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.”
The WordPress CMS platform comes with built-in content linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, archives, tags, and categories pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), comments RSS feeds, a default linking tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional linking functionality can also be added to WordPress via plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for creating extensive content linking.
This step-by-step tutorial explains the benefits of internal linking and how to add internal links to WordPress using the advanced content linking tool.
(WordPress Internal Hyperlinking Tool)
Internal Linking Benefits
Internal links are simply hyperlinks in your content pointing to other sections of your WordPress site.
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’s pages provide loads of examples of internal linking)
Inserting content links into pages provides several benefits, not only for website owners, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal content links let visitors access more content and helps search engine robots better index web site.
Benefit Of Using Content Links #1 – Improve Your Site Usability And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal content linking to improve site usability and user experience.)
Websites are meant to provide visitors with the relevant information that they are searching for. Offering users easy access to other parts of your website containing more of the content they are looking for not only improves the quality of your website, but also your site’s user experience.
Creating a better experience for users means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-thought-out content marketing strategy, this can easily lead to more sales conversions.
It’s important to make sure that the information you are linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to add links on your home page to your main services page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Links #2 – Improve Your Website’s Search Results
(Use internal links to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).)
Internal linking also improves your SEO results. Linking to content on other pages or posts on your website helps search indexing bots crawl web pages faster, more easily and more thoroughly than sites that contain only standalone pages. This can result in more organic search traffic to your site.
One of the more effective ways of improving SEO is by combining internal linking with relevant keywords. This is easily achieved by adding keyword terms to hyperlinks (called anchor text links).
For example, if your business provides travel information or advice, you could create an article where you list romantic travel tips and ideas and link the key phrase “romantic cruises” to another article on your site listing romantic getaway destinations. This helps search engines gain a better understanding of what the content on your website is about.
Using anchor text links is an effective linking strategy 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 add anchor text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefits Of Using Internal Content Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal links to increase content visibility and exposure.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding content, your entries will get older and get pushed down the chronology. This can cause 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, add 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 accessed by search engines means more visibility and exposure for your business online … which can lead to better results!
How To Use The WordPress Advanced Linking Tool
A linking feature was introduced in WordPress version 3.1 that lets you link content in your posts to other posts and pages. This feature was updated in WordPress v. 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to the introduction of this advanced feature, if you wanted control over your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually search your site for the page you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually paste and add a link to it in your content. Now, adding internal links to WordPress is quite simple.
Here’s how you do it …
Log into your WordPress admin, locate and open the post or page you want to insert internal links into.
Next, find and highlight the text you would like to add a link to.
After selecting and highlighting the words, click on the hyperlinking item in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual content editor – content linking tool)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the linking tool …
(The linking feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content)
The Inline Linking editor will display below your highlighted phrase …
(WordPress Inline Linking Editor)
Paste in your link URL or type in a search term to bring up related pages and posts …
(Type in a search term to find related content)
Click the ’Return’ button to create the link …
(Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link has now been created …
(Hyperlink inserted into content)
You can access the advanced linking feature by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …
(WordPress Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced content link feature)
The Insert/edit link window is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in the URL of your target destination, enter the Link Text associated with the link and select whether to open the link in a new window/tab …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This is the linking section that allows you to insert internal links into your content. Type a word or keyword related to the page or post you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress will automatically begin looking for related posts and pages containing those words …
(Type in the search term to display related content)
Select the title of the page or post you would like to link to, and the URL of the selected item automatically gets inserted into the URL section …
(Click on the post or page 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 regular pages or posts. You can also link to custom post types like products, videos, etc. …
(Create internal links to custom post types in addition to regular posts or pages)
If you want the linked content to open in a new browser window, then 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 links 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 …
(Internal content link)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From WP 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 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 links if you want visitors to notice them)
Removing Links To Content
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 topic 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’ tool on the editor menu as shown below
(Deleting both internal and external hyperlinks is easy … you even get choices!)
Your hyperlink will be removed …
Plugins For Linking Content Automatically
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the inline link tool.
Are there any plugins for WordPress that can do this task?
Yes, there are! 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 want, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the kind of plugins and themes used on your site, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb navigation
- Related posts
- Linking through sidebar and footer widgets
In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional ways to link content in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating links in WordPress, and look at a number of plugins that can help you create internal links automatically.
(SEO internal linking. Screenshot image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite - WordPress plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how easy it is to link content in WordPress.
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