Breadcrumb Navigation Is A Ranking Factor Or Not?

Breadcrumb navigation is good not only for Google but also users. Google uses it to get better understanding of your content in a hierarchical perspective. As well as, you can understand your current position in the website using breadcrumb. But the question is does it affect on search engine rankings. Breadcrumb navigation is a ranking factor or not? Let’s dive into more to clear this.

The Claim for Breadcrumb Navigation Is a Ranking Factor

In 2009, Google added breadcrumb navigation to their search results at the first time. Google shows the way of site hierarchies are displayed in the search engine results pages. Since then SEO communities gave their attention for breadcrumb navigation. Firstly Google shows web address or URL at the bottom of the search results. Through that, users was able to know where they are headed when clicking on each search result.

Breadcrumb Navigation Is A Ranking Factor Or Not?

After, Google changes URL into the hierarchy that shows location of the page that they’re headed. With this change, websites that already have hierarchical breadcrumbs in navigation were able  to display in the SERPs in a different way from the search results that didn’t have hierarchical breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumb Navigation Is A Ranking Factor Or Not?

Aaron Wall explained his thoughts about breadcrumb navigation as below.

“Each breadcrumb path is a clickable link that leads to the associated page. It can increase the site’s traffic in some cases.”

When time pass by, some SEO  professionals tend to believe that breadcrumb navigation is a ranking factor.

The Evidence for Breadcrumb Navigation is a Ranking Factor

Before 2010, breadcrumbs navigation was seen as an internal link structure and as a tool that make easier website navigation. Josh McCoy said his thoughts about breadcrumb navigation in his article of “What Google Thinks of Your Site”

” You need to apply keyword strategy with the information architecture of the site content. Then you can create breadcrumb linking process. The URL structure must include relevant and keyword rich category / folder naming conventions and ensure that the site content is included in the appropriate categories.”

In 2011, Catfish Comstock said breadcrumb navigation was one of the important link structure that needs to be optimized. He also mentioned about alternative link structures and global navigation template. In 2012, Matt Green said about breadcrumbs navigation being an SEO ranking factor through his blog post named “Breadcrumb Navigation Links as an On-Page Optimization Factor.”

“Google’s recent algorithmic updates have diluted the importance of the anchor text links. Even though, it continues as a ranking factor. Breadcrumb navigation creates anchor text links on every page which link back to the homepage. This is how breadcrumb links can be used as a positive ranking factor for your targeted keywords. “

Backlinko’s Brian Dean added breadcrumb to his list of 200 ranking variables used by Google. He didn’t give explanation for this adding either.

The Evidence Against Breadcrumb Navigation is a Ranking Factor

Google changes the way search results is displayed over the years. But they didn’t change the appearance of the breadcrumb navigation in the search results yet. Google recommend website developers and owners to add breadcrumb navigation. But they didn’t say that breadcrumb navigation is indeed a ranking factor.

In 2017, Google’s Gary Illyes was questioned about the Google’s stance of the breadcrumb navigation. He was further asked that whether breadcrumb links pass value. Gary replied that they liked them and treated them as normal links. In 2021, Google’s John Mueller said that they used breadcrumb navigation for rich results and for the crawling. He further said that the location of the breadcrumb links didn’t matter for ranking.

Final thoughts

Breadcrumb navigation is useful for both users and Google. It gives visitors better user experience and to Google, better understanding about the site structure. And also breadcrumb navigation build more internal links and push PageRank to those pages. Breadcrumb might impact on CTR also. Though Google recommend website owners and developers to use breadcrumb, it doesn’t impact on organic rankings. Which means if you don’t use breadcrumb navigation, it doesn’t matter for your ranking in search engine results pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make breadcrumbs navigation?

This method will help you to customize the way breadcrumbs look like. firstly create an HTML list of the navigation links. Then set the CSS display. Which means inline to show the list in the same line. The next step is adding a separator after the every list element.

Why do companies breadcrumb?

Breadcrumbs are helpful tools.  Organizations and companies use it on websites in order to encourage visitors to interact with those websites and improve their functionality. If you want to improve website’s navigation and decrease website’s bounce rate, understanding what breadcrumbs and the way to use them effectively is important.

How do I add breadcrumbs to a page?

Its easy to add Breadcrumbs in WordPress. Firstly install and then activate Yoast SEO. Next step is to copy the breadcrumb embed code snippet. Then click on update file. Select Appearance and then Theme Editor. Next paste the code snippet into theme file. Choose SEO and then Search Appearance. Click on the Breadcrumbs tab. Click Enable which is at under Breadcrumbs settings. 

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