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How To Implement Breadcrumb Schema For Enhanced SEO

Implementing breadcrumb schema enhances SEO. It provides a clear website structure for search engines and improves user navigation.

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Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

February 13, 2024

Breadcrumb schema makes it easier for search engines to understand a website’s structure better and simplifies wayfinding for website visitors. It adds more crunch to your SEO strategies by significantly improving the click-through rate from search engines.

Breadcrumbs are undoubtedly essential for a website that aims to leverage its online presence for its growth and success. Here are more things to know about breadcrumb schema:

What is Breadcrumb Schema

Breadcrumb schema is a data structure that helps search engines understand the hierarchy of a website. It works to enhance the user experience on the website while making essential information about the website’s structure, content organization, and distribution easier for search engines to understand and index. It helps in increasing the ranking potential of the website by understanding the page with accuracy.

The breadcrumb schema is of three types: hierarchy-based breadcrumbs (tells where on the website one is currently), attribute-based breadcrumbs (when the website has too many faceted navigation options and the website uses filters to show results), and path-based breadcrumbs (shows the unique pathway a user took to reach a specific page on the website).

The search engines have updated significantly and can now display the search results as breadcrumbs by breaking up the URL. However, implementing a breadcrumb scheme ensures you are able to capture the opportunities and benefits better.

The Benefits of Breadcrumb Schema You Need to leverage

Breadcrumb schema might not work wonders on flat websites that have a shallow website architecture. However, it is incredibly beneficial for websites that have layers of pages (that can be otherwise difficult for search engines to find). Here are some benefits to look at:

Encourages website users to explore the website

Breadcrumbs can encourage a website visitor to explore other pages on the website, eventually increasing the potential for more advertising and sales. The breadcrumb menu cleverly displays relevant pages from the website’s hierarchy that align with the visitor’s initial search.

In case they are unable to find what they are looking for, instead of exiting the website, they might want to explore other pages on the website that match their interests.

Improves the user experience offered by the website

Breadcrumbs can reduce the clicks and the time it takes for a visitor to move from the sub-category page to the parent page. With breadcrumb schema navigation, it can become challenging (and frustrating) for a user to explore more pages on the website.

It will eventually have an impact on the user experience the website is offering to visitors and, eventually, on search engine ranking potential. Placing a breadcrumb trail simplifies the navigation (even if your website has multiple categories), eventually making your website easier to explore and uncover other pages.

Builds better interlinking that also positively impacts the SEO

Interlinks are vital components that help search engines discover new pages on the website. Breadcrumbs work by making new pages on a website become more visible to search engine bots. This eventually ensures that the site structure gets more exposure.

Interlinking can seamlessly improve website crawlability. As more pages get crawled, they get indexed and carry the potential for ranking on search engines. This virtue is particularly beneficial if you are looking to rank for a specific keyword.

Generates more (and better quality) clicks from search engines

Breadcrumbs appearing in Google rich snippets look more organized and, as a result, more clickable over the plain sight of a URL. Using the breadcrumb schema on a page, you will be able to add a breadcrumb trail that is attractive for the human eye and useful for the crawlbot.

How to Implement Breadcrumb Schema

Implementing a breadcrumb schema is easier than it may seem. As nearly all breadcrumbs include microdata markup to leverage enhanced SERP snippets with breadcrumb links, having them on your website will benefit. Here is how you can get started with adding breadcrumbs to your WordPress website:

Step 1: Check if the WordPress theme you are using offers breadcrumbs as a default feature. If it does, proceed to activate it on the website. Alternatively, there are ample plugins (Yoast SEO, for instance) available that can be used to implement hierarchy-based breadcrumbs throughout the website.

Step 2: If adding breadcrumbs manually, define the breadcrumbList to have at least two ListItems. The breadcrumbList will hold all the elements present in the list, and ListItem contains individual information about the elements present in the list.

Step 3: It is essential to specify each breadcrumb with a ListItem, wherein Item is the URL to the related webpage representing the breadcrumb. For instance, “item”: “https://thisisanexampleurl.com/books

Step 4: Use an ID to specify the URL. The nomenclature can be based on the type of format you are using. For instance:

  • Microdata: To specify the URL, use Hypertext REFerence or itemid.
  • JSON-LD: To specify the URL, use @id
  • RDFa: To specify the URL, either the resource or Hypertext REFerence can be used.

