Today I’ll tell you how the use of breadcrumbs in your site structure can boost your SEO efforts.
Since people come in through all areas of your site depending on what they searched for to get there, breadcrumbs are an excellent way to help users navigate it, especially if your site is on the larger side or has a hierarchical structure. They also help the search engines sift through your pages, and increase the probability that your web pages will rank better for targeted terms. By no means should they replace normal navigation as they should always be a secondary option for users.
So, why are they called breadcrumbs? Everyone has to remember the story of Hansel and Gretel. In the fairytale, after the siblings discover that their parents are trying to lead them away from home to get lost in the woods, Hansel takes a piece of bread and scatters the crumbs along the way so he and his sister can find their way back. Much like the fairytale, breadcrumbs are used to help browsers find their way around your website. Not only do breadcrumbs help users find their way through your site, they may encourage users to explore other pages, making increased conversions a strong possibility.
Here are some best practices for using breadcrumbs to better optimize your site:
- It’s best to use targeted keywords as your breadcrumbs for SEO purposes. For usability purposes, these should make sense to humans as well. And, as with all keyword linking, the anchor text should be one of the keywords the page it’s pointing to is optimized for.
- For SEO purposes, location breadcrumbs (show where the page is in site hierarchy) and attribute breadcrumbs (give categorical information that helps classify the page) are the best choices because they are static and not dynamically generated.
- Don’t link the current page to itself. The last breadcrumb should remain unlinked.
- Don’t use the breadcrumb trail as your title tag.
- The greater than symbol (>) is the most universally recognized way to lead users through a breadcrumb trail.
- Breadcrumbs should be clearly recognizable and not blend in or stand out from the rest of the page. They should be a few font sizes smaller than the rest of the text on the page.
In conclusion, breadcrumbs are essential to a tiered website, helping users as well as search engines navigate your website properly. The results will hopefully be a site that ranks better in the search engines as well as increased conversions to top it off.