What is deep linking and why should you use it?

Deep linking is a concept of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is a concept that is all about linking to internal pages of your website. You link internal pages of your site to other internal pages, and you get other sites to link to these internal pages too.

Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the more advanced tactics of deep linking – the approaches to use in order to reduce visitors bounce rates and at the same time improve your site engagement and conversion.

In an ideal world you should aim to attract three times as many visitors to internal pages of your site than you do to your home page. This is because if you are predominantly attracting visitors to your home page you are likely to increase the bounce rate of your site – that is, the number of visitors that leave before they get past the first page.

The reason for this is that it is extremely hard to optimize your home page for every single keyword you need, and as such you are not directing your visitors to the relevant content they were hoping to find straight away.

By undertaking a solid deep linking program you are actively enhancing your users experience of your website. By diverting a user to a deeper page on your site is likely to better relate to their original search that by sending them direct to your home page.

There are three key reasons to deep link:

  1. It raises the authority of the entire site.
  2. It increases your sites overall relevance.
  3. It increases your sites overall visibility.

There are a number of different approaches you can take as part of a structured deep linking strategy, including:

  • Using email signatures to link to deeper and more relevant pages to the email recipients than simply your home page address.
  • Look to write guest posts for other relevant blogs, but rather than simply linking to your home page as part of your bio, instead link to a deep page that is relevant to the article you have submitted as the guest post.
  • Aim to comment on at least 5 related blog posts a day by other bloggers and when you are prompted to enter your web address make sure you enter a link for a deeper page relevant to the topic of conversation.
  • Use forums to take part in discussions, and again, manually enter your URL and ensure you send people to pages relevant to the topic of the forum.
  • Use social publishing websites such as Squido and link your content to internal pages of your site. Just remember, do not link to your home page!
  • Social networking sites are great too, but that link they ask you for… don’t settle for your homepage!
  • Article syndication is a clever way of pushing traffic to deeper pages. When you write a byline for syndication make sure you choose a relevant link to a page that will enhance the users experience.

Is it right to deep link all the time?

Of course not. Sometimes there are pages that you don’t want a user to land on first. It might be that your home page has a survey on it, and the deeper page is the results of the survey. You wouldn’t want to give away the stats before they have completed the survey with an unbiased view.

You can stop search engines from indexing these pages by inserting the following code:

<META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex”> 

Summary

Sending traffic to your home page is not a clever or even useful SEO strategy for most websites, excluding a handful of business models. As such your home page to internal link ratio should be at least 1 out of every 3, but ideally this should be higher. Deep linking strategy is the way to achieve this.

By ensuring that you undertake a well thought out deep linking campaign you can be sure that your actions will result in the raising of the authority, relevance and visibility of your website as a whole across most key search engines.

Deep linking however will also help to drive your visitors to highly relevant pages and as such reducing bounce rates and improving engagement and conversion.

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