What Is Breadcrumb Navigation? How Does It Boost Your Website?

What Is Breadcrumb Navigation? How Does It Boost Your Website?

Getting lost as a youngster is something that many of us have in common. You start gazing around frantically for signs or if you’re at a supermarket, aisles and goods that you remember. Websites are similar to supermarkets in that each page is like a new aisle with various things, and it’s quite simple for visitors to become lost.

This may be extremely annoying and, more often than not, leads to the user leaving the website completely. In this post, we’ll look at what breadcrumb navigation is and how it may help your company’s website by avoiding that scenario.

breadcrumb navigation

What Is Breadcrumb Navigation?

The name’s “breadcrumb” notion stems from the well-known German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In this narrative, Hansel and Gretel are siblings who go separated in a forest and use real breadcrumbs to indicate their trail back to their parents. But what does this have to do with websites and web design?

Breadcrumb navigation is a feature that is normally seen at the top of a webpage that shows the user exactly what pages they’ve been on and how they got to where they are.

The most important aspect of breadcrumb navigation, which distinguishes it from Hansel and Gretel’s approach, is that there is a connection between each breadcrumb, such as 8×8 or Home. This enables users to return to a certain moment in time.

3 Types Of Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb Navigation Based On History. 

This sort of navigation displays all of the places you’ve been on that page, effectively giving you simple access to your online history.

This is especially useful when there is a URL convolution or consumers have been browsing for a long.

However, this is the least utilized kind of breadcrumb navigation because it simply serves as forward and back navigation, which is also present on the toolbar.

Breadcrumb Navigation Based On Hierarchy.

Consider the following scenario. You own a small business and are searching for software to help you arrange your inventory. You look up inventory tracking and learn about the program. The explanation is helpful, but you’d want to know what other alternatives you have.

The inventory tracking web page that you are presently on and the parent page will be displayed through hierarchical breadcrumb navigation. This provides users with instant access to a much larger database of information or items.

Breadcrumb Navigation Based On Attributes.

This type of breadcrumb navigation is most frequent on ecommerce sites. Assume you were looking for cloud-based communications services like Fuze when you decided to buy.

Attribute-based breadcrumb navigation would include the product and its primary filters or characteristics, such as the software’s scalability, sound quality, or pricing.

What Are the Advantages of Using Breadcrumb Navigation?

Increase Your Google Ranking.

A well-ranked website is essential for every organization. Google employs breadcrumb navigation to understand your website better and categorize your assets and information. According to research, providing breadcrumb navigation increases your chances of appearing on Google’s first page.

Make Things Simpler For Your Customers.

Losing a lead is one of the worst things in business. You spend money on email marketing, social media ads, and other forms of advertising, to finally have the consumer on your landing page. Many abandon the site due to a bad user experience and complex web page navigation.

Statistics show that:

  • Almost 90% of users say they would never return to a website that was difficult to navigate or use;
  • Almost three out of every four online businesses fail because of a poor user experience; and
  • Despite this, only about half of online businesses conduct adequate user experience testing.

Breadcrumb navigation may show visitors where they are on your website and help them move backwards or forwards based on their preferences. This lowers the bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors that leave your website without clicking on anything.

10 Best Practices For Using Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are often shown in a horizontal line, tracing the path from the highest level page (Home) to the current page the user is on. The following is a list of ten excellent practices, some of which are suggested.

