An internal link is a hyperlink that connects content in different pages on your website or domain.
The WordPress CMS platform provides built-in content linking features, such as menus, permalinks, text links, tags, categories, and archives pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), comments RSS feeds, a default linking tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional linking functionality can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for linking content both internally and externally.
In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn about the main benefits of internal linking, and how to easily link content in your pages and posts using the WordPress hyperlinking tool.
(WordPress Hyperlinking Tool)
Internal Hyperlinks – Benefits
Internal content links are simply links added to your content to other sections of your WordPress site.
As Wikipedia defines 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 uses extensive internal linking extensively)
Adding links to other pages and posts has many benefits, not only for you as a website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal links allow users to view more content. This helps search engines index your site faster.
Benefits Of Internal Content Linking #1 – Improved Website Usability And User Experience
(Use internal content links to improve website usability and create a better user experience.)
Websites are supposed to provide users with the content they are searching for. Offering users easier access to other sections of your website that contain more of the content they are searching for not only improves the quality of your website, it also creates a better experience for your users.
Creating a better experience for users means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more of your web pages. In a well-thought-out content strategy, this can lead to improved sales conversions.
Make sure that what you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your company page to your about us page.
Benefit Of Using Internal Content Links #2 – Improve Your SEO Results
(Use internal content links to site’s search engine optimization (SEO).)
Internal linking also improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Linking to content on other pages or posts on your website helps search engine indexing bots crawl pages faster, more easily and more thoroughly than sites that include only standalone pages. This can drive more organic search traffic to your website or blog.
An effective way of improving search engine optimization is by combining internal links with keyword relevancy. This can be easily achieved by adding link text to hyperlinks (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides wedding-related information, you could hyperlink the phrase “sustainable wedding gift ideas” from a post about unusual wedding gifts to another section of your website about wedding gift registries.
Using keyword-relevant text links is an effective linking strategy for search engines and visitors. You can use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can add anchor text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Content Links #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal content links to increase content visibility and exposure.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding content to your site, your post entries will become older and get pushed down the chronology. This can cause posts to become less visited.
If you have older but useful content on your site that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, place internal links within the content 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 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 … which can lead to better results!
Creating Internal Links Using The WordPress Advanced Link Tool
In WordPress 3.1, an advanced linking feature was introduced that lets you quickly and easily link content inside posts and pages to other posts and pages. This feature was updated in WordPress 4.5 to include an inline link 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, adding internal links to content in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how you do it …
First, log into your WordPress admin, find and open the post or page you would like to create links in.
Next, highlight the phrase or sentence you would like to add a hyperlink to.
After selecting and highlighting the text, click on the chain icon in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu – content linking tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the linking tool …
(The link feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content)
The Inline Linking editor appears below your selection …
(Inline Linking Tool)
Paste in your target destination URL or type a word or keyword related to the page or post you want to hyperlink into the box to find related pages and posts …
(Type in a search term to view related content)
Click the ’Return’ icon to add the link …
(WordPress Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link is now added to your content …
(Link inserted into content)
You can also access the advanced linking editor by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) icon …
(Inline Linking editor – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal linking options)
This tool is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your link URL, add the Link Text associated with the link and select whether to open your link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This function allows you to insert internal links into your content. Enter a word or keyword phrase related to the title of the page you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress automatically begins searching for related posts and pages containing those words …
(Enter the search term to display related content)
Select the post or page you would like to link to, and the URL of the selected item will automatically be inserted into the 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)
You are not limited to standard posts or pages. If you use custom post types on your website or blog (custom post types are post types created to display specific information, e.g. products, categories, etc.), you can also create internal links to these …
(Link your content to custom WordPress post types in addition to standard pages or posts)
If you want to open your linked content in a new browser window, select 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 linked content in a new window can be used for both internal and external links …
(Open internal and external links in new windows – even external links to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(An internal link … sublime and beautiful!)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From WP 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
You can format your internal links (e.g. make the link bold, italicized, add color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress visual content editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(You can format links if you want to catch your visitors’ attention)
No tutorial on adding links to content is complete without showing you how to remove any links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this topic right now.
To delete a link from your posts or pages, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating box or the ‘Remove link’ button on the WordPress content editor menu as shown below
(Removing both internal and external hyperlinks is easy … you even get choices!)
Your hyperlink will be removed …
(Non-clickable 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 WordPress inline linking function.
Are there any plugins for WordPress that can automate this task?
Yes … Of course! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are WordPress plugins for just about everything. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you want, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of WordPress theme used on your website or blog, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb website navigation
- Links to related posts
- Linking through widgets
In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional types of linking content in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at various plugins that can help you create internal linking automatically.
(SEO internal linking structures. Image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite WordPress plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily add links to content in WordPress.
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now