The Importance Of Deep Linking

A link is when you link to a top level domain, like johnchow.com. A deep link is when you link to an article within the top-level domain, like Playing With My Food. Google and other search engines when determining your ranking and placement in the search results count both.

When writing a blog post you should always try to deep link to some of your older articles. You cannot control what others link to on your blog, but you can control what you link to. By deep linking to your older posts, you help your readers discover posts they may have missed. You also help Google do the same thing. To see an example of how I do deep linking, check out my Making Money from A Blog – February 2007 recap. I deep linked to 13 other John Chow dot Com articles in that one blog post.

As a rule, you should deep link when the older posts you are linking to are relevant to your current post. However, there are exceptions the rule. In my Blast From The Past post, the only thing related about the posts I linked to was they were from the past. You just have to be creative with deep linking. Depending on how you word a post you can deep link to almost any post you ever made.

Scraping The Scrapers

Another reason I deep link in almost very posts is because of scrapers. I offer a full feed RSS (which you should sign up to if you haven’t done so). That makes it very easy for scrapers to rip the entire content of my blog and post it on a scraper blog. Most scrapers rip the entire post with all links intact. If your post has a ton of deep links back to your blog, then you may get some get SEO benefits and visitors from the scraper blog.

Deep linking also helps you find out who scraped your content. I get pingbacks all the time from scraper blogs because I deep link other posts. Most scrapers use Blogger.com (at least the ones that hit me) and I just hit the “flag this blog” link to report it and hope Blogger takes it down. But if they don’t, at least I have links on there going back to my blog. This does not mean I won’t keep trying to take the scraped content down – it’s a way of reducing the damage done by scrapers. If too much of your content is scraped, it can have a negative effect on your Google ranking because of duplicate content and because Google may think you’re link spamming.

Using Good Anchor Text When Deep Linking

I covered this before in my Better Anchor Text = Better Search Results post so I won’t spend too much time on it. You should never deep link to your old posts with “Click here.” Instead, you should always use a descriptive anchor text for better search engine optimization. This rule goes for linking out to other blogs as well.

In this post alone, I have deep linked to five articles, my own domain name and RSS feed. Be creative and always deep link if you want higher traffic and more love from Google.


152 thoughts on “The Importance Of Deep Linking”

  1. Aniela says:

    Deep linking is a good practice. I try to include links to my related articles, and looking at the CTR, it works.

    1. ilker says:

      What is CTR? (Abbreviations always bug me whenever I don’t know them. Please let me know, I keep track of comments on post that I comment)

      1. Read more about Click Through Rate on Wikipedia

        1. Ashish Mohta says:

          But how does it increase ctr,I thought its just for adsense

          1. From Wiki: A CTR is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions)

            Now, your question was not about ads, but content – it really works the same: it gives visitors (and spiders) more to look at and possibly click!

    2. Excellent tips John! I know that when visit another blog for the first time, I don’t spend much time looking around for other links – but if they’ve added links within an article, I am more likely to visit their old articles!

    3. Ashish Mohta says:

      can you share how you add it to your related posts?

        1. Zach says:

          i think thats what he means

    4. Zach says:

      Yeah i always try to link to sites that are much like mine, i think google likes that better too

  2. Gary Lee says:

    sweet . . . great tip . . . doesn’t the related post plugin do this? i wouldn’t really know since for some reason it doesn’t work on my site! . . . at least I have something to do this weekend!

    1. ilker says:

      I usually check related posts bit when I’m not satisfied with the actual post..

    2. The Related Post plugin does add links, but they might not link to the same articles that you are referring to. They help with SEO, but why not add links yourself? Related posts would add 5 links (or whatever you set it to) and you’ve added 5 others for a total of 10!

      1. Stuart says:

        Never thought about the related links, thats another plugin on the list for me.

