Reduce bounce rate on your WordPress site with internal links

It is hard enough getting people to visit your website or blog, so once you get them, keep them with internal links to related posts. Here are some tips and a plugin to help.

What is bounce rate? When someone visits a page on a website, they may read the content and then leave for another site elsewhere on the web. They bounce away and basically it is the number of people that view only one page on a site and then leave.

Bounce rate is complicated and a high value is not necessarily bad. For example, a page might provide a solution to a problem and that is all the visitor is looking for. You solve their problem and then they leave, satisfied and happy that you helped.

The bounce rate could be as high as 90 or 95% but satisfaction with the page could be 100%, if you could measure such a thing. You might simply be providing a complete answer to a particular problem.

It is complicated because people bounce when they don’t like a site or a page is not what they expected. A high bounce rate could be an indication of a problem, but it could be that you provided exactly what the visitor wanted. Who knows?

As a site owner though, you probably wish people would stick around and read a few more pages. It’s nice to have visitors that take an interest in what you post on your site. It is also useful to have people visiting multiple pages on your site if you monetize it in any way.

The best way to get people to stay on your site longer is to have internal links, in other words, links to other posts and pages you have published. Getting people to click internal links keeps them on your site and reduces the bounce rate.

You should have a menu that enables people to find content on your site and perhaps links in the sidebar, but they may not be used as much as you would like. People focus on the content of an article and often cannot see a menu once they start to scroll a page up.

It is much better to have links to other content within an article than on a menu that has disappeared off the top of the screen. They can provide additional information, related content on the subject, questions and answers and so on.

Creating internal links looks straightforward and mostly it is, but there are features you may not have discovered and there are even WordPress plugins that can help create internal links. Let’s take a look.

Create a link in WordPress

Create an internal link in WordPress

Creating a link in WordPress is easy and if a link has been copied to the clipboard from elsewhere, like another browser tab, you can simply highlight some text and press Ctrl+V to create it. (Mac users, use Cmd instead of Ctrl.)

Don’t do that with internal links because you are missing out on some great features. Highlight a word or phrase and click the Link button in the toolbar.

Search article titles for related content

Create internal links in WordPress

Click the Link button to open a link box. It is possible to paste a link into it by pressing Ctrl+V (Cmd on a Mac), but if you do, you are missing out on the search feature. Type a word or two into the box and WordPress treats it as a search box and shows a list of matching articles with that word or words in the title. It even shows whether they are posts or pages on the right of each one.

If you see a related article, click it to insert the link. It is an internal link, so it should open in the same tab, don’t use the button to Open in new tab.

Finish the link

Create internal links in WordPress

Click the Enter button and that’s it, the link is done. You now have an internal link that will boost your page views and keep the reader on your site longer.

Search all post content

Use WordPress search feature when creating internal links

What you may not have realised is that the link box is actually a search facility that searches the text content of all posts. In the example above, I typed CyberDuck and a mention of this was found in a previous article. It is not used in any title and is buried deep in a post. With one click, it can be added as an internal link.

Don’t just search for titles when creating internal links, search for other mentions within posts for mentions of technical terms, explanations, further information and so on.

Create internal links with a plugin

Link Whisper WordPress plugin for creating internal links

Creating internal links is easy, but you can make it even easier with an internal links plugin. Link Whisper Free is an interesting plugin that aims to help you create internal links when writing or editing posts. (There is a paid version with more features, but here I use the free one.)

Down below the article in the WordPress post editor is a Link Whisper section where it suggests internal links. On the left is a snippet of text in the article with some highlighted text. On the right is a related article you could link to.

In the middle is an icon to copy the link. Click it.

Search for text in a post

Search web page content using a browser's search feature

The paid plugin has a button to insert the link with a mouse click, but as I am using the free plugin, it requires a bit more effort. Click the button to copy the link. Press Ctrl+F (Cmd on a Mac), to open the browser’s Find box and enter the text to link to.

Highlight the text

Web browser search feature

The search may find one or several instances of the text and the up/down arrow buttons enable you to jump from one to another. Find the suggested link text.

Add the internal link

Creating internal links on a WordPress site

Highlight the link text and press Ctrl+V (Cmd on Macs) to paste the link you copied earlier. That’s it, you now have an internal link. Scroll to the bottom of the article and add the next link suggested by Link Whisper.

The paid plugin has many more features and it can tell you which articles have few or zero internal links. It can also find broken links. However, I think it is a bit expensive at $77 a year.

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