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.”
A WordPress blog provides built-in internal linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, image links, archives, categories, and tags pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, an internal link tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional link functionality can also be added to WordPress via plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for linking content both internally and externally.
This step-by-step tutorial explains the benefits of internal linking and how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the internal content linking feature.
(The WordPress Internal Content Linking Function)
Benefits Of Using Content Links
Internal content linking simply means adding links in your content pointing to other pages and posts on your website or blog.
As defined by 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 uses internal linking extensively)
Inserting internal content links into pages and posts provides several benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal linking allows visitors to access more content. This also helps search spiders index your web pages faster.
Benefit Of Using Internal Content Links #1 – Improve Your Website Navigation And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal linking to improve website usability and create a better user experience.)
Websites are meant to provide users with relevant information. By offering users easier access to other sections of your site containing more of the content they are looking for, you not only improve the quality of your site, you also create a better experience for your site’s users.
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 also lead to improved sales conversions.
It’s important to make sure that what you are linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to link your home page to your main services page.
Benefit Of Internal Content Links #2 – Improve Your Website’s Search Rankings
(Use internal content links to site’s search rankings.)
Internal content linking improves your SEO. Linking to content on other posts or pages on your website helps search engine indexing spiders crawl web pages more easily, faster and more thoroughly than sites that include only standalone posts and pages. This can drive more organic search traffic to your site.
One of the most effective ways to improve search engine optimization is by combining internal links with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding link text to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides wedding-related services, you could hyperlink the phrase “sustainable wedding gift ideas” from an article where you describe unusual wedding gifts to another section of your site listing wedding gift registries. This will help search engines gain a better understanding of what the content on your web pages are about.
Using keyword-relevant text links is effective for both search engines and visitors. You can add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Add anchor text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Internal Linking #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal content linking to increase content visibility & exposure.)
Over time, as you continue adding content to your site, your entries will get older and get pushed further down the chronology. This can lead to posts being visited less often.
If there is useful content on older posts or pages that you would like more visitors to see, just 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 … which can lead to better results!
How To Create Internal Linking In Your Content Using The WordPress Advanced Link Tool
In WP version 3.1, an internal linking feature was introduced that allows you to link content inside pages and posts to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was upgraded in WP 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.
Prior to this advanced feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look 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, creating internal links in other WordPress pages and posts is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
First, log into your WordPress admin, locate and open the post or page you would like to insert links into.
Next, highlight the content you want to add a hyperlink to.
After you have selected and highlighted the words, click on the chain icon in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual editor menu – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content, click the ‘link’ button to access the link feature …
(The link feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor)
The Inline Linking tool appears below the selection …
(WordPress Inline Linking Editor)
Paste in the URL of your target destination or type a word or keyword phrase related to the page or post you want to hyperlink into the box to find related content …
(Enter a search term to find related posts and pages)
Click the ’Return’ (Apply) icon to add your link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link will be created …
(Hyperlink inserted into content)
You can also use the advanced linking editor by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(WordPress Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal linking tool)
The Insert/edit link tool is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, enter the anchor text associated with the link and select whether to open the link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
Or link to existing content
This is the linking feature that lets you create internal links. Type a word or keyword related to the post or page you want to hyperlink into the Search box. WordPress automatically begins looking for pages and posts containing those words …
(Enter the search term to display related content)
Click on the title of post or page you would like to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets added to the URL section …
(Select the post or page to link your content to)
Notice that the feature brings up both pages and posts …
(Link to pages or posts)
You are not limited to default posts or pages. You can also link to custom post types (these are post types that you create for a custom purpose), like products, slides, etc. …
(Link content to custom WordPress post types in addition to default posts or pages)
If you would like 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 to create your internal link …
(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 in 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 WordPress 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 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. make the link bold, italicized, add color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(You can format your links to make them more visible)
Deleting Links To Content
No tutorial on adding content links would be complete without showing you how to remove links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of 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 box or the ‘Remove link’ feature on the content editor menu as shown below
(Removing links is easy … you even get choices!)
Your link will be removed …
(Plain content … all links removed!)
WordPress Plugins For Automating Internal Content Linking
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the inline link feature.
Are there plugins for WordPress that can perform this work?
Yes … Of course! As we explain here, there are WordPress plugins for everything. And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you are looking for, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the kind of theme installed 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 plugins you can check out for creating links automatically on your website:
(Internal linking structures for SEO. Screenshot source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite WordPress plugin)
Congratulations! Now you know how to easily add links to content in WordPress.
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