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 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. Recent Posts), entries 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 linking content both internally and externally.
In this step-by-step tutorial, we discuss the SEO benefits of internal linking, and how to easily add links in your content using the WordPress hyperlink tool.
(The WordPress Internal Content Linking Tool)
Benefits Of Using Internal Links
Internal content linking simply means adding links in your content to relevant sections of your website.
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 are full of internal links)
Using links in pages provides several benefits, not only for the website owner, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal content linking enables users to view more content and helps search engine spiders index pages faster. Sites like Wikipedia use internal content linking strategies extensively for driving traffic.
Benefit Of Content Links #1 – Improve Website Navigation And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal linking to improve site usability and user experience.)
Websites are supposed to provide users with the information that they are looking for. Providing users with easier access to other parts of your site that contain more of the content they are searching for not only makes your site 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.
Make sure that the content you are linking together is relevant for users. For example, you may want to add links on your company page to your about us page.
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #2 – Improve Your Website’s SEO Results
(Use content links to improve your search rankings.)
Internal content links improve your SEO results. Linking to other pages and posts on your site helps search engine indexing spiders crawl your web pages more easily, faster and more thoroughly than if your site was comprised only of standalone pages. This can drive more traffic to your website.
An effective way to improve your site’s search engine optimization is by combining internal links with keyword relevancy. This can easily be achieved by adding keywords as titles to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your business provides wedding products, you could create a post where you list unusual gifts for weddings and link the phrase “sustainable wedding gift ideas” to another blog post on your site containing a wedding gift registry directory. This will help search engines gain a better understanding of what your web pages are about.
Using anchor text links is an effective strategy for search engines and visitors. You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(Add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefits Of Content Linking #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal linking to increase content visibility and exposure.)
In WordPress, as you continue adding new content to your site, older posts get pushed down the chronological table. This can lead to many posts being visited less often.
If you have old but useful content on your site that you would like more visitors to see, insert 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.
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!
Using The Internal Content Link Tool In WordPress
In WP 3.1, an internal linking feature was introduced that allows you to easily link content inside posts to other posts and pages. This feature was updated in WordPress 4.5 to include an inline link tool.
Prior to this advanced feature, if you wanted control over your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look 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, performing linking operations inside pages and posts is really simple.
Here’s how you do it …
First, log into your WordPress site, and find and open the post or page you want to add links to.
Next, find and highlight the word or words you want to add a hyperlink to.
After you have selected and highlighted the text, click on the hyperlinking icon in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual content editor menu – content linking feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the feature …
(The linking feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor)
The Inline Linking tool will display below your selected words …
Paste in your link URL or start typing a word or keyword phrase related to the text you want to hyperlink into the box to bring up related content …
(Enter a search term to view related content)
Click the ‘Apply’ icon to insert your link …
(WordPress Inline Linking – Apply button)
Your link is now created …
(Hyperlink inserted into content)
You can also access the advanced linking editor by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(Inline Linking – ‘Link Options’ button)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced content linking options)
The Insert/edit link tool is divided into two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your target destination URL, type in the anchor text associated with the link and choose whether to open the link in a new window …
(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This is the function that lets you add internal links to your content. Type a word or keyword phrase related to the title of the page or post you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress automatically begins searching for related posts and pages containing those words …
(Enter the search term to view related pages and posts)
Select the title of the page or post you want to link to, and the URL of your selected item automatically gets inserted into the URL field …
(Select the post or page you would like to link your content to)
Notice that the tool brings up both pages and posts …
(Link to pages or posts)
But you are not limited to default 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 WordPress post types in addition to default pages or posts)
If you want to open your link in a new window, then tick the Open link in a new window/tab box and click the Add Link button …
(Check the box and your link will open in a new window)
Note that the ability to open linked content in a new window or tab can be used in both internal and external links …
(You can open internal and external links in a new window – even external links to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(Internal content 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 update the 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
You can format your internal links (e.g. make the link bold, italicized, change the link color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress visual content 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 would feel complete without showing you how to delete links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this topic right now.
To remove a hyperlink 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’ feature on the editor menu as shown below
(Removing both internal and external links is easy … you even get choices!)
Your hyperlink will be removed …
(Plain content … all links removed!)
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the WordPress inline link feature.
Are there any plugins for WordPress that can automate this task?
Yes … Of course! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are WordPress plugins for everything. And if you can’t 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 or blog, you can benefit from additional internal linking features such as:
- Breadcrumb website navigation
- Links to related posts
- Linking using widgets
In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional types of linking content in WordPress, examine the pros and cons of automating content links in WordPress, and look at several WordPress plugins you can look at for creating internal links automatically on your website:
(SEO internal linking. Image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin for WordPress)
Congratulations! Now you know how easy it is to create internal links to content in your WordPress pages and posts.
"These tutorials have so much information and are easy to understand. If you use WordPress or plan to in the future these will help you with everything you need to know." - Valisa (Mesa, Arizona)