Sometimes you do all the basic things in SEO right and all you are looking for is that 1% of tasks that will give yourself the SEO edge over your competitors. Well breadcrumbs are certainly one of those little tasks you can do to give yourself some extra SEO juice.
Before you ask, no we are not talking about literal breadcrumbs. In the SEO world, breadcrumbs are the links that ensure users have the ability to track the path they take on your website. These usually appear at the top of the page, you have probably already seen them, but might not have known what they are.
As well as helping users navigate your site, it also helps the Google bots as they can clearly see the website hierarchy. Breadcrumbs aren’t actually that difficult to implement and it is highly recommended you do, if you haven’t already.
It doesn’t necessarily have a major impact on SEO, but as explained above; if you are doing everything else right, you need to be looking for the little things that can give you a boost. So, take a look below at some of the important aspects of breadcrumbs and how to use them more effectively.
Websites that should be using breadcrumbs
In a perfect world, every website should be using breadcrumbs. However, it is more of a necessity for more complicated websites. This is because both users and search engine bots can get confused while in your site and breadcrumbs can act as a way to show clarity as to where a user is on your site.
If your website has a large range of pages and/ or categories, then breadcrumbs is something you should seriously consider. Breadcrumbs work really well on an e-commerce website, for example, as users tend to browse deep into a single category.
Let’s say you operate an online clothing business. A user could be on your site’s homepage, then go into women’s fashion, dresses, summer dresses, sales summer dresses. What a breadcrumb does is show that user where they have come from and gives them the chance to easily go back if she wishes.
The breadcrumb for this situation would look something like this:
Home > Women’s Fashion > Dresses > Summer Dresses > Sale
It is important to note here that a breadcrumb should not replace your typical menu function on your website. It should simply act as another navigational tool for users to ensure they have a better and easier experience on your site.
Typical mistakes when implementing breadcrumbs
Everybody makes mistakes! What is important is that you learn from them and fix the issues. Have a read below at some of the most common mistakes people make when implementing breadcrumbs. If you find you are making some of these mistakes, you should go and resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Mistake #1: Copying the main navigation
The breadcrumbs need to be different then the main navigation, otherwise what’s the point of having breadcrumbs? Your main navigation still needs to be functional and clear to the user. Your breadcrumb acts as something a little extra to provide unique links to the previous pages the users was just on.
Mistake #2: Using breadcrumbs unnecessarily
If you are operating a simple website without a lot of pages and/ or categories, then you probably don’t need to use breadcrumbs because your main navigation will cover the important pages of your site.
Mistake #3: Messy Categories
You will need to get your categories in order before putting together your breadcrumbs. Just as much as breadcrumbs help a user navigate your site, it can have the reverse impact if your breadcrumbs are confusing because your categories are in order.
Benefits of breadcrumbs for SEO
You obviously wouldn’t be putting in any effort into breadcrumbs if you didn’t think you would get some reward out of it! Have a look below at some of the benefits of using breadcrumbs for your SEO.
Benefit #1: Better user experience
These days it is all about the user’s experience. By providing extra navigational assistance you are doing just that. Users are able to clearly see where they are on your website and go back if they so desire.
Benefit #2: Shows up on SERP
Google likes breadcrumbs so much they even display it on their SERP from time to time. Underneath the meta title, instead of your URL, they place the breadcrumb path that URL takes. This could positively impact your rankings!
Benefit #3: Reduced bounce rate
Because breadcrumbs create a better user experience, first time users are able to easily use your website, which helps to reduce your bounce rate. You need to show users that you have everything they need on your site, and breadcrumbs are one of the perfect ways to do that.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.