Should We Use Breadcrumbs On Our Blog?

Breadcrumbs are extra navigational option for any blog. They show the hierarchy of category. It tells the users where they are right now! Breadcrumbs are not a new structure for weblogs. In fact, bloggers are using since many years.

This feature is already there in popular wordpress framework like Genesis. We can enable it from Genesis Setting Option.

Alternately, we can implement it using plugins. If you are already using WP SEO by Yoast then activation is easy. Find setting in permalink option and activate this feature.

“RDFa Breadcrumb” is another best wordpress plugin. This plugin comes with zero configurations. You have to just activate the plugin.
Breadcrumbs are not only used for visitors but also used for search engine. Like human, search engine also like easy navigation to put the search results in order.

Google has included Breadcrumbs in Rich Snippets Tool. We can preview the result in SERPs. Google now shows the breadcrumbs path in search results.

The implementation is done in two ways:
1. Microdata
2. RDFa
You can read more about breadcrumbs from official Google webmaster site.
Should we use breadcrumbs or not?

My analysis is based on Pros and Cons. After that, we will decide to use it or not.

Pros of using breadcrumbs
Here are some benefits:

1. Breadcrumbs make the easy navigation to the blog post. User is aware of category in which he is reading post.

2. It reduces the complexity of website navigation. It is also seen significant reduction in bounce rate.

3. For Google’s point of view, it makes the search result clean and clear.

4. A web surfer can easily identify where he will go after clicking the link.

5. Breadcrumbs make the URLs clean in SERP. User may attract to click you blog URL. Thus Click Rate improves. It will results in traffic increment.

6. Google removes the long and ugly permalinks from SERPs

7. See below pic, you will understand the importance of using breadcrumbs.
breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs

Many top blogger and developer uses breadcrumbs. “Yoast” and “WPBeginner” are two examples. Many ecommerce sites like eBay also use it on their website.
Always add “noindex” tag if you don’t want to show breadcrumbs in search result .Only user will see them on your blog.
Drawbacks of using breadcrumbs

The list of drawbacks is here:

1. When we index it for search results, user always see the hierarchy level in SERPs as shown in above pic. But, on the other hand, Google purposefully remove the permalinks of URL. Web surfer only sees the headline or title of blog post. This may harm SEO as you are losing the potential of keywords.

2. You may lose some traffic because important keyword in permalink will not index in search.

3. Sometime, Google eliminates the post description or Meta description and shows only breadcrumb structure in search which is again, not a SEO friendly idea.

4. See below pic to understand more on drawbacks.
using breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs-1
Ok, you have read both pros and cons. There is no clear benefit of using BC and also not a clear disadvantage. I was also using breadcrumbs on my blog for testing purpose. Now I have removed RDFa plugin.

Why i stopped using breadcrumbs on my blog?

1. I used this feature on for testing. The result is also mixed and not clear. My blog’s traffic improved 10- 20 % but not sure if it was for using breadcrumbs because at the same time, i removed duplicate content penalty for comments URL (Replytocom parameter).

2. I noticed that most of posts and pages were not caching in Google. Again, it was a bad deal for SEO.

3. I was using just for testing purpose. The results were not satisfied. So I stopped using it.

Your Choice

It depends on you if you want to implement or not. Surely, using breadcrumbs gives great feeling to user. They make search result user friendly. At the same time, we also see some drawbacks.

I don’t know if Google endorses it or not but no one is going to lose the SEO rank. I also don’t know why the developer of famous plugin “WP SEO by Yoast” uses breadcrumbs on his blog. May be he is seeing at beneficial part.

Choose between user and SEO. Choice is yours.

How to retain the Users priority and SEO without using Breadcrumbs?

Here are few tips if you don’t want to use it for your blog while retaining SEO and User friendly experience:
1. Use two navigation buttons option. One for pages and other for category. It will maximize On-Page user experience.

2. To optimize the search results, make short and eye catching headlines.

3. Use SEO friendly permalink structure. Use only three to four words in permalink. Long URL looks ugly and not makes sense for SEO.

Final Words

We all know that different people have different opinion on same topic. They see from their point of view. Our priority should be our blog reader. SEO is also important. Remember, we can retain all benefits without using breadcrumbs. Anyways, it is your choice.

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