Get Your Breadcrumbs in Google for More Links in Results

Google Talks About Getting Your Breadcrumbs In

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Last summer it was discovered that Google was testing breadcrumbs in search results (breadcrumbs being the hierarchical display commonly used in site navigation. For example: Home Page>Product Page>Product A Page). Then in mid-November, Google announced that it was rolling out the use of breadcrumbs in search results on a global basis. What this means for webmasters is that if you can get your breadcrumbs into Google’s results, you essentially have more links on the results page. You have a separate link for each page in the breadcrumb trail.

Do your site’s breadcrumbs show up in Google’s results? Comment here.

The company said they would only be used in place of some URLs, mainly ones that don’t give the added context of a link the way that breadcrumbs do. Interestingly, there seems to be an incentive for those who go the breadcrumb route because of the multiple links that you just don’t get with regular search results.

Google Breadcrumbs display

Google’s move was generally well received. This was reflected in the comments from WebProNews readers on our past coverage. For example, a commenter going by the handle Stupidscript said, "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’s use of breadcrumbs in search results is the focus of a recently submitted question to the Google Webmaster Central team. The question was, "Google is showing breadcrumb URLs in SERPs now. Does the kind of delimiter matter? Is there any best practice? What character to use is best? > or | or / or???" Google’s Matt Cutts responded:

Matt says you should have a set of delimited links on your site that accurately reflect your site’s hierarchy. He also notes, however, that it is still in the "early days" for breadcrumbs.

"Think about the situation with sitelinks," he says. "Whenever we started out with sitelinks, it took a while before…for example, we added the ability in Google Webmaster Tools where you could remove a sitelink that you didn’t like or that you thought was bad. So we started out, and we did a lot of experiments, and we’ve changed the way that sitelinks look several times. And we have different types of sitelinks (within a page, and the standard ones you’re familiar with). So we’ve iterated over time."

In this same way, he says, Google is in the early stage with breadcrumbs and he has seen different experiments with them. For example, there have been prototypes where the breadcrumbs were in the rich snippet gray line, above the regular snippet. "Having it in the URL is kind of nice, but it could still change over time," he says.

He says the best advice he can give is to make sure you have a set of delimited links that accurately reflect your site’s hierarchy, and that will give you the best chance of getting breadcrumbs to show up in Google, but Google will continue to work on ways to improve breadcrumbs. He says any new announcements about it will likely be made on the Google Webmaster blog.

While Matt doesn’t exactly lean toward one way or another with regards to which character to use as asked about in the submitted question, all of the examples I have seen highlighted show the ">" used. That includes examples from Google’s original announcement on the inclusion of breadcrumbs (if you see other ways, please point them out in the comments). Based on that, if I were going to choose one, I’d go with that.

There are three types of breadcrumbs (as described here): path, location, and attribute. Path breadcrumbs show the path that the user has taken to arrive at a page, while location breadcrumbs show where the page is located in the website hierarchy. Attribute breadcrumbs give information that categorizes the current page. Obviously, location breadcrumbs would be the ones Google is using (although with personalized search becoming more of a factor, who knows in the future?).

In the comments, one reader says:

My site breadcrumb is seperated by |. Somehow, Google seems to put the > character in of their own accord. I’ve seen many results with breadcrumbs in the SERPS, and I havn’t seen any with a seperating character other than >. I do think Google puts in the > character regardless of your site’s seperating delimiter.

Have you seen an increase in clickthrough from breadcrumbs in Google resutls? Discuss here.

Related Articles:

> Google Rolls Out Breadcrumb Display in SERPs

> Google Makes it Easier to Tell Where Results Originate From

> Get More Links in Your Actual Google Results

Get Your Breadcrumbs in Google for More Links in Results
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  • http://howilivefrugal.blogspot.com Andrew Serrano

    This shows how important it is to have a website with properly built navigation, both through breadcrumbs as well as the site map. The way I approach SEO is to take care of all the small aspects which work together, rather than put my eggs into one basket. While breadcrumbs may be the hot new thing, you should not forget about all other aspects of SEO which are helping get you ranked.

    • Chris Crum

      Good navigation is really better for the user/customer experience anyway, all SEO aside. Knowing that it can provide more doorways into your site from Google should only be an incentive to site owners to employ such a method.

  • http://www.superfloorcoat.com/mono-coat-TS-200.asp Concrete Floor Coating

    Bread crumbs is a great idea for the user, at this point its hard to know if this will be a big deal, time will tell.

  • http://www.business-directory.co.za Guest

    I love it. My site comes up in SERPS with breadcrumbs. What I DON’T like, however, is the Google Maps results that shows up on SERPS. What a waste of valuable space. Does anyone even click those links?

    • Chris Crum

      Depending on the query, I sometimes click those results, and I doubt that I am alone. As far as your breadcrumbs showing up…do you use “>” as the character?

      • http://www.business-directory.co.za Guest

        No. My site breadcrumb is seperated by |. Somehow, Google seems to put the > character in of their own accord. I’ve seen many results with breadcrumbs in the SERPS, and I havn’t seen any with a seperating character other than >. I do think Google puts in the > character regardless of your site’s seperating delimiter.

        • Chris Crum

          That’s interesting and probably a good thing for webmasters to keep in mind.

          • http://www.business-directory.co.za Guest

            Absolutely. Don’t take my word for it, but I don’t think webmasters should be rushing off to change the delimiters on their sites. I also don’t think that there will be any bias towards sites that use a > delimiter over sites that don’t. I’ve seen sites that use – / |, and all of their SERPS breadcrumbs have a > delimiter.

  • http://www.barnettassociates.net/ Toby Barnett

    My site gets the bonus links under the main listings but haven’t seen breadcrumbs links in any of the results. Is this just a bonus G gives or is there a way to manually tell G breadcrumbs are set up on a site?

