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.”
The WordPress CMS platform comes with great built-in internal linking features, such as menus, permalinks, image links, tags, categories, and archives pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), comments RSS feeds, a default linking tool, read more tags, etc. Additional linking features can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for adding extensive content linking.
In this tutorial, you will learn about the benefits of internal linking and how to add internal links to WordPress using the internal link feature.
(The WordPress Internal Hyperlinking Feature)
Benefits Of Using Content Links
Internal content linking simply means adding links in your content pointing to relevant sections of your website.
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 provide loads of examples of internal linking)
Inserting links into content provides several benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your web visitors and search engines. Internal linking lets visitors view more content. This also ensures that search engine spiders can index your web pages faster.
Benefits Of Using Internal Content Linking #1 – Improved Site Usability And User Experience
(Use internal linking to improve website navigation and user experience.)
The main purpose of a website is to provide visitors with relevant information. By offering users easy access to other parts of your website containing more of the content they are searching for, you not only improve the navigation of your site, 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-planned website, this will lead to better sales results.
Make sure that the information you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to add links on your home page to your contact details page.
Benefit Of Using Content Links #2 – Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(Use content linking to improve your website’s search rankings.)
Adding internal content links also improves your SEO results. Linking to content on other posts and pages on your site helps search indexing spiders crawl your web pages faster, more easily and more thoroughly than if your site includes only standalone pages. This can drive more organic search traffic to your site.
An effective way of improving search engine optimization is to combine internal links with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding keyword terms to hyperlinks (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide travel-related information, you could create a post where you list romantic travel tips and ideas and hyperlink the keywords “romantic cruises” to another blog post on your site listing various honeymoon destinations.
Using anchor text links is effective for search engines and visitors. You can use keyword-relevant text links on titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Internal Content Linking #3 – Get More Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal linking to increase content visibility and exposure.)
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 cause many posts to become less popular and attract less visitors.
If you have content on older posts or pages that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, insert 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 visitors can see and search engines can access, the more visibility and exposure your business gets online … which can lead to better results!
How To Create Internal Linking Using The Inline Link Tool
In WordPress 3.1, an advanced linking tool was introduced that lets you link content inside posts and pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WP 4.5 to include an inline link tool.
Prior to this advanced feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page or post to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, adding linking to pages and posts is very simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress admin section, then find and open the post or page you would like to insert internal links into.
Next, highlight the keywords you would like to turn into a hyperlink.
After selecting and highlighting the content, click on the hyperlink icon in the WordPress visual editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual content editor menu – content link tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the linking feature …
(The linking tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the editor)
The Inline Linking editor will display below the selection …
(WordPress Inline Linking)
Paste in your link URL or type in a search term to find related content …
(Enter a search term to bring up related pages and posts)
Click the ’Return’ (Apply) icon to create the link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link will be added …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can access the advanced linking editor by clicking on the gear icon …
(WordPress Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal linking feature)
You will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, type in the anchor text to display with the link and select whether to open the link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the section that allows you to create internal links. Start typing a word or keyword phrase related to the post you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress automatically begins looking for pages and posts containing those words …
(Type in the search term to find related pages and posts)
Click on the page or post you would like to link to, and the URL of your selected item will automatically be added to the destination URL field …
(Select the page or post you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the tool shows you which content items are pages and which are posts …
(Link to posts or pages)
But you are not just limited to regular posts or pages. You can also link to custom WordPress post types like products, testimonials, etc. …
(Link content in WordPress to custom post types in addition to posts or pages)
If you want to open your linked content in a new browser window, then select 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 linked content 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 pointing to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to your content …
(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 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
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 editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(Format your links if you want readers to notice them)
Deleting Content Links
No tutorial on adding links to WordPress content would be complete without showing you how to remove any links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this 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’ icon on the WordPress editor menu as shown below
(Removing both internal and external links is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Plain 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 inline linking feature.
Are there any plugins for WordPress that can automate this task?
Yes, there are! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are plugins for just about everything you can imagine. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you want, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of plugins and themes 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 a separate article, we’ll discuss additional methods of linking content in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at various plugins you can check out for creating internal links automatically.
(Internal linking structures for SEO. Image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily add links to content in your WordPress posts and pages.
"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