        1. I recommend it! It’s great! It should be a staple for all blogs! So should exclamation marks! ❗

          1. Jez says:

            Well thats decided then, Ill add it this week :mrgreen:

        2. Qwerty_ says:

          Yeah related posts is an awesome plugin very effective at getting users to find other pages in your site, without having to link spam them

          1. Ashish Mohta says:

            related posts works best for me on feed.Putting a sq adsense block takes away the focus from related post

    3. Marc says:

      There’s also a significant difference between a link surrounded by links and a link surrounded by text from a search engine’s perspective. Those surrounded by text are more likely meant to enhance the reader’s understanding while those surrounded by other links are likely to be less useful.

      That goes without saying that the one embedded will have more context than the ones in a related links list.

      1. Jez says:

        In terms of SEO on Google thats correct, but what about Technorati, which detects links between blog posts???

        Personally I think you need to clarify what the links are for, if its for Google then one link / site per keyworded page is the way to go.

        For the BlogSphere Im not so sure, I dont have much experience with it.

  3. Chris says:

    I always do this on my gaming news blog, mainly to point out entries that my reader might have missed first time round.

    1. ilker says:

      I hope you are linking to entries with relative content though.. sometimes I click a link and wonder why I ended up there and leave before reading the rest of the stuff on the blog. Sorry 😕 Content is the King for me!

      1. True! On my site, I add descriptive tool tips to each link so the reader knows where they’re going!

        1. Jimi says:

          Interesting. I should probably make mine a bit more detailed than I do. Instead of just having the description be “WP Plugins” when linking to my plugins pages it can say something like “Check out more plugins here!”.

      2. Ashish Mohta says:

        Thats a serious business, SOmetimes the related posts come out which has no sense.Guess it improves with increase of number of posts

        1. You’re right, every once in a while the related links don’t really belong – but that is dependent on how you’ve labeled the post, it’s category, text and what mood the little Related Post gremlins are in!

      3. Chris says:

        Yeah it’s always related stuff e.g. here – http://www.videogame-news.com/2007/03/03/more-worms-details-for-ya/

        Just been looking at other posts this week and it seems I haven’t been doing it so much so I’ll have to work on that!

  4. Adam F says:

    Never knew that…

    1. ilker says:

      Yeah although I sometimes link to my old posts, I never thought of linking to the top level domain of my blog.

      1. I never done that either…. I also say “on my site” but never add a link! Maybe I should go edit some old posts!

      2. HMTKSteve says:

        Me neither, seems kind of pointless unless you are putting a hidden link in the page.

      3. Qwerty_ says:

        Yeah That is actually quite a good idea whenever saying your site name linking to it might just help with rankings.

      4. Ashish Mohta says:

        It always helps.I read on darrens post sometimes.Thats just because when search bots see a good page linked they will give u hi5

  5. Jimi says:

    A great way to do this automatically is the aLinks plugin. I use it a lot for Amazon affiliate links, but it would serve well for this purpose. Suppose you have a post about beer and you write about beer a lot. With aLinks you can have WordPress automatically link the word “Beer” to that post every time it is used on your blog posts. You can make it only link once per spost for a particular word as well.

    http://headzoo.com/alinks

    1. ilker says:

      I wouldn’t bet on automated services for this.. the link you refer to must be relative, I think.

      1. Jimi says:

        It is relevant. Your link will be the word “beer” every time you use that word on your blog to your post about beer. Can’t get much more relevant than that.

        1. Jimi says:

          Look at the last two posts on my blog. The words “plugin” and “plugins” link to my WordPress Plugins category. That happens automatically every time I use those words. Once per post so it doesn’t do it 10 times. I need to start using “WordPress Plugins” and “WP plugins” more I think for that particular example…lol

        2. Marc says:

          It will ultimately be flagged as unnatural by the search engines though. Their job is to be good at pattern recognition. Google’s $1 billion/quarter good.

          It’s not a bad idea, but it’s just one that has low long term life expectancy.

      2. I agree While that might help for a keyphrase you missed, I prefer to have more control then a catch all!

        It’s a good idea though, I’m just a control freak.

        1. Jimi says:

          I try to keep it pretty slim in what I have it automatically do. I can see down the line that it could get pretty bad if I add 100 or so keywords in there…lol

          It is helpful for words you use a lot that has a lot of relevance when you do use it to another post.

          Not sure I’m on board with the Amazon affiliate option in there. Don’t see a whole lot of use in it really since it isn’t a PPC.

