Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Importance Of Deep Links

Usually most bands and artists always provide a link to the landing page (top page, home page, they're all the same thing) of their site in any correspondence or social network post. Of course this is better than no link at all, but it might not be the best strategy. There's now some evidence (according to many SEO gurus) that "deep linking" can bring you a higher Google ranking by also providing some value to the person following the link as well.

Deep linking is any link on your site that's not your home page AND has the appropriate information. For example, if you have your picture taken with Jeff Beck, it's better for both you and your visitor if you link him directly to the page that has the picture, rather than sending him to your homepage which does not, and forcing him to dig down. Not only is it annoying, but you can get penalized by Google for providing a less than perfect user experience as well.

A better strategy might be to mention the picture and provide a link on your homepage to a separate dedicated subpage with the picture, complete with the story behind the picture (don't skimp on the copy - 300 to 500 words is about right), the appropriate metadata (your name, Jeff Beck, the place where the picture was taken, etc.), and the appropriate keyword phrases (your name, Jeff Beck, the place where the picture was taken, etc.) baked into the copy at about a rate of about 2% (that's about 6 times or so for each keyword phrase). If you use the keywords more frequently, Google may penalize you for "keyword stuffing", which means trying to get a higher ranking by using the keywords so much that it diminishes the user experience again. Same thing if you use too many keywords or phrases - the first 5 or so is all that will get Googles attention.

Seems like a lot of work, and it is. It's especially difficult to design copy around keywords. I'm a writer with a lot of words under my belt and I still find it hard. But it's worth it if it helps raise your visibility.

What your aiming for is a lot of backlinks to your deep link, which will raise your ranking and visibility even more.

One last thing - don't forget to submit this subpage to the various search engines and directories. But remember, the subpage has to be able to stand on its own or the entire exercise probably isn't worth it. If it takes the visitor only a few seconds to read the copy, then you don't have sufficient stickiness for it to be any benefit to you.

There's still a lot more to cover on deep linking as well as keyword phrases, but that's for a future post.

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