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Glossary entry: Breadcrumb navigation

The breadcrumb navigation simply explained

Breadcrumb navigation is a technical term from the field of online marketing. Breadcrumb navigation is a link path that facilitates navigation on websites for users. This navigation via a link path serves as an additional navigation for the user on your website and thus helps with orientation.

 

What does the term breadcrumb navigation mean? 

Breadcrumbs (translated: breadcrumbs) are used on websites to make navigation easier for users. Breadcrumb navigation is thus an essential factor for the usability of a website. The word "breadcrumb" itself makes us think of the story of Hansel and Gretel, and that's exactly how it should be understood. Each time the user calls up another page of the website, breadcrumb navigation adds a part to the link path. This additional navigation helps the user to find his way around the website and, if necessary, to find his way back quickly. 

Example: For an online store, the breadcrumb navigation might look like this: 

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Tip: Also for the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) the breadcrumb navigation is relevant. Why? Anything that is useful for the user, Google sees as valuable. And breadcrumb navigation is a major factor in website usability. 

 

The types of breadcrumb navigation

All types of breadcrumb navigation have one thing in common: the user can see at any time how he got to this page and he can easily and quickly return to the original page. 

Click path (Path)

This path serves as a navigation through the web page. It shows every single click (path) that was made on the web page. On the one hand, this can be very helpful for navigating web pages, but on the other hand, it can get confusing if the click path is very long on a large website.

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Place (Location)

This type of breadcrumb navigation always shows you your current position on the web page. It makes clear to the user on which hierarchical level he is and which structure the content on the web page has. Here the path can change if you change the page because of an internal link.

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Categories (attributes)

This path is mostly used by online stores on product level. This attribute-based breadcrumb navigation shows you which decisions (category selection) the user has already made.

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The advantages of breadcrumb navigation

Breadcrumbs are on the one hand beneficial for user navigation on websites and additionally they can be an important criterion for SEO (search engine optimization) . The breadcrumb navigation is indirectly important for SEO, because the usability (usability of a page) plays a major role for SEO. It is important for search engines that users are satisfied with the search results they receive. If you offer breadcrumbs on your website and thus improve the navigation for the user, Google will thank you - this can have a very positive effect on SEO!

Breadcrumbs are advantageous because they...

... take up little space on the website and are self-explanatory.

... the affiliation and the Hierarchy of the content of the website.

... create an overview, even if a Google search query takes you directly to a more in-depth performance page.

Not only usability is important for SEO, but also user signals - and you can influence these positively with breadcrumbs. Why? When users find their way around websites and the content is suitable for them, they stay longer on the page and the dwell time is increased. Positive User signals search engines also recognize. By using breadcrumbs, you are clearly opting for a win-win situation - you make navigation easier for users of your website and optimize user signals for SEO. 

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