As you build your website to accommodate visitors who don’t come in at your front door but by a back door, there are some usability elements you need to think about.
Here are three:
- Where is the user? When a visitor comes in through an internal page give him clues about where he is in your site. You can do this by positioning your logo in the upper-right corner of the page, a one-click route to the home page (usually accomplished in a “Home” tab) and a search option.
- Where else can the user go? Once your visitor digests the relevant information on that internal page, give him or her options to explore more of your site. Give them a list of related articles or a list of popular articles.
- What else has the user been? It’s important to understand that visitors can arrive at your internal page hundreds of ways. This means you can’t assume that they’ve followed a scripted path and seen everything you’d hope they’d seen. For example, this is why it’s standard to put an email newsletter subscribe box on every page. You can’t assume they’ll see…let alone land!…on a landing page promoting that email newsletter. Make sure relevant information is always available for them.
Sending traffic to your home page is not a good SEO strategy for most websites, so your home page to internal link page ratio should be 1 out of 3 or higher. Deep linking is the method to help you do that.
The wonderful thing about deep linking is that it will raise the authority, relevancy and visibility of your website in the search engines. More importantly, though, deep linking will drive your visitors to relevant pages that satisfy their goals…thus reducing the chances they’ll bounce andincreasing the chances that they will become dedicated readers.
Zachary T. Brown