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Easy navigation is vital for any website, and adding WordPress breadcrumbs can make navigation a breeze. With breadcrumbs, people expect to find what they need with the fewest clicks possible, making it feel effortless for visitors to locate specific content on your site.

wordpress breadcrumbs being use to optimize a website

On top of carefully planning your website in a logical way, adding breadcrumbs (not the edible ones) can provide visitors with an easy method for moving around your site and understanding how your site as a whole is structured.

In this post, we’ll cover what breadcrumbs are, why they’re useful, and how to use them in WordPress.

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Table of Contents:

Here’s a short video on how to use breadcrumbs for your WordPress website:

What are breadcrumbs in WordPress?

Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that help visitors understand where they are on your website. Breadcrumbs show the hierarchy of your web pages, and visitors can use them to navigate back to a previous page or to discover more relevant content.

example of breadcrumbs on website

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Take this example from Best Buy. If visitors enter their site on the “PC Laptops” page, they can view other related categories at the top of the page, like “Computers & Tablets” or “Laptops.”

best buy breadcrumb example

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How WordPress Breadcrumbs Work

WordPress breadcrumbs serve as a secondary navigation system that traces a user’s path within a website. 

Often displayed at the top of the page, these navigational aids provide a clear way to visualize the user’s location and how to easily backtrack to previous pages. It’s an intuitive design element that enhances user experience.

 how to add breadcrumbs to your WordPress site

Working With WordPress Breadcrumbs

The function of WordPress breadcrumbs is threefold. Firstly, they improve user navigation by offering a quick way to return to preceding pages without multiple clicks or extensive scrolling. 

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Secondly, they provide a visual representation of the site’s hierarchy, showing clearly how pages are interconnected. Lastly, by linking back to previous pages, breadcrumbs can positively influence a website’s SEO by encouraging search engines to crawl through more pages.

In summary, WordPress breadcrumbs are a multifaceted tool that enhances the functionality and design of a website. They not only guide users effortlessly through a site’s content but also assist in building a favorable SEO structure. 

As a seamless part of website design, breadcrumbs remain an essential component for user-friendly and efficient site navigation.

Why Add Breadcrumbs to Your WordPress Website?

With breadcrumbs, visitors can access related pages on your site with just a click. Aiding navigation in this way keeps visitors engaged with your content for a longer duration and exposes them to more of your content and product offerings.

Breadcrumbs also help lower bounce rates. Since visitors can access your website from any page, breadcrumbs act as a guide for visitors to explore other parts of your website.

But, breadcrumbs can do more than just enhance the visitor experience — they also improve your SEO. Putting breadcrumbs across your pages help search engines crawl your website to determine its internal linking structure. Google might also use your breadcrumbs in search results to help your visitors, as seen below:

breadcrumbs example toys

To add breadcrumbs to a WordPress website, you can use a plugin or check whether your theme offers breadcrumbs built-in. In the next section, we’ll explain how to add them in a variety of ways.

Yoast SEO is a popular SEO plugin for WordPress. You can do a lot with Yoast SEO, including enabling breadcrumb navigation.

How to Add Breadcrumbs With Yoast SEO:

1. Installation 

If you haven’t already, install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new SEO option to your left sidebar.

2. Setup

Next, you need to add some code to your theme files that tells Yoast SEO where to display the breadcrumbs.

How to add breadcrumbs in WordPress

Copy and post the code snippet below:

 

<?php

if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {

yoast_breadcrumb( '</p><p id=“breadcrumbs”>','</p><p>' );

}

?>

Step 3. Update File

Click Update File to save your changes.

Step 4. Change Appearance

In the left sidebar, select Appearance > Theme Editor.

Step 5. Paste Code

In the theme editor, paste the code snippet you copied to the bottom of one or more of the following theme files:

  • header.php if you want breadcrumbs to show in your header across your entire site.
  • page.php if you want breadcrumbs to appear on all your pages.
  • single.php if you want breadcrumbs to appear on all your posts.

Here’s what the code looks like pasted into the header.php file of the Sinatra theme. The pasted code is shown in the red box:

WordPress breadcrumbs code snipped placed in the header.php file

It might take a bit of testing to find which breadcrumb placement presents the best user experience.

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6. Select ‘Search Appearance’

In the left sidebar, select SEO > Search Appearance.

