Why Breadcrumbs are not SEO Friendly for your Blog?

are breadcrumbs good for blogsNo one knew that a simple Breadcrumb used in the fairyTale of "Hansel and Gretel" would become a website element one day. Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is a navigation system used in websites that offer more usability to the visitor. They appear horizontally above Post titles or below headers. They show user location and tells him what post and which section of the blog category he is on. Breadcrumb provides links back to the pages the user already visited in hierarchical order. Often a colon ( : )or slash ( / ) or even a greater-than sign ( > ) is used as hierarchy separator.  These are now widely used by blog owners in both Wordpress and Blogger platforms. Unfortunately Breadcrumbs destroy the advantages of Permalinks which play great role in targeting rich keywords. Blogger Team has introduced permalinks on all blogspot blogs and we already discussed several ways of optimizing permalinks, now it's the right time to realize how Trailing links effect permalink display in SERPs.


Typical breadcrumbs may look like this:
Homepage > Category Page > Sub Category Page
Home page / Section page / Subsection page

How BreadCrums Effect SERP Display?

Carefully look at the snapshot below. The first link pointed by red arrow is of our second blog (SEM) and the second link pointed by green is of our current blog (MBT). We are using Breadcrumb in SEM for the past few months  just as experimentation and the results I obtained were not satisfactory. Breadcrumbs is only replacing the permalink which contains our rich keywords and replaces it with the category/label name. As you can see in the snapshot below, instead of displaying keywords in the permalink, Googlebot is instead picking the category title ( i.e. Social Media)  and displaying it instead of the keywords used in URL structure.
Note: I will surely delete Breadcrumb plugin from SEM as soon as I get time.
In MBT Googlebot is displaying the permalink (i.e. google-crawling...) instead of a label or category title because we use no Breadcrumb plugin in our blog. As a result we are getting extra benefit of exposing more keywords on Google search page, thus leading to a higher rank on search engine pages.
breadcrums effect site SEO
If you view any URL of Mashable or even SEOMoz in Google you will find that Google spiders are picking and displaying the permalink instead of the Category or tag title, because both these blogs are using no Breadcrumb plugins anywhere on there platforms.
mashable search display
seomoz search display
Both these two great blogs are making best possible use of keywords to rank higher on search pages to drive organic traffic. They both use no BreadCrum plugin for reasons we already discussed. Therefore you may avoid installing any such widget on your blogger blogs or any WP plugin at your wordpress blogs. Blogs have simple structure and the pages are not sorted too deep (can go to a maximum of two-three trails) so such a plugin serves less in terms of both usability and Optimization.

When can you use Breadcrumbs?

If you have an Ecommerce site where you sell merchandise and the number of pages or categories are heavily tagged then you will for sure use breadcrumb to serve your visitors more. This is one reason why you see this plugin on Ecommerce sites like Ebay. Since Ebay has dozens of pages that are linked to one another via tags therefore a breadcrumb is necessary to keep the user informed about his location on the site.

Do you still want to add it in your blogs?

Though breadcrumb serves no logic in case of blogs but still if you like these trailing links then you can use the rel="noindex"   attribute to inform the robots not to index or crawl the links. This is one way the links will not be indexed and thus wont appear at all in search results page. This is the same logic applied by ebay folks:
ebay breadcrums noindex

Need Help?

If I sounded too technical then please post your queries so that I could help more precisely. I hope this post clears many doubts linked to this Rootline trails and might have given you enough help in deciding what is best for your blog. Peace and blessings pals! :)
Are you using Breadcrumbs on your blog? If yes then what action have you decided after reading todays tutorial? 

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  1. Nice detailed information. I personally Use Breadcrumb with adding No Follow attribution into it. So it effect only the eye of the visitor which I guess is a good thing . So by this way I guess I am getting benifit of it. :)

  2. Breadcrumbs Were never my Choice. However, we can use a Widget Breadcrumbs that could Help our readers to easily navigate though pages and categories. But Using Breadcrumbs in Search Engine is not a great choice.

    First, You loose the Power or Permalinks
    Second, You don't rank well for keywords

    So Well Curated Article Brother, Really To good For NOOBS Like us. Peace and Blessings

  3. but in the officail google webmaster guide it's clearly explained breadcrumbs are good for any kind of site...
    It's just another philosophy, i think, without any effect in seo

  4. First of all sorry pal for out of topic but if you can answer it'll be a great help.. :-)

    I want user redirect to my blog when they search images in google (on every image of my blog).

    Not wordpress..blogger blog buddy.



  5. Hi Mohammad,

    As you pointed out Breadcrumbs Navigation are not good for SEO but they are certainly very useful for your visitors showing them pages location and site hierarchy.

    Good detailed post. Thanks for sharing.

    Jude C

  6. Nyc information..!! I too don't like to use breadcrumb, anyway Thnx for this cool post.


  7. http://english.wanwidget.com
    i never use breadcrumbs, so after read this post it make me stay a way from this type of plugin, thanks man..

  8. thanks for this post written and post. this post is important post of seo and simple story. thanks.

