An SEO Professional asked John Mueller during a hangout about their breadcrumb structured data.
They were curious if this structured data is something that needs to be exactly the same as the breadcrumbs that a user would see.
They explained further that they see a condensed version of breadcrumbs on the page, while the structured data is the complete path of the breadcrumbs. The SEO professional wondered whether both are acceptable options to choose from.
John explained that the important thing about breadcrumb structured data to Google is that it’s visible on the page.
If it’s not entirely visible on the page, this is something that Google has to figure out, and this process is not intuitive.
Google will then need to determine whether it still makes sense to show the structured data in their search results.
This happens at approximately the 39:56 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John (Submitted Question) 39:56
When it comes to breadcrumbs structured data, does it have to be exactly the same as the breadcrumbs that a visitor would see on a page? I sometimes see a condensed version of breadcrumbs on the page, while the structured data is the complete breadcrumb path. Are both acceptable options?
John (Answer) 40:13
Essentially, what we do with structured data in general is we try to recognize if the structured data is visible on a page or not. And if it’s not visible on the page, then we have to figure out: Does it still make sense to show this in the search results?
So if you’re doing something like showing a shorter version of a breadcrumb on a page, and we can’t match that, then it might be a bit hit and miss if we actually pick up that breadcrumb markup and use that. If you’re taking individual crumbs, or I don’t know, like, the individual items in the breadcrumb list, and you’re just showing some of those, but not all of them, then it might be that we just pick up those.
It might be that we still pick up the rest, because we see overall, a lot of the breadcrumb matches. But it’s not, it’s not guaranteed that we will be able to pick up and use the full breadcrumb markup that you have, if you’re not showing that on a page.
And that’s similar to other kinds of structured data. I think the main exception that I’m aware of is the FAQ markup where you have questions and answers. Where, from our point of view, the important part is that the question is actually visible, and the answer can be something like a collapsed section on a page. But the question at least has to be visible.