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 content linking functions, such as menus, permalinks, image links, categories, tags, and archives pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, a default link tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional link functionality can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for creating extensive content linking.
In this step-by-step tutorial, we discuss the benefits of internal linking, and how to easily add links in your content using the WordPress internal linking tool.
(WordPress Linking Tool)
Internal Content Hyperlinks – Benefits
Internal content linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content to relevant content on your website or blog.
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’s pages provide loads of examples of internal content linking)
Inserting links into content provides a number of benefits, not only for the website owner, but also for web visitors and search engines. Internal content links let users view more content and helps search spiders better index pages. Sites like Wikipedia use internal content linking extensively for attracting new visitors.
Benefit Of Internal Content Links #1 – Improve Site Usability And Create A Better User Experience
(Use content links to improve site navigation and create a better user experience.)
The main purpose of a website is to provide visitors with relevant information. Providing users with easy access to other parts of your website that contain more of the content they are looking for not only improves the ease of 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 can easily result in more sales or sales enquiries.
Make sure that the information you are linking together is relevant for your users. For example, it makes sense to link your company page to your contact page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Links #2 – Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(Use internal content links to site’s search engine optimization (SEO).)
Internal content linking improves your search engine rankings. Linking to content on other posts or pages on your website helps search engine indexing robots crawl your web pages faster and more easily than if your site includes only standalone pages. This can result in more organic search traffic to your site.
One of the more effective ways to improve SEO is by combining internal linking with relevant keywords. This can easily be achieved by adding keywords as titles to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide wedding products, you could create a post listing unusual gifts for weddings and hyperlink the phrase “eco wedding gift ideas” to another blog post on your website about wedding gift registries.
Using keyword-relevant text links is an effective strategy 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.)
Benefits Of Using Content Linking #3 – Increase Visibility & Exposure For Your Content
(Use content linking to increase content visibility & exposure.)
As you continue adding new content to your site, older posts get pushed further down the chronology. This can cause your posts to lose popularity.
If there is older but useful content on your site that you would like more visitors to read, you can 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 accessed by search engines means more visibility and exposure for your business … which can lead to better results!
Using The WordPress Inline Hyperlinking Tool
In WordPress v. 3.1, an internal linking tool was introduced that lets you easily link content in pages and posts to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WordPress v. 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.
Prior to the introduction of this feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, adding internal links to content in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress admin, then find and open the post or page you would like to add links into.
Next, find and highlight the keyword phrase you want to create as a hyperlink.
After selecting and highlighting the text, click on the hyperlink feature in the WordPress visual editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor – content link tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the tool …
(The tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content)
The Inline Linking tool appears below your selected keywords …
Paste in your target destination URL or type in a search term to view related pages and posts …
(Type in a search term to find related content)
Click the ’Return’ icon to insert the link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link is now inserted …
(Link inserted into content)
You can also use the advanced linking editor by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ button …
(Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced content link tool)
By default, you will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, type in the Link Text associated with the link and choose whether to open your link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the section that lets you insert internal links. Enter a word or keyword related to the text you want to hyperlink into the Search field. WordPress will automatically display related posts and pages containing those words …
(Type in the search term to see related posts and pages)
Click the post or page you want to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets inserted into the destination URL field …
(Select the post or page you would like to link your content to)
Notice that the feature lets you link to posts or pages and shows you which item is what …
(Link to posts or pages)
You are not just limited to regular posts or pages. If you use custom post types on your site, you can also create internal links to these …
(Add internal links to custom WordPress post types in addition to standard pages or posts)
If you want the linked content to open in a new browser window, then tick the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button to create your internal link …
(Tick the box and your link will open in a new window)
Note that the ability to open links in a new window can be used for both internal and external links …
(You can open internal and external links in new windows – even external links pointing to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(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 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 editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(You can format your links if you want to catch your visitors’ attention)
Deleting Content Links
No tutorial on adding content links 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 delete a hyperlink 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’ tool on the content editor menu as shown below
(Removing both internal and external hyperlinks is easy … just click the button!)
Your link will be removed …
(Non-clickable text … 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 function.
Are there plugins for WordPress that can automate this work?
Yes … Of course! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are plugins that can do almost everything imaginable. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you are looking for, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of WordPress theme installed on your website, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Related posts
- Internal linking using sidebar and footer widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional content linking strategies in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating links in WordPress, and look at a few WordPress plugins that can help you create internal linking automatically on your website:
(SEO internal linking. Screenshot image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily create internal content links in your WordPress posts and pages.
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group