Deep Linking 101

Deep Linking 101: What Is Deep Linking, and Why Does It Matter for SEO?

Even if you’ve only tested the waters or have a surface-level understanding of SEO (search engine optimization), you’ve probably heard of backlinking as a vital strategy for boosting search rankings and building domain authority. Website and mobile app deep linking take that concept, well, deeper

In this guide, we’re going to explain how deep linking SEO differs from traditional backlinking, why it matters, and how and when to do it. We’ll explain the ins and outs of both website and mobile deep linking—there are key differences between the two.

Let’s dive into the deep end.

What Is Deep Linking?

Deep linking simply refers to inbound links that direct clicks to a specific page on your website or app. For example, a deep link may bring the user to a relevant product, category, sign-up offer, blog post, or whatever other page immediately fulfills their need.

Standard backlinks often direct users to your homepage or pages more prominently positioned in your navigation. Sometimes backlinks occur organically because you created useful, engaging content that simply inspired someone to link to it. Other link building strategies include guest blogging, forming mutually beneficial relationships, and being active on social media, among many others.

While many inbound link building methods do apply to deep linking, there are ways to take it a step further. Contextual deep linking is one of them.

What is deep linking with context?

Deep linking with context is a strategy that provides users with a more personalized experience based on contextual insight, such as the user’s search query, location, referring site, promotional eligibility, and other relevant factors. Rather than provide all users with the same link, contextual deep linking caters the link to the user’s unique behaviors and data.

While many SEO strategists focus primarily on mobile app deep linking, we believe that a well-rounded approach that also focuses on websites is much more effective. After all, not every business has, wants, or needs a mobile app. 

What is deep linking able to do to improve your bottom line? Now that you have a basic understanding of the deep link meaning, let’s talk about the benefits. First, we’ll highlight the advantages of including deep links on websites, and then we’ll discuss deep linking on Android and deep linking in iOS.

1. Enhance Website Navigability

Thoughtful web design leads to converting visitors. Time is of the essence. If they don’t find exactly what they’re seeking fast, they’re going to move along to your competition. 

Deep links are kind of like traffic directors, helping visitors to find their destination quickly. What is deep linking doing to accomplish this? By providing deep links with clear, concise anchor texts, you’re eliminating the need for visitors to wander aimlessly until they find what they’re seeking.

Here’s a quick and easy example for you: look at the top of the website you’re on right now! Our navigation menu has deep links to Digital Marketing, SEO, Web Design, Case Studies, Reviews, Contact Us, and Client Login. If you’re on a computer, you can hover your mouse over those links to reveal even deeper links to specific subcategories.

A screenshot of the Coalition Technologies homepage showing deep links in the navigation menu

Those links facilitate a fast, straightforward process for potential clients who are interested in specific services we offer. What is deep linking? Well, a big part of it is simply good web design! Similarly, mobile app deep linking helps users move throughout the app fluidly so they don’t get frustrated and delete it.

Navigability isn’t the only reason to use deep linking, but it’s a big one. Website statistics for 2024 show that on average, users spend 5.59 seconds viewing written content and 6.44 seconds on the main navigation menu. And, 61% say that they’ll bounce to a different site if they don’t find what they’re seeking within around five seconds.

2. Boost Conversion Rate

You’re probably wondering, what is deep linking doing to increase sales? Besides reducing your site’s bounce rate, deep links naturally lead to conversions. The fewer clicks needed to reach the final destination the better. Deep linking SEO puts your visitors on the fast track to becoming customers.

While traditional backlinks to your home page certainly have their place—they can help people to become familiar with your brand in the first place—deep links play the role of putting your product or service front and center for the potential buyer.

Take this Amazon email campaign, for example.

A screenshot of an Amazon email campaign for Mother’s Day gifts $20 or less


A screenshot of the Amazon Mother’s Day Shop page

What is deep linking accomplishing here? It’s giving customers a direct pipeline to relevant products that are most likely based on their browsing history, spending habits, and other contextual data. It’s also using the upcoming holiday as a motivator to convert. Linking to the Amazon homepage or app wouldn’t be nearly as impactful.

