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Be a Sheep and Follow the Breadcrumbs

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Be a Sheep and Follow the Breadcrumbs 9080-daily-golden-nugget-743Talk to any search engine optimization professional about what you should and should not do for optimization and you will always get a different answer. Personal experiences and each businesses sector tend to have slightly different approaches to optimization. My personal preference is to read Google's frequent blog posts and follow their suggestions. Sometimes they make suggestions that don't seem to make sense on the surface, and many times their suggestions are completely new ideas.

In December 2011, Google published guidelines for the proper way to create breadcrumb trails on your website. Those directions were pretty exciting for the world of SEO and my team and I began implementing the directions on every new website we created.

Many times we feel like sheep when following most of Google's suggestions. We might as well go outside, eat grass, and baaaah for a while. We give a level of trust to this huge corporation who's "search business" can make or break other businesses.

Initially, those directions for creating breadcrumb trails seemed to be worthless. I didn't see any positive results in June 2012, nor in December 2012. I was really beginning to feel like a dumb sheep.

That sheepish feeling immediately vanished in April 2013 when breadcrumb trails started to appear prominently in Google's search results. They recently made a change, which was more of a back-step, in how the SERP page appears. That change allows for breadcrumb search results to surface real fast.

Breadcrumb trails appear in the SERPS when people are searching for items that belong in deep product categories. For example, someone searching for "lafonn rings" could be presented with results like this:

(title) Laffon Jewelry Showcase
(links) www.perosijewelers.com > Lafonn > Lafonn Rings

On the search results page the (title) line would show in blue, and the (links) line would be 3 separate links.

Jewelers are notorious for creating product catalogs with minimal product descriptions. Sometimes I feel like I'm beating a dead horse when I say that there should be a unique 200 words, or at least 150 words description for every product. Do most jewelers take the time to do this even after my insistence? Nope. It still rarely happens because there's usually never enough time. Take a look at all the prolific jewelry e-commerce websites out there and you will see that their product descriptions are long.

I believe that Google and Bing are guiding the evolution of the internet as they change the way websites are ranked. With regard to breadcrumbs, I feel that official SEO methods were adopted and published to give product catalog sites a chance to appear in SERPs, even if they didn't have time to write 200 word descriptions for every product.

The appearance of a breadcrumb trails in the SERPs tells people that you have specific categories to look through with lots of products rather than just a small online jewelry catalog. In other words, there's more of a chance that they will find what they are looking for.

I'll briefly go over how to set this up on your website.

1. You need to program your catalog so a list of links will appear at the top of all the category and sub category pages. I call these the product browse pages.

2. The list of links needs to be coded correctly so Google and Bing know they are breadcrumbs. This is what the coding looks like:

<div class="breadcrumb"> <a href="{link}">Lafonn</a> > <a href="{link}">Lafonn Rings</a> </div>

The DIV tag with the setting class="breadcrumb" is where the magic happens. It so simple, but many websites don't do it correctly.

Your homework for today is to show this Nugget to your web programmer and have them implement this on your website.

Be a sheep. Follow directions. Enjoy the grass out back and reap the rewards.

AT: 05/29/2013 09:54:44 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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