7. Click ‘Breadcumbs’

Click the Breadcrumbs tab.

8. Enable Breadcrumbs

Under Breadcrumbs settings, click Enabled.

the button to enable wordpress breadcrumbs in the Yoast SEO wordpress plugin

9. Configuration

Selecting Enabled will reveal breadcrumbs settings. Configure these to your liking.

10. Save Changes

At the bottom of the page, click Save changes.

How to Add Breadcrumbs With Other WordPress Plugins

If you’d prefer a different tool to add your breadcrumbs, pick from our additional plugin recommendations below.

Plugin: All in One SEO

All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is a complete SEO plugin and toolkit for WordPress. Over 2 million professionals use this popular plugin to improve their website search rankings. 

1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new All in One SEO option to your left sidebar.

2. Setup

Complete the AIOSEO Setup Wizard. At the end of the setup, click Finish Setup and Go to the Dashboard.

3. Settings

In the left side panel, select All in One SEO > General Settings.

4. Enable Breadcrumbs

Click on the Breadcrumbs tab,  then click the On button next to Enable Breadcrumbs.

Breadcrums examples AIOSE

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Step 5. Configuration

Scroll down and click on the Shortcode icon. Then, copy the AIOSEO breadcrumbs shortcode underneath it. 

WordPress Breadcrumbs: AIOSE

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Step 6. Apply Shortcode

Go to the post or page you’re editing on your site and paste the AIOSEO breadcrumbs shortcode. 

Step 7. Update

Click on the Update button to save your changes. 

Step 8. Preview Changes

Preview your post or page to see that the new breadcrumb navigation is added.

AIOSE example of a page

Image Source

Plugin: Rank Math

Rank Math is a WordPress plugin that helps users rank higher in search engines. To add breadcrumbs with this plugin:

Step 1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new Rank Math option to your left sidebar.

Step 2. Setup

Complete the six-step Setup Wizard. At the end of the setup, click Return to dashboard.

Step 3. Settings

In the left side panel, select Rank Math > General Settings.

Step 4. Enable Breadcrumbs

Under the Breadcrumbs tab, click On next to Enable breadcrumbs function.

Enabling WordPress breadcrumbs in Rank Math plugin

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Step 5. Configuration

Configure the breadcrumbs settings to your preferences.

Step 6. Save Changes

When finished, click Save Changes.

Plugin: Breadcrumb NavXT

For those looking for breadcrumb functionality without the extra SEO features, Breadcrumb NavXT is the go-to plugin. It offers extensive control to enable and customize your breadcrumbs.

Step 1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New.

Step 2. Settings

In the left side panel, select Settings > Breadcrumb NavXT.

screenshot 2

Step 3. Configuration

The default settings will be enabled. Under the General tab, you can modify how breadcrumbs work on your entire site. Options under the Post Types tab allow you to specify the breadcrumbs format for your posts and pages.

Step 4. Save Changes

When finished, click Save Changes.

Plugin: Breadcrumb

Breadcrumb is another lightweight plugin for breadcrumb navigation anywhere on your website using shortcodes. To use this plugin:

Step 1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new Breadcrumb option to your left sidebar.

Step 2. Setup

Select Breadcrumb in the left sidebar.

Step 3. Configuration

Under Breadcrumb Settings, you can configure breadcrumbs to your liking.

Step 4. Save Changes

When finished, click Save Changes.

Step 5. Apply Shortcode

Navigate to a new or existing page or post in your WordPress editor and add the following shortcode:

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[breadcrumb]

Your breadcrumb will appear like this:

WordPress breadcrumbs example in Breadcrumb plugin

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Plugin: Catch Breadcrumb

Catch Breadcrumb is a simple tool for seamless breadcrumb navigation. Unlike other plugins, you have the option to hide breadcrumbs on your homepage.

Step 1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new Catch Breadcrumb option to your left sidebar.

Step 2. Setup

Select Catch Breadcrumb in the left side panel.

Catch Breadcrumb for wordpress plugin

Image Source

Step 3. Configuration

Under the Dashboard tab, configure settings to your preferences.

Step 4. Save Changes

When finished, click Save Changes.

Step 5. Apply Shortcode

Add the following shortcode to your WordPress Visual editor:

[catch-breadcrumb]

Step 6. Validation

Check your site pages for the new breadcrumb feature.

Step 7. Preview

Check your site pages for the new breadcrumb feature.

