What are Breadcrumbs Navigation and How They Help in SEO

Breadcrumbs Navigation

What are Breadcrumbs Navigation and How They Help in SEO

Breadcrumbs is a type of secondary Navigation that helps visitors to navigate around your website easily. Learn more about Breadcrumbs Navigation in this article.

Breadcrumbs help to increase website usability and improve SEO”

Isn’t surprising?

Do you want to know how Breadcrumbs helps in increasing website usability and improve SEO?

Don’t worry. Today I am going to tell you about the “What are Breadcrumbs and How Do They Help in SEO”

A few days ago, when I was searching for ways to increase a website usability, I came to know many new buzz words. One of which is ‘Breadcrumbs’.

You must be thinking, it is not a new word but guys it is not what you are thinking. It is not the ordinary pieces of bread. There is no doubt when I heard this word; I also thought the same as you do.

Later on, I read many articles on the role of Breadcrumbs in SEO. I find it quite interesting.

What are  Breadcrumbs Navigation?

Before I tell you what Breadcrumbs Navigation are, I will tell you from where this concept came into digital age. There is a famous ancient fairy tale ‘Hansel and Gretel‘ by Brothers Grimm. Besides, There were two children Hansel and Gretel who used breadcrumbs as a marker to avoided being lost in deep woods. Then they leave a trail of breadcrumbs to follow home. Unfortunately, birds ate their breadcrumbs and they lost the way. Although, breadcrumbs did not go well in case of Hansel and Gretel, but they work extremely well in case of helping visitors to reveal their location on the website.

In the digital age, breadcrumbs are another type of “Navigation” which allows visitors to navigate between different pages of website easily.  Additionally, it allows visitors to trace their path back to their home page or landing page. It ensures that visitors can navigate or search different pages of website easily. Breadcrumbs Navigation on the website indicates the location of the visitor within website hierarchy.

However, Breadcrumbs Navigation is usually used in multi-level websites where a large amount of content is organized in a hierarchy. Besides, It reduces the number of actions visitors have to take to navigate between different pages of the website. Moreover, It helps in increasing a visitor experience on your website. It allows the visitors to dig deeper into the website.

Let’s explore it more with the help of an example.

(See Image)

In this image, Breadcrumbs Navigation is placed in a hierarchical manner.

Home > Footwear > Women’s Footwear > Boots

Assume you want to purchase the women boots. Firstly you will go to the home page of the shopping website. Then you will select the footwear category. After that, you will choose the women footwear and in the end, you will click on the boots section to see all boots items. But suppose if you want to go back to the footwear section for choosing men’s footwear. Then you have to click on the back button to reach footwear category. It will be annoying for the visitors to go back multiple times if a website is containing a long hierarchy; it would be difficult to jump to some specific page.

Here Breadcrumbs Navigation come in use and greatly enhance visitor’s usability and findability. The links given by symbol (>) are Breadcrumbs Navigation. You can jump to any page they wish with the help of Breadcrumbs Navigation. Moreover, Breadcrumbs Navigation provides visitors the path from where they came from such that landing page or home page.

Today, I am going to explore more about Breadcrumbs Navigation about its types, use, how it affects SEO and how we can optimize Breadcrumbs Navigation for SEO in this article.

Let’s start.

Types of Breadcrumbs Navigation

  • Path-based Breadcrumbs

These types of Breadcrumbs Navigation are dynamic. As its name suggests, it visualizes the visitor’s path which brought them to a web page. Moreover, It shows the pages which a visitor has previously visited to reach the current page. Besides, It shows a complete hierarchy of web pages in form of links which a visitor has viewed to reach to a web page within the website. It is a kind of history trail. It provides a similar functionality of ‘Forward’ and ‘Back’ button. That is why it is the less likely used Breadcrumbs Navigation.

(See Image Below)

  • Attribute-based Breadcrumbs 

This type of Breadcrumbs Navigation works independently from the site hierarchy. These are mainly used in e-commerce websites. It shows the attributes of a web page which has selected by a visitor. It visualizes the list of attributes of a web page.

(See Image Below)

  • Location-based Breadcrumbs

This type of Breadcrumbs Navigation is mostly used in multi-level websites. It shows various layers of your website. Moreover, It shows the current location of a visitor in the website hierarchy. Also, It enables the visitors to quickly navigate through different levels of the website. Besides, It allows the users to jump to higher level pages from the current page. In addition, It visualizes the complete path of the visitor within the websites in the form of links.  A visitor can jump to any page in the hierarchy which increases the usability of a website.

