To deeplink, or not to deeplink: that is the question:
Whether 'tis helpful in the direct'ry to add
The pages beneath pages of outrageous submitters,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by deleting end them?

It is apparent that one of the most confusing guidelines is the one about deeplinking. The guidelines themselves are somewhat ambiguous, which is due to the fact that there are different types of deeplinks, and the decision to add deeplinks involves many factors relevant to a category's scope and content. In order to understand deeplinks and determine when to list them, we need to look at the three types, name them, analyze why they exist and whether they serve our purpose, which is, if you recall, to be the most comprehensive and highest quality directory of the Web.

Name: Type #1, or "Hosting Deeplinks"


These would be deeplinks to a webhosting site like Geocities, Angelfire, or Often, an ISP, chamber of commerce, other organizations, or even individuals will allow members to use their servers to host their own individual sites. These sites give server space to individuals, and so the subdomains are usually owned by different entitles, and are diverse in their subject matter.

Analysis and Examples: the main site houses a local furniture store site at and a jewelry store site at, among many others., the main site houses a DHTML tutorial site at and at a support site for people with Lyme Disease.

Also included in this type would be sections of an individual site which have nothing to do with the site. For example, editor kfander has a site about himself, his work, and his personal life at He also has some eclectic sections which have little to do with him (other than that they are his interests) or with each other. For example is about the history and use of hardtack; is about Soldier Pond, Maine; covers ocelots in Texas; and is about the Bible. Any one of these sections could easily be housed on their own domains, but the owner chose to house them on the one domain. On the surface, none of these deeplinks are related to the others.

To Deeplink or Not To Deeplink:

You will find a lot of these types of deeplinks in the directory. In most cases, you'll probably find yourself treating these deeplinks as if they are unique domains in their own right. If someone submits a deeplink to or, and if the page submitted offers unique and quality content relative to other sites listed in the category, then they may be ok to list. As with any type of web site, you should use your own editorial discretion to determine a site's usefulness to your category, and focus on listing quality sites.

Name: Type #2, or "Diverse Deeplinks"


This type is deeplinking a given domain systematically, for instance IMDb, Encarta, PBS. These are entities which encompass diverse topics.

Analysis and Examples: is an Encarta page about the American painter, Arshile Gorky, while is an Encarta page about the crocus.

If I was looking for information about the crocus, I might not know to go to Encarta. Nor would I know that information about crocus might be found on the same site that houses information about Gorky. In order to facilitate the finding of information for our searchers, we clearly must be allowed to list both the Gorky page and the crocus page.

To Deeplink or Not To Deeplink:

Note that the Gorky page is quite full of information about Gorky, and it is listed in Arts/Art_History/Artists/G/Gorky,_Arshile, which has one listing other than the Encarta one. These are two important aspects in the decision of whether to list or not. If the information about Gorky was brief (e.g. a short biography or only oney one paragraph about Gorky), or if the listings in the Gorky category provide more comprehensive and quality information about Gorky, then the Encarta site shouldn't be listed since it is not very useful relative to the rest of the category's contents.

This sort of deeplink is the exception rather than the rule. Deeplinks of this sort should come from authoritative and high quality resources. Editors are asked to be highly selective, and to use common sense when listing these types of deeplinks. A few questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the deeplink come from an authoritative resource in my subject area?
  • Does the deeplink provide new insights to a topic, and unique information that is unavailable in other resources listed in the category or generally available on the Web?
  • Is the deeplink's content high quality relative to rest of the content in the category?
  • Does adding the deeplink enhance the category and/or provide usefulness to the searcher?
  • Is the information in this deeplink mirrored in other similar resources that may or may not be listed in my category? Is the main purpose of the deeplink to sell/promote a product via affiliate links rather than to provide information? (HINT: don't list these types of deeplinks).

These sorts of deeplinks are routinely monitored and evaluated by staff, who has final discretion over deeplinking.

Name: Type #3, or "Related Deeplinks"


These deeplinks are related to the main site, and in most cases provide detailed information about the topic covered on the main page. They are usually submitted by the owner and do not fit into the other two types. These deeplinks are also the exception rather than rule, and should only be done in rare and exceptional cases.

Analysis and Examples:

While we might list, which is a horoscope site, we would not deeplink or Here are a couple of reasons:
  1. Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Divination/Astrology/Horoscopes is not sparse. There are plenty of listings for that category, so adding the Aries or Leo pages would not enhance the category.
  2. Someone searching for a horoscope for a Leo would not have to think hard to realize that it would probably be found on a site which is listed in the Astrology category and has in its description, "Free daily horoscopes."

However, we might add links for specific recipes under in Home/Cooking, in addition to the main site. The reasoning here is that most of the Cooking category is for listing recipes, and recipe content on the web is routinely given deep within large recipe collection sites.

To Deeplink or Not To Deeplink:

Once again, you would ask yourself the same kind of questions suggested under the Type 2 deeplink.

As with all decisions you will make while editing at ODP, use your common sense and apply your standards to all submissions without showing favoritism.

What To Consider

When considering whether to deeplink -- or to link at all, for that matter -- a site, we consider each link on a case-by-case basis. We consider
  • Comprehensiveness of the information provided on the site
  • Quality of the information provided
  • The unique qualities of the information - does it provide new insight to the topic or information that is not covered by other listed sites?
  • The site's content relative to the others listed - does it provide a nice complement or supplement to the sites already listed in the category
  • The general ODP guidelines for what to include and not to include:
We consider whether it offers unique, quality content which will enhance the category to which it is submitted. Again, you should ask yourself: "Does adding this deeplink enhance the category and/or provide usefulness to the searcher?" As with any editing decisions, you should also take care to be sure that you are not adding deeplinks in an arbitrary fashion or a manner that indicates favoritism.

What NOT To Consider

As when listing other type of URLs, when listing deeplinks the following attributes should not be part of the site evaluation process:
  • Quality of the HTML source
  • Figuring out the business model
  • Digging up who owns it and what else they own
  • Color schemes
  • What our friends or relatives think about the product or service
  • Whether we agree or disagree with their philosophy
  • The relationship between the site itself and the host service, including the service's TOS and whether or not that site is in violation of the TOS

When In Doubt:

When you have a question as to whether or not to deeplink, it might be helpful to pinpoint what kind of deeplink it is by re-reading the above synopsis of types. Then ask yourself these now familiar questions: "Does adding this deeplink enhance the category by adding quality and unique content not found on other sites in the category? Does it provide usefulness to the searcher?" If the answer is yes, and if it fits the other criteria outlined in the guidelines, then add it.

- Laisha