At their most basic level, breadcrumb plugins are designed to improve your website’s usability. The way users navigate a website is chaotic at best. You can never truly predict how or where they will enter one of your pages. The quote bellow describes this perfectly:
“A website is not like a house – people do not only come in through the front door. They come in willy-nilly, through the roof, the sewer system, the windows and the walls. This IS the nature of the web and you succeed more easily if you create a site that flows with that reality.”
Given this truth, your website should be designed in such a way that if someone ends up on a product page, they can easily navigate to your home page, your categories page, or to another type of product. Bread crumbs help us do this by outlining an interactive roadmap through your site.
Here’s what we’re covering today:
● What are breadcrumbs and why are they important for SEO?
● The top 5 WordPress breadcrumb plugins
● How to Implement breadcrumbs in WordPress
What Are Breadcrumbs? Why Are They Important For SEO?
Breadcrumbs come in several different types, but all of them are designed to show a user or a search engine where a certain page is located in regards to the rest of the site. Users can click on any of the crumbs in the trail to be taken instantly to that page.
While you’r typical list of SEO tips may not include breadcrumbs, they still add value to your site. An example of a breadcrumb list would be something like this:
Home > Departments > Electronics > Movies and Games
There are technically 3 types of breadcrumbs, but most commonly the location-based variation is used. Otherwise you may risk creating duplicate content without realizing it. These are the three types:
● Location-based – Informs the user where the current page is located in relation to the website’s overall structure.
● Path-based – These are more dynamic breadcrumbs that show the unique path a user took to the page.
● Attribute-based – This final type shows the attributes of a page such as the type, category, product, brand, and so on. They are more detailed than the other breadcrumbs and more complicated as a result.
So, why does this matter for SEO? Well, not only did Google replace the URL in the search results with the site name and breadcrumb path for mobile users, but this feature also improves the overall user experience for your site which is an increased focus in SEO.
For all the WordPress users out there, let’s take a look at five breadcrumb plugins that can help you implement this feature on your site!
The Top 5 Breadcrumb Plugins For WordPress
While it is possible to do your own breadcrumbs, as the saying goes “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Today I’m going to show you five plugins for WordPress that you can use to implement the feature without hassle.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast is best known for their SEO plugin. In the past, you had to download a separate plugin for the breadcrumb functionality, but now you can download the Yoast SEO plugin and get everything you need for on-page optimization, plus your breadcrumb functionality in one convenient place.
2. Breadcrumb Trail
This plugin has the unique ability to detect your permalink structure and use that to create a customized breadcrumb trail for the pages on your site. Custom post types, taxonomies. anything you have going on, it can detect it all and provide a solution for you.
Overall, the Breadcrumb Trail plugin has a great reputation among the user reviews and also offers hooks for plugin/theme developers to further customize the trails using object-oriented programming methods that are already coded into the plugin.
3. RDFa Breadcrumb
This unique plugins functions by linking back to each page the user visited in a hierarchal structure. It essentially creates customized breadcrumb trails for each user. The RDFa Breadcrumb plugin also gives you a new template tag rdfa_breadcrumb() that you can place anywhere in the template files.
This allows the content markup to be recognized by Google and displayed on the SERPS.
4. Breadcrumb NavXT
This plugin is the successor to the extremely popular Breadcrumb Navigation XT. The Breadcrumb NavXT has the ability to generate locational breadcrumbs based on the user’s unique path. The plugin is extremely customizable as well for those who wish to tweak the settings according to their site.
Some of these customizations include OOP actions and filters, WPML compatibility, and bbPress compatibility. The default values will work well in most cases as well for those who want plug and play functionality.
Implementing Breadcrumbs in WordPress
So here’s an interesting fact:
Google has a Breadcrumb Team.
Don’t believe me, check out this video of Matt Cutts explaining breadcrumbs in the search results and listen for that moment where he mentions the breadcrumb team. As with anything on WordPress, you can implement your breadcrumbs manually or with the use of a plugin.
In some cases, like the Yoast plugin above, this is a feature in SEO plugins, but we also saw standalone plugins for this purpose as well. With some of these plugins, you’ll be given a code to place in your theme.
Most breadcrumbs are placed at the top of each page. To do this, simply place the code near the bottom of your header.php file. It’s as simple as that! Other plugins will do this for you, but if you are given a code that’s the place to put it. In addition, some themes have breadcrumbs as a built-in feature.
Breadcrumbs aren’t going to make or break your SEO, but they will do wonders for the user experience on your site. These breadcrumb plugins are an easy way to implement a simple, yet effective feature into your site’s design.
Have you tried any of these? What experience do you have with breadcrumbs? Share your thoughts in the comments!