    • http://www.business-directory.co.za Guest

      Best thing to do is to submit a sitemap to G via Webmaster Tools. Your URL paths show up clearly in a sitemap, and G would probably use that to construct your SERPs breadcrumb.

    • http://www.business-directory.co.za Guest

      In my humble opinion, I don’t even think G uses your site’s breadcrumb setup to show SERPs breadcrumbs. I think they simply use your URL paths to construct their breadcrumbs. But… that’s my humble opinion. Who know what G does and how they do it. The mystery is what keeps us webmasters busy.

      • http://www.yor-ok.org.uk/ Jon

        Google definitely doesn’t rely on urls for its breadcrumbs — our cms serves everything at the root level, but google successfully found the navigation structure for its breadcrumbs.

        That’s not to say it wouldn’t use urls if it couldn’t see a delimited breadcrumb trail, but I suspect it doesn’t at the moment.

  • http://www.defactomind.com Claudiu Geanta

    That’s great news from Google. Hopefully the “Breadcrumb NAVXT” plugin for Wp based blogs also works well for SEO purposes and if this new development helps SERPs the better for us webmasters. Thaks for the article!

  • http://www.thebookabyss.com.au Australian Bookshop

    It makes sense that google would eventually display breadcrums in SERPS given thats what most of us do when we visit a site.

  • http://www.cluey.com.au Copywriter

    This move certainly seems more helpful to searchers than displaying the URL.
    And, after all, isn’t that what the big G is all about?

  • http://another-blogger.com Latief@AnotherBlogger

    This is very interesting article, breadcrumbs will make visitors easier to explore a site/blog and make the owner have to make their site/blog have a good navigation. That will be a good SEO practice and good result on the SERP.

  • http://www.indies.co.in seo

    Now Breadcrumbs is a great idea for the user

  • http://mbahrudin.wordpress.com/ Bahrudin Febriawan

    This is very interesting article…..

  • http://www.6degressit.com Guest

    This is good news, It really help to user that where he is and from where he/she comes to this page. User can move back directly from that breadcrumb link to back pages. This method also improve internal link structure.

  • http://www.homeinternetmoney.com Lively Jason

    It is quite obvious that every website should be created such that it is easy for visitors to navigate.
    Breadcrumbs naturally facilitates this. Now that there may be added advantages for SEO purposes, people should pay more attention to it.

  • http://www.mcware.co.uk/ SEO2010

    Breadcrumbs help a lot in the navigation system of a website and i think this is a good idea from Google.

  • Depesh

    It’s an interesting one for e-commerce sites that suffer from very badly designed product URLs – if Google rightly decides to make this more useful in the SERPs for users by taking data from the breadcrumb trail its a win-win for both consumer and brand. The e-commerce site then focuses more on site content structure (IA, Nav, information scents) which is best practice anyway

  • http://www.soccerass.com jens

    what effect to personal blog or personal website that no product available ??

  • http://www.GoogleSEOTools.net SEO Tools


  • http://www.WebPro360.com Roger Stanton

    My preferred method of separating breadcrumb entries is the guillemet ”

  • http://www.bluehost-info.com russ

    I look at it as another piece of SEO and a proper way to build your site. Using breadcrumbs is smart for search engines and users.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Katwoman55 Kat Markle

    Hi. I just wanted to tell someone that the entire email that was sent to me from Web Pro News with your remarks in it….has bad colors like it is not a good site to go to. Please check out this page and I hope this is helpful. Thanks!


  • http://ldii-sidoarjo-jawatimur.blogspot.com islam indonesia

    Yes, recently I see the change of the sign / to > at my site SERP. I thought it’s only the change of the sign no more advantage for my site.

  • http://blog.lbi-netrank.co.uk/ LBi Simon

    We’ve recently completed research into how Google recognises breadcrumbs and adds them in their search results. In one case we found a site with no breadcrumbs on the page, but Google had still added site hierarchy links in the SERPS. Another site had numbered pages and the breadcrumbs were picked up in the SERPS. As noted in the comments, Google always uses a ‘>’ symbol to denote hierarchies. Full article on our research here: http://blog.lbi-netrank.co.uk/seo-breadcrumbs-for-site-hierarchies-in-google/

  • http://www.pricescompare.co.uk Simon Ruddy

    My site did initially show breadcrumbs but seem to have been removed now. Not sure what is going on!

  • http://decorativepillow.org pillows add decor

    How do I know if my blogs are being seen by others?

  • http://fightaspeedingticketincalifornia12.blogspot.com/ fight a speeding ticket in california

    I do enjoy the manner in which you have framed this challenge plus it does offer us a lot of fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, because of what precisely I have personally seen, I only wish as other responses stack on that men and women continue to be on issue and don’t embark upon a tirade involving the news du jour. Still, thank you for this exceptional point and while I do not go along with the idea in totality, I value your perspective.

  • http://Notabadarticle,didittakeyouplentyofyourtimetoconsiderit? Louis Vuitton

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this 1. I mean, I know it was my choice to see, but I really thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is often a bunch of whining about some thing that you simply could fix should you werent too busy looking for attention.

  • http://www.xtendedview.com Tushar

    When I implemented breadcrumb on my site i observed 30% decreased in organic traffic . Is this because of breadcumb?

  • http://www.graphicxtras.com Andrew

    The breadcrumbs occasionally appear on google and then they disappear – at the moment it appears the breadcrumbs are off and it is back to the standard old not very useful html link. But then again, all the schema.org info seems to be ignored for my site even if it all seems fine on the rich snippet testing tool

  • http://widefide.com Anil Sardiwal

    I do have to implement it on my blog very soon…

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