Google Breadcrumbs launched: hierarchies now displayed

Wed 18 November 2009 10:00, Bas van den Beld

Google Breadcrumbs launched: hierarchies now displayed

This morning Google announced the newest way of showing where you are going when clicking on a search result. In stead of the 'regular' URL's string you now get breadcrumbs. This will have great impact on the way we use urls because the keyword rich urls are not shown anymore.

Google takes this step because many web addresses don't tell you well enough where you are going. The "URLs are too long, too short, or too obscure to add useful information." By adding the new text Google wants to give useful information about the page before you click on them.

On their blog Google explains how they choose the used breadcrumbs:

"The information in these new hierarchies come from analyzing destination web pages. For example, if you visit the ProductWiki Spidersapien page, you'll see a series of similar links at the top, "Home> Toys & Games> Robots." These are standard navigational tools used throughout the web called "breadcrumbs," which webmasters frequently show on their sites to help users navigate. By analyzing site breadcrumbs, we've been able to improve the search snippet for a small percentage of search results, and we hope to expand in the future."

They also show some examples of how search results will change:


Roy yesterday in the Searchcowboys show already noticed the breadcrumbs showing up on one of his sites. He then mentioned the breadcrumbs don't just show up in the top results but also on the middle of the page. That indicates that Google looks at the site urls and structure and then decides wether or not the site needs breadcrumbs.

It's not yet clear what this will though for clickthrough rates. Some sites might benefit from them but others might not like the way Google structures their sites. And there is no indication yet on how users respond to this. Will users be temped to click sooner or not? What do you think?

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Comments (10)


    • Dudibob

    Looks interesting but I'm not seeing it yet, let's just hope Google doesn't screw up with the breadcrumbing with something like: --> home --> home --> widget --> blue widget

    Wo 18 nov 2009, 10:57

  • Not sure if i like the change, just my 2 cents. Wonder if these latest changes are tested with a sample of users before testing them in a live search environment? Not sure how many searchers will pay attention to the breadcrumsb as well. Hmm

    Noticed the changes this morning in the SERPS, mostly for larger brands, Apple seems to already have some breadcrumb SERPS

    Wo 18 nov 2009, 11:26

  • Interesting, I like the change from a user perspective. Shows Google's promotion of semantic and thematic set up of sites as I imagine this will affect CTR on organic results.

    Do 19 nov 2009, 12:06

  • Breadcrumbs are appearing in the SERPS for my site. They are appearing as > Category > Sub-Category whereas the url is Therefore the product keyword is not appearing in the new breadcrumbs but was in the old url. Will be interesting to see how this affects CTR.

    Vr 20 nov 2009, 13:57

  • I am seeing this for many pages on both of our sites. It is interesting, I didn't like it at first, but I think I'm coming around to it now when I spend more time with it. The design is better then standard link, as it gives the customer more links to click as well.

    Vr 20 nov 2009, 21:06

  • Great for users, but I completely hate the fact that I can -see- the physical perma-link anymore.

    Wo 16 dec 2009, 10:44

  • Does this have any seo value? or is it simply a visual improvement within search results...

    Wo 20 jan 2010, 08:35

  • I like this change. I suspect that it will have value for SEO in that users are presented with more choices of links to your site compared to those who don't have breadcrumbs. Everything else being equal having more links, you should get more clicks.

    Can clicks from the breadcrumb links be tracked? If so it will be interesting to see analyses of changes in behaviour.

    Do 21 jan 2010, 14:03

  • Interesting but how come there is no information on best practice to markup breadcrumb trails in html?

    Do 27 mei 2010, 14:00

  • I realise this is an old topic but I am completely new to SEO work and every little bit of info helps,

    Vr 19 aug 2011, 12:14


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