October 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Trust, But Verify

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The second benefit has to do with search engine optimization, that is, boosting a site’s ranking in search engine results.

“Breadcrumbs are a great way of making pages more relevant for SEO purposes,” Swint says. If someone searches, for instance, for “black Kenmore gas grill,” the Google algorithm will look for those terms in a page’s URL, title and description meta-tags, page headers and page copy. “Breadcrumbs are a means to insert contextually relevant keywords at the top of the page, helping increase the page’s rank,” Swint explains.

And dynamic breadcrumbs can be created without risking the kind of attack that occurred at Sears.com, he says. Endeca’s technology creates breadcrumbs, not from the URL, but from stored product data. As a result, at HomeDepot.com, the web site of the home improvement chain that uses Endeca technology, changing the search terms in the URL from “gas grills” to “baby grills” does not change the breadcrumb trail. This eliminates the possibility of a defaced page being cached and seen by another consumer, Swint says.

As for Sears.com, it appears to have decided it’s not worth the risk to create breadcrumb trails from terms in the URL. Changing terms in the URL now from “Kenmore gas grill” to “Kenmore baby roaster” produces a page that says, “0 responses found for Kenmore baby roaster.”

don@verticalwebmedia.com

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