When your breadcrumbs lead poor Hansel right into the witch’s oven

Last week I encountered a store who was using another SEO app that added Breadcrumb structured data.

Incorrectly.

You might have heard JSON-LD for SEO doesn’t include Breadcrumb structured data because it’s not possible to automatically create it correctly for every theme.

Here’s the danger of bad automatic breadcrumb data (with the domain, content, and favicon redacted).

Example of the search results when breadcrumbs go bad

Notice the “ABC (Please don’t remove it)” collection used as the breadcrumb?

These pages are going directly to the product pages and should not have had any collections listed or any breadcrumb beyond the basic products one.

But the other SEO app coded their breadcrumbs to pull out the product’s collections and used the first one, resulting in this internal “Please don’t remove” collection getting used.

As a customer, that’s going to look badly and could cause them to go to a competitor’s website instead. Bye-bye traffic.

Breadcrumb structured data should not be added by an app. It should be either:

  1. added by your theme code, matching how the theme is organized (its information and url architecture for the geeks out there), or
  2. added with custom code if you’re organized your store differently than usual (e.g. sub-collections) and have taken control of your canonical urls

For everyone else, Breadcrumbs won’t matter. Shopify’s built-in urls and (canonical) code means you’ll get the URL > products > Product Name in Google pretty much automatically.

When it comes to the other important structured data types like products, business info, blog articles, that’s code that JSON-LD for SEO can generate automatically and safely.

Eric Davis

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