Deep links have been a part of SEO for as long as regular link building gained popularity.
These links appear below top-ranked results, showing additional content within a website. Rather than directing external links to a homepage, deep links send you to a more specific, internal page, such as a blog entry or a product page.
This type of link building expands the diversity of your link profiles, boosts authority of individual pages, and makes it easier for users to explore the rest of your site.
Traditionally, these links only showed up in external articles, or were included in forum comments, emails, or even simple social media shares. Currently, however, there’s a new platform where deep links may be finding a new home—and it could have a big impact in link building and SEO in general.
Making Transitions More Seamless
A minor speedbump in the mobile experience is the lack of a seamless transition from app to app.
For example, a few months back, when we got an email from LinkedIn telling us about a new connection, the included link sent us to the site’s homepage, rather than its app. This was the same for many retailers advertising on mobile—those who’d click the accompanying link will be directed either to the homepage of the front door of your app, rather than the specific page where you can see the featured product.
The problem was that we aren’t being sent to the pages or content we want.
This shows how deep linking, particularly app-based deep linking, could prove to be an important factor in link building. Instead of sending you to a site’s internal page (via a new browser tab), app-based deep linking would direct you to a specific area within a mobile app (provided you have the app installed on your mobile device).
This is rather simple, in theory. Say Person A has your app installed, and they do a Google search on their phone. One of the results includes your content, which exists in both your site and in your mobile app. If your app is indexed, clicking the result will take you to the corresponding location in the app, rather than taking you to the page via a new browser tab.
For those who haven’t downloaded your app, Google might show results urging users to install your app from the related app store.
Apps for Everything
There’s an app for (almost) everything. More and more Google searches are taking place on mobile. As a result of these and other growing data, Google made a push to index apps similar to how it indexes websites.
Theoretically, Google can provide information about indexed apps to anyone doing a relevant search on mobile. A Google search for “basketball app” on mobile, for example, will likely show a link to download the official NBA app, or the NBA 2k16 app.
This app indexing and deep linking could be big factors in the future of link building because it goes beyond making people visit a site—it encourages people to download an app, which is always a sure way of engaging with users.
Digging Through the Opportunities of App Deep Linking
Deep linking (both on apps and the Web) presents a new opportunity to boost your app’s visibility. In the same way deep Web links give more authority to a page, new app linking strategies could also boost app rankings in both web searches and app stores.
It also helps with user experience. Deep linking will lead users to specific sections within an app, which acts a shortcut for users. With this strategy, you send people directly to information they are interested in, which removes extra steps between clicking a search result and getting to the content that interested them.
Facebook adds that this isn’t limited to just apps and websites. You can also use deep linking in ads for apps via Mobile App Install Ads and/or Mobile App Engagement Ads.
Photo via Facebook– https://developers.facebook.com/docs/app-ads/deep-linking
Without deep links, there’s more chances of your site being dropped by users because you are requiring them to look for your content manually.
Little is known about how deep links are ranked, but building your site’s structure with internal links can only do great things. The potentials of this type of link building only goes to show that link building itself will be here for quite a while, albeit it’ll need to evolve.
As such, it’s likely that this strategy will take a while before peaking. Still, it pays to be informed and prepared for the changes that are a little ways down the road.