  9. very very useful by greatinfosportal.in

  10. After reading this post i have removed Breadcrumbs Navigation from my blog. Thanks for this info :)

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  11. I use Breadcrumb but search engines are still out the link, not every blog category. So breadcrumb still used tidap anything?

  12. Hey, I am regular reader and a subscriber of your blog. Your posts are always informative. I need some information on making QR Codes and its uses. If you can write something on it.

  13. Awesome information thanks for sharing :) this

    Rahul Kashyap
    Blog: SDMMovies.com

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. another great post from you ...you are really awesome man..anyway thanks for a great post...

    Akhil Abraham
    blog:All Blogging Tools.com

  16. very nice and useful information dear keep it up



  17. hmmm Informative .Thanks for sharing bro

  18. You are exactly right there is no need of breadcrumbs for search engines but question is still there how to guide the readers on paths and subpaths of related posts of a post under his study. Please guide

  19. how about move for breadcrumbs???

  20. thanks for this article

  21. Awesome Detailed information about Breadcrumbs...
    i should be serious about Breadcrumbs and SEO on my Blog now..
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  22. Thank you to everyone for finding the guide helpful. Pleasure to see you all buddies. :)

    @Rounak Baral
    You may better noindex it. Google forbids nofollow to internal links. Read this post: Never add nofollow to internal links

    Perfectly summarized by you Faizan. Appreciated that. Could not be well simplified than this. :)

    That is true breadcrumbs add usability to site and they are good for blogs too if added with a noindex. The point we discussed above is that breadcrumbs do not make sense with blogs because the categories are just two levels down and not more than that. :)

    Redirect on images? Could you kindly explain it a bit more. The images are linked to your root domain in blogger too though the URLs point to Picasa but users will land on your site only. However there is no way to change the URLS and brand it with your blogger domain unless you upload them manually to your web hosting account. Hope this helps :)


    No doubt in it buddy. That is true for E commerce sites only but for blogs read my comment to Claudio. :)

    Could not understand your query buddy. Could you kindly rephrase the words?

    Always welcomed. We already published a tutorial on QR code at SEM please read: Create your own QR codes!

    @Mi Muba
    As I mentioned blogs has no dense level of category hierarchy. Therefore users would not be lost navigating because they would know where they are. Either they are on homepage, post or page. :)

  23. Keep your keywords specific for better results, any keyword or keyword phrase that is too general, like "kid parties" or "weddings" is going to return so many search results you may see anyone make it to your site with those keywords. Now that you know how to get your website on the cutting edge, get ready for a flow of new traffic after you've applied search engine optimization techniques from this article to your business website. Soon you'll see the difference in greater number of customers interested in your services.

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  24. wow.. it is great post.. before i think breadcrumb is SEO friendly. i will immediately to add "rel='noindex'" attribute in order keep my breadcrumb but it no affect my SEO.. Thanks

  25. I have done this with a couple of my Blogger blogs. It's definitely a good thing to do. Google Plus is growing apace and those plus one buttons already help with SEO. Also, your photo ends up being displayed in search results, which helps increase the number of clicks you get
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  26. Please tell me how to make Breadcrumbs with tag noindex ?
    thanks you ^.^

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  32. Hi muhhamad mustafa, I want to consult with you about the article and maybe this will take your time and I hope you reply with a big heart is my comment.

    I've read this very good article, and I agree about what you said. Then I plan and erase my breadcrumbs.

    After 2 days of removing my breadcrumbs, my visitors decreased by approximately 35-45%. And I had to either remove my breadcrumbs and checked in http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

    And also, there's my friend remove breadcrumbs him after reading this article and blog visitors down 60%.

    So, what do you think? Kindly you reply to my comment.

    My Blog D-Copy Blog
    My friend's blog affected due to read this article Cari Tutorial

  33. Nice post there but blogdoctor is using breadcrumb and the permalinks are still displaying in search results. Have any idea how this is possible?

  34. All i have to do is disable breadcrumb on my post pages since my permalink is already /%postname%/

  35. I've never for once been instigated to use Breadcrumb on my main blog though I use it on my test blog.
    Nice artice, thanks!!!..

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  38. Thanks for such an informative article... I was just prepairing to add code into my blog for bread Crumb. But now i am not including it into my blog.

    Asim Shahzad
    Blog: http://www.hecpak.info

  39. thanks for sharing blog post information why breadcrumbs are not seo friend use.

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. There are 2 points that I want to ask to you

    1. How rel=noindex works??? As far as I know there is only rel=nofollow or rel=dofollow. Noindex is used for meta tags

    2. If your problem is about keyword in url, then I think we can trick it by using a proper title which contains keyword

    Thanks in advanced

  42. Thanks. Useful information for me

  43. I Think blog using Breadcrumbs more SEO friendly than not use it, Breadcrumbs will be shown in search engine when one blog have reached PR3. Its my own opinion and experience

  44. Thank god i read this article before Breadcrumbs affect my search results traffic!
    Thanks Bro for this great information.... removed it from my blog

  45. Oh, ... now, I change my mind. I will remove my breadcrumb. Thankyou.

  46. bro my friend told me that breadcrumbs play important role in SEO.Yes we have to remove it from search results BUT not from our blogs. So can we remove it only from search results but not from our blog.