For the most part I would prefer links to my index page, but not all the links. Having links deep in your site gives the robots ”side doors” to your site, and it is my belief that side doors gives a better overall spider coverage of the site and insures deep crawls better then a “link to index only” site. Let the articles that fit content in your site in a natural way link directly to this content.
Life is not black and white, SEO is also not always clear cut. Good compromises is often the way to go and what makes the more successful site is the quality of the compromises you make
Like most answers around here, the answer here is: it depends. Depends on your market and competition.
But generally speaking, I'd think I would prefer deep links. I'd gladly trade some of the links to my home page for some that went to other pages on the site. I'd guess that would enhance my credibility within the engines for more keywords.
The deep linking doesn't seem to be working that well (especially in Google) despite the fact it's all very on topic. So now I'm thinking perhaps the inbound links to the index page are out of proportion with the deeper pages, ie, there should be a greater number of links to the home page to create a more normal balance.
Think of it this way...
Links to your index page is much better for the following reasons.
1. What page would you like to be sent to when you click on a link? The index page of course... not their links page or any other page (unless your looking for something in particular)
2. Sends all your traffic to your index page because you have geared that page to be the starting point to your site!
3. I have found that deep links doesnt really affect your rankings.(to an extent)
You will have no problem with links pointing to your index page...and if your worried about not getting the search engines to spider deep into your site!
Thats easy...Just put a sitemap on your index page & they can spider theit little hearts out :)
The only way deep linking will help you is if you dont have a sitemap on your index page
If you need help just PM me
I find it depends on the number and competitiveness of the keywords you're targeting.
You can rank quite well for relatively uncompetitive keywords targeted on subpages if you have good 'authority' ... ie. many varied links to your main page.
The more competitive the keywords become, the more you need good quality links ALSO pointing to the specific subpage. This would also help to explain why Google and DMOZ directory pages do well for uncompetitive terms, but not so well for more competitive ones.
I have done a portal for a tourism town in Costa Rica. Because it is a portal, it deals with numerous topics that draw a good amount of diverse keywords and phrases I have been getting links from, for example, surf related sites to my surf page, ecotourism to my ecotourism page etc... Meanwhile my front page sits at PR4. I see other newer and similar sites to mine get better PR on their front page, and decent on their interior pages, without really having any incomming links to speak of pointing to their interior pages.
I am starting to think that I should have been developing the front page as the primary target of my incomming links. I think that I am going to approach some of my linkers and request the change.
I had a similar issue with deep-linked pages having higher PR than my index page. However in my case I found my index page PR was being shared between www.domain.com/ and www.domain.com/index.php. This was caused by my internal linking stucture, which I have now fixed.
Worth a check before you do anything drastic.
Thanks for your input. How did you go about fixing it?
I originally linked back from all my pages to my index page as ../index.php. I didn't give it any thought - it just seemed logical. But what it meant was that Google indexed www.domain.com/ as normal, but also followed the internal links to www.comain.com/index.php and indexed that as well and gave it all the PR flowing back from the deeper pages.
I got some advice from here, and I now link back with ../ so index.php isn't mentioned anywhere.
Currently Google still has both indexed - www.domain.com/ is PR3 and www.domain.com/index.php is PR5. But I expect all the PR to go to www.domain.com/ in the next backlinks and PR update. (Hope! :))
How many pages does your site have (with the backlink to index.php)?
I think I may be experiencing a similar problem to what HarryM described. It seems Google has indexed both [domain.com...] and [domain.com....]
My worries are not so much about the PR, rather the fact that Google might interpret the two as duplicate content. Does anyone have any experience with this?
Lately Google hasn't been crawling deeper than the index page, and all internal pages are mentioned by nothing more than URL.
One more thing I should mention is that recently the site was moved to a different server, with a corresponding new IP.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
There were about 400 and originally all showed in Google if I did a search site:www.domain.com index.php (note the space). Since altering them the number showed by Google has steadily reduced, and now there are none listed.
I think if you do not update the index page, Google will eventually notice the caches of the pages are the same and merge them (perhaps). But if you update your index page regularly as I do, the caches will always be out of step.
So I expect after the next PR/toolbar updates, there will still be an entry for www.domain.com/index.php. But all the PR that it used to have will have gone to www.domain.com/ and show up there in the toolbar - I hope! :)
I think that's quite important, because if you ask someone to link to you they are likely to check your site and they will automatically see the PR on www.domain.com. If it's low they may not be inclined to link. Currently all my internal pages are either PR5 or PR4, but the domain only shows PR3 when it should be at least PR5.
This is the strongest evidence of the weight of internal links in the composition of PageRank.
Your external links bring your / page to PR3, whereas the internal links bring your index.php to PR5! Unless you have some high PR deep links, your case shows that one can increase (by much) PR just by cleverly adding more pages and internal links.
And I agree with you, your homepage should go to PR5 next update.
Freddy_K, when Florida wiped many of us out, the [domain.com...] and [domain.com...] issue was among the first suspects. There is tremendous amounts of info on the topic in this forum. A lot of it centered around re-directs and how to best join the two sites. The end of the matter, in my opinion, is weighted toward pointing the non-w domain to the w-domain on the server, although there is disention regarding this. I did the re-direct and no longer show the split PR on the two sites since there is now only one site.
Back to topic: I'm off to change all my links from ../index.htm to ../