An internal link is a hyperlink that connects content in different pages on your own website or domain.
The WordPress CMS platform provides built-in content linking functions, such as custom menus, permalinks, text links, categories, tags, and archives pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, an internal linking tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional linking functionality can also be added to WordPress using a range of plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for linking content both internally and externally.
Linking to other posts in your WordPress website or domain has many SEO benefits. In this tutorial, you will learn how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the advanced linking feature.
(WordPress Hyperlinking Tool)
Benefits Of Internal Linking
Internal linking simply means adding links in your content to other posts and pages on 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 uses extensive internal content linking extensively)
Using content links to pages and posts provides a number of benefits, not only for the website owner, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal links enable users to access more content and ensures that search robots can index web site faster. Wikipedia pages are great examples of using internal links.
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #1 – Improve Site Usability And Create A Better User Experience
(Use content links to improve your website navigation and create a better user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with relevant content. By offering users easy access to other areas of your site that contain more of the content they are looking for, you not only improve the navigation 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 of your web pages. If you plan your marketing strategy well, this can easily result in more sales.
It’s important to make sure that the information you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your home page to your about page.
Benefits Of Internal Links #2 – Site’s SEO
(Use internal linking to improve search engine optimization (SEO).)
Adding internal links also improves your search engine rankings. Linking to other pages and posts on your website helps search indexing robots crawl your site more thoroughly, faster and more easily than if your site contains only standalone posts and pages. This can drive more web traffic to your site.
One of the more effective ways of improving your site’s search engine optimization is by combining internal linking with keyword relevancy. This can easily be achieved by adding link text to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).
For example, if your website provides wedding-related services or advice, you could hyperlink the keywords “eco wedding gift ideas” from a post on unusual gifts for weddings to another blog post on your site containing a wedding gift registry directory.
Using keyword-relevant text links is more effective for both visitors and search engines. You can use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can add keyword-relevant text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Using Internal Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use internal linking to get more visibility & exposure for your content.)
As you continue adding content to your WordPress site, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can lead to your posts becoming less popular.
If you have older content on your site that you would like more visitors to access, insert internal links within the content of some of your more popular pages 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 … and this can lead to better results!
Creating Internal Links Using The WordPress Linking Feature
A linking tool was introduced in WP version 3.1 that allows you to link content inside your posts and pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WP version 4.5 to include an inline link editor.
Prior to the introduction of this feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually search your site for the page to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, linking to WordPress pages and posts is quite simple.
Here’s how you do it …
Log into your WordPress dashboard, locate and open the post or page you would like to create internal links in.
Next, find and highlight the text you would like to create as a hyperlink.
After selecting and highlighting the text, click on the link item in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress WYSIWYG 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 WordPress editor)
The Inline Linking tool will display below the selection …
(Inline Linking Tool)
Paste in the URL of your target link or type in a search term to find related content …
(Type in a search term to view related pages and posts)
Click the ’Return’ icon to create the link …
(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link is now created …
(Link added to content)
You can also use the advanced linking tool by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced linking options)
By default, you will see two sections:
Enter the destination URL
Paste in your link URL, enter the anchor text to display with the link and select whether to open your link in a new window …
(Insert/edit link editor)
Or link to existing content
This section lets you insert internal links. Begin typing a word or keyword related to the page or post you want to hyperlink in the Search field. WordPress automatically begins looking for related posts and pages containing those words …
(Enter the search term to see related posts and pages)
Select the page or post you want to link to, and the item’s URL will automatically be added to the URL field …
(Click on the page or post you would like to link your content to)
Notice that the feature brings up both pages and posts …
(Link to posts or pages)
But you are not just limited to pages or posts. You can also link to custom post types like products, videos, etc. …
(Create internal links to custom WordPress post types in addition to 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 …
(Tick 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 for both internal and external links …
(You can open external and internal links in a new window – even external links pointing to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(Voilá … 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 correct 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
If you want, you can also format your internal links (e.g. you can italicize your link, make it bold, 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 your links if you want readers to notice them)
Removing Links To Content
No tutorial on adding links to WordPress content is complete without showing you how to remove links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this right now.
To remove a link from your content, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the ’remove’ icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ button on the WordPress editor menu as shown below
(Removing links in WordPress is easy … you even get choices!)
Your link will be removed …
(Plain content … all links removed!)
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the built-in tool.
Are there any WordPress plugins that can automate this work?
Yes, there are! As we explain in this article, there are WordPress plugins that can do almost everything imaginable. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you need, one can be created for you.
Also, depending on the type of plugins and themes installed on your site, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:
- Related posts
- Internal linking using sidebar and footer widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional content linking strategies in WordPress, examine the benefits and challenges of automating links in WordPress, and look at several WordPress plugins that can help you create links to content automatically on your website.
(Internal linking for SEO. Screenshot image source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite - WP plugin)
Congratulations … now you know how to easily add links to content in your WordPress posts and pages.
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)