Stop linking to your home page! A linking strategy should be well thought out and planned according to a strategy. Many people spend weeks or months building top-notch websites but their link strategy is just getting as many websites as possible to link to the home page. While every page on a website should link to the home page the same is not true of off-site links. A large number of off-site links should link deeper within a website.
- Most conversions don’t start on the home page. The fewer clicks to the checkout the more effective an e-commerce website will be. Most conversions start at either a product detail page or a page with a list of products. Often a home page is an introduction to a website and visitors must dig deeper in order to add products to a shopping cart.
- One page can’t target every key phrase. Few websites target only one key phrase and the ones that do have less than 20 pages. Individual pages or even entire sub-sections of a website will target a key phrase. These pages will rank higher if they are directly vouched for by off-site links.
- Pagerank can travel up your site and down. If all the links to a website are to the home page then the home page has a lot of work to do pushing rankings deeper within the website. A link to a deeper page links up to the home page and main website sections as well as down to other related deeper pages.
- Large websites are harder to get indexed. Search engines don’t index every single page. When a website exceeds a few hundred pages search engines often begin making decisions about which pages are most important and deserve to be indexed and which ones don’t. An off-site link to a deeper page raises the importance of keeping that page within the index.
- Broaden the topic relevancy of the site. Google has long recognized that variety is as important for SERPs as quality. This has the effect of giving very high rankings to a website for one topic and yet favoring competitors for other topics. Raising the importance of each area of the website can help raise the relevancy for multiple topics and key phrases.
- New content needs its own promotion. It goes without saying that any new major strategy for a company requires a press release. Well deep links for new blog posts or new products are the equivalent of PR for new content.
- The big boys are doing it. Anyone who has run a link directory receives a number of submissions for deep links to websites whose home page is PR5+. This is no coincidence. Whenever they add content they spend time attracting direct links to the new content to help promote it. They wouldn’t be wasting their time if it wasn’t worthwhile.
The bottom line is if you only ever want one page on your website to get good SERP rankings then only link to one page. If you need to target many key phrases or if your website has a large number of pages then some quality time with a well-planned deep link strategy will be rewarded.