What Is A Deep Link? (+ How They Work for SEO)

Adam Steele
Sep 12
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Deep links are a powerful type of link that can improve rankings and boost conversions when used correctly as part of a link building strategy.

In this article, we’ll go over what deep links are, the benefits of using them, and how best to use this type of link to achieve your marketing goals.

What Are Deep Links?

A deep link is a hyperlink that points traffic to a specific page on a site rather than the website’s homepage. For example, a deep link would look like www.domain-name.com/specific-page. Newer marketers frequently make the mistake of focusing only on building links to a website’s homepage. All of the backlinks they secure point to www.domain-name.com.

This practice can feel intuitive when you’re just starting out. After all, if the whole point of SEO is to boost the domain authority of a particular website, isn’t the homepage the best, simplest page to link to?

In fact, the ideal link portfolio will be comprised of a variety of different types of links, including deep links. While Google doesn’t explicitly indicate that deep links are a ranking factor, they do mention the following in their Google Search Central documentation:The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”

As Google makes clear, the best links feel natural and authentic. Google’s search ranking factors and algorithms ultimately aim to create the most useful search experience for the user, ensuring that the results they find when they search are relevant and helpful.

Here’s an example of two deep links in one of our articles:

Image Source: https://loganix.com/local-seo-checklist/The first is an internal deep link and the second is a deep link to Hubspot’s SEO stats that are used as a source for the statistic. If instead, the link pointed to Hubspot’s homepage, a reader would have a difficult time finding the relevant page.

Deep links indicate that something is particularly relevant on the page that is being linked. Websites contain lots of content apart from the home page, such as product pages, service pages, and blog posts, any of which might be more relevant for a given search term than the homepage.

The bottom line is that while there are lots of SEO strategies that can be implemented to boost SERP rankings, all of these strategies should ultimately aim to improve the user experience, not just trick an algorithm. Deep links are a type of backlink that can help your SEO rankings while providing a better user experience for those navigating your content.

Web vs. mobile deep links

It’s worth mentioning another type of deep link that goes by the same name but is functionally distinct from the deep links we’ve talked about so far: the mobile deep link. This will be relevant to you if you have an app for your brand, but it isn’t related to SEO rankings in the same way.

Mobile deep links are links that a reader can click on a mobile webpage that opens up an app on their device, taking them to a relevant part of the app. For example, if they have an ecommerce app installed on their phone, a mobile deep link might accompany a review of a product and point to that product’s page in-app. This way, the prospective customer can seamlessly add that product to their cart.

The principle behind mobile deep links is similar to that of SEO deep links: to improve the user experience, boost engagement and retention, and improve the discoverability of a page or app. However, setting up mobile deep links is a different process because they don’t use the standard HTTP protocol that we’re all familiar with from the web. Instead, mobile deep links have to be set up separately for both iOS and Android devices. They’re also less important from an SEO perspective, so we’ll focus on web deep links for the purposes of this article.

Why Deep Links Should Be Part Of Your SEO Strategy

Failing to include deep links in your SEO strategy can hurt your rankings and make for a clunky user experience that limits visitor engagement and conversions. It can also limit the effectiveness of some of your other SEO efforts, such as content marketing.

For example, if you’re spending a lot of time or resources on creating interesting, engaging, and relevant content on your blog, but you don’t secure any deep links to that content, the number of people who can discover it will be limited.

Here are the top reasons why deep links need to be part of any successful SEO campaign.

Website indexing

In order for Google’s algorithm to understand what a web page is about, its bots crawl a website and try to associate it with keywords and topics. An entire website isn’t necessarily indexed all at once: as new pages are added, Google’s bots have to crawl them and index them. As more of a website becomes indexed, its chances of being findable in search results improve.

The more times a page is linked to in the form of a deep link, the likelier it is that Google’s bots will discover it, crawl it, and index it. That makes deep links essential if you want to make sure lots of different content on your site is discoverable through search.

Internal links are helpful in this respect too, so make sure to include deep links to other content on your domain where appropriate.

Higher SERP rankings

Backlinks are seen by Google as votes of confidence about a domain, provided that they come from reputable websites. We’ll get into just what we mean by “reputable” in a moment. The more high-quality, reputable, links there are to your website, the more reason Google’s algorithm has to see your domain is important, relevant, and worth including at the top of search results.

Only linking to a homepage can make for an unnatural backlink profile that could potentially lead Google to interpret those links as less valuable. Plenty of deep links pointing to various parts of your website seem more natural and authentic, boosting the domain authority – trustworthiness and relevance in your niche – of your site.

Improved user experience

If someone comes across a mention of something specific on your website, but the link takes them to the homepage, they have to be motivated enough to click around and find what they’re looking for. A much better, smoother user experience can be provided with deep links that navigate to the exact content they expect to find by clicking.

More conversions

More straightforward navigation for visitors to your site isn’t only good for their experience, it’s also helpful for boosting conversions. The fewer steps someone has to make in order to take the action you want them to take, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a demo, or something else, the more likely they are to complete the action. The internet is a distracting place, and deep links make it possible to take visitors to the exact pages where they’re most likely to take action before getting distracted and moving on to something else.

Deep Links Best Practices

All deep links aren’t created equally. Just as with other kinds of backlinks, quantity is great but the quality is even more important. Failing to follow best practices when securing deep links and other backlinks can have the opposite of the intended effect, giving Google’s algorithms cues that your site shouldn’t be included at the top of the SERPs.

What can you do make ensure you’re following best practices and giving your domain the best chance at SEO success? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Create link-worthy content – To get deep links to your domain that feel natural and authentic, create content on your website that is link-worthy. If your content is interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative, others will have good reason to provide deep links to it.
  2. Secure guest posts on websites in your niche – By guest posting on other sites in your industry, you have control over which deep links you want to include. Aim to guest posts on websites that meet quality metrics for backlink purposes. Look at factors like how regularly they update the site with new content, the amount of organic traffic they get, and the domain authority.
  3. Don’t miss opportunities for press releases – if you’re launching a new product or service or otherwise have something newsworthy to share, press releases are a good opportunity to get multiple deep links pointing to a new page.
  4. Check out what competitors are doing – By seeing where your competitors are generating backlinks, you can discover places to approach for linking opportunities. You can use Ahref’s backlink checker tool for this.
  5. Use relevant anchor text – the anchor text should give users a clear indication of what they will access if they click the link.

Summary

Generating deep links is an important component of SEO because it diversifies your backlink portfolio. This means Google will interpret the backlinks pointing to your site as authentic and natural rather than shoehorned in.

Through effective backlinks you can also make it easier for users to discover exactly what they’re looking for on your site, increasing the likelihood that they’ll stick around and convert.

If you want to improve your website’s domain authority, rise in the SERPs, and provide site visitors with a great user experience, implementing deep links is a must. Loganix’s link building services can do the heavy lifting for you, with links from websites that meet strict quality criteria. You choose the URL and anchor text, so it’s easy to get deep links to the most important pages on your site.

Written by Adam Steele on September 12, 2022

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

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