In fairy tales, characters are able to find their way back by leaving a trail of candy or bread. Sometimes, other people or animals eat those crumbs and hi-jinx ensue. On the Internet, you can’t eat breadcrumbs, but they’re just as helpful for finding where you are. Breadcrumbs show the hierarchy of any page on a website, but they offer more than just guidance for visitors. Take a look at sites like Amazon or eBay, both of which use breadcrumbs. This function also help your SEO efforts.
What does a Breadcrumb look like?
A typical breadcrumb might appear similar to the follow: Home > About Us > John Smith Bio. In this example, staff member John Smith’s bio has the parent page “About Us,” and the “Home” link likely goes to the index of your company’s website. Visitors who’ve arrived from a link on another site or the SERPs can use those links to back up and explore more of your site. In some cases, breadcrumbs show how the user got to the specification page on your site rather than its role in your site’s overall structure. If your platform allows for it, your breadcrumbs might show attributes of the page that the visitor has selected.
Google loves Breadcrumbs!
Breadcrumb scripts and plugins make perfect sense for SEO reasons, too. In fact, Google now adds those breadcrumbs to some search results, which gives you even more motivation to start using this technology on your website if you haven’t before. Google won’t pick up the trail when it comes to every website, so your best bet is to place the breadcrumbs closer to the top of the page. Consider using either RDFa or MicroData to describe the content in your breadcrumbs. Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool shows how your website will appear in the listings. However, Google may still pick up your breadcrumbs without using rich coding.
Rich, Relevant Keywords
Of course, breadcrumbs allow you to interlink to other content on your website while using keywords as anchor text. You can influence backlinks, but breadcrumbs provide an automated way to directly control anchor text, which can help your website show up in the SERPs exactly where you want it to. However, use keywords with caution in breadcrumbs. They should remain useful even if this sacrifices search engine optimization. For example, you might use different anchor text in place of the “Home” link, but it should make sense on your site. Furthermore, keyword density shouldn’t be so high as to appear unnatural. If it confuses visitors, you’re not doing it the right way.
Keep a few things in mind when implementing this feature on your website. Don’t add a hyper link to the current page in the page’s title. Link to parent pages, categories and the home to remain useful to both visitors and search engines. Furthermore, breadcrumbs belong on your page and not in the title of your website, which is a mistake that some people tend to make. Finally, remember that breadcrumbs are in addition to your existing navigation and should never replace it.
This article was written by Mick Stevens on behalf of Search Factory. Mick is a SEO executive who enjoys blogging about different facets and elements of online marketing.