for SEO, we need to give you more information about breadcrumbs. We are certain that you have already heard the story of Hansel and Gretel and how they used breadcrumbs to retrace their steps and get back home. Well, breadcrumbs in the SEO world are somewhat similar to that. That's where their name comes from.
Breadcrumbs allow any user that is visiting your website to retrace the steps he made in order to get back to the homepage. You can think of breadcrumbs as a reflection of your website's structure. They can help in forming logical connections between the pages on your website.
There are many types of breadcrumbs and there are many ways that you can use breadcrumbs in order to fully optimize your websites. So, what different types of breadcrumbs are there?
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - Types of breadcrumbs
As we have mentioned before, there are many breadcrumbs variations, but most of them fall into one of these three categories:
- Location Breadcrumbs - As the name says, these breadcrumbs are responsible for storing all of the locations on your website. Your users can use them to trace back through many different layers that are present on your website. Following location breadcrumbs will allow your user to visit a page that has a host role to the page they have previously been on. For an example, if your user is can easily return to page Home using breadcrumbs if he is currently on a page Home > About Us > Information > Contact.
- Path Breadcrumbs - This specific type of breadcrumbs on your website keeps the information about many different paths that can be used in order to reach a particular web page. This makes the navigation much easier and faster for your users. This also means that there can be multiple breadcrumbs that lead to the same web page.
- Keywords breadcrumbs or attribute breadcrumbs - These two types of breadcrumbs are almost the same. Breadcrumbs of this type follow a path that is very similar to the path of location breadcrumbs. The key difference of this breadcrumbs type is that they don't use page identifiers. They use keywords and attributes that can be found on all of your website's web pages. You can usually find these breadcrumbs on technical support and e-commerce websites.
There is a small disadvantage when you use the last type of breadcrumbs. It might happen that duplicate breadcrumbs start occurring on your website. This can have a negative effect on your SEO scores and rankings. If you are worried this might happen to you, be sure to use the first two types of breadcrumbs.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - How breadcrumbs help your users
Now that we have a better insight into what breadcrumbs are and their types, we can talk about how they affect your users. They are an essential factor when it comes to helping your potential customers use your website. This will help them navigate your website easier and even help them understand how the website works.
Breadcrumbs encourage your users to explore your website deeper and discover new pages and functionalities. They make sure your users can easily return to the previous page if they don't find what they were looking for. Presenting your potential customers with the ability to easily go through any web page on your website is a massive advantage.
When users make positive actions on your website your SEO score are affected. If you have fully optimized your website so your users can easily navigate through it, this will lower the factors that influence your SEO scores. This results in reduced bounce rates of your users and longer average session duration.
In order to help you understand how breadcrumbs benefit the users of your website, we have made a brief list that will give you more information.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - Helping your users with breadcrumbs
- Understanding the layout. These breadcrumbs help your potential customers to have a better insight into the layout of your business's website. This will allow your users to navigate one step higher in order to easily discover the content they are looking for.
- They are a feature, not a requirement. One of the great properties of breadcrumbs is that they are completely optional. They won't bother or confuse users that aren't willing to use them. They will also help the users who want to use them without any negative effect on the website's speed and performance.
- Providing valuable information. Breadcrumbs also allow your potential customers to scan your whole website in a matter of seconds. This will help them to view all of the content that your website provides. It is fast and gives your users valuable information that they are searching for.
- Implementation is easy. This is really important since many of your users are not professional programmers or SEO experts. Breadcrumbs are very simple to understand and implement, so any of your users can understand them. They don't need to have a special education, technical knowledge or a professional background. They will be able to understand them and use to them their full potential.
Now that it's clear how breadcrumbs contribute to your user's enjoyment on your website, it's time to see how they affect your SEO scores.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - The advantages they provide
While it is pretty obvious that breadcrumbs have many benefits for your potential customers, these aren't all of the benefits they offer. When it comes to SEO scores of your website, breadcrumbs can have a major impact on them. They pass the information and context between web pages on your website. It's usually done between inner and outer pages. The amazing thing is that breadcrumbs do this in a way that is logical and natural - the search engines highly value this way of processing information.
How do breadcrumbs do that exactly? We have made a simple list that will give you more information on how breadcrumbs can be used to improve your SEO scores.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO -List of advantages
- Pointing keywords. Breadcrumbs have the ability to point keywords on a specific web page. This allows search engines to have a better insight into the relations between all of the web pages on your website. If you use breadcrumbs in a properly function hierarchy you will notice improvements in your SEO scores. This will improve the SEO of your category pages, as well as the SEO of your innermost pages.
- Improving linking structure. They reinforce and massively improve the internal linking structure of your website. If you decide to pair breadcrumbs with many different contextual linking methods to other pages that are related to your website, you will experience large gains in your SEO scores.
- They can be described by schemes. Why would this be a good thing for your SEO? This is really important because this allows search engines to better understand what they are looking for. If the search engine is aware that he is looking for breadcrumbs this makes the process of crawling through your website much faster. This also allows for other useful functionalities and features like displaying breadcrumbs in search engine result pages. This will ultimately improve the SEO scores and the amount of traffic on your website.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - How to optimize your breadcrumbs
Optimizing the breadcrumbs on your website can be a really demanding and balancing process. You need to be careful to optimize them the right amount. If you optimize your breadcrumbs too much, it can result in your receiving optimization penalties from Google. The good thing is that there are no penalties if you don't optimize your breadcrumbs enough. This is a valuable information for you since you can monitor the amount of optimization that you are implementing for your breadcrumbs.
If you are trying to optimize your breadcrumbs for keywords, you should try to do it by following this structure: Link to the home page of your website, using the main keyword of your website > The specific keyword you have chosen followed by the category keyword that you have chosen > This same keyword plus the keyword that best describes the page your user is currently on.
As we have said before, it might be a good approach not to fully optimize your breadcrumbs in order to avoid Google penalties. This can be done in many ways, so try to use your imagination. You can use only one keyword, instead of a keyword plus the page keyword that your user is currently on. Try to mix things up as much as you can.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - Tips and tricks
It's clear that not all of the breadcrumbs are created equally. Some of them will have a major effect on your SEO rankings and some of them you won't even notice. How can you be sure that you are using the correct breadcrumbs that can optimize your business? Here is a simple list of things that you should pay attention to.
Are breadcrumbs good for SEO - Special tips
- You should always style your breadcrumbs in a way that is appealing to your potential customers. This style is all up to you- you should choose the best one that will have the biggest impact on your users. Always remember that all of the content is made for your customers.
- Don't rely only on breadcrumbs. While we have previously seen how breadcrumbs can have a positive effect on your SEO rankings, there is no reason to rely only on them. Search engine optimization is a big and complex term, so there is no reason to limit your success only on one method.
- Breadcrumbs are used to describe a hierarchy of your website. There is no need to use breadcrumbs if your website has only one or two sections. If you are running a small website that doesn't need an amazing hierarchy due to its simplicity, you shouldn't focus too much on breadcrumbs.
- It's not a good idea to replace the "back" button with breadcrumbs from your website. Try to avoid this, because it can lead to your website running slower and it can also harm your SEO scores.
- Breadcrumbs should be located in a convenient place. They should be also easily accessible, so you can modify them as often as you need.
These are just some of the tips on improving your website that you can implement today. To give you the final answer to this questions - Yes, breadcrumbs can be a valuable asset to your business if you use them properly. You should definitely learn more about them and try to implement them on your website.
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