What is Breadcrumb Navigation? – A Complete Guide

What is Breadcrumb Navigation - A Complete Guide

Welcome to the world of SEO, where every detail matters in driving traffic and improving user experience on your website. One such crucial aspect that often gets overlooked is breadcrumb navigation. If you’re scratching your head wondering what exactly it means and how it can make a significant impact on your site’s visibility, then sit tight!

In this blog post, we will unravel the mysteries behind breadcrumb navigation in SEO and explore its undeniable potential for boosting search rankings and enhancing user engagement. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on this exciting journey into the realm of breadcrumbs!

What is Breadcrumb Navigation?

What is Breadcrumb Navigation? - A Complete Guide

Breadcrumb navigation in SEO refers to a website’s navigational aid that shows the user’s current location within the hierarchical structure of a website. They are typically located near the navigation bar or at the top of a webpage.

They assist users in staying on a website and locating the information they need, much the way internal links do.

In web development, breadcrumb navigation helps users understand their location on a website and provides easy navigation back to higher-level pages.

A typical breadcrumb trail appears near the top of a webpage and displays a series of links in the following format:

Home > Category > Subcategory > Page

Breadcrumbs clearly shows exactly what categories the user clicked on to land on a particular page on the website. If the user needs to go back, they can quickly access the previous page by the use of breadcrumbs.

Benefits of Using Breadcrumb Navigation

The primary benefits of breadcrumb navigation in SEO and user experience include:

  • Improved user experience: Breadcrumbs help users understand their current position within a website’s structure, making it easier for them to navigate back to previous pages or higher-level categories.
  • Enhanced website navigation: Users can quickly move to parent pages or other related sections of the website without relying solely on the browser’s back button.
  • Search engine understanding: Search engines can use breadcrumb navigation to comprehend the website’s structure and hierarchy better, which may positively impact the site’s indexing and ranking.
  • Keyword-rich anchor text: Breadcrumb links often include relevant keywords that reflect the website’s quality content, providing additional context to search engines and potentially influencing organic search rankings.
  • Reduced bounce rates: By facilitating easier navigation and helping users find related content, breadcrumbs can reduce bounce rates, leading to more engaged visitors.

Various Types of Breadcrumb Navigation

Various Types of Breadcrumb Navigation

There are three common types of breadcrumbs used in website navigation:

Hierarchy-Based Breadcrumbs

This is the most common type of breadcrumb navigation. It shows the user’s current location within the website’s hierarchical structure. The breadcrumb trail typically starts from the homepage and shows the path to the current page, moving from the top-level category to subcategories, and finally to the specific page. It helps users understand where they are in the website’s structure and allows them to navigate back to higher-level pages easily.


Home > Category > Subcategory > Page

Attribute-based Breadcrumbs

Attribute breadcrumbs are used on e-commerce websites or sites with filter options. Instead of displaying the page’s location in the website’s hierarchy, attribute breadcrumbs show the filters or attributes applied to reach the current page. This type of breadcrumb helps users understand the filtering choices they made to arrive at a specific product or page.


Home > Products > Type > Brand > Color

History-based Breadcrumbs

Path-based breadcrumbs show the user’s recent navigation path regardless of the hierarchical structure. It displays the sequence of pages the user visited to reach the current page. This type of breadcrumb provides a more detailed view of the user’s navigation history and can be useful when users backtrack through their recent steps.


Home > Previous Page > Current Page

It’s important to choose the appropriate type of breadcrumbs based on the website’s structure and content. In some cases, a combination of breadcrumb types may be used to provide a more comprehensive navigation experience for users. Breadcrumbs not only navigation aid but also enhance the user experience and can positively impact SEO by providing search engines with valuable contextual information about the website’s structure.

Best Practices

breadcrumb navigation

Breadcrumb navigation is an essential element of website design and can greatly improve the user experience. Here are some best practices to consider when implementing breadcrumb navigation:

  • Keep it Simple and Clear: Breadcrumbs should be easy to understand and follow. Use common terms and keep the structure simple to avoid confusion. Each breadcrumb should represent a specific location within the site hierarchy.
  • Use a Horizontal Layout: Horizontal breadcrumbs are more intuitive and easier to comprehend than vertical ones. Place them at the top of your page, preferably just below the header, for better visibility.
  • Limit the Number of Breadcrumbs: Avoid overwhelming users with too many breadcrumbs. Including only the most relevant levels of the site, hierarchy will prevent clutter and confusion.
  • Utilize Proper Formatting and Styling: Make sure your breadcrumbs stand out visually from other text elements on your website. Use a distinct font, color, or style to differentiate them. It’s also a good practice to add separators (like “>” or “/”) between each breadcrumb for clarity.
  • Enable Clickable Links: Allow users to click on each breadcrumb to navigate back to the corresponding page. This feature enhances usability, making it easier for visitors to find their way back to previous levels.
  • Use Breadcrumbs on Every Page: Consider adding breadcrumb navigation to every page on your website, except for the homepage. This consistency allows users to easily trace their steps and keeps them oriented within your site’s structure.
  • Test and Optimize: Monitor user behaviour and conduct A/B testing to evaluate the effectiveness of your breadcrumb navigation. Continuously optimize and refine the design based on user feedback and analytics.


Breadcrumb navigation is one of the most commonly used web design techniques and it’s easy to see why. Breadcrumbs help users navigate your website easily by providing a history of their visits, which can be great for retaining customers and helping people find their way around quickly. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about breadcrumbs including how to create them, where to place them on your page, and how users can use them to navigate your site.