When you think of breadcrumbs, you often are brought back to childhood stories where fictional characters are told to leave a trail of breadcrumbs or cookies to help them find their way back home should they ever get lost. Well, did you know that you can and should be using breadcrumbs in search engine optimization (SEO) as well? Before we can talk about breadcrumbing best practices for 2021, we must first identify what breadcrumbs are and identify their SEO benefits.
What Does Breadcrumb in SEO Mean?
Website breadcrumbs aren’t nearly as discussed as other website optimization subjects, but they do play a crucial role in your SEO practices. If you’ve never discussed breadcrumbs and its SEO benefits, then you’ll want to take some notes.
What are Breadcrumbs Used For?
Like in those childhood stories, breadcrumbs in SEO are used for navigational purposes. They not only help tell people where they are on your website, but they also are used by website crawlers to help Google navigate your website’s structure.
Now, when we say navigate, we don’t necessarily mean that your breadcrumbs are your primary navigational menu, aka your home button, service button, etc. Instead, your breadcrumbs can be thought of like a secondary navigational menu that allows a user to backtrack step by step.
For example, say someone navigates to a specific blog on your website after visiting your homepage and then your resources tab. Your breadcrumb may appear at the top of the article as follows:
Should your user decide that they would like to go back to the blog page, they can click on the ½>Blog link. If they’d rather go directly back to the tools page, then they could click on ½>Tools link.
Are Breadcrumbs Necessary?
While some people may argue that breadcrumbs aren’t all that necessary, if you are looking to benefit from SEO, then the answer is yes – breadcrumbs are necessary.
Remember, breadcrumbs are not only used to help your visitors quickly return to a page they were just on. Google’s crawlers also use them when attempting to navigate your website to index it properly. This makes breadcrumbs an important technical SEO practice worth investing in.
Breadcrumbs: Best Practices for 2021 Worth Noting
If you’ve never used breadcrumbs in SEO before, then you’ll want to make yourself aware of some best practices to help create the ideal customer experience possible on your website. That said, here are a few breadcrumb best practices for 2021 that you’ll want to make sure you’re implementing in your design:
Your Breadcrumbs Belong Towards the Top of the Page
Remember, your breadcrumbs work as a secondary form of navigation for your website visitors. It’s become common practice that navigation belongs at the top of your website, and that goes for your breadcrumbs as well. By placing your breadcrumbs towards the top of the webpage, your audience will be able to identify them and put them to use easily.
Always Start the Path with the Homepage
When building your breadcrumbs, you always want to make sure that your home page is the first thing that appears. This is because your homepage is where your customer’s journey with your brand should always begin. Even if they’ve landed on your service page before your homepage, they’re more likely to click on your homepage to better understand who you are and why you provide those services. So when building your breadcrumb navigation, make sure you always begin with the home page.
Make Sure to Show the Entire Path
Once you’ve started with the home page, you want to make sure you show the entire user’s path from start to finish.
Remember the example from earlier:
This is a step-by-step map of how your visitor got to this specific blog page. If you don’t include every step of the journey, your user won’t easily navigate back to the page should they decide to check something else out.
Boldface the Final Item in the List
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you boldfaced the final item in your list. This simply makes it easier for your website visitor to see what page they are currently on.
Don’t Let SEO Scare You
Breadcrumbing SEO benefits are worth the effort, but here at CadenceSEO, we understand that trying to add another form of SEO into your digital marketing strategy can be a tad overwhelming. Instead of trying to take it all on yourself, why not let our team help you out?
Contact us today to see how we can help you lessen your SEO load!