          1. I was thinking of using if for Amazon as well, but I don’t have that many affiliate links for them right now!

            I’ll have to think about it…

          2. Ashish Mohta says:

            Amazon doesnt work that well.Its good to insert them when you recommend something.That can benefit more

    2. Stuart says:

      Interesting script, I might need to use it actually.

      1. HMTKSteve says:

        I may use it as well.

    3. Ashish Mohta says:

      Even i use it.It works good but i doubt having adsense ad around how good it will work

  6. Nick says:

    The alinks tip is awesome – thanks Jimi.

    @Gary Lee; It’s my understand that it does do that through Related Post plugin. It seems that it just links to your permalinks (but these also need to be setup for SEO – which my blog lacks I just noticed). haha.

    1. Stuart says:

      I’ll have to look at that too.

  7. Yeah, I’ve noticed you deep link a lot – especially in ReviewMe reviews. Which I think is nice of you – gives the advertisers more link love 🙂

    I hadn’t thought of that deep linking can help fight the scrapers – nice tip. Another thing I do to benefit a little bit when people scrape my content is include in the text a URL to my site – like you do with “johnchow.com” in this post.

    1. Stuart says:

      As John says, he is very generous guy for reviewing

    2. Ashish Mohta says:

      Thats a good point.Dont just give texts to reviews give more.It will not only increase ur credit to advertisers but also your readers will think u didn’t just do it for money

    3. Marc says:

      I try to do some deep linking in my reviews as well. The results have been positive comments from the advertisers. If you’re trying to keep them happy, above and beyond deep linking is a good way to go. It also adds separation between your reviews and any others that the advertiser may have received. That’s helpful when it comes to bypassing filters in search engines.

  8. Bryan Baker says:

    Thanks for the great post John. I’ll try to incorporate deep links in all my blogs from now on.
    That video of the food you ate was interesting…was it alive? or just falling?

    1. ilker says:

      C’mon guys.. leave the poor animal alone! Enough with the alive?/twitching?/returning from the dead? arguments.. 😕

      1. Yeah, I think we’ve discussed that to death!

        (get it?!) 😉

        1. ilker says:

          LOL! 😆

          1. HMTKSteve says:

            Then quite talking about it!

          2. I didn’t bring it up! 😯

      2. Ashish Mohta says:

        lol yeah but JC got ppl who would love food and when they see a video nothing like that

  9. ilker says:

    Now here is a post of “content” 😉

  10. Tyler says:

    Yea people who use ‘Click Here’ should definitely come up with a little more description tags. I know I’ve done it in the past and I’m getting better at it!

    1. Jeff Kee says:

      Using good anchor text is good. I never do the “Click here” thing alone – i always include the descriptors in the tag.

      1. Stuart says:

        I’ve never thought about that until recently, I shall never do it again as well.

      2. I used to use the click here text like this:

        …for more information, click here.

        But not after reading John’s Better Anchor Text = Better Search Results post!

        1. HMTKSteve says:

          I only use “click here” when I’m linking to John’s blog 😉

          1. I’m going to intact the Google Bomb: The Root OF All Evil!

          2. Jeff Kee says:

            It says “(Comments wont nest below this level)” on HMTKSteve’s comment but somehow Saman Sadeghi got his comment nested within it. HOW??? Did you mess with the Form input variables using the FireFox Web Developer plugin?

          3. Jeff Kee says:

            Oh, mine got on too. Looks like is a display text error on the Threaded Comments plugin…

          4. Marc says:

            Google bombs have been nerfed. As of about a month ago or so they’re not working anywhere near as well as they used to.

      3. Nick says:

        Click here is a bad habit, nothing more. People get into the habit of wanting to say “Click Here” so they type click here and they don’t realize it’s not helping them.

        1. I got in the habit when writing emails to family who don’t know that a link in an email is colored differently! I started the “click here” business so they would know that there is a link there.

        2. Marc says:

          It’s not just a bad habit. It’s very natural in terms of writing. Writing for the web is very different and requires people to break out of their pen and paper model. For people who have grown up writing on the web, that may not be the case, but for we old fogies who grew up and learned to write before the Internet was widespread, we’re operating off of a different mental model.

