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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Art of Deep Linking

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ever since the Google Penguin update more SEO's (search engine optimization experts) have been talking about the concept of deep linking.  Over the past few weeks, I've received a large amount of email about the concept of deep linking, asking what it is, and why it works.  Today, I share my knowledge and examples of how deep linking can improve your overall organic listings.

Deep Linking Defined
The concept of deep linking isn't new, in fact, any inbound link to your website that doesn't point to your home page can be considered deep linking. For a long time, there's been some debate about the value of building links to web pages other than your home page.  For example, a company trying to optimize their site organically for a variety of phrases may want to send all of their traffic to their home page but directing traffic for 100+ keywords to the home page just isn't feasible (you should only optimize your pages for 2-3 keyword phrases).  The best way to get multiple rankings is to develop pages focused on specific keywords.

A company that manufactures products for seniors, assume they are trying to rank well organically for keywords such as: walk in bathtubs, walk in tubs, and walk in showers.  They could certainly try to optimize their home page for all of these and associated keywords but there are literally hundreds of phrases and misspellings they would have to target.  The bottom line is that optimizing the home page properly to improve organic rankings for each phrase is nearly impossible and certainly not optimal.

Deep linking in action
To fully take advantage of 'on page optimization' and everything we know about improving organic rankings, this company should apply a deep linking strategy.  Although primary keywords (2-3) could point to the home page, additional keywords should be thought of as silos and point to individual pages - supported by deep linking of course.  

Let's take for example the keyword 'walk in tub'.  Assuming their home page is optimized for 'walk in bathtubs', creating and optimizing an individual page for walk in bathrooms would be better, allowing them to focus on 'tub' specific keywords. This way, the company could customize meta data and on-page content around a single keyword phrase and not have to water it down to accommodate competing keywords.

To build up page authority, a link in the navigation or from the home page would be required. Additionally link building would have to be a key strategy to help Google pass authority to the deep level page.  Over time, the page would start to rank well for the chosen keyword.

The same could be said for 'walk in shower'.  Again, it's not ideal to use the home page for all of your keyword optimization.  Besides, if someone was interested in walk in showers as opposed to walk in bathtubs, wouldn't you want to send them to a page that is focused on walk in showers?  Of course you would.  Having a consistent user experience, giving them what they are looking for, will increase time on site and other key performance indicators.

The Scoop on Deep Linking
Okay, here's what it all boils down to.  When engaging in any search engine optimization type campaign, look beyond your website home page.  Although you can generally optimize a webpage for multiple phrases, its best to keep things simple.  What I mean is that if you have different silos of phrases - in this example walk in tubs vs. bathtubs vs. showers, create individual pages to promote them.  Focus on the concept of deep linking, building links to these underlying pages, and you'll see better search results.

The good news is that deep linking also helps to improve the overall authority of your website.  As you build additional web pages and start linking at all levels, it shows search engines that many people reference different pages on your site.  This add to your site's credibility and grandeur.  Add deep linking to your optimization strategy and see improved results!


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