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.

Creating Internal Links In WordPress Using The WordPress Inline Link FeatureLinking to other pages in your own website or domain is called internal linking.

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

Linking to other pages helps your readers discover more of your content and has SEO benefits. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to add internal links to WordPress using the internal linking feature.

WordPress Internal Content Linking Function

(The WordPress Built-In Linking Function)

Internal Content Linking Benefits

Internal linking simply means adding hyperlinks 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's pages are full of internal content links

(Wikipedia uses extensive content linking extensively)

Adding links to other pages and posts provides several benefits, not only for you as the website owner but also for your visitors and search engines. Internal content linking allows users to access more content. This also ensures that search engines can index your web pages faster. Wikipedia is a great example of a website that relies on internal linking.

Benefits Of Content Links #1 – Improved Site Navigation And User Experience

Use internal links to improve site navigation and user experience.

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

One of the main purposes of a website is to provide visitors with relevant information. Offering users easy access to other areas of your site that contain more of the content they want to see not only makes your website easier to use and navigate, but also your user’s experience.

Creating a better user experience means that visitors stay longer on your site and visit more pages. In a well-thought-out content strategy, this can lead to better sales conversions.

It’s important to 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 about us page.

Benefits Of Using Internal Linking #2 – Improved SEO Results

Use internal links to improve your search rankings.

(Use internal content linking to improve your website’s SEO.)

Adding internal content links also improves your search engine optimization (SEO). By creating internal links to content on other pages or posts on your site, you are helping search engine indexing spiders crawl sites faster and more easily than sites that include only standalone pages. This can drive more organic search traffic to your website or blog.

One of the more effective ways to improve your search engine optimization is to combine internal linking with relevant keywords. This can easily be achieved by adding keyword terms to link URLs (called anchor text links).

For example, if you provide wedding-related products or advice, you could create an article on unusual gifts for weddings and hyperlink the keyword phrase “green wedding gift ideas” to another section of your website listing wedding gift registries.

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

Use keyword-relevant text links on content titles, body text, image captions, etc.

(You can add keyword-relevant text links to content titles, body text, image captions, etc.)

Benefits Of Using Content Links #3 – Increase Visibility & Exposure For Your Content

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

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

Over time, as you continue adding content to your WordPress site, older posts get pushed down the chronology. This can cause many of your posts to become less popular.

If you have content on older posts or pages that is not getting as much exposure as you would like, consider adding internal links within the content of your more popular posts 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!

Creating Internal Links Using The WordPress Linking Editor

In WordPress 3.1, a link function was introduced that allows you to easily link content in posts and pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was updated in WordPress 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 search your site for the page or post you wanted to link to, then copy its URL and manually link to it in your content. Now, creating internal linking in WordPress is really simple.

Here’s how you do it …

Log into your WordPress backend, find and open the post or page you would like to add internal links to.

Next, highlight the text you would like to add a link to.

Once you have selected and highlighted the text, click on the link feature in the WordPress visual content editor menu (< here’s an internal link!) …

WordPress visual content editor - linking feature

(WordPress WYSIWYG editor – content link feature)

Important Info

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

The link feature can also be accessed in the 'Text' tab of the editor

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

The Inline Linking editor will display below the selection …

WordPress Inline Linking

(WordPress Inline Linking)

Paste in the URL of your target destination or enter a word or keyword related to the text you want to hyperlink into the field to bring up related content …

Enter a search term to find related pages and posts

(Enter a search term to view related pages and posts)

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

Inline Linking editor - Apply button

(WordPress Inline Linking – Apply button)

Your link has now been inserted …

Hyperlink added to content

(Hyperlink added to content)

You can also access the advanced linking tool by clicking on the gear icon …

Inline Linking tool - 'Link Options'

(Inline Linking editor – ’Link Options’)

This brings up the Insert/edit link window …

Internal link feature

(Internal link feature)

You will see two sections:

Enter the destination URL

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

Insert/edit link tool

(Insert/edit link editor)

Or link to existing content

This is the advanced linking function that lets you insert internal links into your content. Begin typing a word or keyword phrase related to the title of the page you want to hyperlink in the Search box. WordPress automatically begins looking for related posts and pages containing those words …

Type in the search term to find related pages and posts

(Enter the search term to see related posts and pages)

Click the page or post you would like to link to, and the item’s URL will automatically be added to the URL section …

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

(Click on the page or post 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)

You are not just limited to standard posts or pages. You can also link to custom WordPress post types (these are post types created to display information in a specific way), like products, categories, etc. …

Link content to custom post types in addition to regular posts or pages

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

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

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

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

Note that the ability to open links in a new window can be used in both internal and external links …

Open external and internal links in new windows - even external links to content about internal links ... woo hoo!

(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 …

An internal link

(An internal link … sublime and beautiful!)

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 correct the link before publishing it to your site. …

WordPress automatically detects broken links

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

Useful Information

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

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

Format your links to make them more noticeable

(You can format links if you want to catch your visitors’ attention)

Removing Links To Content

No tutorial on adding links to content is complete without showing you how to delete any links that you no longer want, so let’s take care of this 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 box or the ‘Remove link’ button on the editor menu as shown below

Deleting hyperlinks in WordPress is easy ... just click the button!

(Deleting both internal and external links in WordPress is easy … just click the button!)

Your link will be removed …

Plain content ... all links removed!

(Plain text … all links removed!)

WordPress Plugins For Linking Content Internally

So far, we have looked at how to create links to content in WordPress manually using the WordPress inline link function.

Are there any WordPress plugins that can do this job?

Yes, there are! As we explain in this article, there are plugins for everything. And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you are looking for, one can be created for you.

Also, depending on the kind of plugins and themes used on your website, 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 SEO linking strategies in WordPress, look at the benefits and challenges of automating content links in WordPress, and look at several plugins that can help you create internal linking automatically.

SEO internal linking structures

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

Congratulations … now you know how to easily link content internally in your WordPress pages and posts.

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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.