According to 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.”
WordPress provides built-in content linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, image links, archives, categories, and tags pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), entries RSS feeds, an internal linking tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional link features can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for adding extensive content linking.
In this step-by-step tutorial, we discuss the SEO benefits of using internal linking in your content, and how to easily add links in your content using the WordPress advanced linking tool.
(WordPress Internal Linking Tool)
Internal Content Hyperlinks – Benefits
Internal content linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content to relevant sections of your website or blog.
As defined by 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 contain many internal content links)
Adding links to your web pages and posts has a number of benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your web visitors and search engines. Internal linking allows users to access more content. This also ensures that search engine spiders can index your pages faster. Wikipedia is a great example of a site that uses internal content links.
Benefit Of Using Content Links #1 – Improved Website Usability And User Experience
(Use content links to improve site navigation and user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with relevant information. Offering users easier access to other sections of your website containing more of the content they want to see not only makes your site easier to navigate, but also your user’s experience.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. If you plan your marketing strategy well, this can easily lead to more sales, leads, or subscribers.
It’s important to make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for your users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your company page to your main services page.
Benefit Of Using Internal Content Linking #2 – Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(Use content linking to improve your SEO.)
Internal links also improve your search engine rankings. Linking to other posts and pages on your website helps search engine spiders crawl web pages faster and more easily than sites that contain only standalone posts and pages. This can drive more traffic to your website.
One of the most effective ways to improve SEO is by combining internal linking with relevant keywords. This can be easily achieved by adding keywords as titles to hyperlinks (called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide wedding information or advice, you could hyperlink the keywords “sustainable wedding gift ideas” from a post that offers various tips and ideas about finding unusual gifts for weddings to another blog post on your site containing a directory of wedding gift registries.
Using anchor text links is an effective strategy for search engines and visitors. You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Internal Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal links to increase content visibility & exposure.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding new content to your site, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can lead to many posts becoming less popular and attract less visitors.
If you have older content on your site that you would like more visitors to see, insert 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 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 online … and this can lead to better results!
How To Create Internal Linking Using The WordPress Advanced Linking Tool
In WordPress 3.1, a link tool was introduced that allows you to link content inside pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was improved in WP version 4.5 to include an inline linking 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 or post to link to, then copy its URL and manually paste and add a link to it in your content. Now, creating internal linking inside content in WordPress is quite simple.
Here’s how you do it …
Log into your WordPress admin section, locate and open the post or page you want to add internal links to.
Next, highlight the word or content you want to transform into a hyperlink.
After selecting and highlighting the content, click on the insert/edit link tool in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual editor menu – content linking tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content, select the ‘link’ button to access the link feature …
(The linking tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor)
The Inline Linking editor appears below the selected words …
(WordPress Inline Linking Tool)
Paste in the URL of your target destination or enter a word or keyword phrase related to the page you want to hyperlink into the field to bring up related content …
(Type in a search term to find related pages and posts)
Click the ’Return’ (Apply) button to add the link …
(WordPress Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link is now created …
(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 …
(Advanced link feature)
You will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target destination, enter the anchor text associated with the link and select whether to open your link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the linking feature that allows you to insert internal links into your content. Begin typing a word or keyword related to the title of the post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress automatically begins searching for content items containing those words …
(Enter the search term to view related content)
Click the post or page you would like to link to, and the item’s URL will automatically be added to the destination URL field …
(Click on the page or post you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the tool brings up both posts and pages …
(Link to pages or posts)
But you are not limited to default pages or posts. You can also link to custom post types (these are post types that you create to display information in a specific way), like products, categories, etc. …
(Link content in WordPress to custom post types in addition to pages or posts)
If you would like to open your linked content 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 links in a new window can be used for both internal and external links …
(You can open external and internal links in a new window – even external links pointing to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to your content …
(Voilá … an internal link!)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From WP 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 update 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
If you want, you can also format your internal links (e.g. make the link bold, italicized, change the link 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 stand out)
No tutorial on adding content links would feel 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 posts or pages, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ tool on the WordPress editor menu as shown below
(Deleting links is easy … you even get choices!)
Your link will be removed …
(Plain text … all links removed!)
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the WordPress inline link feature.
Are there any plugins for WordPress that can do this job?
Yes … Of course! As we explain here, there are plugins for everything you can imagine. 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 get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Using Breadcrumbs
- Links to related posts
- Internal linking using widgets
In a separate 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 plugins you can check out for creating links automatically on your site:
(SEO internal linking structures. Screenshot image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily create internal content links in WordPress.
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum