How To Use The WordPress Internal Linking Tool

Learn about the SEO benefits of internal linking and how to create internal links in posts and pages using the WordPress linking tool.

Using The Internal Content Linking Tool In WordPressLinking to other posts and pages in your website or domain is called internal linking.

A website or blog built with WordPress provides built-in internal linking functions, such as menus, permalinks, text links, archives, tags, and categories pages, site search pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), comments RSS, an internal linking tool, post excerpt links, etc. Additional linking features can also be added to WordPress via plugins. In short, WordPress is perfect for linking content both internally and externally.

Linking to other pages helps your readers discover more of your content and improves your site’s SEO. In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the advanced link feature.

The WordPress Internal Content Linking Tool

(WordPress Internal Content Linking Tool)

Internal Linking Benefits

Internal content linking simply means adding links in your content to other sections of your WordPress site.

As Wikipedia defines it …

“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 internal linking extensively

(Wikipedia uses content linking extensively)

Using internal links to posts provides many benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal content links enable users to view more content. This helps search engine spiders index your web pages faster. Websites like Wikipedia use internal content linking extensively for keeping readers on their pages.

Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #1 – Improve Website Usability And Create A Better User Experience

Use internal links to improve site navigation and user experience.

(Use internal content linking to improve your site navigation and create a better user experience.)

One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with the relevant content that they are searching for. By providing users with easier access to other areas of your site that contain more of the content they want to see, you not only improve the usability of your website, you also create a better experience for your site’s users.

Improving the quality of the user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-planned website, this creates better sales conversions.

Make sure that the information you are actually linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to add links on your company page to your contact page.

Benefits Of Content Linking #2 – Site’s SEO Results

Use internal links to improve your website's search rankings.

(Use internal links to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).)

Adding internal links also improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Linking to other posts or pages on your site helps search indexing spiders crawl your site more easily, faster and more thoroughly than if your site includes only standalone pages. This can drive more traffic to your website.

An effective way of improving SEO is by combining internal links with keyword relevancy. This can easily be achieved by adding keyword terms to link URLs (these are called anchor text links).

For example, if your blog provides wedding products or advice, you could create a post about unusual wedding gifts and link the keyword phrase “green wedding gift ideas” to another article on your site containing a wedding gift registry directory. This helps search engines gain a better understanding of what your site is about.

Using anchor text links is more effective for both search engines and visitors. You can add keyword-relevant text links to content titles, body text, image captions, and so on.

You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.

(You can add anchor text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)

Benefit Of Using Internal Content Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure

Use internal links to get more visibility and exposure for your content.

(Use internal content linking to get more visibility & exposure for your content.)

Over time, as you continue adding content to WordPress, older posts get pushed down the chronological table. This can cause your posts to become less popular and less visited.

If there is older but important content on your site that you would like more visitors to access, consider creating internal links within the content of some 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 Editor

A linking function was introduced in WordPress 3.1 that lets you quickly and easily link content in posts and pages to other posts and pages. This feature was updated in WP version 4.5 to include an inline linking 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 to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, creating internal linking inside WordPress posts and pages is really simple.

Here’s how you do it …

Log into your WordPress site, and find and open the post or page you want to add links to.

Next, highlight the content you would like to create as a hyperlink.

After selecting and highlighting the words, click on the chain icon in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …

WordPress WYSIWYG editor - linking tool

(WordPress visual editor – content linking feature)

Idea

If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress content, click the ‘link’ button to access the linking feature …

The linking feature can also be accessed in the 'Text' tab of the WordPress content

(The link feature can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor)

The Inline Linking tool appears below your selection …

Inline Linking Tool

(Inline Linking)

Paste in your link URL or type in a search term to view related pages and posts …

Enter a search term to bring up related pages and posts

(Type in a search term to view related content)

Click the ’Return’ (Apply) button to create the link …

Inline Linking tool - Apply button

(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)

Your link is now added …

Link added to content

(Hyperlink added to content)

You can also use the advanced linking feature by clicking on the gear icon …

WordPress Inline Linking tool - 'Link Options'

(Inline Linking editor – ‘Link Options’ button)

This brings up the Insert/edit link window …

Internal content link editor

(Advanced link tool)

This window is divided into two sections:

Enter the destination URL

Paste in your target destination URL, enter the Link Text to display with the link and select whether to open the link in a new window/tab …

Insert/edit link tool

(WordPress Insert/edit link editor)

Or link to existing content

This linking function allows you to create internal links to your content. Type a word or keyword phrase related to the post you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress will automatically display pages and posts containing those words …

Enter the search term to find related posts and pages

(Type in the search term to display related content)

Select the post or page you want to link to, and the item’s URL will automatically be added to the destination URL field …

Select the page or post you would like to link your content to

(Click on the post or page to link to in your content)

Notice that the feature shows you which content items are pages and which are posts …

Link to pages or posts

(Link to pages or posts)

But you are not limited to regular pages or posts. You can also link to custom WordPress post types (these are post types that you create to display specific information), like products, slides, etc. …

Create internal links to custom post types in addition to default pages or posts

(Link content to custom post types in addition to default posts or pages)

If you would like to open your link in a new browser window, 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

(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 for both internal and external links …

You can open external and internal links in a new window - even external links to content about internal links ... woo hoo!

(You can 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 …

Internal content link

(An internal link … sublime and beautiful!)

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 your link before publishing it to your site. …

WordPress automatically detects broken links

(WordPress automatically detects broken links. Source: WordPress 4.6 Features)

Info

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:

Link Boundaries

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.

These include:

  • 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

(New WordPress Feature – Link Boundaries)

To see this feature in action, watch the short video demo below:

(Link Boundaries)

Internal Link Options

If you want, you can also format your internal links (e.g. you can italicize your link, make it bold, add color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress visual content editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …

Format hyperlinks if you want to make them stand out

(Format your hyperlinks if you want users to notice them)

Deleting Content Links

No tutorial on adding content links would feel complete without showing you how to remove any links that you no longer want, so let’s cover this topic right now.

To delete a hyperlink 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 content editor menu as shown below

Removing links is easy ... just click a button!

(Deleting hyperlinks is easy … you even get choices!)

Your link will be removed …

Links removed!

(Plain content … all links removed!)

Plugins For Linking Content Automatically

So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the built-in WordPress inline linking tool.

Are there plugins for WordPress that can do this task?

Yes … Of course! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are WordPress plugins for everything. And if you cannot 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 site, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:

  • Breadcrumb website navigation
  • Related posts
  • Linking using widgets

In another article, we’ll discuss additional methods of linking content in WordPress, examine the pros and cons of automating content links in WordPress, and look at several WordPress plugins that can help you create links automatically in your content:

Internal linking structures for SEO

(SEO internal linking. Screenshot image sourced from: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite plugin)

Congratulations! Now you know how to easily create internal links to content in WordPress.

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"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

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as How To Use The WordPress Internal Linking Tool.