What are Breadcrumbs and How to SEO Optimize Them

What are Breadcrumbs and How to SEO Optimize Them

Google places great importance on using breadcrumbs on websites. Breadcrumbs assist both search engines and users in understanding the website's structure and facilitating navigation. In this article, you will learn about the significance of breadcrumbs, how to optimize them, and their benefits for SEO.

What are Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs are small menus typically placed at the top of a page, serving as a navigation aid. They display the path from the current page back to the homepage. In simple terms, breadcrumbs inform you about your current location within a website with numerous subpages. 

Different Types of Breadcrumbs

There are various types of breadcrumbs, but they all serve the same purpose: helping users comprehend the relationship between the current page and the rest of the website. The most common types of breadcrumbs include:

Hierarchy-Based Breadcrumbs

These are typical hierarchical breadcrumb menus found on blogs or websites with a simple hierarchical structure.

Hierarchy-Based Breadcrumbs
Hierarchy-Based Breadcrumbs

Dynamic Breadcrumbs

These are used when a product has multiple attributes, and the breadcrumb trail reflects those attributes for easier navigation. Here is an example from an ecommerce website:

Dynamic Breadcrumbs

Dynamic Breadcrumbs

History-Based Breadcrumbs

These are built based on the pages the user has visited. However, this is not a recommended SEO web design practice and is not commonly used.

Why are Breadcrumbs Important?

Breadcrumbs are an essential component of an SEO-friendly website because they:

Simplify navigation, which is their primary role and why users appreciate them.

  • Encourage users to explore more pages before exiting, thereby reducing the bounce rate.
  • Benefit SEO in two ways: assisting search engine bots during crawling and indexing, and displaying breadcrumb information in the search engine results pages (SERPs) instead of the permalink.

Breadcrumb SEO Best Practices

To optimize your breadcrumbs for SEO, follow these simple rules:

  • Ensure that breadcrumbs are enabled and visible to users. Many web designers hide them due to perceived design conflicts, but this is unnecessary. Look at the example from Rolex's website to demonstrate that breadcrumbs can be incorporated into any design and still look great.
  • Ensure that breadcrumbs are mobile-friendly. If you choose to display breadcrumbs on mobile devices, make sure the font size is large enough for easy clicking. It's common practice to either hide breadcrumbs on mobile or present them as buttons.
  • Add Breadcrumb Schema

The reason my breadcrumbs are shown instead of URLs in Google search results is because I have enabled breadcrumb schema markup on my website. Schema markup highlights specific areas of your website to search engine crawlers, providing them with a better understanding of your page's structure. By adding structured data code to your HTML, you provide search engines with more information about your page and content. This increases the chances of getting rich snippets and well-formatted breadcrumbs in the search results.


Breadcrumbs enhance the user experience, improve search snippets, and earn Google's appreciation. These are three compelling reasons to enable breadcrumbs on all pages of your website. Hopefully, this article has provided you with an overview of breadcrumbs. Stay tuned to CI for in-depth technical steps to optimize breadcrumbs on your website and boost your SEO score. If you're interested in SEO and marketing topics, make sure to follow CI regularly!

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