Are Breadcrumbs and Redirections Possible to Fake?

Contributed content / By Sage Houston / 19 March 2019

You cannot fake breadcrumbs or redirections because they are easily traceable and visitors will immediately know that there is something wrong with your website. In addition, search engine bots will penalize your website if they find something irregular with either element.

Breadcrumbs are useful for both website designers and SEO professionals. 

Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that leave a trail where people were active on your site and allow people to retrace their steps from the pages they viewed. 

They also help Google bots understand the structure of the website so that the bots can easily crawl and index the pages that are in use. Search engines can use breadcrumbs to see the position of websites in search results. 

Despite the benefits of using breadcrumbs, many website developers do not use them in the navigation structure of their sites because they fail to realize the importance of these tools. 

In this article, you will learn about breadcrumbs and redirections in SEO. You will also get to know about the possibility of faking these elements to generate more traffic on your website. 

What Is Redirection?

Redirection is a process where you forward one URL to another URL. It is a way to send users and search engines to a different URL link from the one they originally wanted to visit. 

There are three types of redirections that are commonly used by SEO experts:

  1. 301: Page Moved Permanently
  2. 302: Page Moved Temporarily 
  3. Meta Refresh 

301 – Page Moved Permanently 

The 301 redirection is a permanent redirection and it refers to an HTTP status code, which is specifically designed for this type of redirection. In most cases, the 301 redirection is considered to be the best method for incorporating redirections into a website. 

302 – Page Moved Temporarily 

Some of the people working in Google have indicated that there are some instances where 301 and 302 redirections can be treated similarly. However, the safest way to ensure that search engines and users are redirected to the concerned page is to apply the 301 redirection. 

Both these redirections are the same and yet different. While the redirection 301 means that a particular page has been permanently moved to a new page, 302 means that the path is only temporary.

Meta Refresh 

Meta refresh instructs the web browser to reload a particular page after a certain amount of time. The notification usually says, “If you are not redirected in 5 seconds, click here.” 

Meta Refresh is not an SEO recommended technique because it is implemented on the page level. This technique does not provide users with good usability and they might lose the link that they wanted to visit.  

Redirections can be useful if your site is having issues, and users need to be sent to a new page.

Types of Breadcrumbs 

There are three types of breadcrumbs that are used by SEO experts. They all are similarly constructed, but vary in how exactly they organize and map different pages:

  1. Location-Based Breadcrumbs 
  2. Attribute-Based Breadcrumbs 
  3. History-Based Breadcrumbs 

Location-Based Breadcrumbs 

Location-based breadcrumbs are also known as hierarchy-based breadcrumbs because they represent the structure of the page and help users understand the path which led them to the current page. 

For example, the site below uses location-based breadcrumbs in the menu navigation header:

Location-Based Navigation Breadcrumbs Menu
 Source

It is always wise to use breadcrumbs when there are multiple pages on your site. In addition to this, you should add links to your breadcrumbs, so that users can easily navigate around your site. 

Attribute-Based Breadcrumbs 

These breadcrumbs explain the relationship of products to one another so that users can conveniently differentiate between commodities. 

These breadcrumbs appear when you apply filters to the page so that you only see the products in which you are interested.

Attribute-based breadcrumbs usually look like this:

Home > Product Category > Size > Color > Shape

For example, the clothing site below easily demonstrates how to find the exact shoe that the customer wants: 

Attribute-based Breadcrumbs
Source

Attribute-based breadcrumbs can simplify how consumers browse products and make it especially easy for them to look through different sizes, colors, and types of clothing.  

History-Based Breadcrumbs 

These breadcrumbs provide users with the path they have followed to land on the current page. However, this type of breadcrumb is not that common because people usually prefer using the ‘Back Button’. 

Most of the times, these breadcrumbs tend to confuse visitors, and you have to be very careful when designing and implementing them in your website. History-based breadcrumbs tend to look like this:

Home > Previous Page > Previous Page > Previous Page > Current Page 

History-based breadcrumbs help people retrace their steps from the exact page they came from without specifying the type of page.

Still, it can be confusing because the breadcrumbs are so vague. 

When Should You Use Breadcrumbs? 

Breadcrumbs are highly recommended for websites that consist of multiple pages and have a huge variety of products or services. For example, shopping websites, such as eBay, service provider websites like local cable deals, e-commerce sites, informational websites and agency websites should all use breadcrumbs. 

Breadcrumbs can be used on any website, as long as the website has different pages with several links leading to other pages.

However, you should avoid using them when the website consists of a single page or where there is no level of hierarchy. 

Ensure Best SEO Practices 

It is a common practice to implement redirection for diverting traffic to another page. However, when practicing this technique, it is important to observe the rules and regulations laid down by search engines so that your website is not penalized and its ranking stays intact. 

Although there are various ways to implement redirection in your website, the 301 redirection is generally preferred by most of the SEO professionals because this redirection shifts and updates your content to the new page, and the search engines will transfer all the links to the new URL. 

It is important to realize that when you redirect a page, it takes time for the search engines to discover the 301 redirection and credit the page with new rankings and position on search results. 

Is It Possible to Fake Breadcrumbs or Redirections?

You cannot fake breadcrumbs because they are easily traceable and visitors will immediately know that something is wrong with your website. 

Search engine bots will penalize your website if they find an irregularity on your website or redirection. The ranking of your website will fall if you try to fake these elements. 

Therefore, you should avoid using illegal methods to improve the position of your website because the consequences are not worth the risk. 

There are numerous links and videos available on the internet that claim to provide authentic information as to how you can fake breadcrumbs and redirections in SEO

However, all such links and videos are misleading and these practices are against search engine rules and can harm your website. 

Implement Breadcrumbs and Redirections Effectively

Redirect pages can save your visitors time by eliminating pages that are out-of-order or temporarily unavailable. 

Moreover, use breadcrumbs to improve the structure of your website. Breadcrumbs can be beneficial to your website because they tend to decrease the visitor bounce rate by creating a positive experience. 

Enhance the experience of the visitors by providing them with a clear navigation path because nobody likes getting lost in a maze. 
 

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