    2. Ashish Mohta says:

      Not only description tag but link should have a valid name too.It helps ur readers to know where you are going

  11. Jeff Kee says:

    It’s something I’ve been practicing ever since I began my blog, and my Google traffic accounts for quite a bit.. not to mention my site is ranked quite high for many keywords.

  12. Stuart says:

    Phew, thank god a new post, I was getting scared there. Very valuable info.

  13. Finally says:

    Finally, some real content to break a streak of ReviewMe reviews.

    1. Jeff Kee says:

      Haha yeah a good breather eh???

  14. Deep linking is a great tip and something I have been trying to do more and more of on my site. An added benefit is that as I add new RSS subscribers, I am putting links to older content in front of them that they may not have seen yet.

    In addition to good anchor text, I always try to add a descriptive title to my link tags. Every little bit helps.

    1. I guess my anchor texts could be a little more descriptive – most are, but there are a few that are silly.

  15. ilker says:

    I am learning a lot from you John.. check out my latest post! (This is a message to John ONLY, others DON’T check it out!! 👿 )

    1. I clicked you link – but don’t worry, I had my eyes closed.

      1. Ashish Mohta says:

        Lol If it clicks you will seee and when its on JC you just cant close your eyes wanna bet lol

    2. Dan1el says:

      You know you want us too 🙂

  16. Elias Dabbas says:

    I think it’s also really useful for reviewing what the hell I wrote a while ago! Sometimes it’s funny looking back, and seriously considering,”did I really write that?!”.
    Thanks for the tip. Already started implementing

    1. Ashish Mohta says:

      Even i have to check my posts which i wrote when i started blogging.Man they are so cluttered and not so arranged crap

  17. Ryan says:

    Sweet, a non-ReviewMe post! 😉

    Do you consider the related post links to be beneficial with SEO too, or just getting readers to find older articles? I know they’re not on the main page, but I figure they help SEO too.

    1. John Chow says:

      Yes they can help SEO and readers find old articles as well, but they won’t be taken if your post gets scraped.

      1. Ashish Mohta says:

        What do you mean by scrapped?

        1. Stolen by a RSS sourced site.

      2. Ryan says:

        Very good point about scraping. I do hope that, as far as PR is concerned, if Google finds a scraper they don’t hurt you and think you’re spamming them to achieve high PR.

    2. Nick says:

      I added the related post option on my site and added links on the home page with each article – my visitors are increasing today due to some new marketing efforts, but also I have alot more pages being viewed because of the related posts. So whether SEO or not – it creates alot more pages being viewed and therefore alot more impressions.

      1. Ashish Mohta says:

        Thats a definite yes.It brings back the readers to get some more posts and they dont have to search your blog in and out.Thats more important

      2. Great tip Nick! I just realized that I don’t have it running on my homepage!

  18. Jason Spence says:

    I don’t know why, but I was under the impression that linking to your own site was bad form. I really enjoyed this article and now understand what a positive it can be. I plan to follow this recommendation on all of my blogs.

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      It is only considered bad form if you are using links to your own blog to support an argument in your post.

        1. Jason Spence says:

          I guess my only context in the past was that you shouldn’t do it strictly for self promotion. I never thought about it further to segregate that from this point of it being ok to link if it is relevant in your current post. I guess that is why I’m reading these blogs now. . . to change my way of thinking.

          1. Marc says:

            Think of it as using previous information to allow your readers to put themselves in the proper context. Link back to things that further colour your current writing. That way you don’t have to re-hash things for regulars, new readers can orient themselves if they need to and you get SEO benefits out of it all.

  19. Nick says:

    I don’t see how inhouse linking could be a bad thing – it’s just showing users some of your other articles and helping to bring them deeper into your site.

    1. Ashish Mohta says:

      No worries on in house thing You just give more links to ppl to judge

    2. If you’re replying to Steve’s comment, I think me means that if you are on one side of an issue and linking to more posts reiterating your views – as apposed to another site that agrees with your view…

      But I’m sure Steve can clarify!

