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.

How To Create Internal Links Using The WordPress Inline Link ToolAccording 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.”

A WordPress site provides built-in content linking functions, such as menus, permalinks, image links, tags, archives, and categories pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Recent Posts), entries RSS feeds, an internal link tool, post excerpt links, 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.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create internal linking structures in WordPress using the advanced link feature.

WordPress Built-In Link Function

(WordPress Hyperlink Tool)

Benefits Of Using Content Linking

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

As defined in 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. 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 extensive internal content linking extensively)

Adding internal links to pages and posts provides a number of benefits, not only for the website owner, but also for web visitors and search engines. Internal content linking enables visitors to access more content and helps search engine bots index web site faster.

Benefits Of Content Links #1 – Improve Site Usability And Create A Better User Experience

Use internal content links to improve website navigation and create a better user experience.

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

Web pages are meant to provide users with relevant content. By offering users easy access to other areas of your website that contain more of the content they are searching for, you not only improve the usability 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 pages. In a well-thought-out sales funnel, this can easily result in more sales, leads, or subscribers.

It’s important to make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for your users. For example, it makes sense to add links on your company page to your contact details page.

Benefit Of Using Internal Linking #2 – Site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Use internal content linking to site's SEO results.

(Use internal linking to improve your SEO.)

Internal links improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Linking to content on other pages and posts on your website helps search engine indexing spiders crawl your site faster and more easily than if your site is only comprised of standalone posts and pages. This can drive more organic search traffic to your site.

An effective way of improving your site’s search engine optimization is to combine internal links with keyword relevancy. This is easily achieved by adding keyword terms to hyperlinks (these are called anchor text links).

For example, if you provide wedding-related information, you could hyperlink the keyword phrase “eco wedding gift ideas” from a post where you describe unusual gifts for weddings to another section of your website about wedding gift registries. This will help search engines gain a better understanding of what your pages are about.

Using anchor text links is an effective strategy for visitors and search engines. You can use anchor text links on titles, body text, image captions, and so on.

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

(Add anchor text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)

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

Use content links to increase visibility & exposure for your content.

(Use content linking to increase content visibility & exposure.)

In WordPress, as you continue adding new content to your site, older posts get pushed further down the chronology. This can cause many posts to become less visited.

If there is old but useful content on your site that you would like more visitors to access, place internal links within the content 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 visitors and search engines.

The more content visitors can see and search engines can access, the more visibility and exposure your business gets online … which can lead to better results!

How To Use The Advanced Linking Editor In WordPress

In WP v. 3.1, a linking tool was introduced that lets you easily link content in your posts to other posts and pages. This feature was updated in WP version 4.5 to include an inline linking editor.

Prior to this feature, if you wanted to control your internal linking strategy, you would have to manually look for the page or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually paste and add a link to it in your content. Now, adding links to WordPress posts and pages is quite simple.

Here’s how to do it …

First, log into your WordPress dashboard, find and open the post or page you would like to insert links into.

Next, find and highlight the text you would like to create as a hyperlink.

After selecting and highlighting the content, click on the content linking button in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …

WordPress WYSIWYG editor - link feature

(WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu – content linking tool)

Idea

If you find yourself In the ‘Text’ tab of the WordPress editor, click the ‘link’ button to access the link tool …

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

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

The Inline Linking tool appears below your selected phrase …

Inline Linking

(Inline Linking)

Paste in your target destination URL or enter a search term to find related content …

Enter a search term to find related posts and pages

(Type in a search term to view related pages and posts)

Click the ’Return’ icon to create the link …

Inline Linking editor - Apply button

(Inline Linking – Apply button)

Your link will be added to the content …

Link added to content

(Hyperlink inserted into content)

You can access the advanced linking tool by clicking on the ‘Link Options’ icon …

WordPress Inline Linking - 'Link Options'

(WordPress Inline Linking – ‘Link Options’ button)

This brings up the Insert/edit link window …

Advanced linking tool

(Internal content linking editor)

This tool is divided into two sections:

Enter the destination URL

Paste in the URL of your target destination, enter the Link Text to display with the link and tick the ‘Open link in a new window/tab’ checkbox to open your link in a new window …

Insert/edit link editor

(Insert/edit link tool)

Or link to existing content

This is the section that lets you create internal links. Enter a word or keyword phrase related to the post you want to hyperlink into the Search field. WordPress automatically begins looking for related posts and pages containing those words …

Type in the search term to see related posts and pages

(Type in the search term to see related posts and pages)

Select the title of the page or post you would like to link to, and the URL of your selected item automatically gets inserted into the fields in the destination URL section …

Select the page or post to link your content to

(Select the post or page to link to in your content)

Notice that the feature brings up both posts and pages …

Link to pages or posts

(Link to posts or pages)

But you are not just limited to default posts or pages. If you use custom WordPress post types on your site, you can also create internal links to these …

Link to custom post types in addition to pages or posts

(Add internal links to custom post types in addition to pages or posts)

If you want the linked content to open in a new browser window, 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

(Check the box and your link will open in a new window)

Note that the ability to open linked content 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 ... woo hoo!

(Open external and internal links in new windows – even external links to content about internal links!)

Your internal link is now created …

Internal content link

(Voilá … an internal link!)

WordPress Automatically Detects Broken Links

From WordPress 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 fix your link before publishing it to your site. …

WordPress automatically detects broken links

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

Useful 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. make the link bold, italicized, add color, etc …) using the format buttons in your WordPress visual content editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …

Format your links if you want to make them stand out

(Format your hyperlinks to make them more visible)

Deleting Links

No tutorial on adding links to content would feel 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 remove a link from your content, just click anywhere on the link and then click either the little cross icon on the link editor floating box or the ‘Remove link’ button on the editor menu as shown below

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

(Removing links is easy … you even get choices!)

Your hyperlink will be removed …

Non-clickable content ... all links removed!

(Non-clickable text … 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 WordPress linking feature.

Are there any 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 just about everything you can imagine. And if you can’t find a plugin that does what you want, one can be created for you.

Also, depending on the kind of plugins and themes installed on your site, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:

  • Breadcrumb website navigation
  • Links to related posts
  • Linking through widgets

In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional ways to link content in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at various plugins that can help you create internal links automatically on your site.

SEO internal linking structures

(Internal linking structures for SEO. Screenshot source: No Sweat WP Internal Links Lite WordPress plugin)

Congratulations! Now you know how easy it is to link content internally in WordPress.

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"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)

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the owner of WPCompendium.org and the author of The WordPress User Manual. 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.