What is Deep Linking?

In 7 Thoughts on being a better blogger, points #6 and 7 talk about linking out and linking in, respectively. Deep linking is the same as linking in – meaning that you hyperlink from a new article to your own archived articles. (Note that “deep linking” can also refer to linking “deep” to another site’s articles, though in the context of this article, I’m referring to self-linking.)

Why Deep Link? Your Reason

Deep linking is an important strategy for getting your site’s pages (weblog or website) indexed, and for relevant search terms – which in turn is important if you want a site that earns income. If done properly, you can assign yourself some authority for search terms, provided your site already has gained some authority (either in PageRank or in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) rankings. [Note that as your site’s authority grows, deep linking has a cumulative effective in search engines.]

Why Deep Link? For Your Readers

From a user point of view, deep linking exposes them to relevant older content on your own site, possibly articles they haven’t come across before. Good search engine algorithms reward this behavior because their whole motto is to provide relevance to searchers. It was that way when I was a search engine webmaster in the mid-90s and it’s still that way now.

Why Deep Link? The Technical Stuff

If you don’t assign authority to your own archived content by deep linking to older articles with suitable anchor text, then SE (search engine) algorithms may not do so either – unless you have lots of other sites linking to your archived pages. That’s not going to be true for most new sites.

Weblogs suffer from this more so than websites. Consider that for the typical blog platform, when your site is new, you might have, say, ten posts on the home page. The content on each of those pages is also visible singularly if you click on the “permalink” (permanent link).

When you post an eleventh article, the very first article in your archives, which is physically displayed at the bottom of your home page, might get pushed to “page 2” of your archives.

Few SEs index permalink pages of very new sites – and sometimes not even for sites that have been around for months. Instead, they’re more likely to index your “page N” and monthly/ yearly archive pages.

Example

Let’s discuss a very specific example. Say that your site is about dogs. If article number one, the very first in your archives, is about Daschunds, then the SEs will have indexed your home page for “daschunds”. Maybe your next nine articles are about dogs but not about Daschunds.

Now you post an eleventh article, causing your first article to disappear from your home page. It’s still around but it’s “harder” to find for search engine users. If SEs do not index the permalink URL for your first article, then visitors searching for SEs might see your site listed and click on the SERPs result. But when they get to your home page, they don’t see “daschund” anywhere, and they leave.

What to do?

Plain and simple, you need your permalink pages indexed, and you need this done from the time you start your site. If you haven’t done this (else you probably wouldn’t be reading this far), no problem. You can start now.

Every new article you write should link to at least two relevant articles in your archives. If your new article doesn’t lend itself to any deep links, you either have to get creative or rewrite it.

This is a skill you learn, and I’ll be blunt: not every blogger “gets” deep linking, so they don’t bother acquiring the skill. Serious bloggers do, and they’re subtle about it. The writing cannot be awkward for the sake of a link. I learned that lesson last year the hard way.

It takes time to learn to deep link, and if you don’t want to take the effort, then godspeed to you.

How To Deep Link

Several examples of deep links are peppered throughout this article. The very first one simply links to an older article using its title. This is not ideal anchor text, but it suits my discussion. The other deep links use keywords in the anchor. In some cases such as where I link to two articles using “earns” and “income” split up a keyphrase.

Now, I don’t have any articles before this one that only discuss deep linking or even link building. I mention link building, but in the context of more general topics. So if I want this site to start ranking for “deep linking”, I have to wait until I write another related article, then use “deep linking” as the anchor text to hyperlink to the article you’re reading now. And then build from there.

Good hyperlinks contain keywords/ variations/ synonyms in the anchor text (or in the vicinity). The anchor text should be relevant and not misleading – thus good for both people and SEs.

How Many Links Per Post?

This might be a point of contention, but I have it on good authority that a good number is 2-3 deep links per article. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but is a recommended minimum. A longer article can have more.

Conclusion

Practice deep linking immediately:

  1. Write your article’s first draft.
  2. Scan for any important (to you) keywords or keyphrases you would like your site to gain authority for.
  3. Find related articles in your own archives. If you don’t want to use your blog platform’s search feature, you can use “site:” in Google. For example, if I want to find articles that have the phrase “deep link” (without the quotations) on this site, I would go to Google.com and type “site:rajdash.com deep link”. Use the URLs you find for your deep links.
  4. If you cannot find anything related in your archives, link to someone else’s for now. You’ll simply have to write more articles about the topics important to you, then link back later.
  5. You may need to rewrite your article to utilize good anchor text. That’s tough to teach you – just read lots of blogs in various niches and see what they do. You know now what makes good anchor text. Whatever you do, the finished article’s wording should feel natural, not calculated.

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