  20. Michael Kwan says:

    I’m guilty of the “click here” thing. I should really quit doing that.

    1. Qwerty_ says:

      As am I and I am trying to shake that habbit at the moment.

    2. Dan1el says:

      I think we’ve all done it at some stage. It’s just a lazy thing to do. I find if I’m more descriptive with my posts I can easily find a good spot for the link.

  21. Rob O. says:

    I suppose I’ve been living under a rock because I’d never heard of “deep linking” before. But I’ve been doing this ever since we started formally blogging on 2Dolphins three years ago. I got into the practise to try to shed a little light on older, less-viewed posts. And I kinda thought it lended a little historical interest too.

    Having only recently gotten into RSS (I did mention that I’ve been underneath a rock for awhile, right?) I had never thought of the “deep linking” in that context, but sure enough, that’s certainly a big incentive since I’m beginning to see more and more of my site visits coming from feed readers.

    Thanks for the tip!

  22. Jimi says:

    ilker,

    I changed that post you commented on. I agree with you. It didn’t make much sense the way I had the keywords in it and anyone reading would have been rather annoyed with it.

    I think there is an art to doing those links that I haven’t picked up on yet. I have to be more aware when i write a post if I’m using aLinks so that it fits into the context better.

    1. Ashish Mohta says:

      Thats what is it about, You just dont do deep linking because you have to .You have make it fit so your readers dont just jump from a technical article to a cartoon site

  23. Qwerty_ says:

    Btw great post John it is good to a few posts that are not Review Me reviews.

    1. Yea, it is good have to have a few non-sponsored posts in between sponsored ones so as not to make the blog look plainly business-like.

  24. What other things do most of you do when you see your content on other sites (the complete post).
    I haven’t seen an entire repost of my site, but I have come across people watching for key words and then just reposting your entire post from your RSS feed.

    1. Ashish Mohta says:

      Copying a complete RSS can make the site banned easy way, coz it will be a complete copy.You can just report to abuse of that hosting.Over and out for him.

      Even i saw some posts which have just initials copy and then linked to other site, I dont call that deep copy

  25. Nice hint: I’m such a newbian! I never tought about relating my old posts. I did it by pure luck this week and wasn’t aware of the good it could make.

    Thank you for enlighting us blogospherian noobs! 😉

    1. Me neither. I feel that it is a good idea to intra-link blog posts on your sites as well. Not only does it give more exposure to your earlier posts, it also pulls your audience to stay longer on your site by navigating from within.

      Would have a go at it too. Thanks John.

  26. Vincent Chow says:

    But sometimes even myself forgot what I’ve posted previously – so how do I dig back those old post to find the relevant post?

    1. Look through ALL your wordpress articles in your admin corner? Actually you need not start way back from where you came from.

      You can give a go by back tracking relevant articles from a few months back. I am sure you still have some impressions on them.

  27. Ashish Mohta says:

    Thats one thing i cant answer.What you can do is make a search on you old posts to see if there is any data related.If its too old and doesn’t fit leave it else you got one more page load :mrgreen:

  28. David Mackey says:

    I like your thoughts on utilizing the scrapers.

  29. Paula Mooney says:

    Hey John – Why don’t you have email subscriptions option activated on your Feedburner feed?

    Nor an email sign-up box on your blog?

    I prefer to read the blogs I really like that way…

    Paula

    1. ilker says:

      Yeah me too!

    2. Zach says:

      yeah i’ve wondered the same question?

  30. kucau says:

    great info John. its difficult nowadays to find genuine article like this 😐

  31. Aris says:

    I’m guilty on click here too. Thanks John for the deep insight. 😆

    BTW John, what is the plugin you used for the display at the end of your posting as well as the ads there? I like the line showing how many times a page has been viewed as well as the type of the ads.

    I have to spend a long time to transfer the MS Frontpage codes and create a table when I wanted to display the Eclipse picture few moment ago. I was hesitated if I need to use a php code or could I simply use an html code. Thank goodness it worked. Do you use any plugin for the two columns ad or do you or any of our community member here know a pluggin that will create a small table with a selectable row x column?

