Google Makes Mobile Search Easier with Breadcrumb Navigation

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By now, you’ve probably heard plenty of evidence of mobile search’s ever-growing popularity. Here’s a bit more: In the fourth quarter of 2014, mobile search accounted for 43% of Google’s organic search traffic, concluding a steady rise throughout the year. (RKG Digital via Marketing Charts)

Google’s well-aware of this. So starting today, April 21, Google will consider whether a website is mobile-friendly when returning search results. Those that are mobile-friendly will benefit; those that are not will suffer. We’ve kept you up to date on this change over the last several weeks. (And we’re hosting a new webinar on the subject on May 1.) But now, as other SEOs like Conrad Saam and Bruce Clay point out, there’s another change accompanying this mobile algorithm update. And it involves breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumb Navigation to Appear in Search Results

When Google crawls your site for search results, will it be able to follow a trail of breadcrumbs back to your homepage? “Breadcrumb navigation” is a method of site organization and design that presents your web content in a series of categories for easier navigation.

Google has now changed its mobile search results to display the page’s breadcrumb navigation instead of the URL. Well-organized sites will appear perfectly while disorganized sites may have a jumbled mess displayed under their page title on the SERPs.

“Being able to stand out in a user-friendly fashion on search results pages is of utmost importance, especially on the smaller screen real estate of mobile devices,” says Conrad Saam of Mockingbird Marketing.

Bottom line: Make sure your navigation is clear and well-planned. Here’s how the new mobile search results look.

google breadcrumb navigation

Image courtesy Google Webmaster Blog

Breadcrumb Navigation is Especially Important for Attorney Websites

Breadcrumb navigation is a natural structure for lawyer websites. Your main categories are your practice areas. But some broad practice areas like medical malpractice can have a deeper breadcrumb structure. You can break medical malpractice into sub-categories.

  • Surgical malpractice
  • Medication errors
  • Wrong patient malpractice
  • Hospital acquired infections
  • Nursing errors

If you write an article about wrong site surgery, it will appear in mobile search as follows.

yoursite > medical_malpractice > surgical_malpractice > wrong_site_surgery

This structure is well organized and logical. Compare it to the following.

yoursite > wrong_site_surgery

There isn’t any organization here.

Unless you’re already organizing your site content in folders and sub-folders, you can use markup HTML from schema.org to control how your site navigation displays on Google’s mobile search.

Another Change – Display Your Website Name How You Want It to Appear

Another big change that will bring a smile to many website owners’ faces is the ability to display the true title of your site as the first breadcrumb entry. This change currently only affects mobile search in the U.S., but may eventually roll out more broadly.

With the new breadcrumb navigation display, you can control how your site name displays. Say your law firm is McDonald Law Firm, but your website URL is www.mcdonlawfirm – using markup HTML from schema.org on your homepage, you can tell Google to display “McDonald_Law_Firm” as your top level rather than the default “mcdonlawfirm”. Bear in mind that Google’s rules for site name display include that you cannot be deceptive or misleading with your new name. Lawyer McDonald can’t use “McDonald’s” as his site name because that would be too close to the popular fast-food chain.

Start Organizing Your Site for SEO Success

Now is a great time to plan your site structure whether you’re starting a new website or your current site needs a facelift. Remember, if you need help with content creation and website planning and organization from a user and SEO perspective, call We Do Web Content: 888-521-3880.