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 built-in content linking features, such as custom menus, permalinks, image links, archives, tags, and categories pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), entries RSS feeds, a default linking tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional linking functionality can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for linking content both internally and externally.
In this tutorial, you will discover the benefits of internal linking and how to insert internal links into WordPress using the advanced linking feature.
(The WordPress Built-In Linking Function)
Internal Content Hyperlinks – Benefits
Internal content links are simply links in your content pointing to relevant posts and pages on your website or blog.
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 are full of internal content links)
Adding hyperlinks to pages and posts provides many benefits, not only for you as a website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal linking lets visitors view more content. This also helps search engine robots better index your web pages. Sites like Wikipedia use internal content linking extensively for visitors.
Benefits Of Using Internal Content Links #1 – Improve Website Navigation And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal content linking to improve your site navigation and create a better user experience.)
The main purpose of a website is to provide visitors with the relevant content that they are searching for. Providing users with easy access to other parts of your website that contain more of the content they are looking for not only improves the usability of your website, it also creates a better experience for your visitors.
Creating a better experience for users means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more of your web pages. In a well-planned website, this can easily lead to more sales.
It’s important to make sure that the content you are actually linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to link your home page to your about page.
Benefits Of Using Content Links #2 – Site’s SEO Results
(Use internal content linking to site’s search rankings.)
Internal links improve your search results. Linking to content on other posts and pages on your website helps search engine indexing bots crawl pages faster and more thoroughly than sites comprised only of of standalone pages. This can result in more organic search traffic to your site.
One of the more effective ways to improve SEO is to combine internal linking with keyword relevancy. This is easily achieved by adding keyword terms to link URLs (called anchor text links).
For example, if your blog provides travel-related information, you could hyperlink the key phrase “romantic cruises” from a post describing different types of vacations to another section of your website listing wedding destinations.
Using keyword-relevant text links is effective for visitors and search engines. You can add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Add anchor text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Using Content Linking #3 – Increased Content Visibility And Exposure
(Use internal linking to increase visibility and exposure for your content.)
Over time, as you continue adding new content to your WordPress site, your post entries will get older and get pushed down the chronological table. This can lead to your posts becoming less popular.
If you have content on older posts that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, consider adding internal links within the content of some of your more popular pages 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 online … and this can lead to better results!
Creating Internal Linking In WordPress Using The Inline Link Editor
In WordPress 3.1, a linking function was introduced that lets you link content on your pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was upgraded in WP 4.5 to include an inline linking editor.
Prior to this advanced feature, if you wanted control over your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually search your site for the page 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 quite simple.
Here’s how to do it …
First, log into your WordPress backend, locate and open the post or page you would like to create links in.
Next, find and highlight the keywords, phrase, or content you want to turn into a hyperlink.
After selecting and highlighting the content, click on the insert/edit link icon in the WordPress visual editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the linking feature …
(The feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor)
The Inline Linking editor will display below the selection …
Paste in your target destination URL or type a word or keyword phrase related to the text you want to hyperlink in the box to find related content …
(Type in a search term to find related content)
Click the ‘Apply’ icon to insert your link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link will be added to the content …
(Link added to content)
You can also access the advanced linking tool by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(WordPress Inline Linking – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal content linking tool)
The Insert/edit link window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target destination, type in the Link Text associated 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 is the section that allows you to insert internal links into your content. Type a word or keyword related to the post or page you want to hyperlink into the Search field. WordPress will automatically retrieve pages and posts containing those words …
(Enter the search term to display related content)
Click the post or page you would like to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets added to the fields in the destination URL section …
(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 just limited to default posts or pages. You can also link to custom WordPress post types (these are post types that you create to display information in a specific way), like products, slides, etc. …
(Create internal links to custom WordPress post types in addition to regular posts or pages)
If you want to open your link in a new browser window, then select the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button to create your internal link …
(Tick the box to open your link 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 external and internal 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 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. 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! :)) …
(You can format hyperlinks if you want to catch your readers’ attention)
How To Delete Content Links
No tutorial on adding links to content would feel complete without showing you how to delete links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this right now.
To delete a hyperlink from your pages or posts, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ button on the WordPress editor menu as shown below
(Deleting both internal and external links is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Plain content … all links removed!)
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the built-in function.
Are there WordPress plugins that can do this task?
Yes, there are! As we explain here, there are WordPress plugins for just about 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 plugins and themes used on your website, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Related posts
- Linking through widgets
In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional types of linking content in WordPress, look at the pros and cons of automating links in WordPress, and look at several plugins you can check out for creating internal links automatically on your website:
(SEO internal linking. Screenshot image sourced from: 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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