Deep linking is a tool used by websites to point a visitor directly to a page within the website instead of the landing page or front page of the site. Deep linking allows visitors to go directly to the information they require, which may be available on a certain page of the website, but not on the web page to which the basic link leads. Businesses participate in deep linking through search engines so that they can guide visitors to what they need quickly, as well as keeping the attention of the visitor in hopes that the visitor will find the information, product, or service that he or she needs and not leave the website because it was difficult to find that information on a different page. Deep linking is also an excellent way to take visitors directly to a product on a web page and not have them go through multiple pages to find it, especially on a website that has numerous products.
The process of deep linking is slightly controversial in the search engine world. While some say it is an excellent way to get visitors directly where they want to go, others counter that when visitors do not have to click through a website to find something, the other parts of the website have lower impressions. Having higher impression rates is important to many websites, especially those which have advertisements that either sponsor the web pages, or lead to their own pages and products. This also poses a problem to those who advertise on other websites that might be passed by when a deep link is created to a page that is just past the one the company advertises on. Other controversies come from certain websites charging to have permanent deep links to their website, and others not being able to handle deep links because of the software used to create the web pages cannot support being linked directly and having direct traffic.
There are certain web pages that decide to opt out of deep linking for their website, forcing visitors to click through the entire site to find what they are looking for. Websites that participate in opting out use a Robots.txt file to specify that certain content that might be deep linked to not be indexed. In this manner, the pages are not indexed by the search engine spider, and do not appear in natural search engine results for people to click direct and eventually deep link to. While some professional webmasters feel that those companies that do not know about the Robots.txt file are giving silent permission to deep link to those pages, others feel that these companies are being taken advantage of when they do not know about the files that stop deep linking.
Deep linking is a part of search engines that many visitors appreciate because it makes discovering what they are looking for easier. Professionals in the field though, feel that deep linking is a problem, and while there are certainly arguments for both sides, it is eventually up to the particular website whether it wishes to be deep linked or not.