How To Use The WordPress Internal Linking Tool

Learn about the SEO benefits of internal linking and how to create internal links in posts and pages using the WordPress linking tool …

How To Use The WordPress Linking ToolAccording to Moz, the SEO consulting company, “internal links are hyperlinks that point at (target) the same domain as the domain that the link exists on (source). In layman’s terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website.”

The WordPress CMS platform provides built-in internal linking features, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, tags, archives, and categories pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS, a default link tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional link features can also be added to WordPress via plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for linking content both internally and externally.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we discuss some of the benefits of using internal links in your content, and how to easily link content in your pages and posts using the WordPress internal content linking function.

WordPress Linking Tool

(The WordPress Internal Link Tool)

Internal Content Linking Benefits

Internal linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content pointing to relevant sections of your website or blog.

As defined in Wikipedia …

“An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain. Hyperlinks are considered either “external” or “internal” depending on their target or destination. Generally, a link to a page outside the same domain or website is considered external, whereas one that points at another section of the same webpage or to another page of the same website or domain is considered internal.” (source: Wikipedia)

Wikipedia's pages provide great examples of internal content linking

(Wikipedia’s pages are full of internal content links)

Using internal links to other posts provides many benefits, not only for the website owner, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal linking lets visitors access more content and helps search engine bots index web pages faster.

Benefit Of Using Internal Content Linking #1 – Improved Website Navigation And User Experience

Use content links to improve site usability and create a better user experience.

(Use content linking to improve your site navigation and create a better user experience.)

Websites are supposed to provide users with the information they are searching for. By providing users with easier access to other parts of your site that contain more of the content they want to see, you not only improve the usability of your website, you also create a better experience for your users.

Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-planned website, this creates improved sales conversions.

Make sure that the information you are linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to link your company page to your contact details page.

Benefits Of Using Content Links #2 – Improved Search Results

Use internal content linking to improve your SEO results.

(Use content linking to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).)

Adding links in your content improves your SEO. By creating internal links to content on other pages or posts on your website, you are helping search indexing spiders crawl pages more thoroughly, faster and more easily than sites that contain only standalone pages and posts. This can result in more web traffic to your website or blog.

One of the most effective ways of improving search engine optimization is to combine internal links with relevant keywords. This can be easily achieved by adding keyword terms to link URLs (called anchor text links).

For example, if you provide wedding-related information or advice, you could create a post on unusual gifts for weddings and link the phrase “eco wedding gift ideas” to another article on your website about wedding gift registries. This will help search engines get a better understanding of what your site is all about.

Using keyword-relevant text links is effective for both search engines and visitors. You can add keyword-relevant text links to content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.

You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.

(You can add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)

Benefits Of Internal Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure

Use internal content linking to increase content visibility & exposure.

(Use content links to increase visibility and exposure for your content.)

In WordPress, as you continue adding content to your site, older posts get pushed further down the chronological table. This can lead to many posts becoming less popular and being less visited.

If there is content on older posts that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, insert internal links within the content of your more popular posts pointing to your less popular pages to increase their exposure, and/or add links to older posts to help them get found again by visitors and search engines.

The more content you have being seen by visitors and being indexed by search engines, the more visibility and exposure your business receives online … which can lead to better results!

Using The WordPress Internal Hyperlink Tool

In WP 3.1, a link function was introduced that lets you easily link content inside posts to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was improved in WordPress v. 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.

Prior to the introduction of this feature, if you wanted control over your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually search your site for the page you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually paste and add a link to it in your content. Now, creating internal content linking in WordPress is very simple.

Here’s how to do it …

First, log into your WordPress dashboard, and locate and open the post or page you want to add links to.

Next, find and highlight the content you want to add a hyperlink to.

