Internal links are hyperlinks that connect content in different pages on your own website or domain.
WordPress comes with built-in internal linking features, such as custom menus, permalinks, image links, archives, categories, and tags pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, an internal link tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional link 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 and pages helps your readers discover more of your content and improves your site’s SEO. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the advanced content linking feature.
(WordPress Hyperlink Tool)
Internal Content Hyperlinks – Benefits
Internal links are simply hyperlinks added to your content pointing 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’s pages provide great examples of internal linking)
Using links in your pages and posts provides a number of benefits, not only for you as a website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal content links allow visitors to access more content. This also ensures that search spiders can better index your site. Websites like Wikipedia rely extensively on internal content linking for attracting visitors.
Benefit Of Using Content Links #1 – Improved Site Usability And User Experience
(Use internal links to improve site usability and user experience.)
Web pages are supposed to provide users with the information they are looking for. By providing users with easy access to other parts of your website that contain more of the content they are searching for, you not only improve the usability of your website, but also your user’s experience.
Creating a better experience for users means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-thought-out sales process, this can easily result in more sales, leads, or subscribers.
Make sure that what you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to link your company page to your main products page.
Benefit Of Content Links #2 – Improve Your Website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(Use internal content links to improve your website’s search results.)
Internal content linking improves your search results. Linking to other pages and posts on your website helps search indexing robots crawl web pages faster and more easily than sites that include only standalone pages. This can result in more organic search traffic to your site.
One of the most effective ways of improving SEO is by combining internal links with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding keywords as titles to link URLs (called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides wedding services, you could create a post on unusual gifts for weddings and hyperlink the key phrase “sustainable wedding gift ideas” to another article on your website listing wedding gift registries.
Using keyword-relevant text links is more effective for visitors and search engines. You can add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal linking to increase visibility and exposure for your content.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding content, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can cause your posts to lose popularity.
If there is useful content on older posts or pages that you would like more visitors to see, consider creating internal links within the content of some 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 your site 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 … and this can lead to better results!
How To Use The WordPress Inline Linking Tool
In WordPress v. 3.1, a link tool was introduced that allows you to easily link content in pages and posts to other posts and pages. This feature was improved in WP 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to this feature, if you wanted control over your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, adding links to pages and posts in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress admin, locate and open the post or page you want to insert internal links into.
Next, find and highlight the keyword phrase you want to add a link to.
After selecting and highlighting the words, click on the chain icon in the WordPress visual editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual editor menu – content linking tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content, select the ‘link’ button to access the link feature …
(The tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content editor)
The Inline Linking tool will display below your selection …
Paste in your target destination URL or enter a search term to view related posts and pages …
(Enter a search term to find related posts and pages)
Click the ’Return’ icon to create the link …
(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link has now been added to your content …
(Hyperlink inserted into content)
You can access the advanced linking tool by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ button …
(Inline Linking – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal content linking tool)
This window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your link URL, type in the Link Text to display with the link and select whether to open the link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This feature lets you insert internal links. Enter a word or keyword related to the post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress will automatically retrieve pages and posts containing those words …
(Enter the search term to view related posts and pages)
Click the post or page you would like to link to, and the URL of the selected item will automatically be added to the fields in the destination URL section …
(Click on the post or page to link your content to)
Notice that the feature lets you link to pages or posts and shows you which item is what …
(Link to posts or pages)
But you are not limited to default pages or posts. You can also link to custom post types like products, image galleries, etc. …
(Link content to custom WordPress post types in addition to posts or pages)
If you want to open your link in a new browser window, then 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)
Note that the ability to open links in a new window or tab can be used in both internal and external links …
(Open internal and external links in a new window – even external links to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to content in other posts or pages …
(An internal link)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From WP v. 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
You can 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 your hyperlinks if you want to make them more noticeable)
Deleting Content Links
No tutorial on adding content links would feel complete without showing you how to remove links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this topic right now.
To remove a link from your posts or pages, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the ’remove’ icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ button on the content editor menu as shown below
(Deleting hyperlinks is easy … WordPress even gives you different choices!)
Your link will be removed …
(Non-clickable content … all links removed!)
Internal Linking Plugins for WordPress
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the built-in WordPress inline link feature.
Are there any WordPress plugins that can automate this job?
Yes, there are! As we explain here, there are plugins for 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 kind of plugins and themes used on your site, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Using Breadcrumbs
- Related posts
- Internal linking through sidebar and footer widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional types of linking content in WordPress, examine the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at a few plugins that can help you create links automatically on your website:
(SEO internal linking structures. Screenshot source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin for WordPress)
Congratulations! Now you know how to easily link content internally in your WordPress posts and pages.
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group