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What does Deep Linking mean in SEO?

Deep linking can make a big difference when it comes to what you rank for. Here I'll cover what it means and how to use it for improved rankings in Google and other search engines.

What is deep linking?

In a nutshell its getting a link to content deep within your website. So on my website I've got a Home page, within it a link to a page about SEO resource, within that a link to a page called SEO glossary and within that a link to a page about deep linking.

My page about deep linking is 4 tiers down, it's deep. My home page is the top level.

Getting deep links from other websites

If everyone who linked to my website only linked to my home page that would look weird. It would be a sign to search engines like Google that I might be buying links and cheap ones at that if all I'm doing is buying them and getting them to point to one place.

Too much of that and I could get slapped with a Google Unnatural Inbound Links Penalty.

What I really want is to show that I have quality pages within my website and if I can keep it very niche there is a good chance I can rank highly on Google without much effort.

That means if I were to do Blogger outreach or Skyscraper link building I wouldn't approach other relevant webmasters and say "Hey, I've got a great SEO website which I think the readers of your blog post [insert title here] would really be interested in". Instead I'd focus on finding particular content related to deep linking and then reach out by saying "Hey, I've got a great explanation of deep linking for SEO which I think your readers would really be interested in" and try and persuade them to link specifically to that page.

That's far more likely to work because another webmaster who doesn't know me at all isn't going to trawl through my entire website to decide if it is a great SEO resource but they will read one page and think, "Yeah, that article I wrote about website links would benefit if I included a link to this content which explains deep linking".

Standing in the way of deep linking

Many webmasters can be their own worst enemies when it comes to deep linking because their site design is flawed. I've seen site's with hundreds of pages but the url is always just so it is actually impossible for anyone to deep link.

More common is when search results or category pages have filters but those filters aren't listed in the search results. Let's say I'm searching for a house in Dallas and I'm looking at an estate agencies listings. On their website I can apply some filters so I add that I only want to see houses with 3 bedrooms or more. The listing updates but the url stays the same.

Now how can I share that link, or even add it to my favorites or bookmarks. I can't! If I was writing an article about larger homes on the market in Dallas and I wanted to say "Check out these 3 bedroom houses" I couldn't use the website of that estate agency for the link. What would I do? Use a realtor where I could link accurately.

The former just lost the opportunity to earn a link even if their content was great, even if it was better than the content I eventually linked to.

So check out your site. Do all your pages have a unique URL including any pages where the visitor can carry out searches or refine the results of listings?

Deep linking and cross linking

Cross linking is about how you link the different pages of your website together. I'm going to talk about how you deep link with a cross link.

I'll use an example here. Its common for most of the external links from other websites to your website will go to your homepage. That means your home page has got the most link juice to share. Link Juice is what you get if other websites link to you and is a key factor in how high you rank in the search results.

If I wanted my page about deep linking to get a boost I could include a link to it on the home page. I've then got link juice flowing directly into a deep part of my website rather than cascading down the four tiers I mentioned earlier.

So summing up.
  • Deep linking is something to focus on because it's easier to get links to deep content if you are pro-actively link building.
  • If your website doesn't allow deep linking at any point or on any page you could be missing out on getting links and that's crazy
  • You can do your own internal deep linking if your home page has external links and you want to give a particular page deep inside your site a boost

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

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