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The SEO Benefits of Breadcrumbs and Tips for Using Them

what are some mobile website SEO best practices

The use of breadcrumb navigation has become an essential component of mobile website SEO best practices. This sort of navigation aids in website SEO by helping search engines comprehend a site’s structure, allowing them to discover content more quickly. It also aids visitors in navigating a website more efficiently, which may enhance their experience as a whole.

When it comes to mobile-first SEO strategies, websites cannot rely on outdated methods and tactics if they want to achieve higher rankings. With this in mind, it’s important to focus on making website content more accessible on mobile devices since that is where the majority of users are now consuming content.

One aspect that needs to be considered is breadcrumb navigation, which we will dig deeper into in this article.

Breadcrumb Navigation and Its Importance

Breadcrumbs navigation refers to a series of related links that specify where the user is on a website. They’re back-end navigation, which allows users to follow their route through the site’s hierarchy.

Breadcrumbs aren’t necessary on all websites, though. They aren’t required for websites that:

  • do not have many layers of navigation levels.
  • do not have logical grouping or hierarchy.
  • are meant to be experienced linearly.

Breadcrumbs would be ineffective for such sites with flat components since the majority of the information would be categorised altogether.

Even for large websites, this may be the case. Take a news site for business, for example. It may cover a wide range of subjects and a myriad of articles. Still, it doesn’t require multiple levels of navigation.

The basic principle is that breadcrumbs are beneficial for websites based on complicated hierarchical structures. The conventional example of eCommerce is only one among many possibilities.

The question now is how the breadcrumb navigation system can be useful to site visitors and Google alike. Maintaining this delicate balance can be considered an art form all on its own.

Breadcrumbs Trails – 3 Types

Several experts in user experience (UX) classify breadcrumbs trails into three types:

  • Path-based (a.k.a., history-based)
  • Attribute-based
  • Hierarchy-based (a.k.a., location-based)

There must only be one kind of breadcrumb for SEO: hierarchical.

Breadcrumb trails that follow a user’s path to the current page are called path-based breadcrumb trails. It’s not ideal for SEO or usability to display a user’s prior click path. It replicates the functionality of the browser’s back button, and it often only frustrates users landing on a page deep within the site.

The user may find it difficult to navigate because it is typically lengthy, repetitive, and ultimately puzzling. Internal links, in this case, are meaningless because breadcrumbs change every session. Search engines will not recognise the internal connections because they are constantly changing.

Breadcrumbs should display relevance, not history.

Attribute-based breadcrumbs are preferable when a single page’s content is split across numerous features and categories. A shoe, for example, might be a burgundy ankle-length boot with a heel.

However, these features have no logical hierarchy. There’s also a debate regarding where breadcrumbs should be placed based on importance. This would be useful in a trail that looked like this:

Home > Heels > Boots > Ankle Length > Burgundy

Or

Home > Boots > Heels > Burgundy > Ankle Length

Or any other combination.

There have been recommendations to assign a primary path depending on query volume or attribute use. However, this does not appear to be correct because it does not take into account the naturally polyhierarchical structure of breadcrumbs.

A better solution is to scrap the idea of requiring them to be included in a breadcrumb trail. Instead, showcase the attributes in a setup appropriate to them as filter options. This provides greater flexibility and usability for users while still adhering to mobile websites SEO best practices.

Last but not least, there’s the breadcrumb navigation based on hierarchy. These reveal the site’s depth by beginning with the broadest top-level category and working down through more specialised, nested categories before ending at the current page.

As such, hierarchy breadcrumbs are the most often utilised, most readily recognised, and most effective for SEO.

Benefits of Structured Data and Breadcrumb Navigation for SEO

Breadcrumbs are an important element of wayfinding – orienting the visitor and providing one-click access to more significant, upper-level websites. This is especially critical when a person lands on a page far down in the website hierarchy. For example, after clicking on a long-tail search result from Google.

But it’s not just about website usability. Breadcrumbs aid every stage of SEO in various ways, which we will discuss below.

1. Further Crawling

Breadcrumbs encourage internal links, which help to expose all levels of the hierarchy to search engine crawlers. This is particularly significant for lower levels since they may not be reached. Or, if they are, their importance in Google’s crawl queue may not be high enough.

2. Smarter Indexing

In order to contextualise and correctly connect pages in the site structure, hierarchical links are useful. Google doesn’t comprehend how the URLs are connected if they’re only viewed through a sitemap file.

3. Better ranking performance, SERP click-throughs and organic sessions

Breadcrumbs can improve website rankings in two ways:

  1. They strengthen the internal link architecture by allowing link equity to flow between thematically related pages.
  2. They offer a natural way to include keywords above the fold. Although it won’t impact competitive queries, it can affect the tail of the list.

The advantages of this method may be seen in a drop in average position and an increase in Google Search Console impressions. Consequently, a higher rank will naturally attract more clicks and organic sessions.

Breadcrumb Navigation at its Finest

Breadcrumb navigation has long been a steadfast interface element. This is probably due to their simplicity.

There are hierarchical links, which are separated by a certain character. However, mobile-first came into the picture and made things more complicated. Because of the smaller screen, previous best practices had to be changed.

Best Practices for Breadcrumbs for Mobile UX

Availability: Important pages should have breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are relevant if they add significant wayfinding value to the user experience and are worth the main placement.

Sensible Placement: Breadcrumbs should be placed underneath the primary navigation menu and above the H1. This is where visitors want them. Placed elsewhere, the website won’t get all of its advantages, causing the page to have less internal linking authority.

Clear direction and sequencing: Breadcrumbs should take users from the homepage to the current page. The homepage serves as an anchor, giving visitors a clear sense of direction. It confirms to users what page they are on by displaying the previous item as a non-clickable and, therefore, visibly distinct element.

Symbol Delimiter: The greater-than sign (>) is still the best delimiter for separating hyperlinks in breadcrumb trails since it is succinct yet communicates the connection between pages. Slashes (/) and pipes (|) are not hierarchical markers. Meanwhile, choices such as >> and -> take up much space.

Proper Sizing: In a design that is consistent with the rest of their website, use a tiny font to keep the breadcrumb design simple and inconspicuous. In keeping with other text links on the site, make it big enough and padded enough to be a tap target in a typeface comparable to those used elsewhere on the site. Don’t include useless text like “You are here” or “Navigation” in the middle of the line.

Optimise your Page Breadcrumb Navigation for Better SEO

Using breadcrumb navigation is one of the most effective ways to help both users and search engines understand the organisation of your website SEO content. By using consistent, well-structured breadcrumb navigation, you can make it easier for users to find their way around your site while getting rankings benefits at the same time.

If you’re interested in trying out the mobile website SEO best practice, we at Position1SEO can help! The team at position1seo.co.uk are experts in the industry and can help you to get the most value out of your website.

If you’d like more information about our services, please visit our homepage or contact us at jason@position1seo.com for a no-obligation consultation.

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