According to SEO consulting company Moz, “internal links are hyperlinks that point at (target) the same domain as the domain that the link exists on (source). In layman’s terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website.”
The WordPress platform provides built-in internal linking features, such as menus, permalinks, image links, tags, categories, and archives pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, an internal link tool, read more tags, etc. Additional link functionality can also be added to WordPress using a range of plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for creating extensive content linking.
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 link tool.
(WordPress Hyperlink Tool)
Internal Linking Benefits
Internal links are simply hyperlinks added to your content to other pages and posts on your website or blog.
Or, 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’s pages provide loads of examples of internal linking)
Using internal links in your content provides many benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal content linking lets users access more content. This ensures that search engine spiders can better index your web pages. Sites like Wikipedia use internal links extensively for giving users access to information.
Benefits Of Internal Linking #1 – Improve Website Navigation And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal content links to improve site usability and user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with relevant content. By offering users easy access to other parts of your website that contain more of the content they are searching for, you not only improve the navigation of your site, you also create a better experience for your site’s users.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more of your web pages. In a well-planned website, this can easily lead to more sales, leads, or subscribers.
It’s important to make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to add links on your company page to your main services page.
Benefits Of Internal Content Links #2 – Improve Your SEO
(Use internal links to site’s SEO.)
Adding links in your content also improves your search rankings. Linking to content on other pages and posts on your website helps search engine robots crawl sites faster and more easily than sites that include only standalone posts and pages. This can drive more traffic to your site.
One of the most effective ways of improving search engine optimization is to combine internal links with relevant keywords. This can be easily achieved by adding keywords as titles to hyperlinks (called anchor text links).
For example, if your business provides wedding-related services, you could create an article where you list unusual wedding gifts and link the key phrase “eco wedding gift ideas” to another article on your website containing a wedding gift registry directory. This helps search engines gain a better understanding of what the content on your site is about.
Using anchor text links is an effective strategy for both visitors and search engines. You can add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Using Content Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility And Exposure
(Use internal content linking to get more visibility & exposure for your content.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding new content to your site, your blog posts will get older and get pushed down the chronology. This can lead to many posts becoming less popular and hence attract less visitors.
If there is old but important content on your site that you would like more visitors to access, consider inserting 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.
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!
Creating Internal Links Using The WordPress Inline Link Feature
In WP version 3.1, a link tool was introduced that allows you to easily link content in your posts and pages to other posts and pages. This feature was improved in WordPress version 4.5 to include an inline link tool.
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 or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, linking to posts and pages is quite simple.
Here’s how to do it …
First, log into your WordPress site, find and open the post or page you want to insert internal links into.
Next, highlight the keywords you would like to transform into a link.
When you have selected and highlighted the content, click on the chain icon in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG editor – content link tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the link feature …
(The linking feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the editor)
The Inline Linking tool will display below the selected words …
(WordPress Inline Linking)
Paste in your link URL or start typing a word or keyword related to the page you want to hyperlink into the field to bring up related posts and pages …
(Type in a search term to find related pages and posts)
Click the ‘Apply’ icon to add the link …
(Inline Linking tool – Apply button)
Your link has now been inserted into your content …
(Link inserted into content)
You can also use the advanced linking editor by clicking on the gear button …
(Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced content link options)
You will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, add the anchor text associated with the link and select whether to open the link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This feature lets you create internal links. Start typing a word or keyword phrase related to the post you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress will automatically retrieve pages and posts containing those words …
(Type in the search term to begin finding related posts and pages)
Click on the page or post you want to link to, and the URL of the selected item will automatically be inserted into the destination URL section …
(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)
You are not just limited to default pages or posts. If you use custom post types on your website (custom post types are post types that you create to display specific information, e.g. products, categories, etc.), you can also create internal links to these …
(Link content to custom WordPress post types in addition to default pages or posts)
If you want to open your linked content 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 …
(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 for both internal and external links …
(Open external and internal links in new windows – even external links to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to content in other pages or posts …
(Voilá … an internal link!)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From 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. 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 hyperlinks if you want readers to notice them)
Deleting Content Links
No tutorial on adding content links is complete without showing you how to remove links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this right now.
To delete a hyperlink from your posts or pages, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ feature on the editor menu as shown below
(Deleting both internal and external hyperlinks is easy … WordPress even gives you choices!)
Your hyperlink will be removed …
(Hyperlinks be gone!)
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the built-in WordPress linking function.
Are there any WordPress plugins that can perform this work?
Yes, there are! As we explain in this article, there are WordPress plugins for just about everything you can imagine. And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you want, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the kind of WordPress theme installed on your website or blog, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Related posts
- Linking using widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional content linking strategies in WordPress, examine the pros and cons of automating content links in WordPress, and look at several plugins that can help you create internal linking automatically.
(Internal linking for SEO. Screenshot source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin)
Congratulations! Now you know how to easily create internal content links in your WordPress posts and pages.
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