In this review, we’re going to take a look at the new kid on the SEO block — Link Whisper.
This WordPress plugin claims to be able to at least partially automate your internal link building.
Yes, you’ll no longer have to manually add internal links to your pages or posts.
Which can only be a good thing because doing it manually is a necessary pain in the ass.
So let’s look at how Link Whisper did when we put it through its paces.
Why Internal Links?
You all know that internal links are really important for SEO, right?
If you don’t, we can assure you they absolutely are.
We even went as far as analyzing 1,000,000 internal links and proved there is a correlation between these types of links and pages ranking higher.
So if you want to rank higher in Google you should pay attention to your site’s internal linking.
This is especially true for pages with external links because it allows you to pass the link juice to other pages on your site, giving them a bump in the SERPs.
Basically, internal link building is a vastly underestimated SEO tactic.
Now you’re probably asking yourself why every affiliate you meet isn’t talking about internal link building 24/7/365.
And the reason is that there’s no way to automate the process of internal link building.
My own approach for finding internal linking opportunities has been to use the Google “site” command, like so:
The syntax for this is to open Google and then type, “Site: yourdomain.com “target keyword”.
Google then gives me a list of relevant posts, which is for internal links in this case.
And while I like this little hack it’s not perfect.
Here’s an example of where you can run into problems.
Let’s say you have a blog post about the best “SEO plugins”.
Using my method, I’d type the following into a Google search bar:
Site: authorityhacker.com “SEO plugins”
This then gives me recommendations from Google for internal links.
But the problem is that my article is not only about SEO plugins – it has a bunch of subtopics within it like:
- Site speed
- Yoast issues
- Schema markup
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
Each of these searches could have relevant internal links for the sub-section of the review, and my tactic doesn’t really cover that type of eventuality.
So, I’m going to miss out on a lot of opportunities for internal links, which is a pain because we both know how important they are for improving your rankings.
There has to be an easier way to do internal linking, right?
Introducing Link Whisper
And that’s where Link Whisper enters the picture.
Link Whisper promises to harness the power of AI to find internal link opportunities for you.
But an actual AI (artificial intelligence) is still at least a decade away, so what Link Whisper uses instead is a basic Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm.
But I digress.
Basically, Link Whisper automates the process of finding what pages on your site you can send internal links to.
And it does that for:
- $77 per year for 1 site
- $107 per year for 3 sites; or
- $157 per year for 10 sites
So it’s not ludicrously expensive, especially if you run multiple affiliate sites.
But it’s also not free.
So, I guess the question we need to answer in this review is:
“Does Link Whisper bring enough value to the table to justify its price?”
Let’s get to answering that.
Installation & Activation
Purchase your Link Whisper license, install the plugin, activate it, and then enter your license key.
You’ll find the suggested links panel at the bottom of whatever page or post you want to build internal links from:
You can configure it to use custom posts – you just need to set it to trigger in the Link Whisper settings menu:
You can also limit it to only look for links within the same category as the post, which is great if you are building self-contained silos and you have a really strict silo structure.
Or you can just let it scan your entire site for suggestions, which it does by default.
On the left, you’ll be presented with a list of the different parts of your article you can link from and the suggested anchor text for the internal link from that page.
These are your ‘Outbound internal links’:
And while there’s usually enough information here, I often found myself opening the post to double-check because I wasn’t really sure where that particular snippet of text was in my content.
So it took me way more time to evaluate if each link was relevant or not.
You’ve probably also noticed that the suggested anchor text for the links is pretty long.
Like half-sentence-long in many cases.
When I add links to an internal page I usually try to keep my anchor text to 3 – 4 words maximum, so these suggestions are just way too long for my liking.
But that’s something you can fix thanks to a recent update to Link Whisper – the ‘Edit Sentence’ function.
We cover that in more detail later.
In the right-hand panel, you get the title of the post you can add links to.
If you click on the little arrow you get a list of alternative URLs in case you don’t like the one suggested, allowing you to pick a different destination URL for each internal link:
And then when you’re happy with the internal links you’ve selected you simply click on ‘Update Post’.
Your page will then reload with all the new internal links added to it.
Inbound Internal Links
So far we’ve only looked at the ‘Outbound internal links’ feature which is great, but what if you have a specific page that you want to build internal links to?
Never fear, that’s also catered for – just head over to the Link Whisper Dashboard and click ‘Links Report’:
When you click on the ‘Links report’ you get the option to add inbound internal links to a specific page:
So if we use the example of our recent blog post on the best affiliate marketing books for newbies we get the following suggestions:
All told it found 178 pages that could link to our new blog post.
