What Are Deep Links?
If you’ve been in the SEO game for a while—either as a marketer or a business owner keen on improving their online profits—you must’ve heard about or conducted backlinking and internal linking on your website.
Both these practices are invaluable for establishing your website’s authority and boosting its rankings in search results. Yet, there is another equally powerful tactic for enhancing your site’s performance—deep linking.
In this article, we will discuss what deep linking is, what benefits it yields to your SEO strategy, and share some of the best practices for executing effective deep linking.
What Is Deep Linking?
Deep linking is the practice of linking to website pages deep within a website rather than linking to the homepage or main category pages.
In other words, deep linking entails linking to web pages such as individual blog posts, product/service pages, or other pages found on a website. A page can receive a deep link either through internal linking (e.g., a blog post links to a product page) or a backlink (e.g. another website links to your blog article.)
This linking practice isn’t new in the SEO realm; however, it can often be overlooked as marketers focus only on building links to a website’s homepage.
Deep Linking in SEO: Example
If you’re wondering what deep linking looks like in practice, let’s consider a few examples.
Unlike a link to a homepage that would lead to www.websitedomain.com, a deep link refers to a page with a link to www.websitedomain.com/specific-page.
Deep linking is done not only to boost the performance of a specific web page but also to create a relevant and helpful experience for users visiting your website.
Deep links should be natural and authentic, meaning the product page, service page, or blog post you link to must be relevant in the given context.
Let’s elaborate on this further.
A website wants a specific page to rank better for the keyword “SEO firms Chicago”. Great—to do so via linking, one can either create a blog post that will link internally to that page. They should use the keyword as anchor text or arrange a backlinking strategy for other sites to link to that page (again, using that keyword as an anchor).
So, now that there’s a keyword to target, one needs a relevant and useful link where users will land upon clicking that anchor. An anchor text “SEO firms Chicago” should take users to a page listing SEO agencies located in Chicago, just like it does here.
The URL of the page we linked to (http://www.designrush.com/agency/search-engine-optimization/illinois/chicago) suggests a deep link to a page within the agency category, an SEO subcategory, a level deeper subcategory for the state of Illinois, and a subcategory specifically for the city of Chicago as the last one.
This is a page deep within the website and completely relevant to the keyword (or anchor text). If, for example, the users were to land on a homepage (http://www.designrush.com), they would have a hard time locating the information they came for, i.e. the list of Chicago-based SEO companies.
The Benefits of Deep Linking for Website Rankings
Deep linking is a powerful practice to increase the authority of your website’s individual pages, as well as the authority of your website overall. It provides valuable advantages to your website’s performance and rankings and should thus represent the staple of your optimization strategy.
That said, for optimal results, strive to balance deep linking with “standard” internal linking, i.e., linking to the homepage and other main pages. It’s vital to understand that deep linking is in no way a substitution for an all-encompassing backlinking and internal linking practice.
Ensures Good Distribution of Backlinks
Deep linking can be helpful in creating a more balanced backlink profile for your website. By building deep links that link to a wide range of pages, you ensure the “link juice” flows to all website pages, not only to your homepage.
Allowing the “link juice” to flow across your website improves its authority and, thus, rankings in search results. A service page, product page, or blog post which is linked to from various internal pages and reliable external sources suggests to Google that it contains valuable and useful content.
Adds Value to Google and Users
Linking to a website’s homepage is actually very rarely valuable. The content on homepages is generally very broad and promotional and seldom adds any real value, even to those willing to convert.
On the contrary, pages such as blog posts, services pages, product pages, and other internal pages generally boast specific content more valuable to users looking to learn more about the topic.
Drives Traffic, Better UX, and Conversions
The more links there are linking to a page, the greater the chances of driving more traffic to that specific page. Increased traffic improves the visibility of internal pages, thus also boosting their rankings for targeted keywords.
In addition, deep linking creates a better, smoother user experience as the links navigate users directly to the content they expect to find. Deep links are also beneficial for improving website conversions, as users have fewer steps to make to complete an action, whether it’s a purchase, sign-up, or something else.
Improves Page Rankings
As said in the previous section, deep linking, especially from authoritative domains, ensures pages experience a rise in the SERPs (search engine result pages.
Deep linking from the same site is also beneficial for improving rankings, as you suggest to search engines that a specific page isn’t a one-time thing, but rather an important piece of content that’s part of a larger whole.
Promotes Website Indexing
Search engine bots crawl a website in an attempt to understand what each page is about and associate them with relevant keywords. Crawling and subsequent indexing make your website findable in search results.
Deep linking makes it more likely for search engine bots to discover, crawl, and index content, especially newly added pages (for example, recent blog posts and new products.)
Deep Linking Step-by-step Instructions
To help you effectively deep link your website, this guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to identify relevant pages to deep link, conduct keyword research, use relevant anchor text, use internal and external links, ensure link relevance and quality, use deep links throughout your website, and track and monitor your links.
