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 comes with great built-in internal linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, categories, archives, and tags pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), comments RSS, an internal linking tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional linking features can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for linking content both internally and externally.
This tutorial explains the benefits of internal linking and how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the internal linking tool.
(WordPress Hyperlink Tool)
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking
Internal linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content pointing to relevant pages and posts on your website or blog.
Or, as Wikipedia explains 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 content links)
Using internal content links to other pages and posts provides a number of benefits, not only for website owners, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal linking enables visitors to access more content and ensures that search engines can index pages faster. Websites like Wikipedia use internal links extensively for visitors.
Benefit Of Using Internal Content Links #1 – Improved Website Usability And User Experience
(Use content links to improve site usability and user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with the information that they are searching for. Providing users with easier access to other sections of your site containing more of the content they want to see not only makes your website easier to navigate, but also your site’s user experience.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more of your web pages. In a well-thought-out sales funnel, this can easily lead to more sales.
It’s important to make sure that the information you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your company page to your about us page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Content Linking #2 – Improve Your Website’s SEO Results
(Use internal content links to improve your search rankings.)
Adding internal content links also improves your search results. By creating internal links to other posts and pages on your website, you are helping search engine indexing spiders crawl web pages faster and more easily than sites that include only standalone pages. This can result in more organic search traffic to your website or blog.
One of the most effective ways to improve search engine optimization is by combining internal links with keyword relevancy. This can be easily achieved by adding link text to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide wedding information, you could hyperlink the keywords “eco wedding gift ideas” from an article about unusual gifts for weddings to another blog post on your site listing wedding gift registries. This helps search engines get a better understanding of what your web pages are about.
Using keyword-relevant text links is effective for search engines and visitors. You can use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Using Internal Linking #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal linking to increase content visibility & exposure.)
Over time, as you continue adding new content to your site, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can cause many of your posts to become less popular and attract less visitors.
If you have content on older posts that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, place internal links within the content of your more popular posts 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.
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!
Creating Internal Links In WordPress Using The WordPress Inline Link Tool
In WordPress v. 3.1, a linking tool was introduced that lets you link content inside posts to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was upgraded in WP version 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to this advanced feature, if you wanted to control 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, performing internal linking in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress admin, and locate and open the post or page you would like to create links in.
Next, highlight the keyword phrase you would like to add a hyperlink to.
When you have selected and highlighted the words, click on the content linking icon in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual 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 content)
The Inline Linking tool appears below your highlighted words …
Paste in the URL of your target destination or enter a search term to view related posts and pages …
(Type in a search term to find related pages and posts)
Click the ‘Apply’ button to insert the link …
(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link will be added …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can also access the advanced linking feature by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(WordPress Inline Linking tool – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced content linking options)
You will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target destination, add the Link Text to display with the link and select whether to open your link in a new window …
(Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the section that allows you to create internal links. Type a word or keyword related to the post you want to hyperlink in the Search field. WordPress will automatically retrieve pages and posts containing those words …
(Type in the search term to display related posts and pages)
Click on the title of post or page you want to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets added to the destination URL section …
(Click on the post or page you would like to link your content to)
Notice that the feature brings up both pages and posts …
(Link to pages or posts)
But you are not limited to regular pages or posts. If you use custom WordPress post types on your website or blog (e.g. products, image galleries, etc.), you can also create internal links to these …
(Add internal links to custom WordPress post types in addition to regular 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 to create your internal link …
(Check the box and your link will open 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 …
(You can open internal and external links in a new window – even external links to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(Internal content link)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From 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 fix the 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, 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 catch your readers’ attention)
Removing Content Links
No tutorial on adding content links would be complete without showing you how to remove 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
(Removing links is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Links is gone!)
Plugins For Linking Content Internally
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the built-in WordPress inline linking feature.
Are there plugins for WordPress that can automate this task?
Yes, there are! As we explain in this article, there are plugins that can do almost everything imaginable. 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 used on your site, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb links
- Links to related posts
- Internal linking through widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional content linking strategies in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating links in WordPress, and look at several plugins that can help you create internal links automatically on your site:
(Internal linking structures for SEO. Image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite WordPress plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily create internal links to content in WordPress.
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