That’s pretty impressive – imagine being able to potentially add over 170 new links to a page on your site?
Except every link uses the exact same anchor text – affiliate marketing.
As suggestions go, this isn’t terrible, but not at precise as it could be.
BUT you can run a keyword search to find pages that contain the phrase you want to use for your internal links:
This allows you to shift between mass internal link building and instead focusing on topical relevancy.
So that’s pretty cool.
But there’s still a manual element involved so that somewhat reduces how automated Link Whisper actually is.
Now let’s turn things on their head by asking a pertinent question:
What if there’s a page or post you absolutely never want to build links to?
No problem – you simply tell Link Whisper to ignore that URL.
The first way to do this is from within the ‘Suggested Links’ dialog:
Or you can head over to the settings for Link Whisper and do it there:
You can also do this for entire categories from within the ‘Settings’ screen.
This feature allows you to bulk change URLs across your site.
This would come in very handy if you changed your overall site structure and didn’t want to update each link by hand, for example.
It allows you to change dozens (or even hundreds) of internal links with just a few clicks, and without using redirects.
Now, here’s something interesting – a “brute force”, algorithmic approach to internal link building.
You simply choose the URL you want to build links to, and what you’d like the anchor text for those links to say:
Then click ‘Add Keyword”.
I’m a creature of habit so I scanned the page for a ‘Start’ button.
Using “Add Keyword” is fine – it just feels a bit odd.
In the above example, we’re using the phrase “keyword research tools” to build links to our roundup of the best keyword research tools.
You can also choose from the following settings:
- Add a link to this page from a post that already has an existing link to it. Which you probably don’t want to do.
- Only add a single link from another post to your target URL. Which you probably do want to do.
And yes, every single inbound internal link created with ‘Auto-linking’ will have the same exact same anchor text.
But I had very mixed results with this new feature – keep reading to find out what happened.
There’s nothing worse than having to trawl through a cluttered reporting interface, but Link Whisper doesn’t force you to endure that.
Instead, it keeps things very straightforward.
You can choose from:
- Links report
- Domains report
- Error report
The ‘Dashboard” function is self-explanatory, but it does provide you with a visual overview of your site’s linking structure.
As you can see in the above example, roughly 75% of the links on our site are internal, so we’re doing a pretty good job at retaining our link juice.
Something else I like about the dashboard is the ‘Link Stats’ section because it gives you a snapshot of the numbers in relation to your internal links.
This is especially useful for something like orphaned posts i.e. content that has no internal links pointing to it.
Having orphaned posts is a wasted traffic opportunity, but they’re all too easy to overlook or simply forget.
When you click ‘Links report’ you get a breakdown of your links by ‘Inbound internal links’, ‘Outbound internal links’, and ‘Outbound external links’.
One neat feature is that you can sort a page or post by how many or few internal links it has, quickly identifying orphaned pages.
You can also add links to pages from this part of the interface, which kind of makes sense in an odd way.
A part of me would still prefer all link building to exist in a separate part of the plug-in, and just keep ‘Reporting’ for…well…reports.
But the ability to add links from here does actually work well, once you get used to it.
When you click on ‘Domains report’ you get to see…well…nothing. It kept timing out for us, and we’re not sure why.
We are working to resolve this issue with the Link Whisper team though.
But here’s what a typical ‘Domains Report’ looks like – it shows you what domains you’re linking out to, from where, and how often:
And then the final dashboard menu option is ‘Error Report’, which unsurprisingly provides you with a detailed report on any broken internal or external links on your site.
This is a really useful feature because sites go offline, affiliate programs close, etc.
And you’d normally have to run a separate tool or plugin to figure out which of your links are broken.
Just bear in mind that running this report on a large site takes a long, long time – even if you’re running on a fast host.
So, Link Whisper does appear to make building internal links to and from pages and posts far easier than doing things manually.
But the truth is in the testing.
The Testing Phase
Now we come to where the metal meets the meat – testing.
To test Link Whisper’s link building recommendations, I decided to take an existing post on Authority Hacker and run it through Link Whisper to see what internal links it would suggest:
This is our case study on how we sold a website for 6-figures so it has a decent amount of incoming links.
That makes it a good example of a page you could use to pass link juice to other pages on your site.
Soooo…how did we get on?
The Good Stuff
Not too bad – Link Whisper gave me 62 internal link recommendations, and I used 17 of those.
17 internal links on a post I have manually reviewed in the past is actually quite impressive.
So I’m pretty happy with that as a result.
Is there anything I don’t like about the tool?
The Not So Good Stuff
My first gripe is that way too many of the internal link suggestions were irrelevant, which is annoying.
But then again, NLP is not nearly as advanced as people think or claim it is.
