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What are breadcrumbs and when to use them

When a user arrives at a website it is necessary to facilitate navigation through the site and allow him to locate the different resources quickly and intuitively and for this task we can be very useful breadcrumbs that translated into Spanish would be “bread crumbs”. There are many ways to guide the user but in this article we will only discuss breadcrumbs and in a future article we will explain how to implement breadcrumbs in WordPress.

In our SEO on page guide in section 4.16 we talk about breadcrumbs but we do not stop to analyze them in depth so I dedicate this complete article to you and thus clarify possible doubts.

What are breadcrumbs or “bread crumbs”?

A possible definition would be: it is a system that helps the user to navigate through the web page, allowing him to know at all times where he is (in which part of the web) and how he has arrived.

When to use breadcrumbs?

Once we are clear about what they are, we have to answer the question of whether we really need them. This is an easy question to answer, since breadcrumbs are only recommended for use on websites with complex hierarchical structures (of more than three levels) or when for specific design reasons it is very easy to get lost within the web (in the rest of situations are not necessary).

When I talk about hierarchical structures I refer to the way in which the contents of the website are classified, for this I propose the following example of a vehicle sales shop. Within this store I can classify vehicles by several factors such as color, type of fuel, brand, number of doors, price, etc … This generates a complex classification of the contents and with breadcrumbs we will always know where we are and how we arrived, since for example we can show the following breadcrumbs:

  • pagina_web >> Audi >> vehĂ­culos diesel >> color azul
  • pagina_web >> Ford >> tres puertas >> color negro

Why use breadcrumbs?

So far we only talk about what they are and when we should use breadcrumbs but many of you will be wondering why to use them, because I give the following reasons:

  • It guides the user and facilitates navigation through the contents.
  • Streamlines the process of browsing through the web.
  • It is not annoying and in some cases visually improves the web.
  • Google recognizes them and uses them in their rich snippets (we analyze this carefully later).

Rich snippets and breadcrumbs

The use of breadcrumbs slightly modifies the rich snippets that Google shows in its search results, adding the different levels of the breadcrumb instead of the URL and making each level clickable. For this reason it is said that breadcrumbs favor SEO, but rather than favoring SEO, it is rather a visual and useful improvement of Google search results. The following example image makes things quite clear:

I hope you liked this article and as always doubts or questions in the comments.

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