If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your website’s user experience, adding breadcrumbs is a great option. Website breadcrumbs make it easier for site visitors and search engines to better understand your website’s structure and understand the connections with on-site content. But what exactly are breadcrumbs, and how do they work? Here’s what you need to know including breadcrumbs on your website!
What Are Website Breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs are navigational aids you can add to your website to help improve both UX and SEO. These are text links typically located at the top of a webpage to show where a user is currently located on the website. Every breadcrumb listed links back to a specific webpage so that users can navigate to other areas of the website quickly without having to click the back button.
Benefits of Website Breadcrumbs
Having breadcrumbs on your website can help with overall user experience, give your SEO efforts a boost, and make your website easier to navigate. Here are some of the main benefits of using website breadcrumbs.
Creates a Better User Experience
A simple way to improve your website’s UX is to add breadcrumbs. These on-page links allow site visitors to click through your website and understand where they are in the website hierarchy when looking for certain information. Breadcrumbs also make it easy to return to previous pages within a large topic cluster.
Improves Mobile Navigation
Since many mobile designs include hidden or collapsed website elements, navigating through mobile sites can sometimes be difficult for users. Mobile breadcrumbs can help reduce the number of clicks needed to navigate to new pages, which can make your website more mobile-friendly.
Boosts SEO Efforts
Not only are breadcrumbs helpful for users to navigate your website, but they also help Google understand your website’s hierarchy and structure. Breadcrumbs allow Google to understand page content and how it relates to other pages within your website. This is information Google uses to index and display your webpages in search engine results pages (SERPs), meaning you could potentially see a bump in search engine visibility simply by utilizing breadcrumbs on your website.
Decreases Bounce Rate
Similar to internal links, breadcrumbs help keep site visitors active on your website by directing them to other pages on your website. They can even increase session duration and decrease bounce rate. In fact, a Moz case study reported an increase in session time after adding breadcrumbs to a website.
Types of Website Breadcrumbs
There are three main types of breadcrumbs you can implement on your website. Here’s what you need to know about each breadcrumb structure’s benefits and drawbacks.
Attribute-based breadcrumbs are commonly found on e-commerce websites. This breadcrumb navigation displays the qualities or features a customer outlines for a product. For example, if you were shopping for new shoes at Zappos, the breadcrumbs might outline the type of shoes, brand, color, price, or material. This is helpful because you can quickly click back to previous attributes to change what you’re searching for or continue looking for similar brands and styles.
Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs show you which page you’re on, as well as where that page falls within the larger website structure. Many websites today utilize hierarchy-based breadcrumbs, as the visual reference of where a page falls in the sitemap helps customers—and search engines—understand the hierarchy of information presented on the website.
History-based breadcrumbs show the order of website pages a user has visited during their time on the site, just like a browser history. These breadcrumbs are best for allowing users to quickly revisit pages in their customer journey. For example, if someone started on the homepage, visited the main blog page, read a blog post, and then clicked on a services page, the breadcrumbs would recap this journey.