Does Deep Link Ratio Influence Search Engine Rankings?

3 min read

Constructing various links plays a pivotal role in an effective link building strategy. However, one may wonder whether the proportion of links leading to your homepage in contrast to links directing to other web pages can influence your search engine rankings.
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand that this concept is outdated because Google employs the term “deep link” to signify something entirely distinct from the misconception under examination. Google does not deem this notion significant enough to warrant acknowledgment or clarification.

This article needs to cover the concept of deep links for mobile app users that direct them to a particular page within the app. As of 2023, this is the sole reference made by Google. This information provides a clear indication of the conclusion.


Investigating the Role of Deep Link Ratios in Search Engine Rankings


To ascertain whether the deep link ratio holds any significance as a ranking factor, it’s imperative to establish a clear understanding of deep links.
In the context of this discussion, deep links refer to inbound links directing users to specific pages on your website, excluding the homepage. These links guide visitors deeper into your website, away from the initial landing page.
While Google Ads provides a deep link impact calculator, its primary purpose is to uncover missed opportunities for engaging app users with deep links. The calculator, however, does not determine the deep link ratio, as discussed in this article.
Concerning ranking factors, the deep link ratio quantifies the total number of inbound links directed to every page on your website versus the total number of inbound links exclusively targeting your homepage.


Determining Your Deep Link Ratio


Consider a scenario where your website has amassed 1,584 inbound links. Among these links, 698 are directed to your homepage, while the remaining 886 target specific pages within your website.
To compute your deep link ratio, divide the number of deep links by the total count of inbound links:
886 / 1,584 = 55.9% deep link ratio
The contention here is that this percentage indicates a link profile that appears more organic when compared to a site that relies on its homepage for 90% of its inbound links.


Supporting the Case for Deep Link Ratio as a Ranking Factor


Google Search Central’s Advanced SEO documentation guides practices to steer clear of link building.
Remarkably, the concept of deep links does not appear on this page. Instead, Google offers the following advice:
“The most effective method to encourage other websites to establish high-quality, contextually relevant links to your site organically is by generating distinctive content capable of naturally garnering popularity within the online community.
Investing in the creation of valuable content yields dividends: Links typically represent editorial endorsements made by choice, and the more helpful content you produce, the higher the likelihood that others will perceive it as valuable to their audience and link to it.”

This strategy may result in the acquisition of deep links, although it doesn’t explicitly refer to them or their ratio.
In the annals of SEO history, one of the earliest references to a deep link ratio can be traced back to 2004, courtesy of a link-building agency. This document outlines a method for calculating your deep link ratio but needs concrete evidence to establish it as a ranking factor.
In 2006, SEOBook.com posed a question about the deep link ratio. Much like the 2004 article, it provides a calculation method for determining the percentage of deep links. Yet, it fails to furnish any additional substantiation of its influence on search engine rankings.
A 2006 study on the Link-Based Characterization and Detection of Web Spam observed a correlation between numerous homepage links and websites “spammier.” However, this study does not prove a direct causal relationship between the deep link ratio and rankings.

Creating a well-rounded link portfolio for your website is crucial, encompassing a variety of links to both homepages and deeper internal pages.
However, it’s important to note that there is no fixed or magical ratio of deep links to homepage links that guarantees SEO success.


Deep Link Ratio Has No Bearing on Rankings


Let’s clarify: the concept of a “deep link ratio” is outdated and should be disregarded in SEO. There are no magical numbers or specific ratios that guarantee higher search engine rankings. While it is established that links play a role in rankings, Google does not consider a deep link ratio as a factor influencing its ranking algorithms.
One thing we can assert with certainty, thanks to Google’s John Mueller, is that the total quantity of inbound links is not a decisive factor for ranking.
The primary consideration for incorporating deep links to various pages on your website should revolve around user experience. If a link to a specific page other than the homepage enhances the user’s ability to access the desired information with minimal clicks, it is undoubtedly worthwhile.

If you still need help with complexity and confusion, consider exploring our monthly SEO packages, where industry experts can provide valuable assistance.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]