How important is the breadcrumb on a website to rank them effectively?

The term breadcrumbs were heard first and mostly heard by many in the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. On the internet, it simply denotes the way through which one can track back to the place from where they had originally begun their search.

They basically allow their users to retrace their steps right from their homepage to the page that they currently were viewing. They also at the max reflect the structure of your website, generally the attributes of your current page.

Categories of breadcrumbs

Based on Location

These breadcrumbs are used exclusively to trace back through the various layers of one’s website. By following this type of breadcrumb the user will be able to visit a page that plays as a host to similar WebPages in the very same category.

Based on path

Breadcrumb of this type generally represents the various rational paths that a user would use to reach a page. A user would generally prefer various links and pages to go through which would at the end reach a page finally. It all simply means that multiple and different kinds of breadcrumbs can lead to the same page.

Based on keywords

Such natured breadcrumbs follow a similar path just like the breadcrumbs based on the location or navigation. The only distinguish here would be that instead of using something like the page title or another unique identifier, keywords and attributes that describe the page are used. Two of the more common places where this breadcrumb is used would be in the Technical support pages and e-commerce websites.

It actually describes each level of breadcrumb navigation category. It shows Meta information rather than showing information from each page. This type of navigation does not necessarily take you back on the path you came from within the site navigation.

One may also choose a path from the homepage and you will see that at a certain point the breadcrumb trail changes to attributes of each page rather than displaying the location from where you started.

This kind of navigation based on attribute could include keywords to gain on page SEO benefits, but it does not go show you your location on the website in order to trace back it may cause many usability issues which may or may not really be related to your content.

Sitemap creation

A sitemap is similar to a family tree which would give you a good idea for organizing your breadcrumb navigation within your site. On finding the most lower level of pages of your site feature in multiple categories, you may want to skip the breadcrumb navigation. But, by trying to change the sitemap such that every page has its own unique path and thus it becomes simpler to implement location breadcrumb navigation which is really preferred a lot much!

Secondary Navigation

Navigation through breadcrumbs would most likely be secondary to your page. Many Professional SEO Company has a horizontal line of linked elements. Various sites include a fly-out menu, which is generally a feature of the primary menu found on conventional site design.

If you have a user-trusted site then this feature will add up with positive results which are a bonus point. But it really would be better to keep the breadcrumb navigation simple and secondary and let the primary navigation have all the extra features of expanding into a vertical menu.

Elimination of Unnecessary elements

The elements used in a breadcrumb trail are generally links and such as misconceptions which really are bound to happen.

Many sites give a ‘go back’ option along with the breadcrumb links which also many a time creates confusion among the users of your site as they would not know exactly what page the back link would take them to, that the breadcrumb elements may not. It is an excess addition for a function that exists already in all the browsers, to which users are generally accustomed to.

There are nil side effects of having these elements though, as they definitely are not the cause of a high bounce rate. But, it is good to ignore anything that makes the user wonder about its function or repeat a function that already exists in browsers.

Small Size

You have to be sure that the font size of the breadcrumb navigation elements is smaller to the ones present in the primary navigation. There must be a clear difference and variation between navigation and the toolbar.

Homepage

It is basically a simple tool when it comes to location breadcrumb navigation. Starting your breadcrumb navigation through your homepage would always be a better idea as it would end with the current page. Many sites ignore the homepages and start in between the pages for the search trial which is not at all advisable. They in general, start the breadcrumb trail with a high category page.

Target.com would be highly similar to such a case.

Such details may also cause the visitor to look for other options to go back home, which is a result of poor usability.

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