A common mistake by content marketers and SEOs is to concentrate their link building efforts exclusively on top-level pages like the homepage, while neglecting deeper pages across the site.
Ultimately, deep links are a reflection of your site’s overall content quality. If you’re committed to producing excellent material — whether it’s a blog, white papers, research findings, videos, etc. — building links to this deeper content can be extremely beneficial for several reasons.
Deep links help boost domain authority, and improve SEO.
Domain authority is an increasingly important ranking factor for search engines. If you’ve earned a wide range of inbound links to blog posts, articles and other content across your site, that’s a signal to search engines that your domain is a credible resource that should rank for relevant search queries.
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, sums it up:
Domain authority is influenced by a myriad of factors, but an important one for search engine rankings in particular is almost certainly the distribution and diversity of links pointing to pages on the site. A website with thousands of links pointing to the homepage may be important, but a site with a good portion of those links pointing to a wide range of internal pages suggests to the engines that content from that site is much more deserving of ranking across the board.
What stands out from this explanation is the concept of deserving to rank. When you publish a new article or blog post, is it so valuable that a site owner or blogger covering a related topic would link to it as a resource? The key to building deep links is creating awesome content that people want to link to.
Deep links breathe life into older content that may otherwise be forgotten.
A new blog post will stay on your homepage or the main blog page for a relatively short period of time before it ultimately falls into the archive. When an old blog post gets a new link from a relevant source, that post gets some new life. Not only does the link help your SEO, but the content is placed in front of a new audience with an opportunity to attract new readers.
You can also help breathe life into older content by:
- Sharing past content on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other networks, as well as in your email newsletter.
- Cross linking to relevant past content when you publish new content.
- Creating “round-up” posts that include links to previous popular content on your blog. These posts are usually more effective if you share excellent content from other sites, as well as your own.
Deep links attract targeted site visitors.
The homepage is not always the most relevant landing page for a specific audience or search query. Building deep links to pages across your site will help those internal pages rank for the keywords they’re targeting.
Whether a visitor arrives at your post from the source link directly, or whether he or she clicks through from Google because the page ranks for a specific query, the end result is a targeted site visitor who’s specifically interested in that content. And that often means lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure every page on your site — whether it’s a blog post, article, product page, etc. — is strategically optimized for target keywords. This will not only help the content rank, but also increase CTR if it does rank. For more information on blog post optimization, check out my post at the Content Marketing Institute.
Deep links can help you determine what content is having the biggest impact.
Deep links can also serve as an indication of what content across your site is the most popular. Is there a particular topic, author, or type of content that’s attracting the most links?
If links are a signal of authority to search engines, they should also be considered a signal of content popularity to bloggers and content marketers, much the same way Likes, tweets, +1′s etc. demonstrate content popularity.
Tracking what content is earning the most (and the best) links over time can provide invaluable insight into what your readers like best, and help you guide the direction of future content based on their interests.
David Reich is CEO of SixEstate, a content marketing company fusing professional journalism with intelligent SEO to help brands establish top blogs around their most important issues and causes — from polymer testing to auto technology, and everything in between. Follow David on Twitter.
- What is a Deep Link? [Video FAQ Series] (seo.com)
- Guest Blog Post: Five Ways to Build Links With Quality Blog Content (zemanta.com)