An internal link is a hyperlink that connects content in different pages on your website or domain.
The WordPress CMS platform comes with built-in content linking functions, such as menus, permalinks, image links, tags, archives, and categories pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), comments RSS feeds, a default 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 linking content both internally and externally.
Linking to other pages helps your readers discover more of your content and has SEO benefits. This tutorial explains how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the advanced content linking feature.
(The WordPress Internal Linking Feature)
Benefits Of Internal Links
Internal content links are simply hyperlinks in your content to relevant sections of your WordPress site.
Or, as Wikipedia defines it …
“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 contain many internal links)
Adding links to your web posts and pages provides a number of benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your web visitors and search engines. Internal links allow users to view more content. This ensures that search engine spiders can better index your pages. Wikipedia is a great example of websites that rely extensively on using internal content linking.
Benefits Of Content Linking #1 – Improved Site Usability And User Experience
(Use content linking to improve website navigation and user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide users with relevant information. By offering users easier access to other sections of your website containing more of the content they want to see, you not only improve the navigation of your website, you also create a better experience for your site’s 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, leads, or subscribers.
Make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to link your home page to your main services page.
Benefit Of Using Internal Linking #2 – Improve Your Search Rankings
(Use internal linking to improve your search results.)
Internal content links improve your search rankings. Linking to content on other pages or posts on your website helps search engine indexing spiders crawl your web pages faster, more easily and more thoroughly than if your site contains only standalone pages. This can drive more web traffic to your site.
One of the most effective ways to improve your search engine optimization is to combine internal links with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding keywords as titles to hyperlinks (called anchor text links).
For example, if your blog provides travel-related services or advice, you could create an article on romantic travel ideas and link the phrase “romantic cruises” to another section of your site listing various exotic destinations. This helps search engines get a better understanding of what the content on your website is all about.
Using keyword-relevant text links is more effective for both visitors and search engines. You can use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefits Of Content Linking #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use content links to get more visibility and exposure for your content.)
As you continue adding content to your WordPress site, your post entries will become older and get pushed down the chronology. This can lead to many posts being visited less often.
If there is old but important content on your site that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, place internal links within the content of some 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 your site visitors and search engines.
Having more of your content being seen by visitors and accessed by search engines means more visibility and exposure for your business … which can lead to better results!
Using The WordPress Internal Hyperlink Tool
In WP version 3.1, a link feature was introduced that lets you link content inside your posts and pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WP v. 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 search your site for the page or post to link to, then copy its URL and manually paste and add a link to it in your content. Now, performing linking operations inside content is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress admin section, find and open the post or page you would like to insert internal links in.
Next, highlight the content you want to turn into a link.
After you have selected and highlighted the content, click on the insert/edit link tool in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual content editor – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content, select the ‘link’ button to access the linking tool …
(The link tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor)
The Inline Linking tool will display below the highlighted words …
(Inline Linking Tool)
Paste in your target destination URL or type in a search term to view related pages and posts …
(Enter a search term to find related content)
Click the ’Return’ (Apply) icon to insert your link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link is now added …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can also use the advanced linking editor by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(WordPress Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal link options)
This tool is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, type in the anchor text associated with the link and select whether to open your link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the section that lets you add internal links to your content. Type a word or keyword related to the page or post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress automatically begins searching for related posts and pages containing those words …
(Type in the search term to begin finding related posts and pages)
Select the title of the page or post you would like to link to, and the URL of your selected item will automatically be inserted into the fields in the destination URL section …
(Click on the post or page to link to in your content)
Notice that the feature shows you which content items are pages and which are posts …
(Link to pages or posts)
You are not just limited to standard posts or pages. You can also link to custom WordPress post types like products, image galleries, etc. …
(Add 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 window, then select the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button …
(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 for both internal and external links …
(Open internal and external links in a new window – even external links pointing 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 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
You can format your internal links (e.g. make the link bold, italicized, change the link color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress visual editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(Format links if you want visitors to notice them)
Deleting Links To Content
No tutorial on adding links to content would be complete without showing you how to delete links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this right now.
To remove a hyperlink from your posts or pages, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the ’remove’ icon on the link editor floating box or the ‘Remove link’ tool on the content editor menu as shown below
(Removing both internal and external hyperlinks is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Non-clickable text … all links removed!)
Internal Linking Plugins for WordPress
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the built-in tool.
Are there any WordPress plugins that can automate this job?
Yes … Of course! As we explain here, there are WordPress plugins for everything. And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you want, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of WordPress theme used on your website, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb website navigation
- Links to related posts
- Linking using footer and sidebar widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional ways to link content in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating links in WordPress, and look at several WordPress plugins you can check out for creating internal links automatically on your website.
(Internal linking structures for SEO. Image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite - WordPress plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily add links to content in your WordPress posts and pages.
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