An internal link is a hyperlink that connects content in different pages on your WordPress website or domain.
A WordPress site comes with great built-in internal linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, image links, tags, archives, and categories pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), entries RSS feeds, a default link tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional link features can also be added to WordPress via plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for linking content both internally and externally.
In this tutorial, we discuss the benefits of using internal links in your content, and how to easily link content using the WordPress hyperlinking tool.
(WordPress Internal Linking Tool)
Internal Linking Benefits
Internal linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content to other content on your WordPress site.
As Wikipedia explains 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 linking)
Using internal links in content provides many benefits, not only for website owners, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal content linking lets users access more content and helps search robots index site faster.
Benefit Of Using Internal Links #1 – Improved Site Usability And User Experience
(Use internal content links to improve site usability and create a better user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with the information they are searching for. Providing users with easy access to other areas of your website that contain more of the content they are looking for not only improves the quality of your site, it also creates a better experience for your users.
Improving user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-thought-out content strategy, this can easily lead to more sales or sales enquiries.
It’s important to make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to link your company page to your contact details page.
Benefits Of Content Links #2 – Improved Search Results
(Use internal links to improve your SEO.)
Adding internal links improves your search rankings. By creating internal links to content on other posts and pages on your site, you are helping search engine spiders crawl your web pages more easily, faster and more thoroughly than if your site was comprised only of standalone posts and pages. This can drive more web traffic to your website or blog.
One of the most effective ways of improving search engine optimization is by combining internal linking with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding keywords as titles to hyperlinks (called anchor text links).
For example, if your business provides travel information, you could link the keywords “romantic cruises” from an article on different kinds of vacations to another article on your site listing various wedding destinations. This helps search engines gain a better understanding of what the content on your web pages are all about.
Using keyword-relevant text links is more effective for both visitors and search engines. You can add keyword-relevant text links to content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can use keyword-relevant text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Using Internal Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal links to increase content visibility and exposure.)
As you continue adding content to WordPress, older posts get pushed further down the chronology. This can lead to many posts being visited less often.
If you have older but useful content on your site that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, just place internal links within the content of your more popular posts 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 online … and this can lead to better results!
How To Create Internal Linking Using The WordPress Linking Editor
A linking feature was introduced in WordPress version 3.1 that lets you quickly and easily link content in pages to other posts and pages. This feature was upgraded in WordPress v. 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.
Prior to this feature, if you wanted control over your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, creating internal links in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
Log into your WordPress site, locate and open the post or page you want to add links to.
Next, find and highlight the keyword phrase you would like to transform into a link.
After selecting and highlighting the text, click on the hyperlinking item in the WordPress visual editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor – content link feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the link feature …
(The feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content)
The Inline Linking editor will display below your selection …
(WordPress Inline Linking Tool)
Paste in your target destination URL or type in a search term to find related posts and pages …
(Type in a search term to view related content)
Click the ‘Apply’ button to add the link …
(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link has now been created …
(Hyperlink added to content)
You can also use the advanced linking feature by clicking on the gear icon …
(WordPress Inline Linking editor – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal linking tool)
The Insert/edit link window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your link URL, enter the anchor text associated with the link and tick the ‘Open link in a new window/tab’ check box to open your link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This is the linking tool that allows you to add internal links to your content. Enter a word or keyword related to the post you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress automatically begins searching for pages and posts containing those words …
(Type in the search term to find related posts and pages)
Click the post or page you would like to link to, and the URL of your selected item will automatically be inserted into the URL section …
(Click on the post or page you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the tool 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 pages or posts. If you use custom WordPress post types on your site, you can also link to these …
(Add internal links to custom WordPress post types in addition to regular pages or posts)
If you want to open your linked content in a new window, then tick the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button …
(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 in both internal and external links …
(You can open internal and external links in new windows – even external links to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to your content …
(Voilá … an internal link!)
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 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. you can italicize your link, make it bold, change the link color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(You can format links to make them more visible)
How To Delete Links To Content
No tutorial on adding content links would be complete without showing you how to remove any links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this topic right now.
To delete a hyperlink from your pages or posts, 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 WordPress editor menu as shown below
(Deleting hyperlinks in WordPress is easy … you even get choices!)
Your hyperlink will be removed …
(Non-clickable content … all links removed!)
Plugins For Linking Content
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the inline linking tool.
Are there plugins for WordPress that can perform this job?
Yes … Of course! As we explain in this article, 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 kind of WordPress theme used on your website or blog, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Using Breadcrumbs
- Related posts
- Internal linking through widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional SEO linking strategies in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at various WordPress plugins that can help you create internal links automatically in your content:
(Internal linking for SEO. Screenshot image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how easy it is to add links to content in WordPress.
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