Linking to other content in your own website or domain is called internal linking.
The WordPress platform provides great built-in content linking functions, such as menus, permalinks, text links, archives, tags, and categories pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, a default linking tool, read more tags, etc. Additional link features can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for linking content both internally and externally.
In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn about the benefits of internal linking and how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the internal linking feature.
(WordPress Hyperlinking Tool)
Benefits Of Internal Linking
Internal links are simply links added to your content pointing to relevant content on your website.
Or, as defined in 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. 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 extensive internal content linking extensively)
Inserting content links into posts and pages provides a number of benefits, not only for website owners, but also for web visitors and search engines. Internal content linking lets users view more content and ensures that search engine robots can index pages faster.
Benefit Of Using Internal Content Linking #1 – Improved Site Usability And User Experience
(Use internal links to improve your website usability and create a better user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide users with the information that they are looking for. Providing users with easy access to other parts of your website containing more of the content they are searching for not only makes your website easier to use and navigate, but also your user’s experience.
Creating a better experience for users means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. If you plan things well, this can easily result in more sales conversions.
It’s important to make sure that the information you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your company page to your contact page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #2 – Improved Search Results
(Use internal linking to site’s search engine optimization (SEO).)
Internal linking also improves your search results. By creating internal links to other pages and posts on your website, you are helping search engine bots crawl pages faster and more thoroughly than sites that contain only standalone pages and posts. This can result in more organic search traffic to your website or blog.
An effective way of improving SEO is to combine internal links with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding keywords as titles to link URLs (called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides wedding-related information or advice, you could hyperlink the keywords “green wedding gift ideas” from an article about unusual gifts for weddings to another blog post on your website about wedding gift registries.
Using keyword-relevant text links is an effective strategy for both search engines and visitors. You can add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Use keyword-relevant text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Content Linking #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal links to increase content visibility & exposure.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding new content to your site, your posts will become older and get pushed down the chronology. This can cause many of your posts to lose popularity.
If there is important content on older posts or pages 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 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 visitors can see and search engines can access, the more visibility and exposure your business receives online … which can lead to better results!
How To Use The WordPress Hyperlink Tool
In WordPress v. 3.1, a link tool was introduced that allows you to link content inside your pages and posts to other posts and pages. This feature was upgraded in WordPress 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 search your site for the page or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, creating links to other posts and pages in WordPress is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
First, log into your WordPress admin section, and locate and open the post or page you want to insert links in.
Next, find and highlight the keywords you want to transform into a link.
After you have selected and highlighted the content, click on the hyperlink tool in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual content editor menu – content linking tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the feature …
(The link tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor)
The Inline Linking editor will display below the highlighted phrase …
(WordPress Inline Linking Editor)
Paste in your target destination URL or enter a search term to find related pages and posts …
(Enter a search term to view related posts and pages)
Click the ‘Apply’ button to create the link …
(WordPress Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link is now added …
(Link added to content)
You can also use the advanced linking editor by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …
(WordPress Inline Linking tool – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal content link editor)
This window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, type in the Link Text to display with the link and choose whether to open the link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This feature allows you to add internal links. Type a word or keyword related to the page or post you want to hyperlink in the Search field. WordPress will automatically display pages and posts containing those words …
(Enter the search term to find related pages and posts)
Select the post or page you want to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets added to the URL section …
(Select the page or post you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the feature indicates which items are pages and which are posts …
(Link to posts or pages)
But you are not just limited to default 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 pages or posts)
If you want to open your link in a new browser window, 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 linked content in a new window can be used in both internal and external links …
(Open external and internal links in a new window – even external links to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to content in other pages or posts …
(An internal link)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From WordPress version 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
If you want, you can also 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! :)) …
(Format hyperlinks to make them more visible)
How To Delete 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 cover this right now.
To remove a link from your pages or posts, 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 editor menu as shown below
(Removing links is easy … just click a button!)
Your link will be removed …
WordPress Plugins For Linking Content Automatically
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the built-in function.
Are there WordPress plugins that can perform this job?
Yes, there are! As we explain in this article, there are 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 plugins and themes used on your website, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Using Breadcrumbs
- Links to related posts
- Internal linking using 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 several plugins that can help you create internal links automatically on your site:
(Internal linking for SEO. Image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily create internal links in WordPress.
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum