Breadcrumb Navigation: Notion, Why Needed, Types, and How to Create

Date: 2023-08-02 | Time of reading: 6 minutes (1116 words)

Breadcrumb navigation is a navigation trail located at the top of a website. It provides a sequence of links from the homepage to the specific section where the user is located. Breadcrumbs are designed to facilitate quick orientation and enhance user experience. The more user-friendly a website is, the higher customer loyalty it can achieve.

In this article, we will explore the purpose of breadcrumbs, their benefits, types of breadcrumb navigation, and how to create them correctly.

What for breadcrumb navigation is required

The purpose of breadcrumb navigation is twofold, enhancing usability and SEO:

  1. Reflecting website structure: Breadcrumbs provide a visual representation of the site's hierarchy, allowing users to understand their location within the website's structure.

  2. Guiding user engagement: By providing logical links to previous pages, breadcrumbs improve user engagement. This, in turn, can lead to increased traffic and sales for the company.

  3. Optimizing behavioral metrics: Breadcrumbs can help optimize behavioral metrics by allowing users to easily navigate back to previous pages, reducing bounce rates and improving session duration.

  4. SEO benefits with structured data: Breadcrumbs implemented with microdata can enhance the search engine snippet, providing additional context and improving visibility in search results.

Advantages of breadcrumb navigation

User convenience

Breadcrumbs make it easier for customers to find the desired information on a website. Users can understand how to navigate to different sections or go back to previous pages.

For example, if the model of a product you found does not meet certain criteria, breadcrumb navigation allows you to explore other products within the same category.

Example of location based breadcrumb navigation

Additionally, breadcrumbs allow users to navigate to the starting point without using the browser's "Back" button. If a customer applies filters (such as price, brand, color, etc.), going back using the browser's back button would reset those settings. Therefore, a "Back" button is placed on the website to allow users to return to the previous page while preserving their selected characteristics.

Example of a website with history based breadcrumb navigation

Internal linking

"Breadcrumbs" is one of the web navigation models, making it useful for quality internal linking.

User’s trail on a site selling goods

Successful snippet and increased rankings

When breadcrumbs are properly implemented, they can appear as a snippet in search results, displaying the breadcrumb navigation. Notably, the breadcrumb trail changes dynamically based on the user's search query. Search snippet helps to build a user’s trail

Users can access different sections of a website through the search snippet, optimizing behavioral factors. Additionally, the organization can showcase other sections of its website through the snippet, further enhancing visibility and engagement.

Types of breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs can come in different types, and the choice depends on the structure of the website.

Linear type

This is the most popular variant, where the breadcrumb trail displays a linear sequence from the homepage to the desired page.

Linear type of breadcrumb navigation

Many websites have multiple levels of nesting, leading to a trimmed-down breadcrumb navigation. In such cases, the starting point of the breadcrumb trail is often a section or subsection within the website's hierarchy.

"Back" function

The "Back" function or links such as "Back to catalog," "Go back," etc., are used instead of breadcrumbs. This approach is suitable when the website has a search function, and users can easily return to the previous page or the catalog from the current page.

The back function of breadcrumb navigation is based on a user’s search history

Combining the previous types

A mixed type, where breadcrumbs are combined with a "Back" button, is used for pages that customers find through the site's search function. This approach provides both breadcrumb navigation for contextual reference and a "Back" button to allow users to return to their search results or previous page easily. A combined variant of a back button in breadcrumb navigation

Dynamic type

Navigation is generated based on the user's journey. This approach is commonly used in online stores where products can be found in multiple categories simultaneously. The breadcrumb trail dynamically adjusts to reflect the specific path taken by the consumer.

It is designed to help users easily access and explore various sections of the website, providing a clear overview of the available categories and their contents.

Example of a user-friendly & well-designed dropdown menu navigation

Attributive type

Such type of navigation allows the customer to choose their navigation route based on specified characteristics. Filters are characteristic feature of attributive type of breadcrumb navigation

By adding or removing filters, the website visitor creates their own "path" to products, enhancing usability.

How to create breadcrumb navigation

There are several ways to create breadcrumbs:

  1. Using standard components or modules provided by content management systems (CMS).

  2. Utilizing plugins specifically designed for breadcrumb navigation.

  3. Implementing navigation through PHP or CSS coding.

Here are some important rules to keep in mind:

  • Do not replace the main menu with breadcrumbs on your website. Breadcrumbs serve as a supplementary navigation aid.

  • Do not adapt the text anchors in the breadcrumb navigation solely for keywords. While some adaptation may be acceptable, it should only be done if the keywords align with the context of the breadcrumbs.

  • Write the breadcrumb trail all the way to the end, including the specific product name in the chain if applicable.

Detailed user’s path within linear breadcrumb navigation

  • Do not make the final element of the breadcrumb navigation clickable.

  • Always place breadcrumbs in a consistent location throughout the website.

  • Use breadcrumbs as needed, adding them for improved user experience. They are not necessary for single-page websites.

  • Implement microdata markup for navigation using microformats like Microdata and RDFa. This ensures logical and meaningful display in search results.

  • Check the correctness of the markup using search engine tools.

Errors in creating breadcrumb navigation

Placing the navigation at the bottom of the website can lead to it being easily overlooked by visitors, resulting in potential usability issues.

Using multiple paths to access a single product, where the route constantly changes through the homepage, sections, or links, can disrupt the internal hierarchy. This can confuse customers and make it challenging for search engine robots to effectively index the site.


"Breadcrumb navigation" is a menu that enhances usability and SEO on a website. It helps customers easily navigate web pages and find the desired products.

Implementing breadcrumb navigation doesn't require much time, and adding it to a website can greatly improve usability, search engine rankings, snippets, and conversions.







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