Is there such a thing as breadcrumb SEO?
You can create breadcrumb navigation with a few button clicks. But does this impact SEO? If so, is breadcrumb SEO worth it?
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about breadcrumb SEO. And you’ll learn how easy it is to create breadcrumbs.
What Are Breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs are tiny navigational links that help orient users as they explore your website.
Because these links are clickable, users can quickly backtrack to previously visited areas.
Here’s an example from Walmart. At the top of the page, we see the “breadcrumb trail” – the path we took to get to the current page.
Thanks to the breadcrumb trail, we can quickly return to Women’s Coats or Women’s Clothing.
The term breadcrumbs comes from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. In that story, Hansel leaves breadcrumbs as he and his sister enter the woods. He intends to use the breadcrumbs to find his way back home.
Hierarchy-Based Breadcrumb Navigation
Breadcrumbs are an excellent idea for complex e-commerce websites with nested hierarchies.
Per Google’s Matt Cutts, breadcrumbs should “accurately reflect your site’s hierarchy.”
Imagine how confusing it would be if there were a link to the automotive section in that Walmart breadcrumb trail for women’s coats.
We’ll discuss other types of breadcrumbs shortly. Our focus here is on Google’s recommended usage.
Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs are also called location-based breadcrumbs. Here, “location” refers to navigation location.
Breadcrumbs Schema Markup
To get SEO value from breadcrumbs, related HTML code should be added to each web page.
Schema markup is a type of code that transmits structured data to Google and other search engines. This code helps Google understand the elements of a web page.
As a result, that page may rank better for its target keyword and may rank for additional keywords.
We’ll discuss an easy way to add breadcrumbs to your site shortly. And this method will automatically add the schema markup code too.
But first, let’s see how breadcrumbs relate to SEO.
Breadcrumb SEO and User Experience Benefits
Breadcrumbs have both SEO and user experience benefits.
- They can increase conversions by making it easier for users to explore a site. Higher engagement means lower bounce rates too.
- Breadcrumb schema markup can help a web page appear in search results for a breadcrumb term.
- Because breadcrumbs add internal links, this can help search engine crawlers understand your site structure.
Are Breadcrumbs a Ranking Factor?
No, breadcrumbs aren’t a direct ranking factor: adding them won’t automatically cause your web pages to rank higher.
However, breadcrumbs can contribute to higher rankings when combined with quality content and optimized pages.
On-page optimization should include adding rich snippets where relevant.
Now, let’s look at how to add breadcrumbs.
How to Add Breadcrumbs in WordPress
Breadcrumbs are easy to implement. An SEO plugin like All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is a popular way to add them.
Download the All in One SEO (AIOSEO) Plugin
This beginner-friendly plugin makes basic SEO tasks as easy as clicking buttons and filling out form fields.
To add breadcrumbs,
- Download and install All in One SEO (AIOSEO).
- Then, in WordPress, go to AIOSEO » General Settings » Breadcrumbs.
- Toggle the Enable Breadcrumbs button to on.
Below the Enable Breadcrumb button, you’ll see 4 different ways to add breadcrumbs to your site.
- Gutenberg block
- PHP Code
Learn more about these different methods.
Remember: Google doesn’t care where you place the breadcrumbs. So you can use the shortcode, for example, to add them to the bottom of pages if you like.
Assigning a Primary Category
You can also have a blog post category or product category added to the breadcrumb trail. Wonder how this works if you assign more than 1 category to a web page?
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) allows you to choose a Primary Category to display in the breadcrumb trail. To learn more about this, read our tutorial.
Breadcrumb Schema Markup
AIOSEO automatically adds breadcrumb markup to your pages. So there’s no action needed on your part other than installing the plugin.
All in One SEO is an established plugin with thousands of 5-star reviews on WordPress.org. Currently, over 3 million site owners are using the plugin.
In addition to the breadcrumb generator, this plugin provides everything you need for site-wide and on-page optimization.
Optional Breadcrumb Settings
All in One SEO’s default options work well for breadcrumbs. But you can alter these settings. For example, you can
- Omit the homepage from breadcrumb trails.
- Include or omit the current page title.
- Choose one of several separator styles.
Different Types of Breadcrumbs
We mentioned earlier that Google recommends hierarchy-based breadcrumbs. But it’s helpful to know there are other types of breadcrumbs.
These breadcrumbs, also called path-based breadcrumbs, simply list the last pages you visited. As you can imagine, these types of breadcrumbs can be confusing to users.
Attributes refer to product attributes like color or size. Sometimes these are used on e-commerce sites in combination with hierarchy-based breadcrumbs.
Q&A on Breadcrumb SEO
We hope this post helped you understand breadcrumb navigation and how it benefits SEO and usability.
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