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Why Breadcrumbs Are Important For SEO

Every time Google analyses the contents of a site to determine its page rank, it analyses several factors. One of these factors is navigation, which refers to a site’s ability to direct its visitors to each of its web pages, from the home or main page down to the briefest and obscurest article.

Navigation is not really an important issue if your blog or site only has a dozen or so web pages, but if you have hundreds or even thousands of content archived on your site then navigation can be quite a challenge. Large sites with poor navigation features usually have tangled up internal links, missing content, redundant or broken links as well as other similar problems.

To make matters worse, sites with poor navigation are hard to index, which means that it may undermine an otherwise effective and powerful SEO campaign. Breadcrumbs can help solve many of these problems. So if you would like to know how they affect your SEO campaign then here’s what you need to know.

What Are Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumb example for SEO
Breadcrumb example.

Breadcrumbs are those little links that you find at the top of most web pages. They are there to show you the main pages of the site that you’re in. They also exist to help you navigate through the various main pages of a particular site, so that you can find the contents you’re looking for quickly and easily.

From a technical and web development standpoint, breadcrumbs may be defined as a type of navigation structure that informs users about the main and the sub-categories of the webpages they’re browsing. They are usually added below the main heading of the web page and includes links to their respective categories and sub-categories

Breadcrumbs also appear on the search engine results page. When you look at one of the search results, you will notice that it has tiny links underneath it. What this means is that instead of having just one link for you to click at, you get two or more, with the main link connecting to the main page, and the breadcrumb links linking to other web pages of the site.

These links point to web pages of the site. Search engines include these links to allow users to have an easier time finding specific types of content, usually a web page, an article or some type of multimedia. In some cases, it may even point to a pdf file or a more exotic form of content. In any case, breadcrumbs exist to help people with their searches.

What Are the Benefits of Breadcrumbs for SEO?

A good way to understand the connection between SEO and breadcrumbs is it to think of Google bots as tiny, ultra-fast versions of human visitors. These bots map out every public content on your site, which means that if they cannot access a particular part of your site then your visitors won’t be able to access them either.

After the bots have finished their work and have compiled the data, they will then deliver their results to Google who will then use the information they’ve acquired to create your site’s search engine results page profile. Here are other ways that a good set of breadcrumbs can help you with your SEO campaign.

Keyword Optimization

Certain breadcrumbs can be used to target and optimize keywords. You can turn an ordinary breadcrumb link into an anchor text, which helps optimize both your site and the web page which it links to.

Interlinking All the Web Pages On A Website

Google gives importance to websites which are well-linked and well-structured. A highly interlinked website is more conducive to Google bots and other similar algorithms, which in turn leads to improved indexing as well as a higher ranking on the search engine results page.

Indexing of the Inner Web Pages

Most sites contain a lot of links and web pages, and indexing them all can be difficult process, particularly if the site is structured poorly. Efficient and well-made breadcrumbs can fix this problem, thus allowing Google and search engine bots to index every web page that your site’s breadcrumbs point to.

Also, a well-linked website helps search bots to drill down to the deepest parts of the website and index them, which allows them to come up on organic search results. So if you have a series of web pages that you would like to promote then better breadcrumbs should solve your problems.

Effective Distribution of Page Rank

Not only do bread crumbs allow Google bots to detect and index your site’s different web pages, they can also help to distribute your site’s page rank between different web pages. This feature allows you to avoid a situation where a particular web page always appears whenever someone searches for your site on the internet, while other web pages are almost always ignored.

A well-link website helps search engines to distribute the page rank to the different internal pages. What this means is that all the main pages of the website will get a uniform page rank, while the secondary pages will get a uniform page rank that’s less than the one given to the main and home page.

It’s also worth mentioning that different websites have different breadcrumb navigation structures. These structures are determined by how each particular site is optimized to achieve optimum relevance

Breadcrumbs and Google

Google loves breadcrumbs, because it allows their bots to index different types of content more easily. Without breadcrumbs, the bots will have to rely on internet links and anchor texts embedded within the content, which makes indexing more difficult than it needs to be.

Moreover, cluttered websites that lack breadcrumbs or at least, an organized structure for internal links are difficult to index. Google bots are unable to identify which areas of the site are important, and which ones are irrelevant. Clutter also creates redundant links which are not only difficult to index and identify, but also reduces user experience.

