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 comes with great built-in content linking features, such as menus, permalinks, text links, archives, categories, and tags pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), comments RSS, an internal link 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.
In this step-by-step tutorial, we discuss some of the benefits of internal linking, and how to easily link content using WordPress’ advanced content linking tool.
(WordPress Internal Linking Tool)
- Internal Links – Benefits
- Creating Internal Links In Your Pages And Posts Using The WordPress Inline Link Tool
Internal Links – Benefits
Internal linking simply means adding hyperlinks in your content to relevant sections of your WordPress site.
Or, 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 extensive internal linking extensively)
Inserting links into content provides many benefits, not only for website owners, but also for visitors and search engines. Internal links let visitors view more content and helps search robots index pages faster. Wikipedia pages are great examples of using internal linking.
Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #1 – Improve Your Website Usability And Create A Better User Experience
(Use internal linking to improve your website navigation and create a better user experience.)
One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with the information they are looking for. By offering users easier access to other areas of your website that contain more of the content they are looking for, you not only improve the quality of your website, you also create a better experience for your site’s users.
Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more of your web pages. In a well-planned website, this creates better sales conversions.
It’s important to make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for users. For example, it makes sense to link your company page to your contact details page.
Benefits Of Internal Content Linking #2 – Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(Use content linking to improve your SEO.)
Adding internal links improves your SEO results. Linking to content on other pages or posts on your site helps search indexing robots crawl your pages faster and more easily than if your site contains only standalone pages. This can result in more organic search traffic to your website.
One of the more effective ways of improving search engine optimization is to combine internal linking with keyword relevancy. This can easily be achieved by adding link text to hyperlinks (called anchor text links).
For example, if you provide travel-related services or advice, you could create a post about romantic travel ideas and link the keyword phrase “romantic cruises” to another blog post on your website describing various wedding destinations.
Using anchor text links is effective for search engines and visitors. You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, and so on.
(You can use keyword-relevant text links on titles, body text, image captions, etc.)
Benefit Of Using Internal Links #3 – Increased Content Visibility & Exposure
(Use content links to increase content visibility & exposure.)
As you continue adding content to your WordPress site, older posts get pushed further down the chronology. This can lead to many posts becoming less popular.
If you have older content on your site that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, add 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.
The more content you have being seen by visitors and being indexed by search engines, the more visibility and exposure your business receives online … which can lead to better results!
Creating Internal Links In Your Pages And Posts Using The WordPress Inline Link Tool
An advanced linking feature was introduced in WP 3.1 that lets you link content in your pages to other posts and pages. This feature was improved in WordPress 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.
Prior to the introduction of this advanced feature, if you wanted to control 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 link to it in your content. Now, linking to pages and posts in WordPress is quite simple.
Here’s how you do it …
Log into your WordPress admin, then find and open the post or page you want to insert internal links into.
Next, find and highlight the keyword phrase you want to create as a link.
Once you have selected and highlighted the text, click on the insert/edit link feature in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< this is an internal link!) …
(WordPress visual editor menu – content link feature)
If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor, select the ‘link’ button to access the link tool …
(The link tool can also be accessed in the ‘Text’ tab of the content editor)
The Inline Linking tool appears below the selection …
(WordPress Inline Linking)
Paste in the URL of your target link or begin typing a word or keyword related to the post you want to hyperlink in the field to bring up related posts and pages …
(Enter a search term to bring up related content)
Click the ’Return’ (Apply) icon to add your link …
(Inline Linking editor – Apply button)
Your link has now been inserted into the content …
(Link added to content)
You can also access the advanced linking feature by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) button …
(WordPress Inline Linking editor – ’Link Options’)
This brings up the Insert/edit link window …
(Advanced linking feature)
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 …
(WordPress Insert/edit link tool)
This is the section that allows you to insert internal links into your content. Type a word or keyword related to the text you want to hyperlink in the Search field. WordPress will automatically begin searching for related posts and pages containing those words …
(Enter the search term to find related posts and pages)
Click on the page or post you want to link to, and the item’s URL will automatically be inserted into the URL section …
(Click on the post or page you would like to link your content to)
Notice that the tool indicates which content items are pages and which are posts …
(Link to posts or pages)
You are not just limited to standard pages or posts. You can also link to custom post types like products, testimonials, etc. …
(Link content to custom post types in addition to default posts or pages)
If you would like to open your linked content 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 …
(Tick 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 for both internal and external links …
(Open external and internal links in a new window – even external links to content about internal links!)
Your internal link is now created …
(Voilá … an internal link!)
WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links
From 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 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. 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! :)) …
(You can format links if you want to catch your visitors’ attention)
Removing Links To Content
No tutorial on adding content links would feel complete without showing you how to remove 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 little cross icon on the link editor floating bar or the ‘Remove link’ icon on the WordPress content editor menu as shown below
(Deleting both internal and external links in WordPress is easy … just click the button!)
Your link will be removed …
Internal Linking Plugins
So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the built-in function.
Are there any WordPress plugins that can do this task?
Yes … Of course! As we explain here, there are WordPress plugins for just about everything you can imagine. And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you are looking for, 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 website navigation
- Links to related posts
- Linking through widgets
In another article, we’ll discuss additional SEO linking strategies in WordPress, examine the pros and cons of automating content links in WordPress, and look at a number of plugins you can check out for creating links automatically in your content:
(SEO internal linking structures. 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.
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