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How To Use The WordPress Internal Linking Tool

According 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.”

The WordPress platform comes with great built-in internal linking features, such as menus, permalinks, text links, archives, categories, and tags pages, search results pages, link widgets, sidebar widgets (e.g. Latest Posts), entries RSS feeds, a default linking tool, continue reading tags, etc. Additional linking features can also be added to WordPress using plugins. In short, WordPress is an ideal platform for adding extensive content linking.

In this step-by-step tutorial you will learn how to add internal links to WordPress using the advanced content link feature.

(WordPress Internal Linking Tool)

Internal Hyperlinks – Benefits

Internal links are simply hyperlinks in your content pointing to relevant content on pages and posts 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 contain many internal links)

Adding internal links to web pages provides a number of benefits, not only for website owners, but also for web visitors and search engines. Internal content linking enables users to access more content and helps search engines better index web site. Wikipedia is a great example of sites that rely extensively on using internal links.

Benefit Of Internal Linking #1 – Improved Site Navigation And User Experience

(Use internal content linking to improve site usability and user experience.)

Web pages are meant to provide visitors with relevant information. Providing users with easy access to other sections of your website that contain more of the content they want to see not only improves the ease of navigation of your site, it also creates 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-planned website, this can easily result in more sales.

It’s important to make sure that what you are actually linking together is relevant for your users. For example, you may want to link your home page to your contact details page.

Benefit Of Using Internal Content Links #2 – Improve Your Website’s SEO

(Use internal content linking to improve your search results.)

Adding links in your content improves your search results. By creating internal links to other pages or posts on your site, you are helping search engine indexing spiders crawl your web pages faster and more thoroughly than if your site contains only standalone posts and pages. This can drive more web traffic to your website or blog.

An effective way of improving your search engine optimization is by combining internal linking with relevant keywords. This can be easily achieved by adding link text to hyperlinks (these are called anchor text links).

For example, if you provide travel information or advice, you could create a post listing romantic travel tips and ideas and link the phrase “romantic cruises” to another section of your website describing various romantic getaway destinations. This helps search engines get a better understanding of what your web pages are about.

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

(Add keyword-relevant text links to titles, body text, image captions, etc.)

Benefit Of Internal Content Linking #3 – Increase Visibility And Exposure For Your Content

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

In WordPress, as you continue adding new content, your blog posts will get older and get pushed down the chronological table. This can cause posts to lose popularity.

If there is content on older posts or pages that you would like more visitors to read, consider creating 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 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!

How To Use The WordPress Internal Hyperlinking Tool

An internal linking function was introduced in WP v. 3.1 that allows you to easily link content on your pages to other posts and pages on your site. This feature was upgraded in WP 4.5 to include an inline linking tool.

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

Here’s how to do it …

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

Next, highlight the content you would like to turn into a link.

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

(WordPress WYSIWYG editor menu – content link tool)

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

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

The Inline Linking editor will display below the selection …

(WordPress Inline Linking)

Paste in the URL of your target destination or type a word or keyword phrase related to the post or page you want to hyperlink into the field to view related content …

(Type in a search term to view related content)

Click the ‘Apply’ button to insert the link …

(WordPress Inline Linking editor – Apply button)

Your link has now been inserted into the content …

(Link inserted into content)

You can also access the advanced linking feature by clicking on the gear (‘Link Options’) icon …

(WordPress Inline Linking – ’Link Options’)

This brings up the Insert/edit link window …

(Advanced link options)

By default, you will see two sections:

Enter the destination URL

Paste in your target destination URL, add the Link Text associated with the link and choose whether to open your link in a new window …

(Insert/edit link tool)

Or link to existing content

This advanced linking function lets you add internal links. Enter a word or keyword related to the post or page you want to hyperlink into the Search field. WordPress automatically begins looking for content items containing those words …

(Enter the search term to see related content)

Click on the page or post you want to link to, and the item’s URL will automatically be inserted into the fields in the destination URL field …

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

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

(Link to pages or posts)

But you are not limited to regular posts or pages. If you use custom post types on your site, you can also link to these …

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

If you want to open your link in a new window, 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 in both internal and external links …

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

Your internal link is now created …

(Internal content 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 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:

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:

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:

(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 visual content editor menu (< there’s that internal link again! :)) …

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

How To Remove 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 take care of this topic right now.

To remove 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’ button on the WordPress content editor menu as shown below

(Removing both internal and external links is easy … you even get choices!)

Your link will be removed …

(Links is gone!)

Internal Linking Plugins

So far, we have looked at how to create internal links to content manually using the inline linking tool.

Are there any plugins for WordPress that can automate this job?

Yes, there are! As we explain in our comprehensive overview of WordPress plugins, there are WordPress plugins for everything you can imagine. 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 installed on your site, you can get additional SEO benefits from internal linking features such as:

In a separate article, we’ll discuss additional ways to link content in WordPress, look at the pros and cons of automating content links in WordPress, and look at a number of plugins you can look at for creating internal content links automatically on your website.

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

Congratulations … now you know how easy it is to add links to content 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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