If it was, then computers and Google would be writing and ranking content.
There’d be no need for SEOs, and you’d be out of the job.
So let’s be grateful for the failings of Natural Language Processing and for the fact that Link Whisper did actually present us with some decent suggestions.
My next annoyance is around the fact that you can’t manually enter a URL to link to.
Or that was the case until Spencer and the guys at Link Whisper updated the plugin to allow custom URLs.
This was based on some constructive feedback from me, so props to them for taking that on board.
So now if you think, “Yeah okay that’s a good idea for a link…but to this page instead”, you simply click on ‘Custom Link’ and enter your preferred URL:
So, in this example a really good internal link suggestion would have been to our article on the best niches for affiliate marketing:
Now instead of doing it by hand, I can just use the custom link feature.
This makes things so much easier for me and makes up for the low-quality NLP link recommendations Link Whisper generates in many cases.
Another major gripe for me in an earlier iteration of the plugin was that you couldn’t edit the anchor text in a meaningful way.
You could kind of click around and select different words, but not actually change it.
Basically, it was really clumsy and awkward.
Again, the recent update to the plugin now allows you to directly edit the hyperlink by clicking on ‘Edit Sentence’:
One thing I like to do when I do internal linking is to edit my text a little bit so the anchor text reflects the keywords I want to rank for.
And being able to do this with Link Whisper now makes it far more powerful than previous versions.
But one thing that has generated one error after another is the ‘Domain report’ function:
It times out every single time we try to load it.
But it does seem to be site-specific because we’ve tested Link Whisper on four different sites, spread across 3 web hosts, and this problem only appears on one of those four sites.
And, to their credit, the Link Whisper team is working with us to resolve the issue.
We also run into a few problems when testing the ‘Auto-linking’ feature.
The first test I ran crashed out with a debug error message:
It also timed out several times after that.
But what was even stranger was the number of internal links generated.
In the earlier example, I used the fairly generic phrase: “keyword research tools”.
This resulted in two internal links.
But if you run a site: authorityhacker.com search for the same phrase you get 276 results:
And even when I checked the ‘Add link if the post already has this link” Link Whisper still only added 8 links.
So something here doesn’t make sense.
It could be an issue specific to the AuthorityHacker site, but I can’t think of any reasons why.
A Deeper Analysis
Here’s what we looked at:
- How relevant are the link suggestions generated by Link Whisper?
- How clean is the link code it generates?
- Does it work with page builders?
- Will it slow down your website?
We’ve already covered this in a bit more detail above, but the long and short of it is that there were more irrelevant link suggestions than relevant ones.
In our earlier example, we used 17 out of 62 suggestions, which is a 27.4% success rate.
It’s not awful, but you wouldn’t want to put a ring on it either.
But when I looked at the actual post I added the links to, they were all regular HTML. So kudos to the Link Whisper developers here.
As far as I’m concerned, the internal links built by Link Whisper are just as good as ones you build manually.
Page Builder Compatibility
So it’s worth asking in advance if this WordPress plugin works with these tools.
The test above used Guttenberg, but I also tested it with Elementor and it worked fine there too.
I’m pretty confident that, for the supported page builders, Link Whisper will work without any major glitches.
More brownie points for the developers.
Will It Slow Down Your Website?
Page speed is all the rage in SEO and affiliate circles these days, so we have to touch on it here too.
So, how many resources does Link Whisper use?
I took one of my blog posts and ran a GTmetrix test on it before using this link building plugin, and then another one after.
And as you can see there’s no discernible difference.
Actually, the “after” result was faster, so maybe the server had a Diet Coke and got an energy boost.
Either way, Link Whisper had no discernible negative impact on page speed.
Next up, I checked Query Monitor to see if this plugin was loading any extra scripts in the background:
Nothing showed up for Link Whisper, so again that’s a good sign.
This plugin probably does use some resources when it’s crawling new pages, but that would only be a temporary thing.
So, based on all my testing, I’m happy to report that Link Whisper doesn’t slow your site down.
Summing It Up
So, is Link Whisper worth your money?
The answer is “Yes”.
Despite how much it annoyed me at times, I managed to add 17 internal links for a few minutes of work.
Which is a hell of a lot faster than doing it manually.
I think this plugin can add a lot of value on a big site, especially if you’re outsourcing the content uploading or management for that site.
Yes, it does suggest nonsensical links at times, but it makes up for that by helping you streamline your internal link building.
As of right now, Link Whisper is the best internal link “automation” tool I’m aware of and with the cleanest code.
Thanks to the recent updates to its core functionality, I can see the Authority Hacker team using it on at least some of our sites.