An internal link is a hyperlink that connects content in different pages on your own website or domain.
A WordPress website comes with built-in internal linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, tags, categories, and archives pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), comments RSS, an internal linking tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional linking features can also be added to WordPress via plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for linking content both internally and externally.
In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn about the main benefits of using internal linking in your content, and how to easily link content in your posts and pages using WordPress’ own internal content linking feature.
(WordPress Internal Hyperlinking Function)
Internal Content Linking Benefits
Internal content linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content to relevant sections of your website.
Or, as explained 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 uses extensive internal content linking extensively)
Adding internal content links to other pages and posts has several benefits, not only for the website owner, but also for web visitors and search engines. Internal content linking allows users to access more content and ensures that search bots can better index web site.
Benefit Of Internal Links #1 – Improve Your Website Usability And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal linking to improve website usability and create a better user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with the relevant information that they are looking for. By offering users easy access to other sections of your website that contain more of the content they want to see, you not only improve the quality of your website, but also your website’s user experience.
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 result in more sales.
Make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to add links on your home page to your main services page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Content Linking #2 – Improved SEO Results
(Use content links to site’s search engine optimization (SEO).)
Adding internal content links also improves your search engine rankings. Linking to content on other posts and pages on your website helps search indexing spiders crawl sites more easily, faster and more thoroughly than sites that include only standalone pages and posts. This can drive more organic search traffic to your website or blog.
One of the more effective ways of improving search engine optimization is to combine internal linking with keyword relevancy. This is easily achieved by adding keyword terms to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide travel-related information, you could create an article where you describe romantic travel tips and link the key phrase “romantic cruises” to another section of your website listing wedding destinations. This helps search engines gain a better understanding of what the content on your pages are about.
Using keyword-relevant text links is effective for both visitors and search engines. You can add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can use keyword-relevant text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Content Linking #3 – Get More Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal links to increase visibility & exposure for your content.)
Over time, as you continue adding new content to your site, older posts get pushed down the chronological table. This can cause many of your posts to become less popular.
If there is older but important content on your site that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, add internal links within the content 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 … which can lead to better results!
Using The Link Tool In WordPress
A linking function was introduced in WP 3.1 that lets you link content in your posts to other posts and pages. This feature was upgraded in WP 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to the introduction of this advanced feature, if you wanted control over 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, creating internal content linking in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress backend, then find and open the post or page you want to add internal links to.
Next, find and highlight the text you want to add a link to.
After selecting and highlighting the text, click on the chain icon in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the link tool …
(The tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor)
The Inline Linking editor will display below the selection …
(Inline Linking Tool)
Paste in your link URL or enter a search term to find related pages and posts …
(Enter a search term to view related content)
Click the ’Return’ icon to create the link …
(WordPress Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link is now created …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can also access the advanced linking feature by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …
(Inline Linking – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal content link editor)
By default, you will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target link, add the Link Text associated with the link and choose whether to open the link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This is the feature that allows you to create internal links. Start typing a word or keyword related to the post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress will automatically retrieve posts and pages containing those words …
(Type in the search term to display related content)
Select the title of the post or page you want to link to, and the URL of the selected item automatically gets added to the URL section …
(Select the post or page you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the tool lets you link to pages or posts and shows you which item is what …
(Link to pages or posts)
You are not just limited to standard pages or posts. If you use custom WordPress post types on your website or blog (custom post types are post types that you create to display specific information, like products, portfolios, etc.), you can also create internal links to these …
(Link your content to custom post types in addition to regular pages or posts)
If you want to open your link 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 in 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 …
(Voilá … 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 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 visual content editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(You can format hyperlinks if you want to catch your visitors’ attention)
Deleting Links To Content
No tutorial on adding links to content would feel complete without showing you how to delete any links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this right now.
To remove a link 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 content editor menu as shown below
(Removing both internal and external links is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Non-clickable 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 built-in WordPress link feature.
Are there WordPress plugins that can automate this job?
Yes, there are! As we explain here, there are plugins that can do almost everything imaginable. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you need, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the kind of plugins and themes used on your website, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb navigation links
- Links to related posts
- Internal linking through sidebar and footer widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional types of linking content in WordPress, examine the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at various WordPress plugins you can check out for creating internal content linking automatically.
(SEO internal linking. Source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite - WordPress plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily add links to content in your WordPress pages and posts.
"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