Why aren’t breadcrumbs displaying in search results for my site?

Why aren’t breadcrumbs displaying in search results for my site? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: Today’s question comes from Nick in Chicago and it’s a really fun one. Nick asks, “Any updates on ‘Site hierarchies display in search results’ AKA breadcrumbs? My site has clear breadcrumbs but Google isn’t using them in search results. Any tips for adjusting the links, URLs, or HTML code to get this to work?” Great question and I wasn’t sure so I asked the breadcrumb team or folks who work on breadcrumbs. And I’ll give–tell you what my theories were and tell you what they said back. I said, my guess would be either, A, bad markup; B, it’s just takes a little while to process the stuff and see it and incorporate it into our index; or C, we might not necessarily have that much trust in a particular domain to know whether we want to show breadcrumbs or not. And the breadcrumb folks wrote back and they basically said, “Yeah, that’s basically the main set of reasons.” So, as far as the markup, you want to make sure that you have identical markup to a lot of the sites that you’ve seen that do have breadcrumbs in the search results. So, things like uniform ways of doing things, trying to make sure–for example, if you don’t really have strong feelings either way, you can look at some of the websites that already have breadcrumbs in the search results. And make sure that little bit of layout is essentially identical HTML and then that way you know that our parsing should work relatively well with the breadcrumbs on your website. So that’s one thing to check out, it’s just the markup and making sure that that’s something that Google can process. The second thing is it does take time for us to sometimes incorporate this data. Think about it not being in the mainline of indexing but maybe an out of band or offline process to sort of realize breadcrumbs are relevant for this site. So I talked to the team and they said that they hadn’t updated their sites that we’re using breadcrumbs recently but they were going to set themselves a goal of every several weeks or so being able to sort of reincorporate the sites that had put code on their website that would make it a minimal to showing breadcrumbs in the search results. So as long as your patient, the team will keep working on that and making the response time faster. And then the last thing is we still do have to have a little bit of trust in your site before we will sort to say, “Yes, we want to show breadcrumbs for it.” That’s the sort of thing where just making great content, making a great site, making sure that people know about it, helps with all of those issues. If you do have a site that you’re proud of, you feel like it’s already high-quality, you feel like you’ve had breadcrumbs for a while, you feel like the templates are pretty standardized, and Google should be able to pick it up, this is a perfect example where I would say, show up in a webmaster forum and say, “Hey, I’d love to have breadcrumbs on my site. I think I’ve done everything right. Anyone have guesses about why it’s not showing up for me?” And then, we do have–not only very helpful people who keep an eye on the forum, including super users who are people outside of Google but know an awful lot of stuff. We also have Googlers like John Mueller who keeps an eye on it and can often take that feedback and pass it on to the breadcrumbs team and say, “Hey, why doesn’t this website show breadcrumbs in the search results?” So the webmaster forum might definitely be your friend here. But just pay attention to those two or three factors and I have high hopes that eventually your site will show breadcrumbs.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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