Breadcrumbs: Definition, relevance for SEO and types

A breadcrumb is a small text path that is usually located at the top of a website. It indicates where the respective user is located within the website construct. Similar to internal links, breadcrumbs help to keep users on a website. They help them to orient themselves and find the information, products etc. they are looking for.

Why are breadcrumbs important for search engine optimization?

Breadcrumbs are a useful function for the usability of websites. They make it much easier to navigate websites by providing users with orientation. This, in turn, can make a major contribution to people engaging longer and more intensively with the relevant website content. For Google, this is an indication of a good user experience, which in turn can boost the ranking.

The search engine itself also receives guidance from such internal links. This is also not to be sneezed at in terms of SEO. Google now also displays breadcrumbs itself in the search results in order to categorize information.

Breadcrumbs therefore help users to find their way around a website and help Google to evaluate it. Both of these factors make breadcrumbs relevant for SEO.

What types of breadcrumbs are there?

There are three main types of breadcrumbs, each with their own purpose. Before you integrate one or the other into your website, you should find out which type is best suited to your requirements. Here's a quick overview.

  • Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs (also known as location-based breadcrumbs): These are the most common type of breadcrumbs. It tells users where they are in the website structure and how to return to the home page. For example - "Sanofeld > Wiki > Breadcrumbs".
  • Attribute-based breadcrumbs: This type of breadcrumbs is commonly used on e-commerce sites to show which attributes the user has clicked on during a product search. An example - "Home > Shoes > Hiking > Women"
  • History-based breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs show users which other pages on a website they have visited - similar to a browser history. For example, if you are searching for SEO topics and have read three different articles, the breadcrumbs might look like this - "Home > SEO article 1 > SEO article 2 > Current page".

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