(See Image below)

Use of Breadcrumbs Navigation 

Apart from increasing usability of the website and easy navigation, Breadcrumbs Navigation has other several benefits. Let’s discuss some of them.

  • Shows hierarchy of a web page

Breadcrumbs Navigation allow the users to show the hierarchy of a web page within the website. It helps the visitors to reach a specific page in the website hierarchy quickly. Moreover, It shows the link of every page which user has visited to reach a particular page. Breadcrumbs Navigation reflect the overall structure of the website.

  • Reduce Bounce Rate

Breadcrumbs work as a secondary navigation. Additionally, It enables the users to navigate between different pages quickly as compared to primary navigation. Besides, If a user has to click less time to reach a particular page of a website, it helps to reduce bounce rate of the website.

  • Easy Backtracking

Path-based backtracking is best to provide backtracking of a website. They provide easy backtracking as primary navigation are not designed to follow backtracking. Also, It helps the visitors to go back to previous pages of the website.

  • Take Little Space on your website 

Most of the Breadcrumbs Navigation are plainly designed and placed horizontally. They do not take too much space on the website.

  • Improves the findability of the website

As it breadcrumbs works as a second navigation, it allows users to navigate between different pages within the website. Moreover, It enables users to easily track their path on the website. Users can easily jump to any other page which is previously visited or related pages which increase the findability of the website.

  • Reduce Visitor’s Anxiety 

Breadcrumbs Navigation show the trail of pages link which is visited by users. They help to reduce user’s anxiety. To cite an example, if a process is having too many steps to complete, then Breadcrumbs Navigation show the entire trail of links to each step taken by making users able to easily go back if any steps missed. It reduces the anxiety at a great level, as they do not have to remember previous steps they have completed.

  • Enhance Usability of Website

Breadcrumbs Navigation enhance the usability of the website as it allows users to track their path to landing pages. Moreover, It provides the users a great user experience by providing easy navigation. They help the users to reveal their location on the website. Users can easily locate themselves in the website hierarchy which enhances the usability of the website.

  • Eliminate Need of Additional Clicks 

Breadcrumbs eliminate the need to using main navigation again and again for moving forward or backward. It reduces the additional clicks on the ‘Backword’ or ‘Forward’ button. Breadcrumbs Navigation enable the users to jump from one level of the website to the other level.

  • Builds Interest of Users

When a user lands on an internal page of the website, Breadcrumbs Navigation allows the users to see links to the related pages. Moreover, Breadcrumbs build the user’s interest to click on the link to similar pages of the website.

  • Easy Implementation 

You do not need to have a professional or technical knowledge to use breadcrumbs. These are easily implemented on the website.

  • Great User Experience 

Breadcrumbs Navigation provides the great user experience to users because they are easily implemented with the visual design of your website. Additionally, it takes less space on the website which benefits the in overall designing structure of website

  • Easy Navigation 

As you know breadcrumbs work as second navigation of a website, it enables the users to navigate to the higher level to find similar content while staying on your site. Users can easily switch or navigate between different pages of the website.

How breadcrumbs affect SEO?

Remember in the starting of the article I told you that breadcrumbs also affect SEO. Here I will tell you how breadcrumbs affect SEO. Breadcrumbs Navigation are beneficial to users as well as the search engines. It provides a great advantage to the search engines as they allow logical access to inner and outer pages of your website. Also, They improve SEO of your website.

There are many other ways in which Breadcrumbs Navigation affect SEO which is as follows:

  • Improves internal structure of website

When a user visit to an internal page of your website, pairing Breadcrumbs Navigation with contextual linking to related pages improves the internal structure of the website and also benefits the off-page SEO.

  • Point keywords to certain pages

Breadcrumbs Navigation improve SEO by pointing keywords to certain pages of your site helps search engines to understand how different pages of your site are inter-related to each other.

  • Use schema for Breadcrumbs Navigation

Webmaster can use schema for Breadcrumbs Navigation to communicate with search engines more effectively. Breadcrumbs Navigation provide you a way to better explain search engine about pages of your site which gives extra benefit to SEO. They provide additional functionality like display of Breadcrumbs Navigation in search engine result pages which encourage more users to visit your site.

 How can you Optimize Breadcrumbs Navigation for SEO?

