Breadcrumb Links: Good or bad for SEO and keyword placement?

Image from SXC.hu

A question I was recently asked was “are there any advantages with breadcrumb links for SEO and keyword placement?”

So what are breadcrumb links?

Wikipedia gives a great explanation:

Breadcrumbs typically appear horizontally across the top of a web page, usually below title bars or headers. They provide links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page or – in hierarchical site structures – the parent pages of the current one.

Breadcrumbs provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting or entry point. A greater-than sign (>) often serves as hierarchy separator, although designers may use other glyphs (such as » or ›), as well as various graphical treatments.

Typical breadcrumbs look like this:

Home page > Product page > Product


Home page : Product page : Product

Examples of breadcrumb links…

Here are some great examples of breadcrumb links from ASOS and Renault Cars:

Another example is the Wheelers Corporate Gifts section; even though the user is on an inner page, this is a great example of how a breadcrumb can start over again for a dedicated section:

So does it help with SEO?

In short… yes. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, using breadcrumb trails can be a great and natural way to get keywords on to a page which then helps with keyword density.

Also it’s another great way to define / tell the search engines what other pages on the site are about through the other internal links within the trail.

Does Google like breadcrumb trails?

Again… yes! A few years back Google started incorporating breadcrumb trails into search results, see below:

As you can see from the website F1 Fanatic, they have breadcrumb links which have then been added to the search results in Google. This then gives the website extra links which is a massive plus.

My view of breadcrumb links…

I’m actually a big fan of breadcrumb trails (even though I don’t have them on my site). Not only do they help with SEO, keyword placement and internal link structures – they are great when incorporated into a design well (like the examples above) and there also very useful for usability.

and finally…

Whilst I’m a fan and they do help, even if it’s just 0.1%, it’s important to note that stuffing these with many keywords will look spammy and unnatural. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, make everything on-page as user focused as possible.

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