According to SEO consulting company Moz, “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, image links, categories, tags, and archives pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), comments RSS, an internal link tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional linking features can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for adding extensive content linking.
Linking to other posts in your website or domain has many SEO benefits. This tutorial explains how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the internal link feature.
(WordPress Internal Content Linking Feature)
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking
Internal content links are simply links in your content to relevant sections of your WordPress site.
Here is how Wikipedia defines internal linking …
“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 uses extensive internal content linking extensively)
Using internal links in your content provides several benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal links enable visitors to view more content. This ensures that search bots can index your pages faster.
Benefits Of Internal Linking #1 – Improved Website Usability And User Experience
(Use content links to improve your site usability and create a better user experience.)
The main purpose of a website is to provide visitors with the relevant information that they are looking for. Providing users with easier access to other sections of your website that contain more of the content they are looking for not only makes your website easier to use and navigate, it also creates a better experience for your users.
Improving user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-planned website, this can easily lead to more sales conversions.
Make sure that the content you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your company page to your about page.
Benefits Of Using Content Links #2 – Improved SEO
(Use internal content linking to improve your SEO results.)
Adding links in your content improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Linking to content on other posts or pages on your site helps search engine spiders crawl your pages faster and more thoroughly than if your site contains only standalone posts and pages. This can result in more traffic to your website.
An effective way to improve search engine optimization is by combining internal linking with keyword relevancy. This can easily be achieved by adding keyword terms to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides wedding-related services or advice, you could create a post offering tips on where to find unusual wedding gifts and link the keywords “green wedding gift ideas” to another section of your site containing a wedding gift registry directory. This helps search engines gain a better understanding of what the content on your pages are all about.
Using anchor text links is an effective strategy for visitors and search engines. You can add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Use keyword-relevant text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefits Of Internal Content Linking #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use content links to increase visibility & exposure for your content.)
Over time, as you continue adding content to your WordPress site, your posts will get older and get pushed further down the chronological table. This can cause many posts to lose popularity.
If you have content on older posts or pages that you would like more visitors to access, insert internal links within the content of your more popular pages pointing to your less popular posts to increase their exposure, and/or add links to older posts to help them get found again by visitors and search engines.
Having more of your content being seen by visitors and indexed by search engines means more visibility and exposure for your business … which can lead to better results!
How To Use The Internal Content Hyperlinking Tool In WordPress
In WordPress 3.1, a link feature was introduced that allows you to link content inside posts and pages to other posts and pages. This feature was improved in WP v. 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.
Prior to this feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually search your site for the page or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, creating links in other content in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress dashboard, and locate and open the post or page you want to add links into.
Next, find and highlight the keywords, phrase, or sentence you would like to transform into a hyperlink.
After you have selected and highlighted the words, click on the hyperlinking icon in the WordPress visual editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content, select the ‘link’ button to access the feature …
(The tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the editor)
The Inline Linking tool appears below the highlighted keywords …
(WordPress Inline Linking)
Paste in the URL of your target destination or begin typing a word or keyword phrase related to the title of the post you want to hyperlink into the box to bring up related pages and posts …
(Type in a search term to find related pages and posts)
Click the ’Return’ icon to insert the link …
(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link has now been added …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can also use the advanced linking tool by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(Inline Linking editor – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced linking feature)
By default, you will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target destination, add the anchor text to display with the link and select whether to open your link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This is the advanced linking section that allows you to create internal links. Type a word or keyword phrase related to the post or page you want to hyperlink in the Search field. WordPress will automatically begin searching for pages and posts containing those words …
(Enter the search term to display related pages and posts)
Click on the page or post you want to link to, and the URL of your selected item will automatically be inserted into the URL field …
(Click on the post or page you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the feature brings up both posts and pages …
(Link to posts or pages)
But you are not just limited to standard pages or posts. You can also link to custom post types like products, testimonials, etc. …
(Create internal links to custom WordPress post types in addition to default posts or pages)
If you want the linked content to open in a new browser window, tick the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button …
(Check the box to open your link in a new window)
Note that the ability to open linked content in a new window can be used in both internal and external links …
(You can open external and internal links in a new window – even external links to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(An internal link)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From version 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 correct your link before publishing it to your site. …
(WordPress automatically detects broken links. Source: WordPress 4.6 Features)
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:
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.
- 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)
To see this feature in action, watch the short video demo below:
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 WYSIWYG editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(Format your hyperlinks if you want to make them more noticeable)
Deleting Content Links
No tutorial on adding content links is complete without showing you how to delete any links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this topic right now.
To delete a hyperlink from your posts or pages, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating box or the ‘Remove link’ button on the content editor menu as shown below
(Deleting both internal and external hyperlinks is easy … WordPress even gives you choices!)
Your link will be removed …
(Non-clickable content … all links removed!)
Plugins For Automating Internal Content Linking
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the built-in WordPress inline linking tool.
Are there plugins for WordPress that can perform this job?
Yes … Of course! As we explain in this article, there are plugins for everything. And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you need, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of theme installed on your site, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Links to related posts
- Internal linking using sidebar and footer widgets
In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional content linking strategies in WordPress, examine the pros and cons of automating links in WordPress, and look at a number of WordPress plugins that can help you create internal links automatically on your site:
(SEO internal linking. Image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite WordPress plugin)
Congratulations! Now you know how to easily create internal content links in your WordPress pages and posts.
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)