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.