There are some effective ways to optimize Breadcrumbs Navigation for SEO which are given below:

  • Do not use Breadcrumbs Navigation in the page title of your website.
  • You need to place Breadcrumbs Navigation at a prominent spot such that at the top of your website to be more effective.
  • You need to follow a proper structure for placing keywords in the breadcrumbs. For instance, Home page with the main keyword of your site > Main keyword followed by a category keyword > the Main keyword followed by a keyword of current page
  • Breadcrumbs Navigation must be used to help visitors not to confuse between two navigation. So use them if they are required.
  • Do not link to the current page of your website.
  • If you are implementing Breadcrumbs Navigation on one page of your site, then implement them on every page of your site to show a complete hierarchy of your website.
  • Breadcrumbs should not intend to replace primary navigation of your website.

How Breadcrumbs Navigation affect the usability of the website? 

Breadcrumbs Navigation are very beneficial for users due to many reasons. They greatly enhance the usability of the site by allowing users to locate themselves on the website at a faster rate. Also, They allow users to dig deeper into the website and trace their path within the website.

There are many ways in which Breadcrumbs Navigation improves the usability of your site which is as follows:

  • Breadcrumbs Navigation allow users to scan your website at a faster rate by providing links to different pages of the website.
  • Also, they can be easily implemented to your website without any technical knowledge which makes the users implement Breadcrumbs Navigation on their site.
  • Moreover,they provide easy navigation to users. They allow users to jump to higher level pages to search for related content within the website.
  • They help the visitors to understand the layout of your website and view more content of your site quickly.

Google and Breadcrumbs Navigation 

According to the recent announcement, Google has replaced the website URL with the site name Breadcrumbs Navigation trail in the mobile SERP’s. Additionally, Google makes the SERP’S list look more attractive by integrating breadcrumbs with site name in place of URL. Besides, Breadcrumbs Navigation are not integrated into case of the desktop system.

Google has only integrated Breadcrumbs Navigations in mobile SERP’s but Google may integrate breadcrumbs in desktops later on. Moreover, Google provides the webmasters a better way to communicate with site name which improves usability of the websites. Also, The links displayed within the site name takes the users to the same page which they clicked on the search result.

(See Image Below)

Image Source: SearchEngineland

Breadcrumbs Navigation Showcases 

  • Simple Text-Based Showcase

The text size of the Breadcrumbs Navigation is extremely smaller than the other text on the rest of the page in this case.

(See Image Below)

  • Beautiful Styled Text Links


In this type of showcase, Breadcrumbs Navigation are designed beyond simple text links. These links are beautifully styled integrated with the overall design of the website.

(See Image Below)

  • Replace ‘>’ symbol with another symbol to differentiate links

You can use other symbols for Breadcrumbs Navigation such as ‘>>”, ‘:’, ‘/’ in place of ‘>’ symbol.

(See Image Below)

  • Breadcrumbs with Sub-Navigation


In this type of showcase, links of Breadcrumbs Navigation trail work as a hover, when a user clicks on the link it will show a sub-navigation.

(See Image Below)

  • Breadcrumbs for Multi-Level Process


In this case, Breadcrumbs Navigation trails indicate to steps involved in completing a process.

 (See Image Below)

  • Interactive Breadcrumbs

In this case, users are allowed to remove items from Breadcrumbs Navigation trail by simply click cross single associated with the links.

 (See Image Below)

Breadcrumbs Navigation – FAQ

  1. Where should we locate Breadcrumbs?

If you are using a horizontal layout for Breadcrumbs Navigation, it should be located below the primary navigation of your site in the top half of the webpage.

  1. What should be the size of Breadcrumbs?

The size of the Breadcrumbs Navigation should be less prominent or smaller than the primary navigation of the website. Also, It should not be the first thing to grab the user’s attention.

  1. What should be used to separate the links? 

It entirely depends on the aesthetic of website and type of Breadcrumbs Navigation used. The symbol like ‘>’ and ‘/’ are used to show Breadcrumbs Navigation trail and for separating the links.


They are very effective in terms of providing a good user experience and increasing website usability. Moreover, It also helps the search engines to understand the internal structure of your website. Additionally, it improves the SEO of the website. Besides, If you have a multi-level website then it is high time to implement Breadcrumbs Navigation to your site.

I hope you like the article. If you have any query regarding this post, ask me in the comment section. If you like the article, don’t forget to share it with your friends. Join us on Facebook, twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Youtube Channel namely ‘SEORAMANARORA’.

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