What is deep linking?

A person pressing modern social buttons.
At this point you may think you know everything there is to know about the internet, but unless you've been on the content creation side of the web, you may not have heard of deep linking.

The term deep linking was first used in the context of search engine optimization (SEO) to describe the practice of linking to a website's internal pages rather than to its homepage. As an SEO strategy, deep linking allows site users to more easily find the specific content they're looking for while simultaneously improving a website's relevancy in search engine results by connecting keyword-rich hyperlinks on one interior site page to keyword-rich content on another internal page [source: Patel].

In the world of mobile apps and app development, deep links are essentially URLs for the inside of an app [sources: Deeplink, MobileDeepLinking]. Just as deep links on a website help bring users directly to the content they are looking for, deep linking between apps connects a unique URL to a specific action, connecting users to the content they're seeking [source: MobileDeepLinking]. For example, if a user with a travel app installed on his or her phone does a Google search for "hotel deals," clicking on a link in the search results could open the travel app instead of a web page [source: Hsiao].


To put it another way, deep linking understands which types of links are utilized by which apps [source: Lardinois]. Today, if you have a banking app installed on your phone, and you receive an email notifying you that your online statement is available, clicking on the "View your statement" link in the email will take you to your bank's website, where you need to go through the standard login process and navigate to the statement online. With deep linking, clicking on the same link in an email on your phone would instead launch your banking app, taking you directly to the information you're looking for.

Frequently Answered Questions

Why is deep linking important?
Deep linking is important because it allows search engines to index your content more accurately and allows users to directly link to specific pages on your website. This can be particularly useful if you have a large website with a lot of content or if you have a forum or blog where users may want to link to specific posts. It offers unique monetization opportunities.
What does deep link mean?
A deep link is a hyperlink that points to a specific page or resource on a website, rather than the home page. Deep links are used to provide direct access to content, bypassing any intermediate pages that may be used for navigation.

Lots More Information

Related Articles


  • BrickMarketing.com. "What is Deep Linking?" (Sept. 1, 2014) http://www.brickmarketing.com/define-deep-linking.htm
  • Deeplink. (Sept. 1, 2014) https://deeplink.me/
  • Hsiao, Sissie. "Drive More App Installs and Engagement with New Ads on the AdMob Network." Inside AdWords. June 25, 2014. (Sept. 1, 2014) http://adwords.blogspot.com/2014/06/drive-more-app-installs-and-engagement.html
  • Lardinois, Frederic. "Facebook Launches AppLinks To Make Linking Between Apps Easier." April 30, 2014. (Sept. 1, 2014) http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/30/facebook-launches-applinks-org-to-make-linking-between-apps-easier/
  • Mobile Deep Linking. "Introduction." (Sept. 1, 2014) http://mobiledeeplinking.org/
  • Patel, Neil. "7 Simple Deep Linking Tactics You Ought to Use." Search Engine Journal. May 7, 2012. (Sept. 1, 2014) http://www.searchenginejournal.com/7-simple-deep-linking-tactics-you-ought-to-use/43236/