But sorry – no time for stories, this is about SEO; suffice to say that Hansel or Gretel, I don’t know witch, dropped breadcrumbs on the ground as they were walking into the forest, so they could find their way back more easily. (They had no GPS, I guess). Smart, eh ?
The modern, web-related breadcrumb trail is a navigation tool which shows the website visitor where in the site hierarchy (the clicking history) a currently displayed page is located. Often, for added user-friendliness, that page name is even highlighted.
Wikipedia describes breadcrumbs like this:
Breadcrumbs typically appear horizontally across the top of a web page, often below title bars or headers. They provide links back to each previous page the user navigated … 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.
Sounds pretty scientific, but actually it’s simple, and can even be very helpful. Let’s see how.
Let’s take, for example, a department store or furniture store website. You are now viewing a special product, having clicked all the way. The trail might then read: Home > Products > Home Furnishings > Accessories > Picture Frames .
You get the picture.
Such a trail, which is basically just a path, has a number of advantages:
a) it’s user-friendly as it shows viewers where they came from and where they can go back to, so they don’t get lost (just like Hansel and Gretel!)
b) the trail can be configured as a link of links, which further increases user-friendliness, since the user can click directly on any step of the trail to get there directly (since each step serves as a shortcut to its relevant page), for example from Picture Frames straight to Products, without having to click the Back button or the need to locate other buttons, links, or drop-down lists. Neat, right ?
Wikipedia tells us that “some commentators criticize path-style breadcrumbs because they duplicate functionality that properly subsists in the browser; namely, the ‘Back’ button and browsing history. And unlike the ‘Back’ button, the breadcrumbs move around horizontally.”
But then, so what ? Why should purism get in the way of logical visibility and user convenience ?
To sum up, breadcrumb trails tell users where they are at. For Hansel and Gretel, they were lifesavers. For website visitors, they are user-friendly indicators. And, better yet, they are search engine friendly, too.
To get even more mileage out of crumbs would be a modern fairy tale.
And if you had the patience to read all of the above, here is your reward: the link to a short Hansel and Gretel video [for all ages, and best watched with a cup of hot chocolate 🙂 ]
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- Google Following the Breadcrumb Trail – New Breadcrumb Display May Have Impact on Google Ranking Algorithm (actionableinsights.covario.com)
- Breadcrumb Trails Come To AdWords (searchengineland.com)