I get asked to review a LOT of software for this site, and have a huge backlog of products to look at. However, in the case of this Link Whisper review, I couldn’t wait to get started.
Why? Because Link Whisper appears to solve a problem I face daily as a blogger. If you’ve been running a blog for any length of time, you’ll quickly understand why.
What is Link Whisper?
Link Whisper is a WordPress plugin designed to help bloggers quickly create internal links between the posts on their sites. As well as suggesting suitable internal links for new posts, Link Whisper also allows users to review old posts, see what internal links they have, and add new ones. (See below for an explanation of why this is so important).
Link Whisper was created by Niche Pursuits, the team behind Long Tail Pro (review here), a popular SEO keyword research tool.
Why Does Internal Linking Matter?
Internal linking on a blog is hugely important. It not only helps readers flow between different pieces of content, it also enables search engines to understand how the content fits together. It’s widely believed that effective internal linking is a considerable contributing factor in how well sites perform on Google.
If, like me, you’re an individual blogger, linking back to older posts from new posts is rarely much of a problem. You tend to know what content you already have, and link to posts that are relevant while you’re writing.
However, it’s much harder in reverse. When you add something new, you really need to be going back to relevant older posts to link to the new ones. This is a laborious task that tends to be ignored or forgotten – and that’s a really bad thing.
Not only are you not giving readers easy ways to find your freshest and most relevant content, you’re not giving your work the best chance with the search engines either.
Link Whisper Pricing
LinkWhisper’s pricing model is very straightforward. You pay an annual subscription based on how many websites you want to use it on.
For a single site you pay $67 per year; A three site license is $97, and a ten site license is $147 – so there are good economies of scale there for people with lots of sites.
Another important thing to note with the pricing is that the links you create using the software remain there, even if you stop using it. As such, you don’t have to worry that you’re committing to use Link Whisper for the lifetime of your site. You can use it, if you wish, for a one-off internal linking exercise, and then cancel.
Link Whisper Review: Our Experiences
Link Whisper installs just like any other WordPress plugin. You download it, upload it to your site and activate it. You need to enter a license key to make it work.
After that, you have a small dedicated Link Whisper menu on your WordPress dashboard, and a new “Link Whisper Suggested Links” section on the page and post editor.
When you’re creating a piece of content, you can use this new section to create links from your new article to existing places on your site. The software makes suggestions based on the words used in your content (more on that later in our Link Whisper review).
If you decide you like some of the link suggestions, you can click words on and off to suggest exactly what anchor text you want to use, and add the links automatically.
This is obviously very useful indeed, especially if you have a lot of existing content, or people working on your site who may not be familiar with other related articles they could link to.
In my case, and I suspect in many others, it’s the flip-side of Link Whisper’s functionality that’s dramatically more useful. You get to this by going to the “Report” option on the Link Whisper menu.
Here, you get a list of all the posts on your site, and an analysis of how many other posts are linking to them. What you’ll commonly find here are “orphaned” pages. These are usually newish posts where you’ve not had the time to go back to older posts and link out to them. The really exciting thing about Link Whisper is that you can then view suggested links AND ADD THEM, without having to access and edit the individual posts.
If you have an established site, you’re probably already getting excited about how much time this could save. It makes it possible to do – in an hour or two – something that would otherwise involve revisiting post after post and doing a bunch of manual work.
However, nothing in this life is perfect, and sadly this LinkWhisper review does have to detail some flaws…
First off, there are some short time delays when you analyse a post, but these are to be expected, given what the software has to do. Far more of a problem are some of the link suggestions the software comes up with.
It appears that Link Whisper uses a rather rudimentary way of scanning through post content, and seems to place particular emphasis on post titles.
You can actually get an idea of the impact of this from the screenshot above. Unsurprisingly, on this website, the plugin loved pulling out “home working” – leaving me with suggestions that simply weren’t sophisticated enough for good quality internal linking. I had the same problem when I’d used phrases in subject lines like “essential tips.” Essentially, it was just very clear a computer was making the suggestions, and not an intelligent being!
Before too long, I found myself able to quite easily predict whether the suggestions for each post would be usable or not. For some posts I was easily able to approve several suggested links – but for others, none really made the grade. This resulted in frustrating situations where Link Whisper identified an article needed more internal links pointing to it, but stumbled in helping me establish them.
It’s worth emphasising at this point that the Link Whisper is very new. There are a couple of ways I can imagine this functionality being enhanced: One would be for the software to do an more in-depth analysis of the content (although I imagine this would have big performance implications). Another option would perhaps be the ability to manually input a keyword or two as a prompt for more relevant link placement suggestions.
Does Link Whisper Work?
Despite the criticism above, Link Whisper definitely does work. However, it works better on some posts and types of content than others. I was certainly able to add lots of valuable internal links to my articles with far less effort than doing it manually. However, I was left with a list of posts where I felt I’d need to do some manual work to do the linking to my desired standard.
With the software being so new, I am certainly hopeful that the functionality will evolve in later versions, and I’ll update this review as and when.
What About the Rankings?
It’s reasonable to assume that most people using Link Whisper will be trying to improve their Google rankings.
To that end, I have started a casual experiment to monitor ranking changes on pages I’ve pointed more links to.
Obviously there are lots of factors in play in the search rankings, so it will never be possible to specifically say that it’s internal linking that’s resulted in any ranking improvement. At the time of writing, it’s only been 10 days since I made the changes, so I don’t feel inclined to read too much into the limited results I’ve observed so far. However, I have seen a few positive shifts (and a couple of negative ones too!)
I shall continue to monitor this closely and update the review.
Link Whisper is a good product, but right now it falls short of being a GREAT product. However, I feel inclined to cut the plugin plenty of slack as it’s still so new.
It still gets a huge tick for providing a direct solution to a BIG problem for bloggers, which is ensuring that older content links to newer content. Even after only a small period of experimentation for my Link Whisper review, I’ve seen enough of a positive impact on my site to continue using it.
The pricing is very low too. It would cost me WAY more than $67 to do this work manually, whether I used a virtual assistant or did it myself.
Link Whisper isn’t perfect (yet). It is frustrating when it seems to focus on the wrong phrases and gives you a bunch of link suggestions that won’t work out. However, it is enough of a labour-saver to still receive a cautious recommendation. If you’re an established blogger, this could be a great investment in finally sorting out your internal linking.
Pros and Cons
- Affordable – especially compared with doing the work manually.
- Simple to install and use.
- Saves considerable time.
- Provides a solution to a common blogging problem.
- Link suggestions are sometimes too basic to be effective.
- Performance can be slightly slow.
- The user experience for selecting words to include in anchor text seems unintuitive.
- Long Tail Pro is another Niche Pursuits product we have a lot of time for. Read a full review here.
- If you’re just getting started in blogging, this guide should be a good read.
- For more software reviews, click here.