Best Breadcrumb Structure for Ecommerce Websites

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Breadcrumb trails enhance the ability to navigate your site and offer another opportunity to jump to parent categories or previously viewed pages without having to use a back button or conduct a search. Alternately, if visitors come from an external website, breadcrumb trails show them where they are in the hierarchy of your site and allows them to further navigate the site from where they landed.

The benefit of having the right breadcrumb in place is that it helps search engines navigate your website, and even improves SEO by helping search engines understand how one page on your website relates to another.

What Do Site Breadcrumbs Look Like

Breadcrumbs serve as an effective visual aid, indicating the location of the user within the site’s hierarchy. This property makes breadcrumb navigation a great source of contextual information for users and helps them find what they are looking for on your site. Here is an image of what a breadcrumb trail usually looks like:

What Do Site Breadcrumbs Look Like

The above example is a location based-breadcrumb trail which means that it’s populated based on where you are in the hierarchy of the website.

Location-Based Breadcrumb Trails

Location-Based breadcrumbs (also called Hierarchy breadcrumbs) is the most popular breadcrumb for ecommerce because they both support and encourage browsing.

It is a representation of your website's structure, and shows a visitor where they are in the hierarchy of your website. Visitors can easily view more product options by navigating up your site hierarchy, and that can reduce your bounce rate.  

Additionally, Location-Based breadcrumb trails assist search engine robots as they crawl through your website, helping the robots see how one page relates to another. We can also assume that they play a role in your website rankings as Google will sometimes include them in your search results listing:

Location-Based Breadcrumb Trails

Another added benefit of using location based breadcrumbs is that you can reduce the bounce rate. For example, in an ecommerce page if the user lands on a certain product page and he/she isn’t satisfied with the result, with the help of the location breadcrumb they can choose to navigate to the other products in that category without any hassle. The location based breadcrumb improves the usability, the value and the credibility of the site and overall improves the user experience.

Attribution-Based

Attribution-Based breadcrumbs (also called keyword or tag breadcrumbs) can also be useful and are used when a site has rich content and many categories. These attributes often are not a navigation-enabled part of the breadcrumb trail but allow a visitor to de-select product filters that they have applied to their navigation.

Attribution-Based Breadcrumbs

Best of Both Worlds

At minimum, every ecommerce website should have a Location-Based bread crumb trail to show visitors where they are in the hierarchy of your website. But many ecommerce websites with rich content and multiple categories include both Location-Based and Attribute-Based breadcrumb trails to enrich the user experience. With the help of breadcrumbs, your website will not only produce better user experience, but also generate greater sales from your visitors.

Most CMS platforms have breadcrumb trails enabled by default, but some do not. If you have a poorly optimized breadcrumb navigation menu or if you’re using Magento Open Source, Magento EE, or Wordpress Enterprise and need help setting this up, contact us today.

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About Author

David Ward
David Ward

Dave is the CEO + Founder of Meticulosity and a serial entrepreneur who has spent his 20+ year professional career as an agency owner in digital marketing and web development space.

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