What are Deep Links?
Deep links are links to a web page on a website other than its homepage. Deep links use hypertext links to other pages. Here the word “deep” refers to the depth of the webpage in a site’s numerous pages. Deep pages are not accessible directly from the homepage or the links provided in the homepage. Therefore, any web page below the homepage can be called deep pages.
Deep linking is done to take visitors to a specific web page other than the homepage. This improves the overall user experience for the visitors. This is particularly important where visitors need to be taken to specific information or content on a site. Linking directly to the homepage of a site confuses the visitor on where to find the specific information they are looking for.
The term “deep linking” gained prominence in the 1997 legal suits of the Ticketmaster Corporation against Microsoft. It all started when a Microsoft owned website linked to a page within the Ticketmaster site, avoiding the site’s homepage. Ticketmaster sued Microsoft for linking to their site without permission, claiming that the act of linking deprived of advertising viewers for the ads on their homepage.
The court concluded that URLs themselves were not copyrightable, writing: “A URL is simply an address, open to the public, like the street address of a building, which, if known, can enable the user to reach the building. There is nothing sufficiently original to make the URL a copyrightable item, especially the way it is used. There appear to be no cases holding the URLs to be subject to copyright. On principle, they should not be.”
Deep Linking and Conversion Optimization
Deep linking improves conversions of websites by guiding customers and visitors to specific pages. This increases multiple transaction opportunities based on business goals. Deep linking is very important for e-commerce sites. Deep linking allows visitors to be guided to specific product pages that are not linked from the homepage or hidden deep in the site. Also, deep linking allows advertisers to link directly to deep pages when users click on the ads.
Attractive call to action increases the chance of clicking through the links. Keywords that gives contextual meaning can be used to link to the deep pages. These can be done through anchor texts. Keywords also help users to understand where the links take them to. Instead of generic words like “click here”. specific keywords can improve click-through rates (CTR) as well as user experience.
SEO Benefits of Deep Linking
Deep linking is an important part of SEO strategies. In SEO, deep linking allows placing a link on a keyword or a sentence that sends visitors to other pages. This increases not only conversions (based on the goals set) but also improves crawlability for search engines. Links allows search engines to index the site and its pages. Deep links in the site may not be indexed because there are no links pointing at them and deep linking allows search engines to crawl and index fast. The more pages search engine bots find and index, the more opportunities that a website will rank on the search engines.
Deep linking also increases site navigability. This makes site visitors and users to find relevant information that will increase conversions. Additionally, links to deep web pages may help increase rankings for these pages. Internal linking to deep pages help to rank these pages on the search engines.