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Google Rolls Out Breadcrumb Display in SERPs

Breadcrumbs in Search Results Provide Context

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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, "www.google.com/corporate/execs.html," shows that the page is located in a page about "execs," under "corporate," which is on the "google.com" 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.

Google Rolls Out Breadcrumb Display in SERPs
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  • http://www.axleit.com.au SEO brisbane

    How does it help the searcher find, let say Accountants Brisbane, any faster or easier. I understand the point of breadcrumbs, I just don’t see how google including them in search results.

    • Stupidscript

      It’s about bringing context to the listing. It’s more than simply finding something. Putting the listing into some context helps make decisions about which link to visit. For example:

      Search for “gold digger”

      A result displaying the title “Gold Digger Tools” leads … where, exactly? Is that a clothing site, a jewelry site, a rohypnol (“roofies”) site, or a site that sells helmets, picks and pans? In other words, is this for the type of gold digger that is trying to attract a wealthy mate, or for one that is trying to mine the ore?

      Listing without breadcrumbs:
      Gold Digger Tools

      Listing with breadcrumbs:
      MiningStuff.com => Gold Mining => Tools => Gold Digger Tools

      It’s definitely a good time to start wrapping your head around the notion of “providing context”, because the web is heading into its “semantic” period … where each link will be more or less valuable based on its relationships with and context to information found behind other links. Google “semantic web” for more from Tim Berners-Lee, among other big thinkers.

  • http://www.blindacre.com Guest

    Breadcrumbs are always extremely helpful when dealing with a large site that contains a lot of information. Great idea, it makes navigating much easier.

  • Guest

    This is great for our site. We don’t have a deep directory structure, and pages are numbered, so it turns an uninformative url like “/en/1234″ into a breadcrumb like “home > news > exciting new widget”. It must get this from the breadcrumb we display at the top of the page, since the information isn’t in the directory structure or sitemap. We use

  • http://www.valve-biz.com/ Valve Biz

    I think the breadcrmbs appears in the search result encourages the webmasters to make more efforts on clean site construction and navigation. It is positive for all the net users.

  • http://www.controldatainc.com/renee agency collection

    As mentioned in a comment, I was thinking the same thing when I read this. Google has had more press releases and updates since Bing was release than they had in its lifetime. Google guys are smart, its a great marketing idea and keeps the press looking at Google even if its pointless and doesnt work, yor still advertising and putting the name Google out there.

  • http://www.smallchickencoop.org Small Chicken Coop

    I haven’t noticed the use of Bread Crumbs in Googles search results, but I haven’t really looked.

  • Tony

    What the heck is a breadcrumb? I already get lousy returns on searches, and I still see alot of garbage on the net, like news bulletin, the Country Fair or 2007 wants to thank all for attending?
    Yes, the corporate sites all come first, the biggest loser is Wikipedia….I hate wikipedia always coming first in my search for anything. The current searches just don’t keep up with what’s new -crap all over the place.

  • http://www.playsite247.com/ Mario

    I feel it would be great for the well structured sites. It would help the visitors also to find the way to reach their destination.

  • http://www.indigenoustour.com Kerala Tourism

    Great article, helped me figure out my problem.

  • http://intimos.dk Sexlegetøj

    It´s good that google keeps trying new things. That way they can test whats best for the users/searchers.