Google testing breadcrumb-trails

Aug. 24, 2009 | by Doug Platts

It looks like Google is testing even more things within its SERPs. The latest is displaying the breadcrumb trail of a page where usually the URL is displayed. Here is an example reported by Rob Hammond


And other examples are cropping up of this appearing for, what seem to be, random searches.

This latest development to what is being pulled into a SERP seems to reinforce Google’s view that sites with a good architecture, and therefore easier to crawl and index, will rank more strongly than sites that have a poor structure which throw obstacles in the way of spiders crawling them.

Bing is also a strong believer in sites with good structure that for example:

  • Use descriptive file and directory names
  • Limit directory depth
  • Externalize on-page JavaScript and CSS code
  • Use 301 redirects for moved pages
  • Avoid JavaScript or meta refresh redirects
  • Implement custom 404 pages

I am a firm believer in approaching a site with the 3 pillars of SEO in mind:


Getting the technical obstacles and architecture of a site right is the foundation of not just a good SEO campaign but also ensures basic usability is thought of a part of the site design.

With this latest development if you didn’t think a site’s structure and its breadcrumb trail were important before, I’m sure Google starting to feature them within in its SERPs will give you incentive to get it right first time.

When you start seeing internal pages ranking strongly with the breadcrumb trails featured in the SERP, and pages not ranking, that don’t have a breadcrumb trail featured, then it’s time to look at your site’s structure next time you are designing or redesigning a site.

Has anyone got any more examples of SERPs displaying breadcrumbs?

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    Comment (1)

    • If Google changes it’s SERPs your site structure might matter more than ever « 23Musings

      [...] structure via the main sections, or via the page title (which would seem to be how the example on iCrossings blog shows it) then it will be a good thing for most site owners. But if they worked it out from [...]Aug 24, 2009 07:17 pm

    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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