Plugin: Flexy Breadcrumb

Flexy Breadcrumb is popular for its easy implementation and also uses shortcodes to add breadcrumbs to your website.

Step 1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new Flexy Breadcrumb option to your left sidebar.

Step 2. Setup

Select Flexy Breadcrumb in the left sidebar.

Step 3. Configuration

Under General Settings, configure the settings to your liking.

Flexy bread - Breadcrumb plugin for WordPress

Source

Step 4. Save Changes

When finished, click Save Changes.

Step 5. Add Shortcode

Add the following shortcode to your WordPress Visual editor:

[flexy_breadcrumb]

Plugin: SEOPress

SEOPress is a comprehensive SEO plugin to boost your organic search traffic. Ranked as a top-rated tool, this plugin offers breadcrumbs as a feature in its Pro version.

Step 1. Installation

Install and activate the plugin under Plugins > Add New. This will add a new SEO option to your left sidebar.

Step 2. Setup

In the left sidebar, select SEO > Breadcrumbs.

SEO Press - WordPress breadcrumbs plugin

Source

Step 3. Configuration

Under Configure your breadcrumbs, toggle the feature on.

Step 4. Settings

Next, configure the breadcrumbs settings to your liking.

Step 5. Save Changes

When finished, click Save Changes.

Step 6. Change Theme

In the left sidebar, select Appearance >Theme Editor.

Step 7. Apply Shortcode

Open your theme’s header.php file and add the code below to the bottom of the file:

 

if(function_exists(“seopress_display_breadcrumbs”)) {

seopress_display_breadcrumbs(); }

Step 8. Update File

Click Update File to save your changes.

How to Add Breadcrumbs to WordPress With Themes

Most of the latest WordPress themes enable breadcrumb navigation, so you don’t need to add anything extra to place breadcrumbs on your website. Here are some themes with this built-in feature.

  • Page Builder Framework: This theme makes it possible to customize your breadcrumbs.
  • Knowledge Base: This theme navigates visitors through breadcrumbs within your customer support knowledge base.
  • Astra: This theme lets you place breadcrumbs anywhere on a page.
  • Shopkeeper: This theme allows you to enable breadcrumbs on your online store.
  • WooThemes: This is a collection of WooCommerce themes with breadcrumb capabilities.

Now let’s look at how you can style WordPress breadcrumbs and customize them for your site.

How to Style WordPress Breadcrumbs

Here’s one way to style breadcrumbs for your WordPress website.

Step 1. Identify the breadcrumb CSS class.

Inspect the breadcrumb’s HTML code on your site to find the CSS class associated with it. It might look something like .breadcrumb or .breadcrumb-trail.

Step 2. Access the custom CSS section.

In your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Customize > Additional CSS. This is where you’ll be adding the custom styles.

Step 3. Style the breadcrumb text.

You can customize the text appearance by altering the font size, color, and more. Add CSS code like this:

how to customize breadcrumb text

Step 4. Style the breadcrumb links.

If you want to style the links within the breadcrumbs specifically, add the element to target all links within this class:

how to customize breadcrumb text

Step 5. Add spacing and dividers.

You may want to add some space between the breadcrumbs or customize the dividers. Here’s an example where we use the li element:

how to customize breadcrumb text

Step 6. Preview & Publish

Use the live preview within the WordPress customizer to see the changes. Once satisfied, click “Publish” to apply the changes to the live site.

With these steps, the user can give the breadcrumbs a unique and appealing look that aligns with the site’s overall design. It’s a simple and effective way to enhance site navigation.

Turning Off Breadcrumbs in WordPress 

Follow these steps to turn off breadcrumbs in WordPress:

1. From your admin dashboard, select Appearance > Theme Editor.

2. Open the file where you added the breadcrumbs.

3. Use Ctrl + F (or Command F on Macs) to open your browser’s search function. Search for “breadcrumb” to locate the PHP code.

4. Add two forward slashes (//) in front of this line of code. This temporarily disables the code.

5. Click Update File to save your changes.

Getting the Most From WordPress Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are one of the simplest ways to help visitors get around your WordPress website, as well as increase organic search traffic. Your site’s layout shouldn’t be a mystery to users — with a breadcrumb trail, they’ll always know where they came from.

For more strategies for implementing this helpful feature, check out our post on breadcrumbs tips and examples.

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