website design breadcrumbs

Website Design SEO Creative Designers Digital Strategy

Breadcrumbs and How They Impact Website Design

When you consider the ingredients to building a successful digital identity, content is king. However, if your website design doesn’t provide a good user experience and users find it difficult to navigate, nobody will stay on your website long enough to engage with what you have to offer. The good news is, factoring breadcrumbs into your web design is an effective way to ensure visitors to your site can find their way around with ease.

Don’t let your website visitors get lost. Read on to find out more about the impact that breadcrumb navigation has on SEO and website design.

Breadcrumbs in relation to Website Design

Does your website make it as easy as possible for your visitors to explore all navigational paths, including finding their way back to pages they have already visited? 

In the famous German fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, the titular characters use breadcrumbs to leave a trail behind them so that they will be able to find their way home. In web design, breadcrumbs serve the same purpose.

Whilst practically any website features a navigation menu to help users find their way around, breadcrumbs are an effective secondary navigation tool to help website visitors quickly and easily identify where they are on a website. Usually presented as a horizontal list of links at the top of a web page, they provide a trail of the path a user has taken within the website on this particular visit, helping them to understand their position on the site and navigate their way around, including tracing the path back to their starting point.

For websites with a large number of pages, branching out into a range of categories, breadcrumbs provide a useful progress bar that encourages browsing. As your aim is for visitors to your website to spend as much time as possible on your website, hopefully navigating to a conversion point, it’s important to make life as easy as possible by clearly displaying all the most relevant navigational information. It could be that a website user wants to return back to a page they have already visited, and breadcrumbs make this easy.

Breadcrumbs are particularly useful in e-commerce websites. For example, should a customer decide to move on from a product page to explore other pages, before deciding to go back and make a purchase, breadcrumbs provide an easy path to conversion. Likewise, should a customer decide to look at other items under the same category and decide to make a different purchase, breadcrumbs offer a direct trail to the category page.

There are three main types of breadcrumb navigation:

  1. Hierarchical breadcrumb navigation – this type of navigation works by showing a user’s current location within the overall website structure, usually beginning with the home page, with each page thereafter displayed as a separate link. Hierarchical breadcrumb navigation is typically used when the website has a clear hierarchy that is easy to understand.
  2. Attribute-based breadcrumb navigation – attribute based breadcrumbs are based on the attributes of the page the user is currently viewing. This type of navigation displays related attributes, for example, the category or topic of the page, rather than the website’s structure. This is a useful solution for more websites with a more complex structure.
  3. Hybrid breadcrumb navigation – this type of navigation uses a combination of hierarchical and attribute based breadcrumbs, displaying both the website structure and the related attributes of the page. A hybrid breadcrumb navigation is ideal for websites with a clear structure, but with detailed page attributes.

How Breadcrumbs affect SEO

Breadcrumbs are also important for SEO because they provide an easy-to-follow navigation trail for search engine crawlers. This helps search engines to understand the structure of a website, which in turn can lead to better rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Breadcrumb navigation also helps search engines to contextualise website content, and understand how relevant a page is in context of the website, which helps to influence how fast pages are indexed.

The fact that breadcrumbs provide an improved user experience is also important for SEO. A useful navigation trail helps users to quickly jump to relevant pages, which in turn helps increase the clickthrough rate of the website, which is a key factor in the rankings of websites in search engines.

SEO and Website Design Services

On top of creative design, it’s important that you make it easy for visitors to navigate through your website in order to keep them browsing through it. Providing an easy to understand structure, with a useful navigation trail provides a much better experience that helps build confidence in your brand and contributes to increased conversions.

For help in implementing the right breadcrumb navigation to keep users on your website and help make sure you are found in search results, talk to us about our website design services.

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