3. Improve Link Equity

Website and mobile app deep linking make your website more appealing to the search engine algorithms that determine where you rank on SERPS (search engine results pages). Link equity, often referred to as “link juice” among SEO specialists, refers to the quantity and quality of your external and internal links.

What is deep linking doing to improve link equity? Your website is kind of like a tree. The homepage is your trunk or foundation; the deep links are the branches that pull in the sustenance that keeps your tree thriving—the site’s users and search engine algorithms. 

Beyond improving UX (user experience), clean, organized informational architecture with minimal click requirements shows Google’s almighty algorithms that your site is a high-value resource worth showing to the world. If your website’s traffic is a tree, Google is the sun that keeps it alive. 

Furthermore, your site’s internal and external links directly affect its domain authority. What is deep linking’s role in DA? Say your site links to or from a scam site. That’s a huge red flag that’s going to push your tree into a desert wasteland where it’ll wither away. Links to and from reputable sources reflect positively on your site—it’s all about the company you keep!

Mobile App Deep Linking

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of deep linking in general, let’s go deeper into the benefits of mobile deep linking. The points above—navigability, conversion rate, and link equity—also apply to mobile apps, but there are some app-specific advantages you should know about, too.

1. Abandoned Checkout Recovery

What is deep linking able to do to give potential customers a nudge to complete the transaction? A well-timed email, notification, or text can provide that extra push that finalizes a sale.

For example, this Wayfair marketing email entices the user to purchase a sofa that’s currently collecting dust in their cart. The main “Shop Now” deep link directs the user to that sofa, and the other contextual deep links below it direct to similar sofas.

A screenshot of a Wayfair email with deep links to sofas

If Wayfair had only provided a link to the app itself (or the homepage), the user would have to track down the sofa that caught their eye on their own. The deep link serves as a reminder and reduces the amount of clicks needed to finish the purchase.

2. Targeted User Acquisition

What is deep linking able to do to increase your app’s user base? App deep linking lets you market specific products or services as soon as the user downloads the app.

For example, let’s say you’re advertising a stock exchange app and you’re running a social media marketing campaign that entices people to download your app in order to receive a free stock. If your link simply goes to the app store, the user is going to be lost. They’re not going to know which stock is free or how to redeem the discount.

Instead of linking to the app’s homepage, mobile deep linking lets you link to that specific stock with the freebie coupon pre-filled and ready to use. 

What is deep linking accomplishing in this situation? Not only is it making it easy for the user to take advantage of the promotion, but it’s saving your company time and money. Your customer support team won’t need to provide assistance because the deep link provided a hassle-free experience. And, you won’t need to worry about a disgruntled user damaging your reputation.

3. In-App Contextual Education

On the same page as the aforementioned approach to ensuring smooth ad-to-app promotions, app deep linking can encourage users to move seamlessly from your website to the app, naturally growing its user base. What is deep linking doing to facilitate this movement?

Let’s say you run an online newspaper. You could show half of the articles to give visitors a taste of what you offer, and then have a paywall with a CTA that directs them to continue reading for free on the app. When the user clicks that deep link, they’re directed to the same story they were just reading. Deep linking allows for an easy transition with minimal interruption.

Partner With the #1 Deep Linking SEO Pros

Understanding the basics of deep linking is a start, but implementing them properly is crucial. What is deep linking? It’s a solid strategy, but only if you do it right. If you’re not an SEO expert, you risk doing more harm than good. Effective deep linking is an art form that requires finesse, skill, knowledge, and experience.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re in need of deep linking on a website, deep linking on Android, deep linking in iOS, or all of the above, we can take your web and app presence to the next level. Our fine-tuned approach to SEO and digital marketing as a whole consistently delivers game-changing results—our case studies and reviews speak for themselves.

What is deep linking? It’s just one of a multitude of methods we use to help your business reach its full potential and keep climbing. Get in touch now for a free consultation.

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