11 Best Practices and Considerations When Implementing Breadcrumb Schema

 

1. Recheck and closely analyze your site’s hierarchy.

A site’s hierarchy plays a crucial role in making your website more scanable for the human and the crawlbot. With the implementation of breadcrumb trails, it becomes easier for viewers to explore the website by following where the last breadcrumb was left. However, without a proper site structure, it can become nearly impossible for a viewer and the crawl bot to effectively explore all the pages on the website.

Here are some ways to design a site architecture:

  • Creating links to important pages.
  • Ensuring every page has at least one link.
  • Reducing the number of clicks to reach the home page from the current page.
  • If the website has any orphan pages, reconsider their use and, accordingly, either delete them or add links from pages that already are part of your website’s architecture.
  • Keep the URLs simple and easy to understand.
  • Create category pages if your website offers products/services in multiple categories.
  • To organize your website, opt for clusters and pillar-style site organization.

2. Stay consistent throughout the website.

Implementing the breadcrumb schema consistently on all pages throughout the website is an effective way to get your website crawled by Googlebot in one go. Additionally, consistent breadcrumbs provide an easy-to-navigate path for users. It helps them understand their location on a website’s hierarchy and move to wherever they want from there.

Moreover, consistent formatting and labeling of the breadcrumb schema establishes clear links between pages and improves the perception of the website in clearer terms.

Aside from these, clear breadcrumbs can also increase the chances of your website getting featured in rich snippets whenever a relevant search is made (thereby attracting more clicks and traffic to the website). They also offer consistency for efficient data exchanges as these breadcrumbs are accurate and have a set pathway.

Here’s how to keep your breadcrumbs consistent:

  • The breadcrumbs should always match the URL and page title.
  • They must represent the website’s hierarchy.
  • Do not use different names or labels for the same page on the website.
  • Navigate individual breadcrumbs in the breadcrumbs trail’s order.
  • Stick to using the same style, format, and font for breadcrumbs throughout the website.

3. Use labels that are more human-centric

The labels in a breadcrumb trail should be easy to understand for the human. Avoid using codes, unrelated labels, or words that are not relevant to the page. This is important as it will help users understand where on the trail they are in. A confusing, unrelated breadcrumb will only make it frustrating for users to find what they are looking for on a website.

Here’s how to label your breadcrumbs more effectively:

  • Use descriptive labels to define the purpose of the page clearly.
  • Avoid repeating the same information over and over.
  • Set a limit to the number of breadcrumbs that will be used on a page.
  • Do not stuff breadcrumbs with keywords.
  • Start from the broadest category and then work your way down to the specific category/page.
  • Pay close attention to the font and format of the breadcrumb labels.
  • Add visual elements like arrows to show the breadcrumb trail.
  • Keep the breadcrumbs easy to understand.

4. Give priority to being concise.

While you would want the breadcrumbs to spill the tea about what your website has to offer, overly exaggerated breadcrumbs get truncated and can come across as tacky in search results. Instead of going over the top with fancy words, idioms, or even catchphrases, consider using labels that can be grasped in one go while also adding value to your SEO strategies.

Here are quick tips to make your breadcrumbs more concise and crisp:

  • If the same word is getting repeated for every breadcrumb, consider looking for synonyms or abbreviations that can be used. It is vital to use only options that do not twist the meaning of the breadcrumb. An efficient way to ensure this is to use commonly used words.
  • If your website hierarchy has multiple categories of pages, consider creating an umbrella breadcrumb label. It will add more order to your website and create a user-friendly trail to navigate through various pages without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Avoid using words that are already present in the page’s title or in the navigation menu unless it is an absolute necessity. This creates redundancy and indicates a lack of creativity.
  • Make it a practice to refine your breadcrumbs. You can update them with trending/targeted keywords if needed. Avoid doing this too frequently. Doing so once in a while helps low-ranking pages gain momentum in search engine rankings.

5. Positioning of the crumbs matters.

The position of breadcrumbs plays a vital role in making them visible. They are placed at the top of the page, above where the main content of the page starts. In most cases, it is placed below the navigation bar.