Following these steps can help you create a balanced backlink profile, improve the visibility of your website, and ultimately drive more traffic to your site.
Step 1: Identify Relevant Pages to Deep Link
Identifying relevant pages to deep link is the first step in a successful strategy. This step involves finding pages on your website that are most useful and valuable to your target audience. These pages should be informative, useful, and engaging, such as blog posts, service pages, or product pages.
To identify these pages, review your website analytics and user behavior data. Look for pages with high traffic, low bounce rates, and long session durations. These pages will likely be the most engaging and informative for your target audience.
Consider your business goals and objectives when identifying relevant pages to deep link. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you may want to deep-link to product pages with a high conversion rate.
Another important consideration is the relevance of the pages to your overall website structure and hierarchy. The pages you choose to deep link should be well-integrated into your website structure and closely related to other pages. This ensures users can easily navigate between pages and find the necessary information.
Step 2: Conduct Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is an essential step in any SEO strategy, including deep linking. It involves identifying your website’s most relevant and profitable keywords and creating content around them.
By researching keywords related to the pages you want to deep link, you can optimize your anchor text and help search engines understand the linked page’s content.
Various tools are available to help you conduct keyword research, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. These tools allow you to identify high-traffic keywords related to your content and create targeted content that will rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Conducting keyword research also helps you understand your target audience’s search behavior and preferences, allowing you to create more valuable and relevant content.
Step 3: Use Relevant Anchor Text
When creating a deep link, it’s essential to use relevant anchor text. The anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink, and it provides context and information to both users and search engines about the linked page’s content.
Using descriptive and relevant anchor text helps search engines understand what the linked page is about and can improve its chances of ranking higher for those keywords.
It’s important to include the relevant keywords for the page in the anchor text to help signal to search engines what the page is about. However, it’s crucial not to overuse keywords and ensure the anchor text flows naturally within the content.
Using relevant anchor text can also help users understand what they’ll find on the linked page, making it more likely that they’ll click through to it.
Step 4: Use Internal and External Links
Combining internal and external links is crucial for creating a balanced backlink profile for your website. Internal links help to establish a hierarchy on your website and distribute link equity evenly throughout your pages.
External links, or backlinks, can help to increase your website’s authority and credibility by showing that other websites consider your content valuable. When using external links, it’s important to ensure that the linking website is reputable and relevant to your content.
Additionally, linking to authoritative external sources can improve your content’s value and provide additional resources for your audience. Overall, a balanced approach to internal and external linking can help to improve your website’s search engine rankings and user experience.
Step 5: Ensure Link Relevance and Quality
It’s crucial to ensure that the pages you’re linking to are relevant and high-quality when deep linking. The linked pages should provide informative, useful, and engaging content that aligns with the content of the page linking to it.
Additionally, the pages you link to should have a low bounce rate, indicating that users find the content on the page useful and relevant. The quality of the linked pages is essential as search engines consider the quality and relevance of the linked pages when ranking your website.
Therefore, linking irrelevant or low-quality pages can harm your website’s reputation and SEO efforts.
Step 6: Use Deep Links Throughout Your Website
Using deep links throughout your website helps to ensure that the link juice, or authority, of your website, flows to all pages, not just your homepage.
By building internal links that link to a wide range of pages, you can increase the visibility and accessibility of those pages to search engines and users.
This can also help improve your website’s overall user experience, as users can easily navigate to relevant pages without having to search for them. Additionally, using deep links throughout your website can help distribute traffic more evenly across your site rather than concentrating on just a few pages.
Step 7: Track and Monitor Your Links
Tracking and monitoring links is an essential step in a deep linking strategy, as it helps you measure your links’ effectiveness and make data-driven decisions.
By tracking and monitoring your links, you can determine which links are driving traffic and conversions to your website and which are not performing. This information can help refine your deep linking strategy over time and improve your website’s overall performance.
Google Analytics is a useful tool for tracking and monitoring links, providing valuable insights into how visitors interact with your website. You can track the number of clicks, the bounce rate, and the time spent on each linked page.
This information can help you to identify issues with your linked pages, such as poor loading speed or irrelevant content, and make the necessary improvements to boost their performance.
Additionally, tracking and monitoring links can help you to identify opportunities for new deep linking strategies that can drive even more traffic and conversions to your website.
In conclusion, deep linking is a powerful SEO strategy that can significantly improve your website’s search engine rankings.
Following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can identify relevant pages to link to, conduct keyword research, use relevant anchor text, use internal and external links, ensure link relevance and quality, use deep links throughout your website, and track and monitor your links.
By doing so, you can improve your website’s authority and relevance in the eyes of search engines, leading to higher rankings and increased visibility for your brand.
By investing time and effort into your deep linking strategy, you can reap the benefits of increased organic traffic, improved user engagement, and higher conversions and revenue.