What is Deep Link Ratio?

SEO Question: Can you explain what the Deep Link Percentage is, I ran a few sites and was surprised to see numbers as low as 7% with some very well respected SEO and large brick and mortar store websites.

My basic understanding is your deep link percentage is the number of internal pages which are linked to by highly relevant incoming links from highly relevant established pages. So for example if you had a ten page site and had one incoming indexed link pointing to each page from a site with proper anchor text your DLP would be 100%?

SEO Answer: Deep link percentage is the % of all your backlinks (or inbound links) that point at pages other than your home page.

What you do is the following steps:

So we calculate deep link ratio to be
# of deep links
# of links pointing at site

----- = 84%

84% is exceptionally high for most sites. Most major newspapers are not even that high. The reason that site was so high are

  • I have not actively promoted the site much

  • the site generally looks like dog crap so people are probably hesitant to link at it (hey I used a free design template)
  • the tools on the site are rather useful and attract a good number of natural links (notice how Jim Boykin just said yesterday how he thinks most paid SEO tools are pure trash, but he also posted that he frequently uses the tools on Linkhounds)
  • some people mirror some of the tools and link back at the original tool locations

I pulled results from Yahoo! because they tend to show more of their known linkage data than Google or MSN do. The theory with the deep link ratio is that sites with a higher deep link ratio typically tend to have a more natural link profile.

Depending on your content quality and your content management system you may end up having a really high deep link ratio or a really low one. Generally a higher deep link ratio is better, because it does a better job of shielding you link popularity to make it look natural, but you should compare what other sites in your industry are doing and go from there. Blending in is typically a good thing.

When you referenced the 7% figure for some of the brick and mortar stores they may lack useful compelling content within their site. If they have a strong brand but little citation-worthy content then most of their links will end up pointing at their home page.

Also note that it may be uncommon for all your deep links to point at one specific page. If sites are naturally integrated into the web they should be able to acquire multiple references to their site from related sites.

Many new webmasters do not mix their anchor text very well and concentrate too much on trying to rank just the home page for hyper competitive terms. Many of the old guard on the SEO scene also spend a good amount of time trying to drive 3, 4 and 5 word searches at some of their internal pages.

Please note that there are some killer ideas that are just uber cool linkbait that will end up causing many links to point at one page. Be it the home page or an internal page. A couple examples I can think of:

If you have individual pages or ideas that are exceptionally link-worthy I would not suggest worrying about them or downplaying them because you are trying to fit some random ratio (as I don't really think there is a golden ratio). Ride them for all they are worth, but then also look to come up with other good ideas or content, etc.

Roger Smolski also has an article on DLR. I am not sure, but I think he may have been the one who coined the phrase.

Published: January 9, 2006 by Aaron Wall in Q & A


June 13, 2007 - 9:04pm

Thanks for the great explanation

April 6, 2007 - 5:25am

Help me!please!
In Yahoo,my web "linkdomain"result :
Pages (118) | Inlinks (249)

Deep Link Ratio is ???

January 10, 2006 - 4:12am

Cool post Aaron, I think that deep linking is the most overlooked SEO technique. I have over half of my links going to sub-pages and they are starting to rank very well. Most directory sites will let you deep link, I'm surprised that more SEO/webmasters are not doing this.

January 11, 2006 - 2:07am

Very cool post bro TY:), Linkhounds Rocks

January 11, 2006 - 11:34pm

Sweet post. I know that often people who are not used to mixing syntax really need it spelled out step-by-step. Great work.

Actually, this post is a case-in-point example of how to cultivate a higher DLR! Funny :-P

Roger Smolski
January 12, 2006 - 1:00am

>Roger Smolski also has an article on DLR. I am not sure, but I think he may have been the one who coined the phrase.

I think I was Aaron. However your explanation is more erudite than mine! Keep up the good work...

Best wishes.

- Roger

February 19, 2006 - 12:44pm

Nice article, but i what i would really want to know is this: is the deep back link ration important for ranking high in the search engines ? how does this compare with page rank etc ?

February 19, 2006 - 8:11pm

Is the deep back link ration important for ranking high in the search engines ?

Well it is something many natural sites have and many unnatural sites lack. Consider it a signal of qualtiy. Not necissarily needed for all sites, but surely it only helps.

February 29, 2008 - 12:39am

that linkhounds tool is good. thanks for that. 35% w/o knowing about DLR, a good footing going forward.

Aisha Arora
June 6, 2011 - 6:29am

thanks for the sharing the information........

June 23, 2016 - 12:57pm

Thanks for the article.
What would be a too high DLR?

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