In short, website breadcrumbs are navigational tools that make your site user-friendly while simultaneously improving your SEO.
In this article, we’ll cover:
What are Website Breadcrumbs?
Website breadcrumbs are small lines of text that tell a user where they are on a website, as well as increase a site’s usability and functionality.
The term comes from the classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. In that story, the two children use a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way home. In a similar way, website breadcrumbs indicate the path between the current page and the homepage.
They are typically located at the top of a webpage, and each step of the path is clickable. This makes it easy for users to see where they are in a site’s hierarchy, as well as navigate to higher-level pages if they choose to do so.
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Another place that website breadcrumbs appear is in Google search results, where they give users insight into where a page sits within your site.
Not only are they helpful for users, but search results breadcrumbs are a great place to highlight important keywords and add relevancy to your pages.
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Three Types of Breadcrumbs on a Website
Location-based breadcrumbs are possibly the most common type of breadcrumb navigation, and how InMotionHosting.com uses breadcrumbs.
As shown in the example above, they are displayed in the horizontal bar at the top of a page and tell site users how many pages are between them and the homepage.
Location-based breadcrumbs present users with text links to higher-level pages or categories than the current page they are on. The pages preceding the current page in the breadcrumb trail are typically referred to as parent categories.
Attribute-based breadcrumbs provide information that categorizes the current page. They indicate attributes or categories assigned to a page. These types of breadcrumbs are popular on e-commerce websites helping users sift through results.
If you’re looking at a listing of computers for sale, a laptop would fall under that category, but you would also be able to filter by attributes like brand and model year. Same for if you look for clothing. You may want a shirt, but you will likely sort it using attributes like gender, size, and color.
Path-based breadcrumbs are the least common type of breadcrumb navigation. They are also known as history-based breadcrumbs and show what all pages a user has been to on a site.
These indicate the specific steps taken within a site to land on the current page. Since most internet users search for something specific when looking for what they need, it is rare for someone to natively search a website and click on several pages to find what they are looking for.
Advantages of Using Website Breadcumbs
There are numerous advantages to utilizing website breadcrumbs, but what are they? Below we examine four reasons why breadcrumbs on a website are helpful:
Breadcrumbs are good for SEO
The number one reason it’s a good call you add breadcrumbs to your website is that it makes search engines happy, which is great for SEO purposes. When you add breadcrumbs, you reinforce and improve your website’s internal linking structure.
Not only are they helpful in showing search engines like Google how your site is set up, but as we covered above, breadcrumbs have a chance of being displayed in search engine results. When breadcrumbs are included in search results, they are often more likely to grab the user’s attention and make them click on your page.
Improve site usability
Almost as beneficial as boosting your results in search engines, breadcrumbs also make your site easier for visitors to use and navigate. Many visitors may choose to ignore breadcrumbs, but those that are familiar with them should find it easy to navigate your site and find what they need.
By adding breadcrumbs to your site, you improve the findability and help visitors complete tasks quicker.
Reduce bounce rates
Another benefit of having breadcrumbs on a website is that they can reduce bounces rates by increasing the amount of time users spend on your site.
If a user landed on your website by doing a search, seeing your site in the results, and clicking on your link, then you have a captive audience.
By having breadcrumbs, you’ve given users the ability to easily see and explore higher-level elements of the breadcrumb navigation, which can lower your bounce rate significantly.
Don’t waste valuable space
Because breadcrumbs are typically in a small font at the top of a page, they don’t increase page load times or take up valuable space that could be used for other content.
Seeing as nearly 50 percent of internet users expect a page to load in two seconds or less, maintaining fast load times can be extremely helpful in reaching your end users.
Bonus: Adding them is easy
Still not convinced you should be implementing breadcrumbs on your website? What if we told you that doing so was a rather simple task?
That’s right, not only are they useful, breadcrumbs are easy to add to your site. There are several WordPress plugins that make adding breadcrumbs a simple and quick process.
Website breadcrumbs are an extremely useful navigation feature that improves users’ experience on your site and encourages them to stay longer.
For those with complex websites, breadcrumbs are a must. The last thing you want to do is spend time establishing a good site hierarchy only for users to not know how to navigate it.
On top of all that, they enhance your SEO and make your website work harder for you.
With so many useful benefits and almost no downside, why wait to add breadcrumbs to your website?
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