After selecting and highlighting the content, click on the hyperlinking feature in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …

WordPress visual content editor - link tool

(WordPress visual editor – content link tool)

Useful Info

If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content, click the ‘link’ button to access the feature …

The tool can also be accessed in the 'Text' tab of the content editor

(The linking tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the editor)

The Inline Linking tool will display below your selection …

Inline Linking

(Inline Linking)

Paste in your link URL or start typing a word or keyword phrase related to the text you want to hyperlink into the field to view related pages and posts …

Enter a search term to find related content

(Type in a search term to view related posts and pages)

Click the ’Return’ icon to add the link …

Inline Linking - Apply button

(Inline Linking – Apply button)

Your link will be created …

Link inserted into content

(Link added to content)

You can access the advanced linking tool by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …

Inline Linking - 'Link Options'

(Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)

This brings up the Insert/edit link window …

Advanced content linking editor

(Advanced content link feature)

The Insert/edit link tool is divided into two sections:

Enter the destination URL

Paste in your target destination URL, enter the Link Text associated with the link and tick the ‘Open link in a new window/tab’ checkbox to open your link in a new window/tab …

Insert/edit link editor

(Insert/edit link editor)

Or link to existing content

This advanced linking tool lets you create internal links. Enter a word or keyword related to the title of the post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress automatically begins searching for posts and pages containing those words …

Type in the search term to view related pages and posts

(Enter the search term to display related pages and posts)

Select the post or page you want to link to, and the URL of the selected item will automatically be added to the destination URL field …

Click on the post or page to link your content to

(Click on the page or post to link to in your content)

Notice that the tool lets you link to pages or posts and shows you which item is what …

Link to posts or pages

(Link to posts or pages)

You are not limited to default posts or pages. If you use custom post types on your site, you can also create internal links to these …

Link content to custom post types in addition to standard pages or posts

(Link your content to custom post types in addition to regular pages or posts)

If you want the linked content to open in a new window, tick the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button

Tick the box to open your link in a new window

(Tick the box and your link will open in a new window)

Note that the ability to open linked content in a new window or tab can be used in both internal and external links …

You can open internal and external links in a new window - even external links pointing to content about internal links ... whooa!

(Open internal and external links in new windows – even external links pointing to content about internal links!)

Your internal link is now created …

An internal link

(Voilá … an internal link!)

WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links

From WP 4.6, WordPress now automatically checks when you add hyperlinks to detect broken links. If you add a broken link (e.g. add a space in the URL), WordPress will let you know, allowing you to update the link before publishing it to your site. …

WordPress automatically detects broken links

(WordPress automatically detects broken links. Source: WordPress 4.6 Features)

Useful Info

WordPress can automatically detect if you type in a broken link but it can’t detect whether a correctly entered link leads to a ‘not found’ page error or a destination page that can’t be accessed (e.g. server down or website deleted).

To learn how to detect and repair broken links, see the tutorial below:

Link Boundaries

In version 4.8, WordPress introduced a new feature called Link Boundaries that fixes common issues users experience when trying to update a link or the text around a link and can’t seem to edit it correctly.

These include:

  • Editing text after the link and finding that the new text also ends up linked,
  • Editing text in the link but finding that text ends up outside of the link.

Link boundaries create a ‘shield’ around the link to help streamline the link editing process …

New WordPress Feature - Link Boundaries

(New WordPress Feature – Link Boundaries)

To see this feature in action, watch the short video demo below:

(Link Boundaries)

Internal Link Options

If you want, you can also format your internal links (e.g. you can italicize your link, make it bold, add color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress visual content editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …

Format hyperlinks if you want to make them more visible

(You can format hyperlinks to make them stand out)

How To Remove Content Links

No tutorial on adding links to WordPress content is complete without showing you how to delete links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this topic right now.

To remove a hyperlink from your content, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ button on the content editor menu as shown below

Deleting both internal and external hyperlinks is easy ... you even get choices!

(Deleting links is easy … you even get choices!)

Your hyperlink will be removed …

Non-clickable text ... all links removed!

(Non-clickable content … all links removed!)

Internal Linking Plugins

So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the WordPress inline link function.

Are there WordPress plugins that can automate this work?

Yes, there are! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are plugins for just about everything. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you are looking for, one can be created for you.

Also, depending on the type of theme used on your website, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:

  • Breadcrumb links
  • Links to related posts
  • Linking using sidebar and footer widgets

In another article, we’ll discuss additional ways to link content in WordPress, examine the pros and cons of automating content links in WordPress, and look at several WordPress plugins you can check out for creating internal links automatically in your content:

Internal linking structures for SEO

(SEO internal linking structures. Image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite WordPress plugin)

Congratulations! Now you know how to easily link content in your WordPress posts and pages.

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"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

Originally published as How To Use The WordPress Internal Linking Tool.