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When you think “breadcrumbs,” your site structure is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. No, this blog post is not going to focus on the (admittedly delicious) dried bread particles that coat chicken nuggets. Instead, let’s discuss the breadcrumbs that are used to facilitate website navigation!
If you’re a small business owner looking for ways to increase your ROI and get on the first page of Google, breadcrumb navigation should be a top priority for your website design and development. This is a navigation technique that not only works to improve the user experience, but is also appealing to search engines—and can even help boost your organic rankings.
Unfortunately, most small business owners in the home service industries may not even know what breadcrumb navigation is. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through it so you can gain a better understanding of what breadcrumbs are and see how they can benefit your business. And if you don’t have time to incorporate breadcrumb navigation into your SEO strategy, you can just contact us to do it for you!
What Is Breadcrumb Navigation?
When Hansel and Gretel left a trail of breadcrumbs behind in the popular Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, it helped them find their way. The same is true when you use breadcrumbs as part of your navigation strategy—except these are breadcrumbs you can’t eat. Instead, your users will use website breadcrumbs to navigate the pages of your site and keep track of their location.
How does this work? Breadcrumbs are typically used as a navigation technique that provides users with a set of links to help them understand your site’s structure and provide them with a trail of pages they’ve visited.
Displayed at the top of the page, breadcrumb navigation typically looks something like this:
Website > Web Page > Web Page.
Although it primarily works to improve the user experience, this can also directly influence your SEO campaign. There are three main types of breadcrumbs on websites, and each is used depending on a number of factors.
This form of breadcrumbs shows where the current page is located in the website’s hierarchy. This navigation technique is the most popular form of breadcrumbs seen on websites with more than one level of depth or content. When a user moves through the website, the original site will act as a parent to its categorical sites. For example, if you are navigating a remodeling company’s website, the “Services” page would be the parent to the “Floor Installation” page.
Not unlike Hansel leaving a direct path of crumbs behind him, path-based breadcrumbs indicate the steps a user has taken to arrive at the current page of a website. This type of breadcrumb also allows users to see links to their previously-visited pages. Similar to the “forward” and “back” buttons on your browser, path breadcrumbs allow you to move back and forth between these pages.
Attribute-based breadcrumbs allow the user to see what category or attribute of the website they are currently in. Popular for e-commerce sites, this type of breadcrumb makes it easier to navigate the different categories. For example, a clothing website may categorize a jacket as “outerwear” and see color and brand name as attributes.
How Using Breadcrumbs Can Benefit Your SEO Campaign
Breadcrumbs can serve multiple purposes. From improving the user experience to boosting your rankings on Google and other search engines, breadcrumbs are worth considering for your SEO campaign. Though they’re particularly useful for users who found your webpage via social networking platforms or for companies with hierarchically structured sites, this type of navigation can help all types of businesses, including home service providers, HVAC contractors, and landscapers.
BREADCRUMBS CAN IMPROVE THE USER EXPERIENCE
Breadcrumbs are used primarily to improve the user experience because they:
- Are easy to understand. Breadcrumbs provide a simple, user-friendly way to navigate a website. If a user ends up on an internal page on your website, they will be able to easily backtrack and see exactly where they stand in the hierarchy.
- Enable visitors to have one-click access to higher level pages on your site. Because the primary navigation menu does not show users where they’ve been, breadcrumbs allow users to trace their steps by using the hierarchy.
- Eliminate the forward and back button. Breadcrumbs allow users to go from one page to another without the hassle of clicking through previously viewed pages!
- Can reduce the bounce rate by enticing new visitors to explore other pages on your site. Users will be given many more options thanks to breadcrumbs, allowing them to easily backtrack a few levels and ultimately not leave the site as quickly.
- Allow users to navigate your site quickly and easily. Additionally, when a user goes on a website, they may just want the phone number for the company—or they may want to look at a few service pages. By providing additional pages of information, breadcrumbs allow users to find new pages without returning to the home page.
BREADCRUMBS HELP SEARCH ENGINES NAVIGATE YOUR SITE
Not only are breadcrumbs user-friendly—they’re also search engine friendly. More specifically, breadcrumbs make your site’s linking structure easier to read so that Google (or another search engine) can easily present the information you provide via search results. Additionally, optimizing your breadcrumbs with keyword-rich text can influence your organic rankings combined with other on-site optimization techniques—it may be a good idea to learn more about how to get your business on the first page of Google!
How to Use Breadcrumb Navigation for SEO
When you’re coming up with breadcrumbs for your site, consider that Google pays careful attention to this information and often incorporates it into search results—so you’ll probably want to optimize the anchor text along with the rest of the webpage content.
Here’s an example: Installation > AC Installation > Ductless ACs.
Use keywords your potential customers are searching, but keep in mind that search engines weigh usability more heavily than how many keywords are used. So if you choose to use keywords for your breadcrumbs, make sure it makes sense!
Now that you know how breadcrumbs work and how they’re beneficial to your SEO campaign, it’s time to start implementing this technique as part of your SEO strategy. In the end, breadcrumbs are just another way to up your SEO game and make your website as user-friendly as it can be! If you don’t have time to change your site structure or implement a new SEO strategy, consider the services of an online marketing company.
Call Blue Corona today and learn more about how we can help you change the web presence of your business for the better.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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