    Thanks

    1. “I like the line showing how many times a page has been viewed as well as the type of the ads.”

      Hi John, I would be most interested to know if it is another code that we can utilized for our blogs.

  32. Chris says:

    Is deep-linking different from using related posts? Do search engines treat them differently?

    1. Actually, both aren’t not much difference. Just that related posts usually lie outside your posts while deep-linking puts your links inside the posts themselves. How deep-linking is better is that you get readers to follow the flow of your articles and at the same time direct them to related resources.

      1. Marc says:

        Search engines do treat them differently though. The related posts are going to be isolated from any meaningful text whereas the deep link is put into context by the surrounding writing. From most search engines’ perspective, that’s much more likely to be a higher quality link.

        As to how much better it is, only a handful of people know.

  33. Ashish Mohta says:

    Deep Linking is basically out going links to good blogs which might have good pr also.
    Related Posts are the links which is on your own blog.

    If they are good google will like it or any seo will do

    1. For that matter, any readers would appreciate any form of help to feed them with related/ additional interesting information rather than looking personally by themselves.

    2. Marc says:

      Deep linking is not exclusive to linking to other blogs. Deep linking is about linking deep within the tree structure of a website be it your own or someone else’s.

  34. Aris says:

    Just notice that when you get to the bottom of the comment, particularly with more than 90 comments like this posting, your picture didn’t show up right a way…. Is that a loading time problem or what?

    1. The longer the comment list, the more time it takes for the pictures to load. Sometimes for the longer lists of more than 150 comments (like the one that we had to guess John’s monthly income), not everything showed up at once.

  35. Very good points in this article. We use deep linking all the time on Interspire.com and that’s played a large part in why we’re now an authoritive domain on Google. We can practically rank top 10 for ANY keyword in Google within 72 hours. It’s really incredible :mrgreen:

    1. ah.. Pretty high and confident yea? 🙂 Well, that is some fantastic work on your part then!

    2. Marc says:

      Any? Go try to get “Viagra” and “Google”. Let me know when you get either one.

  36. zaki says:

    Now, I’m going to practice linking them if there is related post. Previously, i did not really do so…But it really scared me about the scrapper, because I’m using blogger. Well, I must be carefull… 😯 😈

    1. Well, for the smaller-time blogger, I think there is little need for worry. Usually the targets of these ‘scrappers’ are high profilic writers.

  37. Aris says:

    John, my question for the plugin being burried deep in comment spams, 😈 so I would like to ask you again, what is the plugin for the info at the end of each of your post as well as who provides the ads at the end of your post?

    BTW, why my pict didn’t show up? 😆

    Thanks/

    1. John Chow says:

      The Save to del.icio.us • Stumble It! • Submit To Netscape • Digg This! links are provided by FeedBurner. Sometimes they may serve an ad as well. The ads with the hardware pics and prices are provided by TTZ Media. http://www.ttzmedia.com

  38. Great post! Finally some good content again after the barrage of ReviewMes… I have been subconsciously doing this since I started reading your blog. It’s nice to know that this is actually beneficial. I just Googled James Britton and I’m number 7 on Google, wonder if this is the reason?

    Thanks John!

  39. engtech says:

    I highly recommend doing monthly summary posts as well.

    1. Jason says:

      That’s not a bad idea at all. Although I imagine that would work best for blogs with fairly frequent posting (at least one post a day).

      1. Jez says:

        Not necessasrily, it allows you to squeeze in an additional post, also, google picks up internal links within a site so it is well worth doing.

        I always try and reference other posts where I can

  40. Jason says:

    Those are all really great tips John. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Cage says:

    These are really good tips. I was working on an article today for my blog and was trying to work some related post links into it.

  42. Deep linking is a great practice.. and I am glad to see we are winning the war with scrapers!!

    1. We may be now, but I wouldn’t count them out yet – they’re smarter then the average bear!

  43. Jez says:

    It is only deep linking that gets a ping back on blogs.

    Linking in this way lets other bloggers know you have linked to them and encourages a visit / recipricol link.

    It is these links that show up in technorati too

Comments are closed.