According to Moz, the SEO consulting company, “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 comes with built-in internal linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, tags, archives, and categories pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), entries RSS, a default link tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional linking functionality can also be added to WordPress using a range of plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect 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 add internal links to WordPress using the internal linking feature.
(WordPress Built-In Link Feature)
Benefits Of Using Content Links
Internal linking simply means adding links in your content to other content on posts and pages on your website or blog.
Here is how Wikipedia defines internal linking …
“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 extensive content linking extensively)
Adding internal content links to other posts has many benefits, not only for you as a website owner but also for your web visitors and search engines. Internal links allow users to view more content. This also helps search robots index your pages faster. Wikipedia pages are great examples of using internal content linking.
Benefit Of Using Internal Links #1 – Improved Site Navigation And User Experience
(Use content links to improve your site navigation and create a better user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide users with the information they are searching for. By offering users easier access to other parts of your site that contain more of the content they want to see, you not only improve the quality of your site, but also your website’s user experience.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-planned website, this can also lead to better sales results.
Make sure that the content you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your home page to your contact page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #2 – Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(Use content linking to improve search engine optimization (SEO).)
Internal linking improves your SEO results. By creating internal links to other posts and pages on your site, you are helping search engine bots crawl your site faster and more thoroughly than if your site was comprised only of standalone pages. This can result in more traffic to your website.
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 keywords as titles to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your blog provides travel services or advice, you could create an article listing romantic travel ideas and link the keywords “romantic cruises” to another section of your website about honeymoon destinations. This will help search engines gain a better understanding of what your website is all about.
Using anchor text links is effective for both search engines and visitors. You can use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Internal Content Links #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content
(Use internal links to increase visibility and exposure for your content.)
As you continue adding new content to WordPress, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can cause posts to become less popular.
If you have useful content on older posts that you would like more visitors to access, place internal links within the content of some of your more popular posts pointing to your less popular posts 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 online … which can lead to better results!
Creating Internal Links Using The WordPress Inline Link Tool
In WordPress v. 3.1, a linking tool was introduced that allows you to easily link content inside posts to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WP 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to this advanced feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, performing internal linking operations inside content is really simple.
Here’s how to do it …
First, log into your WordPress dashboard, then locate and open the post or page you want to create links in.
Next, find and highlight the words you would like to transform into a link.
Once you have selected and highlighted the content, click on the insert/edit link tool in the WordPress visual editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual editor – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the feature …
(The link feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content)
The Inline Linking tool appears below the selection …
(WordPress Inline Linking Editor)
Paste in the URL of your target destination or begin typing a word or keyword phrase related to the title of the post you want to hyperlink in the field to view related pages and posts …
(Type in a search term to bring up related content)
Click the ‘Apply’ icon to create the link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link will be inserted …
(Link inserted into content)
You can also access the advanced linking feature by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(Inline Linking editor – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Internal content link tool)
This window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target link, add the Link Text associated with the link and tick the ‘Open link in a new window/tab’ checkbox to open the link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This is the advanced linking tool that lets you create internal links. Start typing a word or keyword phrase related to the text you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress automatically begins looking for posts and pages containing those words …
(Type in the search term to display related content)
Click the post or page you want to link to, and the item’s URL automatically gets inserted into the fields in the destination URL field …
(Click on the post or page you would like to link to in your content)
Notice that the feature lets you link to posts or pages and shows you which item is what …
(Link to pages or posts)
You are not just limited to standard posts or pages. You can also link to custom post types (these are post types created to display information in a specific way), like products, image galleries, etc. …
(Add internal links to custom post types in addition to standard posts or pages)
If you want the linked content to open in a new browser window, tick the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button to create your internal link …
(Check 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 …
(Open internal and external links in a new window – even external links pointing to content about internal links!)
Congratulations … you have created an internal link to content in other posts or pages …
(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 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 visual editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …
(You can format hyperlinks if you want to catch your visitors’ attention)
No tutorial on adding links to content is 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 link from your content, 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 links is easy … just click a button!)
Your hyperlink will be removed …
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the built-in function.
Are there any WordPress plugins that can do this job?
Yes, there are! As we explain here, there are WordPress plugins for everything. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you need, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of theme used on your website or blog, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb links
- Links to related posts
- Linking through footer and sidebar widgets
In a separate 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 a number of plugins that can help you create links to content automatically on your website.
(Internal linking for SEO. Screenshot source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily create internal content links in your WordPress pages and posts.
"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