Here are three things to keep in mind when positioning your breadcrumbs:

  • Make sure the breadcrumbs are clearly visible and have been placed consistently in the same position throughout the website.
  • Mobile optimize your breadcrumbs trail.
  • Use breadcrumb structured data to place the breadcrumbs on the website hierarchy.

6. Ensure the schema matches with the visible breadcrumbs.

The schema markup you are implementing on a page should match the breadcrumb trail visible on the website. It ensures there are no discrepancies between what website visitors and search engines see on the website.

The clarity also makes it possible for the displayed breadcrumbs from the schema markup to show up on search engine results as they offer additional context to what the page is about. Furthermore, it encourages meaningful data exchange, making interpretation easier.

7. Avoid linking the last item to the current page.

In a breadcrumb trail, the last item represents the current page the user is on. By making this item clickable, you will only be making the page reload again. Avoid doing so, as it can hamper the user experience.

It can confuse the crawlbot. The <head> and <body> are usually the common places where the breadcrumb schema gets placed. However, it is always best to refer to the structured data markup to decide where the breadcrumb trail should be added.

8. Use easily distinguishable separators.

It is highly recommended to use clearly distinguishable separators using either arrows or other symbols that make it possible for visitors and search engines to identify the trail properly.

Avoid using separators that are difficult to identify and can clutter the overall trail. If you are unsure which separator works the best, consider testing their effectiveness by trying them one by one.

Some visually appealing signs to use include. slash (/) greater than sign (>) arrow (→) and chevron (»).

9. Regularly test and check the effectiveness.

Checking your breadcrumb schema at regular intervals gives you a chance to identify any potential errors or opportunities that can be leveraged. This step is vital if your website has recently undergone technical changes and is conducting checks to ensure consistency and accuracy across the site structure.

Here is how to test your breadcrumbs for accuracy:

  • Check the font and color of the links for consistency throughout the website.
  • Check if their placement is at the top of the page and not in the middle or at the bottom.
  • Check if the cursor’s arrow changes to the hand icon when hovering over the breadcrumb placement.
  • Check if the current page’s location gets highlighted in the breadcrumbs once you move within the site’s hierarchy.
  • Check if the link redirects the browser to the targeted page (even when they are clicked)
  • Check for browser compatibility for individual breadcrumbs. This is an important test if your website is made up of multiple category pages and has layers of pages.
  • Check if the links are separated using separators and do not overlap.
  • Check if the corresponding page’s URL has a visible tooltip when you hover over it.

10. Keep a keen eye on schema guidelines updates.

Just as we stay up to date with regular happenings in the SEO algorithms, staying updated with schema guidelines is equally essential. It enables taking rapid action that can help with your website’s ranking and ensure you are taking the necessary measures to stay at the top of search engine rankings.

Here are three reasons to stay updated with schema guidelines:

  • Google is focusing and directing its investments in structured data.
  • Staying updated will help you bulletproof your schema markup strategy.
  • You can verify the extent of content and structured data dependency to diversify your strategy.

11. Optimize your breadcrumbs for mobile users.

With mobile internet users growing rapidly, optimizing your breadcrumb schema and trails for mobile users will ensure your website is offering an impeccable user experience to visitors. It also helps crawlers as Google actively looks for (and appreciates) websites that are highly responsive to mobile devices.

Here are seven things to keep in mind when optimizing breadcrumbs for mobile responsiveness:

  • Modify the font size, color, and format for mobile users.
  • Customize the breadcrumb trail to become synonymous with the website’s design.
  • Make sure the breadcrumbs are accessible and visible on all pages throughout the website.
  • Check the effectiveness of the breadcrumbs on multiple devices and apps.
  • Avoid using small, redundant, and meaningless breadcrumbs.
  • Keep the breadcrumbs simple and short. Correct overlapping breadcrumbs for pages.
  • Add breadcrumb schema to all pages.

Bottomline

Breadcrumbs schema is an important aspect of your website. It simplifies navigation throughout the website and helps you leverage SEO advantages. By mere implementation of structured data, website owners can minimize the gap between the website’s structure and site visitors’ browsing expectations.

As search engines continue to prioritize user experience, setting your breadcrumbs schema right can be incredibly beneficial. Additionally, Google’s focus on utilizing structured data also makes it essential to keep your structured data markup strategy diverse to leverage benefits from algorithm and guideline updates.

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