Because of these factors, it’s no wonder why Google loves sites that feature breadcrumbs. Not only do they make websites more efficient and easier to index, they also help to organize your site’s content and improve user experience.

Breadcrumbs and UX

Breadcrumbs may be useful for SEO, but their primary role is UX or User Experience. A well-made website needs to offer good navigation to its users. SEO is a secondary (though still important) concern.

In order to appreciate the importance of breadcrumbs for website UX, it’s important to examine how users interact with large amounts of content. It’s worth mentioning that the process behind creating a set of breadcrumbs for a particular web page is quite easy. They are essentially internal links with some extra code thrown in to make them more SEO-friendly. The hard part is creating a UX-friendly structure for said links.

The important point to remember here is that although breadcrumbs are easy to make, they are also difficult to optimize, particularly if you have a large website with large amounts of content. Consider a site with thousands of web pages, or sites which cater to different groups of people. A good example would be a government website. Many government sites contain large amounts of documents, and each document usually has its own dedicated web page. Finding a particular web page can be quite difficult if the site has poor navigation, and several broken links.

Another good example is an online directory. If you’re a visitor looking for a specific report, article or web page, you will need to spend some time sifting through this site’s contents to find what you’re looking for. And if the site has poor navigation and breadcrumbs, the entire process may become difficult if not outright frustrating.

As internal links, breadcrumbs play a very important role in website design and development. Not only do they reduce content clutter, they can also show users which areas of the site contain their desired content.

What Are The UX Benefits of Breadcrumbs?

So far we’ve discussed how breadcrumbs help websites with SEO, but what about user experience? Here are several ways that your breadcrumbs can help your visitors and users, assuming you put in the necessary work of course.

Secondary Navigation

A nice set of breadcrumbs may be used for navigation purposes. All you need to do is set them up at the right places, organize them efficiently and the users will take care of the rest. Remember, there’s no such thing as having too much navigation, and by giving users and visitors more navigation, you are making your website easier to use, which in turn increases its SEO value.

Reduces User Efforts

Breadcrumbs reduces the amount of work visitors put in to find the content they want, which in turn makes the rest of the site easier to use and explore. They also no longer have to go through different links to find what they want, nor will they need to spend several minutes sifting through irrelevant content.

Help Users Identify Their Location On Your Site

When a new user enter a site for the first time, there’s a good chance that they will feel lost or even confused. By putting breadcrumbs on your site, you can mitigate this feeling, thereby helping your new visitors know where they are whenever one of them follows an external link to your site.

A set of breadcrumbs can also help visitors to know where they should go to access the information they want, as well as the best paths and links to go there. This is, of course, good navigation design, which as we’ve already mentioned, is great for SEO.

Support Categorizations

Breadcrumbs allow website owners to better categorize their content, allowing their visitors to find content more easily. By using breadcrumbs, users will no longer have to look through individual web pages, nor will they need to run a search to narrow down their list of content. All they need to do is follow the right breadcrumb to find the information they need. And if your site’s categorizations are limited then a few breadcrumbs can help address that issue as well.

How Do You Create Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs should be created and designed by experienced SEO and web development specialists to ensure their effectiveness for SEO and to ensure their UX value. However, if you cannot find or afford a web developer or SEO specialist then you can always use a breadcrumb plugin. Breadcrumb plugins allow ordinary people to create their own breadcrumbs, though the outcome may not be as effective as those which are done by experienced professionals.

In any case, creating breadcrumbs is relatively easy. All you need is some knowledge in web design and coding, and you should be able to create a set of them for your site. The problem, though, is setting up the navigation structure while at the same time correcting redundant internal links, and for that, you will need an expert.

Conclusions

Breadcrumbs are useful for SEO because they make your site and its web pages easier to use, explore and index. This causes Google’s bot to identify your site as one which deserves to get a higher rank. Although not all sites need breadcrumbs to be impressive, those that do are usually more organized, more polished and better to look at.

Additionally, adding breadcrumbs on your site makes it easier to use. Most people have come to expect them, and if your site has a lot of content and internal links then breadcrumbs will allow you to make everything more orderly.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that breadcrumbs are just one of many other tools used by SEO managers and web developers to promote their various sites. Despite this, it remains one of the most potent (and sometimes most ignored) tools in Search Engine Optimization. So if you’re starting you’re a new SEO campaign, be sure to think about how you can integrate breadcrumbs into your overall SEO strategy.

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