Deep Linking – Short Conceptual Explanation

Deep linking refers to the use of a hyperlink that links anywhere in a website’s structure besides its homepage. For example, when referring to another article in a piece of content, a deep link would lead to that specific article instead of the home page of that website, eliminating the need to search the entire website structure to find the article that was referenced.

Deep linking compared to other types of links

Although there are different kinds of links and linking strategies, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) doesn’t make any distinction between them. Deep links are functionally equal to all other kinds of links. This allows more freedom on the web.

With no difference between deep linking and other types of links, website authors can easily link to pages within their own site or content on another site.

Deep Linking

Potential problems with deep linking

Before the details of deep linking were more apparent, it was lumped in with hot linking, which can cause problems for some agencies. Hot links connect directly to files that are ready for download, causing the person clicking on the link to believe that the content contained in the document is copyrighted by that website. That isn’t the case with outside hot links, which causes problems with copyright laws.

Deep linking can cause some problems, even though it has been teased apart from hot linking. A deep link can bypass a critical deep page of a website, which can be an irritation for the website being linked to. However, this problem can easily be solved by ensuring that every page on a website includes meaningful content.

Deep Linking

The benefits of deep linking for SEO

The benefits of deep linking far outweigh any drawbacks. The first way these types of links benefit websites is by boosting SEO.

A few of those benefits include:

  • A link to an old blog post shows Google that the content is still relevant
  • Deep links to various pages throughout a website increase the rank of all pages on that site, not just of the homepage
  • Deep links seem more natural and less spammy than homepage links, decreasing your chances of being labeled as spam by Google
  • It allows you to rank for multiple keywords and not just the keywords on the homepage

Benefits of deep linking for marketing

Not only is deep linking a powerful tool for SEO, it can be part of an effective marketing strategy as well.

Using a deep link is a great way to direct visitors to other areas of a website that might include product or contact pages. With a single link, visitors can be sent to the most relevant webpage without exploring all the pages on the website. It is especially effective for websites with multiple products or services.

Deep linking also allows websites to create different landing pages for different visitors. This enables companies to encourage referrals and affiliates to make a commission on traffic that is sent to a particular website or webpage.

Deep Linking

Using deep links in mobile apps

Deep links are becoming popular in the app world, in addition to their use in website content.

As is the case when using a deep link on a website, a deep link in a mobile app will direct the user to a specific area of the app instead of always directing them back to the main page.

The biggest benefit of using a deep links in a mobile app is that certain areas of the app can be accessed even if it isn’t already installed on a device.

Deep linking on a mobile app works differently than a deep link on the web. Instead of using HTTP technology and URLs, a mobile app must utilize a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). This provides an address for an application that is unique to mobile devices instead of accessing an internet browser first.

Many well-known websites have mobile apps that utilize a URI that allows a user to directly access their account without first searching the web and logging in. A few well-known apps that utilize this technology include:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

However, URI formats may be different depending on the particular mobile operating system being used. For example, iOS utilizes an open URL application method, while Android devices utilize intents. But, the concept of deep linking to areas of an app is the same no matter what method is used.