You might have come across the term ‘deep links’ while reading search engine optimization articles, defining a deep link is a difficult task but an important one. Although each search engine optimizer has his own opinion on deep links, it is important to understand that not all search engine optimizers are the same. In essence, a deep link is permanent in nature (will not be erased sometime in the near future) and points to a particular page or resource (like an image or video). A good example of a deep link is a link placed in an article (article sites do not delete all their articles, they archive their articles) that points to a particular page in a website.
The term deep links has come to include links from directories, articles and other eclectic sources. However, the end result is that instead of a link pointing to the home page of a website, a deep link points to an exact page on the website. For example, a website could have thousands of pages and a typical link building campaign will only bring links to the home page. However, deep linking will bring incoming links to specific pages, images, videos and other web resources. Deep linking will thus improve the overall PageRank of the website and also help increase the search ranking of a particular page on the website.
Wikipedia defines a deep link as “a hyperlink that points to a specific page or image on another website, instead of that website’s main or home page “. It is important to understand that deep links are only useful if they are permanent in nature and the page they are pointing to is not moved or removed from the web server. For example, article sites do not allow authors to change the links embedded in an article and deep links to a particular page are only useful if the target page is not deleted or removed from the website (the same holds good for the page pointing to the target page).
Interestingly, there has been considerable criticism of deep linking as webmasters feel that deep linking allows users to bypass a website’s home page and get direct access to content. Thus, deep linking can actually result in a loss of advertising revenue for the website. For example, in 2006 Bixee.com a job search engine was found to be deep linking to another website naukri.com and Naukri.com had to get a court injunction preventing bixee.com from deep linking to naukri.com.
From a search engine optimization point of view, deep links are extremely beneficial to a site as they provide specific incoming links to a webpage and also allow users to get access to products and information easily. In addition, a website’s PageRank can be distributed evenly using deep links as incoming links can add to the PageRank of internal pages and not just the home page.