Linking to other content in your own website or domain is called internal linking.
A WordPress website comes with great built-in internal linking features, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, categories, tags, and archives pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), comments RSS, an internal linking tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional linking functionality can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for creating extensive content linking.
This step-by-step tutorial explains the benefits of internal linking and how to add internal links to WordPress using the advanced link tool.
(WordPress Linking Tool)
Internal Content Linking – Benefits
Internal content links are simply hyperlinks in your content pointing to other sections of your website.
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 uses extensive content linking extensively)
Inserting internal links into pages and posts provides several benefits, not only for website owners, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal links enable users to view more content and ensures that search engines can better index web site. Wikipedia is a great example of websites that rely on internal content links.
Benefit Of Using Internal Content Linking #1 – Improved Website Usability And User Experience
(Use content linking to improve site usability and create a better user experience.)
Websites are meant to provide visitors with the information they are looking for. By offering users easy access to other areas of your site containing more of the content they are looking for, you not only improve the quality of your site, but also your website’s user experience.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-planned website, this leads to improved sales results.
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 contact details page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Content Linking #2 – Improve Your Website’s Search Results
(Use internal linking to site’s search engine optimization (SEO).)
Adding links in your content also improves your search engine optimization (SEO). By creating internal links to other posts and pages on your site, you are helping search engine robots crawl your web pages faster and more easily than if your site contains only standalone posts and pages. This can result in more traffic to your site.
An effective way of improving your site’s search engine optimization is by combining internal linking with keyword relevancy. This can easily be achieved by adding keyword terms to hyperlinks (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides travel-related information or advice, you could link the key phrase “romantic cruises” from an article on different types of vacations to another blog post on your website listing romantic getaway destinations. This will help search engines get a better understanding of what your site is about.
Using anchor 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.
(Use anchor text links on content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Internal Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use content links to get more visibility and exposure for your content.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding new content, older posts get pushed further down the chronological table. This can lead to many of your posts becoming less popular.
If you have important content on older posts that you would like more visitors to access, place 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 visitors and search engines.
The more content you have being seen by visitors and being indexed by search engines, the more visibility and exposure your business receives online … which can lead to better results!
How To Use The WordPress Advanced Link Tool
In WordPress version 3.1, an internal linking tool was introduced that allows you to quickly and easily link content in posts to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was improved in WP version 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to the introduction of this advanced feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, creating internal links in WordPress is quite simple.
Here’s how to do it …
First, log into your WordPress backend, then find and open the post or page you would like to add links to.
Next, find and highlight the content you want to turn into a link.
After selecting and highlighting the content, click on the hyperlinking tool in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual editor menu – content link feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the tool …
(The feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content editor)
The Inline Linking editor appears below your highlighted keywords …
(Inline Linking Editor)
Paste in the URL of your target destination or enter a search term to find related content …
(Type in a search term to view related pages and posts)
Click the ’Return’ (Apply) icon to insert the link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link is now inserted …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can also use the advanced linking editor by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …
(WordPress Inline Linking editor – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced linking editor)
The Insert/edit link window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, add the Link Text associated with the link and choose whether to open your link in a new window …
(Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This function lets you insert internal links. Type a word or keyword phrase related to the post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress automatically begins looking for posts and pages containing those words …
(Type in the search term to view related content)
Select the title of the post or page you want to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets inserted into the URL section …
(Select the page or post you would like to link your content to)
Notice that the tool brings up both pages and posts …
(Link to pages or posts)
You are not limited to standard posts or pages. If you use custom post types on your website or blog (e.g. products, testimonials, etc.), you can also create internal links to these …
(Add internal links to custom post types in addition to standard posts or pages)
If you want the link 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 …
(Tick the box to open your link 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 …
(Open internal and external links in new windows – even external links pointing to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to content in other posts or pages …
(An internal 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
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 links if you want to make them more noticeable)
No tutorial on adding content links would be complete without showing you how to remove links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this topic right now.
To remove a hyperlink from your content, 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 links is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Links be gone!)
Plugins For Automating Internal Content Linking
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the WordPress linking tool.
Are there plugins for WordPress that can do this task?
Yes … Of course! As we explain in this article, there are plugins for just about everything. 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 or blog, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb links
- Links to related posts
- Internal linking through sidebar and footer 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 a few plugins you can check out for creating internal content linking automatically on your website.
(SEO internal linking structures. Source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite - WordPress plugin)
Congratulations! Now you know how to easily link content internally in your WordPress posts and pages.
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