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Google Testing Breadcrumb Navigation Within SERP Results

Posted in: Conversion Optimisation by Richard Hearne on August 13, 2009
Internet Marketing Ireland

Interesting email from Leo Fogarty yesterday about a Google test he seems to have been part of. You can clearly see the breadcrumb beneath the result title:

Google testing breadcrumbs beneath title
Google testing breadcrumbs beneath title

And here’s another variation where the breadcrumb is placed beneath the snippet:

Google testing breadcrumbs beneath snippet
Google testing breadcrumbs beneath snippet

Some other reports of this test, with screenshots, over here. Interesting test, and I wonder how where the breadcrumbs are coming from?

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  1. It looks as if Google are pulling those from DMOZ categories or something similiar !!. Probably not. Google are building up to a couple of big changes I think. Next year is going to be really interesting. I feel we are in for a lot of big developments.

    Comment by searchbrat — August 13, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  2. Actually the breadcrumbs that appear in the serps match the breadcrumbs on the actual sites. The other results that didnt display breadcrumbs were either root domains or internal pages of sites that didn’t use breadcrumbs. So if your not using breadcrumbs, I’d maybe reconsider.

    Comment by Leo Fogarty — August 14, 2009 @ 1:18 am

  3. Could it be searching the HTML for something like ‘div class/id=”breadcrumbs”‘ – something simple like that?

    Comment by Stewart Curry — August 14, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  4. Hi Stuart

    How’s tricks? I’d say they have some far more advanced techniques to determine if a parent HTML element might contain breadcrumbs. It’s probably also to do with site architecture – if the breadrumbs consistently point to pages above/below in your architecture it might signal a breadcrumb.

    @Kieran – I’d imagine they use on-site criteria to determine this.

    @Leo – thanks for sending this on to me. I’d probably hold off adding breadcrumbs based only on this test just for now. They test a lot of changes, many of which never see the light of day, so it might be worth waiting to see. I’m not entirely sure how this will affect the sites either.

    Personally from a user perspective I think this change might confuse, and given that sitelinks and mini-sitelinks are already out there I don’t see huge value from a user-perspective. Of course just my opinion of course.

    Rgds to all, and thanks for dropping by to comment

    Comment by Richard Hearne — August 14, 2009 @ 9:58 am

  5. Information Architecture rules! :D

    Comment by Pablo Almeida — August 19, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  6. Do you know the country that it appeared? Is it for all queries or just for one?

    Comment by Fabio Ricotta — August 19, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  7. I had noticed breadcrumbs in Google SERPS in early July. I was seeing them placed a little differently then the screen shots above.

    Comment by Mike — August 23, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  8. Hi Mike

    Interesting that this test has been running for a little while, but tests regularly last over 30 days. Seems that they tested multiple variations of this particular feature, which was also noteworthy.

    Tanks for dropping by,

    Comment by Richard Hearne — August 23, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

  9. I visited your site after helping me on the GWT forum. You’ve got a lot of interesting content I look forward to reading.

    I am happy to see that there are efforts towards large scale organization of information. I see breadcrumb navigation in SERPs being an excellent addition to the power of Google.

    Comment by Adam - Ditto Effect — February 10, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

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