I've been looking at conversion rates for online shops and here's an interesting thing. Please see the screenshot:
The guys in #9 position have used special characters in their breadcrumb markup. They've got multiple navigation levels and each is marked with a special character number like ❶ ❷ and so on.
What it does, is really helping the listing stand out. Despite them being #9, it's the listing I clicked because it looked different.
It is a real-life example but I've fiddled with the page to comply with the T&Cs :) This is the code they've used on their site:
<div style="display:inline;" xmlns:v="http://rdf.data-vocabulary.org/#">
<a property="v:title" rel="v:url" href="/">www.amazingbluewidgets.com</a>
<a property="v:title" rel="v:url" href="http://amazingbluewidgets.com/#Limited">❶ Limited Edition Widgets</a>
Now the only question is how does Google feel about this practice? I've tested some examples on the GWT's Structured Data Testing Tool and it validates ok. At the end of the day, it may be considered "manipulation" because there's no doubt this sort of practice increases CTR (especially considering I'm talking about a very very competitive niche here).
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts.