Google Rolls Out Breadcrumb Display in SERPs

    December 23, 2009
    Chris Crum

Update: Google announced today that it will now be rolling out the use of breadcrumbs in seach results on a global basis. They will only be used in place of some URLs – mainly the ones that don’t give the added context of a link the way that the breadcrumbs do. Google says:

Some web addresses help you understand the structure of the site and how the specific page fits into the site hierarchy. For example, consider a search for the biography of Vint Cerf (Google’s Internet Evangelist). The URL for one result, "," shows that the page is located in a page about "execs," under "corporate," which is on the "" site. This can provide valuable context when deciding whether to click on the result.

Often, however, URLs are too long, too short, or too obscure to add useful information.

That’s where the breadcrumbs come in. Google says the feature should be available globally within the next few days.

Original Article: Google appears to be testing breadcrumbs in some search results, at least in some areas. If you are unfamiliar with the term breadcrumbs, it refers to the hierarchical display commonly used in site navigation. For example: Home Page>Product Page>Product A Page.

Do you utilize breadcrumbs on your site? Comment here.

Several bloggers have noticed Google displaying these types of breadcrumbs in various places in seemingly random results to some queries. For example, Rob Hammond provides the following screen shot:

Breadcrumbs in Google Search Results

Leo Fogarty provides another, which shows the breadcrumbs displayed in a different position within the search result:

Breadcrumbs in Google Search Results

Google’s use of breadcrumbs appears to only be a test, and a limited one at that. Google has talked repeatedly about sites having good site architecture in the past. This allows Google to more easily and quickly crawl sites.

Bing acknowledges this too. Rick DeJarnette of Bing Webmaster Center recently said, "You can have great content and a plethora of high quality inbound links from authority sites, but if your site’s structure is flawed or broken, then it will still not achieve the optimal page rank you desire from search engines."

Here are some tips from both Google and Bing regarding site architecture issues. In addition, Google recently provided this related information on getting your site crawled faster.

If Google begins incorporating the breadcrumbs display as in the above tests, on a mainstream level, that will be all the more reason to clean your site architecture up, at least in the navigation area. Site architecture certainly goes beyond this, but it is a key part of usability anyway.

Have you seen breadcrumbs show up in Google results? What do you think about the idea? Share your thoughts.