Do Breadcrumbs Have A Role To Play As A Google Ranking Factor?

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Google is a search engine that prefers to stay tight-lipped about the factors contributing to higher ranking in SEO. It is because of this that SEO marketers analyze every piece of information available to them to understand how to search and SEO ranking works. Over the years Breadcrumbs have gained a lot of attention as a potential factor contributing to higher page rank. Does it have a role to play in increasing rank, visibility, and target traffic to your page? Let us look at some facts to understand its contribution and how much importance it deserves to get.

What is a breadcrumb?

Term breadcrumb reminds us of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel where the girl leaves the trail of breadcrumbs behind her to avoid getting lost in the forest. Website breadcrumb is a similar trail of a secondary navigation system of a website or an application. It plays a pivotal role in helping the user trace their way back while using a website or an application on mobile.

There is no denial of the fact that breadcrumb helps in improving the user experience, redirecting your target audience, and making their experience with the website more organic. Since google always talks about improving user experience, using breadcrumbs in your website can give you some brownie points over others who don’t use it.

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How breadcrumb helps a website?

  • It helps the search engine in identifying the content of the website and match it better to the search query.
  • Though many searches can lead the user to the same page, the website breadcrumb can categorize the content of the page and show the best results matching the search query.
  • It can help the user understand the structure of the website and decide where to go next in it.
  • Since the entire user experience becomes organic, it decreases the bounce rate, ultimately helping websites in improving their SEO.

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Are breadcrumbs a ranking factor?

Since there is no clear guideline about google ranking factors, SEO marketers depend upon a combination of factors such as what they see on search results, various patents filed by Google, their official documents, and what company executives say for ranking a web page.

Breadcrumb managed to gain the attention of the SEO community in 2009 when it replaced the URL of the website in search results. Website breadcrumb took the user to the precise location where content for their search query is located. Websites already having secondary breadcrumb navigation in their website benefitted as their SERP ranking got better than other websites in the search results. This led to speculation by many SEO marketers that having a website breadcrumb can help in improving SEO ranking.

Further, in 2009 Google filed a patent in the US named “Visualising site structure and enabling site navigation for a search result or linked page.”

This means whether a website uses or not uses breadcrumbs as a secondary navigation system, Google does apply breadcrumbs to break down, categorize and understand the structure and content of the website. If the website is already using breadcrumb, how easy it will become for a search engine to understand the structure of the website and include the content in the search result?

On top of it, Google search consoles have been sending warning emails to people to prevent their website breadcrumbs from spammers. They are also pointing out mistakes they have been noticing in website breadcrumbs in these emails. This clearly shows that Google not only wants to prevent the website breadcrumb from being manipulated, but it also wants the website owners to implement it properly.

All this can be promising evidence to support the role of breadcrumbs in the Google ranking factor.    

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