Google Search Console Adds Breadcrumbs Report, Sends Out Warnings for Structured Data Errors

Google recently announced a new Breadcrumbs report available in the Search Console to inform site owners about markup issues. In 2015, Google introduced support for structured data, including the breadcrumbs URL structure, in order better present URLs in search results. The Search Console’s new report uses this data to help site owners fix any issues preventing their breadcrumbs from displaying as rich search results.

Over the weekend, the console started emailing out notices to those who have errors in the breadcrumb structured data on their sites. It includes how many URLs are affected, along with a link to the new report.

Google Breadcrumbs Report notice

One common error that users are seeing is a “Missing field ‘item,’” which references one of the properties Google requires for displaying that content as a rich result. The ‘item’ property is the URL to the webpage that represents the breadcrumb, as Google prefers the final crumb to be linked.

WordPress site owners have started reporting breadcrumb issues in the support forums for various plugins and themes. Breadcrumb NavXT, a plugin that is active on 800,000 sites, allows users to generate customizable breadcrumb trails. There are already half a dozen support threads opened regarding Breadcrumb markup errors listed in the console. Recommendations for fixing this issue vary based on the specific property that is missing and the breadcrumb configuration the user has in place.

Breadcrumb NavXT plugin author John Havlik has advised some users to remove the markup for unlinked breadcrumb templates in order to remove the error, although this may not offer the best presentation in search snippets. Others have suggested allowing the %link% tag in the unlinked breadcrumb template and Havlik added this to the 6.4.0 milestone for the plugin over the weekend.

The Yoast SEO plugin also has an option for adding breadcrumbs and multiple users are reporting errors in the Google Search Console. Solutions vary, depending on what types of pages are outputting the error, but the most common advice Yoast support team members are offering is to check to see if there is a theme or plugin that is adding conflicting breadcrumb markup.

There is no easy prescribed fix that will apply to all situations. It depends on how a site owner has configured breadcrumbs through a plugin or if they are automatically generated by a theme.

If you received a notice from Google Search Console, the first step is to determine whether it’s a theme or a plugin that is generating your breadcrumbs. Next, browse the support forums for the theme/plugin that provides the breadcrumbs and see if the author recommends a fix or is working on one.

Although breadcrumbs do not currently have a direct affect on rankings, they are prominently displayed in search snippets and generally contribute to a positive user experience. For more information on solving specific errors, check out Google’s documentation on Breadcrumb structured data.


11 responses to “Google Search Console Adds Breadcrumbs Report, Sends Out Warnings for Structured Data Errors”

    • The problem is, is that some breadcrumb paths in themes or plugins, seo plugins etc. have the wrong syntax. Even in JSON-LD you can make mistakes and have the issue. It is just because itemprop=”item” element is either missing, empty or is having the wrong value (“url”) in the breadcrumb url a-tag. That is just all. If you do it right you do not have the issue.

  1. I also received this Google notification for a site and this was very confusing as I’m using Yoast for this particular site but breadcrumbs were not enabled there.

    After checking the theme’s customizer settings I found out that I had enabled an option there that adds Yoast’s breadcrumbs in pages.
    When I first did this I thought that I was enabling only breadcrumbs in my pages and that had nothing to do with SEO, hence not enabling them at Yoast settings.

    Those breacrumbs work fine in all my site’s pages and I’m still confused about the relation with Google and SEO. I really don’t care if Google uses breadcrumbs at search results pages, all I want is having them displaying at my pages.

    I finally enabled them also at Yoast settings and marked those notifications at Search Console as fixed in order to check if that solves the issue but it would be very helpful for someone to clarify what is the relation between Google breadcrumbs and those used by themes for displaying on top of pages for visitor’s convenience as I can’t see any.

    • I added the ability per page to have the breadcrumbs in a page but visably hidden by a page setting. In some pages i just do not want to see them.The breadcrumb (visual clutter if any which is just bad coding if you ask me) is not seen by the user but the breadcrumbs are seen by the search engine.

  2. the solution is very simple. The a-tag in the breadcrumbs needs to have itemprop=”item” instead of itemprop=”url” or a missing itemprop=”” element.

    Until recent it just worked with itemprop=”url” which of course is correct when using a url ! But apparently in breadcrumbs it needs to be itemprop=”item”

    Pffffff. Let’s make things easy Google !

    i just implemented this and all error reports are gone.


    Real Dresses

    • I analyzed some of the Google reports in more detail, and in some cases, it is indeed the itemprop to blame. My plugin always sets itemprop to item, not url, but it is not only that.

      In few cases (same generator on the whole website), out of 60 pages, only 3 were flagged as invalid, and when the Google shows the markup of invalid breadcrumbs it highlights huge part of HTML outside of breadcrumbs, that has nothing to do with. I have similar pages, sharing the same structure HTML, and there is no difference, but Google flagged one, and not the other.

      I think that some blame here is with Google also and some issues they have with the breadcrumbs on the Search Console. Because, even the URL’s they flagged, when tested in rich snippets test tool, they show breadcrumbs as 100% valid (no errors or warnings).


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