Deep linking has been a bit of a controversial subject over the past few years.
Most recreational webmasters completely ignore them, while others swear by them. Some Major League websites have gone as far as to create lawsuits against affiliates deep linking in an attempt to limit direct access to inner pages of their sites, like sales and order pages, claiming it undermines their sales process and bypasses advertisers.
Despite the controversy, for those in the know, deep links have become an essential part of their SEO strategy and the benefits are indisputable.
For those who don't know what a deep link is, it is simply a link from a page on one website that links directly to an inner page of another website. Unlike what is commonly referred to as a backlink that simply links to the homepage, deep links typically point to a specific piece of information or relevant topic.
I'm a huge fan of Deep Links, while getting links to your homepage certainly has it's place in SEO, it doesn't even come close to the results you get from a deep link.
A recent report from Nielsen stated that in the year 2004, about 40% of people traveled to a website via the homepage and then drilled down to what they were looking for and only 60% arrived via a deep link.
In 2008, only 25% of all visitors arrived at websites via the homepage, the rest perform specific keyword searches and expect to go directly to the information they are looking for.
We live in an age where people have a serious attention deficit, and on top of that we expect instant gratification. Especially when it comes to technology like the Internet.
Google and other Search Engines know this, not only do they know it, but they are partially responsible for it. By creating smarter Search Engine algorithms and producing more relevant search results, users have become more accustomed to finding what they are looking for instantly.
It leads to reason that you should make it as easy as possible for the Search Engines to find and rank your inner pages.
Having an optimized internal linking structure for your site is important as well and it helps the Search Engine robots drill down through your site and create a list of pages for inclusion in their databases, but it does not guarantee that those pages will ever rank well in search results.
The reason for this is obvious, well maybe not obvious to us, but it is obvious for the search engines. You see, internal links are created by the webmaster and are very biased in nature, in other words, the SE's cannot trust them.
Blame the thousands of unscrupulous webmasters that have tried to take advantage of the SE's using sneaky black hat methods.
On the other hand, a one way deep link coming from another website pointing to an inner page on your site is like a direct, unbiased recommendation for the content on that page.
The search engine robots will follow these links, and again using very smart algorithms and technology, will extract data and determine the value of the page, links and thus inclusion in future search results.
There are other benefits to deep linking as well, some of these are fringe benefits that come as a result of having more traffic direct to inner pages on your site.
For example, Advertising.
You can now sell advertising on these inner pages for a higher price once you prove the amount of traffic they are getting. This type of advertising is easier to sell as well, since the traffic is much more targeted and will convert to sales at a much higher rate.
You can easily prove your traffic by using free tools such as Google Analytics to get detailed traffic statistics.
In future articles we will talk about the structure of your site to properly handle the traffic you get from deep links as well as the importance of having outgoing links on all pages of your site.
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