Drop Some Better Breadcrumbs For SEO

Breadcrumbs. Of course, now you’re thinking “breadcrumb trail” which makes you think of that whole Hansel and Gretel thing …

And believe it or not, that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. Breadcrumbs, in the context of WordPress/website SEO, are the little links at the top of your page’s post or content that lays out where the user is, and how to get back “Home” like….

Home –>SEO Saturday

Or, as with this site, you can just use category names without the “Home” part.

Now, why’d I do that? Because Thesis’s nav menu up top there on every page very clearly puts the HOME link right above eye level for someone reading the headline of each page. If they want out of there in a hurry, that “HOME” tab in the nav menu should suffice.

But I will admit, many SEO experts say you should have the full “Home–>Category–>Title” format in your breadcrumb trail. So, I’m not doing it exactly right here, at least theoretically.

Now, here’s the thing: breadcrumbs serve two major purposes:

  1. They help the reader navigate through your site, by showing them where they are on the site at any given page.

    and …

  2. They tell search engines a bit more about your site’s structure.

OK, both of these things are good and useful goals.

But as I said above, I am confident in my site’s architecture and in the way I’ve laid out the nav menu and other links that help the reader get wherever s/he wants to go on my site. So, I feel pretty good about #1.

Number 2 (heehee, I said “number 2” … yes, apparently I’m 7 years old) is a wee bit trickier. I think site maps help a lot.

Thesis doesn’t have a ready-made one-click option for breadcrumbs, that I can see. (It does have “Byline” editing functions but there don’t seem to be any options to include the format quoted above with the “Home–>” feature.)

You can do it via hooks (instructions here). Or you can use a plugin — Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin claims it can handle this function. I don’t have any first-hand experience with it, or with how nicely it might play with Thesis, so I make no representations one way or the other. But it’s there, and I’ve linked you to it — go forth and experiment, and maybe come back here to tell us how it works?

Even if you don’t use breadcrumbs per se but rather stick with the “Byline” options as I have in Thesis, give some thought to how you can make your site fulfill those two purposes above: reader navigability and structure info to search engine code.  Maybe there are more ways to address this aspect of SEO that I’m unaware of — if so, fill us all in below in the comments!


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