An internal link is a hyperlink that connects content in different pages on your WordPress website or domain.
The WordPress platform comes with built-in internal linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, archives, categories, and tags pages, search results 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 adding extensive content linking.
In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn about the SEO benefits of using internal linking in your content, and how to easily link content in your pages and posts using the WordPress linking tool.
(The WordPress Internal Content Linking Feature)
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking
Internal content linking simply means adding links in your content pointing to other content on your WordPress site.
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 employs content linking extensively)
Inserting hyperlinks into pages provides many benefits, not only for you as a website owner but also for your web visitors and search engines. Internal linking lets users access more content. This also helps search engine robots better index your web pages. Wikipedia is a great example of a website that relies extensively on internal content links.
Benefit Of Internal Content Links #1 – Improved Site Navigation And User Experience
(Use internal content linking to improve website navigation and user experience.)
The main purpose of a website is to provide users with the content they are searching for. Providing users with easier access to other parts of your website containing more of the content they want to see not only makes your website easier to use and navigate, it also creates a better experience for your users.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. If you plan things well, this can easily lead to more sales.
It’s important to make sure that the information you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to link your company page to your about page.
Benefit Of Using Internal Links #2 – Improve Your Website’s SEO
(Use content linking to improve your search results.)
Internal links also improve your SEO results. By creating internal links to other posts and pages on your site, you are helping search indexing spiders crawl your web pages faster, more easily and more thoroughly than if your site contains only standalone posts and pages. This can result in more traffic to your site.
One of the more effective ways to improve SEO is by combining internal linking with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding link titles to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide travel services, you could hyperlink the key phrase “romantic cruises” from a post describing different kinds of cruises to another section of your site listing various honeymoon destinations.
Using keyword-relevant text links is a lot more 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 titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Internal Content Links #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal content linking to get more visibility and exposure for your content.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding content to your site, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can cause posts to become less popular and less visited.
If there is old but useful content on your site that you would like more visitors to see, 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 your site 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!
How To Use The WordPress Hyperlinking Tool
In WordPress 3.1, a link feature was introduced that lets you link content on your posts and pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WordPress v. 4.5 to include an inline linking 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 you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, performing internal linking in WordPress is very simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress site, then locate and open the post or page you want to insert internal links in.
Next, highlight the word or content you want to add a hyperlink to.
When you have selected and highlighted the content, click on the content link tool in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual content editor – content link tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the linking tool …
(The linking tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor)
The Inline Linking editor appears below the selected keywords …
Paste in your target destination URL or enter a search term to bring up related posts and pages …
(Type in a search term to view related content)
Click the ‘Apply’ icon to insert your link …
(WordPress Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link will be created …
(Hyperlink inserted into content)
You can access the advanced linking editor by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …
(WordPress Inline Linking tool – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal link feature)
By default, you will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target link, enter the Link Text to display with the link and tick the ‘Open link in a new window/tab’ box to open the link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the feature that lets you insert internal links into your content. Begin typing a word or keyword related to the post or page you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress will automatically begin searching for pages and posts containing those words …
(Enter the search term to view related content)
Click the post or page you want to link to, and the URL of the selected item automatically gets inserted into the destination URL field …
(Click on the page or post to link to in your content)
Notice that the tool brings up both posts and pages …
(Link to posts or pages)
But you are not just limited to regular posts or pages. If you use custom post types on your site, you can also link to these …
(Link content in WordPress to custom post types in addition to default posts or pages)
If you want the linked content to open in a new browser window, select the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button to create your internal link …
(Check the box and your link will open in a new window)
Note that the ability to open links in a new window or tab can be used for both internal and external links …
(You can open external and internal 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 … sublime and beautiful!)
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 correct your 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. 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! :)) …
(You can format your links to make them stand out)
No tutorial on adding content links would feel complete without showing you how to remove any links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this right now.
To delete a link from your content, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the ’remove’ icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ button on the content editor menu as shown below
(Removing hyperlinks is easy … just click the button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Plain content … all links removed!)
WordPress Plugins For Creating Internal Content Links
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the built-in WordPress inline link tool.
Are there any plugins for WordPress that can automate this task?
Yes, there are! As we explain here, there are WordPress plugins that can do almost everything you can imagine. 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 installed on your website, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Using Breadcrumbs
- Links to related posts
- Linking using footer and sidebar widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional methods of linking content in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating links in WordPress, and look at various plugins you can look at for creating internal content linking automatically on your site.
(Internal linking structures for SEO. Screenshot image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite - WordPress plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily create internal links in WordPress.
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