In the recent Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts, Google's head of Search Spam, explains how Google sees and understands multiple breadcrumb trails on an e-commence page. Matt says that even if you have multiple breadcrumbs, Google only picks up the first one on the page.
A breadcrumb trail is a set of link that can help the user understand and navigate your site's hierarchy. When you markup breadcrumb information in the body of a web page, Google can identify it and use it to understand and present the information on your pages in Google search results. To hear the response of Matt Cutts in his own words watch the video below.
The question posed was:
Many of my items belong to multiple categories on my eCommerce site. Can I place multiple breadcrumbs on a page? Do they confuse Googlebot? Do you properly understand the logical structure of my site?
According to Matt, having multiple breadcrumbs on a page for items that fall under more than one area within the hierarchy, is not going to hurt your site in any way. Matt confirmed that even though you have multiple breadcrumbs, Google only chooses the first one.
Now, since Google only picks up the first one, webmasters should ensure that the first one is the best. Interestingly, Cutts revealed that sometimes having multiple breadcrumbs allows googlebot to understand the site in a much better way.
Matts also said that if your page does not have multiple breadcrumbs, then there is nothing to worry about because most people generally use one breadcrumb for one category, and Google actually encourages this practice. But if your page hierarchy has a set-up supporting pages belonging to multiple categories, then adding multiple sets of breadcrumbs on the page is not going to hurt anyway. Google will pick up the first one and use the others to better understand your site.
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