Exploring the Significance of Deep Link Ratio in SEO

3 min read

Explore this article to reveal insights about whether a deep link ratio impacts enhancing Google rankings.

Constructing a well-rounded collection of links constitutes an essential element of a practical link building approach.

However, does the distribution between homepage links and links to other pages affect your rankings?

To begin with, it’s crucial to understand that the concept we’re addressing here is outdated to the point that Google employs the term “deep link” to signify something entirely distinct from the misconception we’re examining. Google doesn’t deem this notion worthy of acknowledgment or clarification.

This article does not discuss deep links meant for mobile app users, guiding them to a particular page within your app. As of 2023, Google only mentions this aspect, which should hint at the ultimate conclusion.


Fact or Fiction: Does Deep Link Ratio Affect Rankings


To ascertain whether the deep link ratio plays a role in rankings, it is imperative to establish a clear definition of deep links.

For this article, deep links refer to inbound links directing visitors to pages on your website other than the homepage. These links guide website visitors deeper into your site rather than requiring them to the initial entry page.

While Google Ads provides a deep link impact calculator, its primary purpose is pinpointing missed opportunities for converting app users through deep links.

It’s important to clarify that this calculator does not determine the deep link ratio in the context of this article.

Concerning ranking factors, the deep link ratio assesses the overall count of inbound links leading to all pages on your website versus the total count of inbound links directed exclusively to your homepage.


Determining Your Deep Link Ratio


Imagine you have a total of 1,584 inbound links pointing to your website. Out of these links, 698 lead to your homepage.

The remaining 886 links are directed to specific pages within your website.

To compute your deep link ratio, divide the number of deep links by the total number of inbound links:

886 / 1,584 = 55.9% deep link ratio

The argument posits that this percentage implies a link profile that appears more organic than a website, with 90% of its links pointing exclusively to its homepage.


Supporting the Case for Deep Link Ratio as an SEO Ranking Factor


Within Google Search Central’s Advanced SEO documentation is a page dedicated to strategies to steer clear of in link building. Interestingly, deep links are conspicuously absent from the discussion.

Here is what Google recommends:

“The most effective method to encourage other websites to establish high-quality, contextually relevant links to your own organically is by crafting original content that can naturally garner popularity within the online community.

Investing in the creation of valuable content yields dividends: Links typically represent editorial endorsements made voluntarily, and the more helpful content you have, the higher the likelihood that others will perceive it as valuable to their audience and, subsequently, link to it.”

While effective for generating deep links, this approach notably does not explicitly reference deep links or a specific ratio.

In 2004, one of the earliest mentions of a deep link ratio can be traced back to a link building agency. They provided an example of calculating your deep link ratio, but no concrete evidence was presented supporting its role as a ranking factor.

In 2006, SEOBook.com posed a query about the deep link ratio. Much like the 2004 article, it outlined a method for calculating the percentage of deep links but did not offer additional evidence to establish a direct impact on rankings. A study conducted in 2006 on the Link-Based Characterization and Detection of Web Spam did show a correlation between a high number of homepage links and websites considered “spammier.”

Constructing a well-rounded link portfolio for your website remains crucial, encompassing a blend of homepages and deep links.

However, it’s essential to note that there is no universally recognized “magic ratio” for deep links to homepage links, indicating that its direct influence on rankings is not well-established.


Deep Link Ratio Is Certainly Not a Ranking Factor


Let’s be unequivocal about this: the concept of a “deep link ratio” belongs to the past, and it’s a perspective to steer clear of in the realm of SEO. In the world of rankings, there are no magic numbers or ratios that guarantee success. While it’s established that links influence rankings, it’s essential to emphasize that a deep link ratio does not hold any sway as a Google ranking factor.

One indisputable fact, as clarified by Google’s John Mueller, is that the total quantity of inbound links is not a determining factor.

When it comes to deep links directing users to specific pages on your website, the paramount consideration should be user experience.

If a link leading to a page other than the homepage serves to provide users with the information they seek most quickly and efficiently, then it holds value.


If you’re seeking additional information or feeling uncertain, we invite you to explore our monthly SEO packages. Discover how our team of experts can manage it all for you.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]