A WordPress Beginner’s Guide to Internal Linking

In a nutshell;  if you put a link in one of your web pages that points to another page in your very same domain, this link is called as an “internal link” and the process of placing that link is called as “internal linking“. Internal linking is a very important, but most of the time ignored, factor for your SEO efforts. It is especially good for; your visitors to stay in your site for longer periods, establishing an understandable site map for crawlers and distributing the ranking power throughout your site.

When a search engine’s crawler lands to one of your particular webpage, it immediately controls two things; content and a pathway to other pages which means basically “links”.

Crawlers don’t like to stay in the same page for too long. They are eager to walk around. So, what they need is a clear pathway which shows them the right tracks to visit other pages.

In SEO jargon, these pathways are called “Internal Links”.

Let’s try to explain this concept with a real life example; You know that having a sitemap is very  important for your SEO. A sitemap is the ultimate guide for web crawlers to understand the hierarchical structure of your website.

Considering the importance of the subject, we published a post about how to create a sitemap which points out the essential steps to establish a sitemap for your wordpress website.

As you may have noticed, there is an internal link (how to create a sitemap) in the upper paragraph which advises the visitors to read another post at pressedword.com.

Although the full name of the post is a little bit longer (how to create a sitemap for wordpress website), we used a more shortened form in the internal link just to give an idea to the visitors about what they will encounter if they choose to click the link.

It would be wise to use descriptive keywords when defining an internal link. Visitors should understand the content of the target page instantly by just looking at the chosen keywords.

Another usage of the internal linking is for the main navigation. For example; your Top_Menu (Primary Menu), Foot_Menu (Footer Links), Sidebar Widget and Footer Widgets all contain links to different pages of your website. These are also internal links. They also help the crawlers, not to mention your visitors, to find their ways along your website.

Top_Menu of pressedword.com with internal links to home, about and contact pages;

internal linking

Foot_Menu of pressedword.com with internal links to contact, disclaimer, privacy policy and copyright pages.

internal linking

Plain HTML is the best method to form internal links. Search engine crawlers are not good at indexing Javascript created links (also links inside of Java applets). So, you had better use the seasoned <a></a>  tag.

For example : If you want to point to one of your pages about Polylang plugin, you can do it like this (assuming you write it in text mode of the wordpress editor)

<a href="http://www.pressedword.com/2016/10/how-to-build-a-multilingual-wordpress-website-using-polylang-in-5-easy-steps/">Polylang plugin</a>

 

inner linking

Of course, if you are using visual mode of your wordpress editor, all you need to do is highlight the words you want them to be your internal link keywords and just click the chain symbol and paste your target page’s webaddress.

inner linking

inner linking

inner linking

inner linking

Another hint that you had better keep in mind is not to target a webpage as an internal link if it is defined as “restricted” to crawlers in robots.txt file.

Look at the example below;

Sitemap: http://www.pressedword.com/sitemap.xml

User-agent: *

Disallow: /wp-admin/dontlinktome.html

You may wonder if there is a limit on the internal links that you may place on a particular page. Well, it depends !

Actually, when a web crawler comes to your page, it begins to crawl from the top and continues all the way to the bottom.  Do you remember crawlers’ 2 main duties which we mentioned earlier in this post ? (hint : to check the content and the links)

A crawler keeps the links of a website in its mind to revisit them later. When doing this, it uses its search engine’s limited resources to prioritize the links according to their relevance and importance.

Some of your links may get that priority, some may not. It all depends on the algorithms nested inside the search engines.

In summary, there is no limit written in stone for the internal links on a page. But keep in mind that crawlers make their job from the top of your page to the bottom. So, it might be a wise decision to put your important internal links to the top of your pages.

 

Tolga Ayan

Writes articles about WordPress, CSS & Related Web Technologies. Resident of Alpharetta, GA.

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