Search Engine Optimization Tip: Add a Breadcrumb Trail

This is only one seo tip out of many search engine optimization tips I have been providing over the years. All of my search engine optimization tips are meant to be specific, they should not take too much time to implement, and are meant to be directly to the point.

For this search engine optimization tip, let’s talk about adding a breadcrumb trail to your site’s navigation. A breadcrumb trail, put simply, is a set of links on your page that lets users get back to where they came from–or go to pages that are ‘higher’ in the architecture of your site. For more information about what exactly breadcrumb trail navigation is, take a look here or here. Let’s look at an example.

On many websites, a breadcrumb trail is added below the navigation. Typically, they are simply text links to other pages that are higher in the overall link structure of the website. Typically, there is a link to the home page and then there is a link to the category page, and then there are words (which isn not a link), the name of the page you are currently on. Note that in breadcrumb trail navigation you do not link to the page you’re on. Here is what it would look like:

Home Page > Category > Current Page

breadcrumbs on website for seo

Do Breadcrumbs Improve SEO?

You’re probably wondering why it is important to add a breadcrumb trail to your site. Do breadcrumbs help improve SEO? There are several reasons I can think of right off the bat. The first reason is that it’s helpful for your visitors; whatever helps them will help them stay on your site longer. And since some search engines are now watching how long your visitors stay on your web site, it’s increasingly important to do whatever you can to help them navigate your site. After all, if someone is blind and they come to your site they they won’t see your images: if you use image navigation only then it will be difficult for blind people to navigate your web site. By the way, did I mention that search engines don’t ‘see’ images also? Having a regular text link will help the search engines ‘figure out’ what the page you’re linking to is ‘about’.

The Power of Breadcrumb Trails in SEO: Enhancing Linking and Keyword Relevance

Breadcrumb trails, often underestimated but remarkably effective, play a significant role in search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience. These navigational aids not only guide visitors through your website but also provide an opportunity to strategically incorporate anchor text links that can enhance your SEO efforts. Here’s how adding a breadcrumb trail to your site can be a game-changer:

1. Targeting Desired Keywords:

  • Anchor Text Links: Breadcrumb trails enable you to discreetly incorporate anchor text links with the specific keywords you want to rank for. This is a subtle yet effective way to reinforce your content’s relevance to certain keyword phrases without making it glaringly obvious.
  • Targeting Specific Pages: Suppose you’re aiming to boost the search engine ranking of a particular webpage, say, your ‘red widgets’ category page. The breadcrumb trail provides an opportunity to add an additional text link that reads ‘red widgets’ and points directly to that category page.

2. Maintaining On-Topic Links:

  • Preserving Thematic Consistency: Breadcrumb trails allow your text links to connect to other on-topic pages within your website. For instance, if a user is on your ‘red widget wheels’ page, your breadcrumb trail can logically link to your ‘red widgets’ page, given that ‘red widgets’ is one of your categories. This ensures that the content maintains a consistent thematic flow.
  • Effective Linking Structure: Let’s consider an example. If your website’s navigational structure appears as follows:
    • Home Page
    • Widgets
      • Red Widgets
        • Red Widget Wheels
        • Red Widget Lights
        • Red Widget Bumpers
      • Blue Widgets
        • Blue Widget Wheels
        • Blue Widget Lights
        • Blue Widget Bumpers

In this structure, ‘blue widget wheels,’ ‘blue widget lights,’ and ‘blue widget bumpers’ pages would naturally link to ‘blue widgets,’ ‘widgets,’ and your site’s home page. Similarly, ‘blue widgets’ would link to ‘widgets’ and the home page. This well-structured interlinking with highly-relevant keyword phrases strengthens the SEO performance of both ‘blue widgets’ and ‘widgets’ for their respective keyword phrases, such as ‘blue widgets’ and ‘widgets.’

3. Ensuring Proper Usage:

  • Reviewing Your Breadcrumb Trail: If you already have breadcrumb trail navigation on your site, it’s essential to review its implementation. Confirm that you’re using it correctly and, most importantly, that you’re including your most crucial keyword phrases.

Breadcrumb trails may appear as subtle additions to your website’s design, but their SEO impact can be significant. They offer a discreet means to strengthen your content’s relevance to specific keywords while maintaining a well-structured, on-topic linking system. This, in turn, contributes to higher search engine rankings and improved user experiences. So, take a moment to evaluate your website’s breadcrumb trail navigation and ensure that you’re making the most of this often-overlooked SEO strategy.

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