  • Always display the entire path: Provide context to users. A good breadcrumb trail functions like blinkers, maintaining the user’s attention on the work at hand.
  • Begin on the Home Page: Trails are most effective when depicting the trip from one end to the other. The inclusion of the homepage in the trail functions as a powerful anchor, providing users with a strong feeling of orientation.
  • Use ‘>’ as a level separator: It works because it has always worked. The ‘>’ symbol rapidly indicates the link between upper and lower-level pages.
  • Place the Crumbs at the Top: Typically, navigation bars are put at the very top of a webpage. Breadcrumbs should be positioned above the content since they serve as supplementary navigation assistance.
  • Use Contrast: Contrast makes the breadcrumbs stand out as an essential functionality. The contrast becomes an important aspect of their success because they take up less area and are largely text-based.
  • Make use of small type: Using a tiny type communicates to the user the breadcrumbs’ relative importance regarding the main navigation bar. It should never be used in place of the primary navigation aid.
  • Bold the final item: Boldfacing the final item (current page) emphasizes it and informs the user that “this is where you are present.”
  • Do Not Hyperlink the Final Item: Why would you hyperlink text that links to the same page? It’s perplexing for the user.
  • Breadcrumbs should not be used on the homepage: The homepage is where the user journey begins, so having breadcrumbs shown on it makes no sense.
  • In breadcrumbs, use full-page titles: It makes it logical to include entire page names in the breadcrumbs so that users can see where each hyperlink leads.

The page URL should be the same as the breadcrumb trail: The page URL provides an overview of the site’s architecture.

When Is It Not Appropriate To Use Breadcrumbs?

This is a difficult one because breadcrumbs are usually safe. However, there is a catch. Breadcrumbs may be ineffective if your site merely has a few pages with few levels of structure. In some circumstances, including breadcrumbs is unnecessary and may confuse the reader.

Breadcrumbs aren’t all flawless if you look beneath the forest floor.

The Issue With Navigation Using Breadcrumbs

While being present for more than a decade, Breadcrumbs are still not recognized as a best practice. There are several causes for this:

People are still unsure whether it’s worth the effort: It’s not a make-or-break feature. There’s no arguing with that.

There is a widespread assumption that breadcrumbs are only “essential” if your information architecture is in disarray.

Problems with History-Based Breadcrumb Trails

You must access browser cookies to produce history-based breadcrumb dynamically. This necessitates more coding and effort. The extra work will be worthwhile if the rewards surpass the costs. But does it work?

Breadcrumbs based on history merely repeat the functionality of the back button.

There is no SEO benefit, and it does not apply to all compounds. Error

Problems with Navigation-Based Breadcrumb 

The hierarchy is flatter on polyhierarchical sites, such as most new generation eCommerce platforms, and each product option may belong to numerous categories. For example, if you’re trying to buy a beanbag, the breadcrumbs trail may look something like this:

Home > Furnishing > Living Room > Chairs > Single Seater > ‘The Dude Abides’ Bean Bag 


Home > Furnishing > Living Room > Chairs > Casual > ‘The Dude Abides’ Bean Bag

What will you put on display?

Let’s start with the product page.

One plausible approach for the product page would be deciding which breadcrumb to display. The simplest or most frequently utilized navigation path is a strong contender.

Having the most relevant navigational breadcrumb and a ‘return to results’ (historical route) link on your product page will be beneficial if your category page allows consumers to pick product qualities. Making a decision is challenging. The browser back button can generate anxiety for consumers who have gone through that, reached the product page, are not completely pleased with their pick and want to check out another product that matches the attribute. This is because users are unsure if the browser will remember their attribute selections. A ‘Back to Results’ link might be comforting and help retain the visitor in the conversion funnel.

Let’s go on to the category page.

If you provide consumers with a choice of product attributes such as ‘brand’ or size on the category page, another option to use breadcrumbs is to display both a conventional navigation route and the attributes simultaneously but suitably separated.


Any online company may benefit from breadcrumb navigation. It is a subtle yet effective feature that encourages consumers to continue interacting with your website. The better the user’s online experience, the more likely they will complete a transaction. Let us briefly review:

  • Breadcrumb navigation is a web-based trail that visitors may follow backwards and forwards to assist them to browse your website.
  • There are three forms of breadcrumb navigation: history, hierarchy, and attribute-based breadcrumb navigation. Each one is unique, and you should select the best choice for your specific sector and business.
  • Breadcrumb navigation may boost your Google ranking and make your visitors’ experience on your website much more enjoyable.