What is Breadcrumb Navigation, and Does it Actually Work?
In web design, the goal is to make a website as simple as possible for users. Many times, that boils down to the site’s navigation. Users appreciate when they are able to quickly find what they’re looking for. However, did you know that there are different types of navigation options available? For instance, breadcrumb navigation is one of the most widely used formats available, so let’s take a deeper look.
What Exactly is Breadcrumb Navigation?
Breadcrumb navigation is an important type of secondary navigation scheme that displays a user’s location on a website. Basically, it helps users visualize where they are on a website, as well as how they got there.
For the most part, websites that have a large amount of hierarchical content utilize this type of navigation. That’s why it is often shown as horizontal text links separated by the “greater than” symbol (>). It represents the page in relation to the other links displayed beside it.
The Origin of the Name
If you’re wondering why it’s even called breadcrumb navigation, the term originates from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. In the story, the children drop breadcrumbs so they can find their way back home without getting lost.
On the web, it’s pretty much the same idea. This navigation interface helps users trace their way back to their original landing page without getting lost in a sea of other irrelevant content.
The Benefits of Using Breadcrumb Navigation on a Website
Ease of Use
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: a positive user experience is essential for successful websites. Therefore, when it comes to seamless usability, breadcrumb navigation could be your answer. It allows users to effortlessly navigate through your site to find relevant information or products in mere seconds.
If you leave it up to users to find things on their own, they might get lost and navigate away from your site entirely. So, if you really think about it, breadcrumb navigation can help cut down on lost sales and leads.
Search Engine Optimization
It’s no secret that navigation is important for search engine optimization, and so are breadcrumbs. In the same way that a sitemap relays a website’s structure to search engines, breadcrumbs shed light on the organization of content.
Not to mention, breadcrumb trails can also contain target keywords to rank for. This especially helps with keyword density. These days, Google even sometimes shows breadcrumbs on search engine result pages.
If you’re looking to improve the navigation interface of your website, breadcrumbs are never a bad option.