August 24, 2009
A couple of bloggers have reported seeing breadcrumb trails in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) lately, meaning they may be testing the inclusion of breadcrumb navigation as part of site snippets.
Breadcrumb navigation shows the user’s path in relation to their current location. It’s the little trail of keywords you often see at the top of the page, below the main header image telling you what section of a site you are on. There’s a good explanation here.
Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped blogged about seeing breadcrumbs in Google SERPs as far back as July. Leo Fogarty has seen a couple of results on closely related search queries. Now Chris Crum of Web Pro News reports a few random instances of breadcrumb SERP usage.
Google have always encouraged webmasters to use breadcrumb navigation for usability purposes and now they’re apparently going to reward webmasters who take their advice by including breadcrumbs within their site snippet.
Here’s a screengrab of how breadcrumbs look in the Google SERPs for the search query “car hire Spain”:
As you can see, the keywords in the breadcrumbs that match the search query are bolded, meaning that they are included in the algorithmic ranking factors for that query. So potentially, the use of breadcrumb navigation as an SEO tactic has just become a whole lot more important.
A check of the pages displaying the breadcrumbs in their snippets confirms the use of breadcrumb navigation and the exact breadcrumb trail included in the snippet e.g. http://www.auto-europe.co.uk/car-hire/Spain.cfm.
I personally haven’t seen any breadcrumbed SERPs but it’s apparently quite rare so far, with the testing possibly limited to UK sites.
Have you seen any? Please let us know via the comments below.