Link Whisper Review & Case Study (2021)

In this Link Whisper review, I’ll show you how this nifty little plugin works and test it out on one of my own sites.

What is Link Whisper?

Link Whisper is a WordPress plugin created by Spencer Hawes (founder of Niche Pursuits).

Link Whisper

It makes the process of creating internal links quick and easy.

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing, Link Whisper cost $77 for a single site license and $177 for a 3 site license, per year.

In a world of monthly subscriptions and SAAS, it’s nice to see the classic annual payment model here.

Is it worth the money?

The way I see it, if I can pay $77 and save even a couple hours of my time, it’s worth it.

On top of that, if Link Whisper can help me improve rankings of existing articles and in turn get more traffic – which it did – it’s definitely worth every penny.

What exactly does Link Whisper do?

The tagline for this product is “a smart and powerful way to build internal links”. Each facet of Link Whisper is designed to do just that.

First, Link Whisper will give you link suggestions in the WordPress editor as you’re writing a new post.

Link Whisper suggested link

Accepting these suggestions is as easy as checking a box.

Link Whisper keywords
Adding custom keywords to supplement Link Whisper’s suggestions
Link Whisper add internal link
Using the mini WYSIWYG editor to add an internal link from another post (without having to actually open to that post)

You can also add custom keywords to each post (which I recommend doing) and build new internal links manually.

Second, this WordPress plugin will help you create links to older posts by identifying pages that have few (or zero) internal links, then make it easy to add new ones.

Link Whisper orphaned content
I was pretty shocked by how much “orphaned content” was on my site. As far as SEO goes, this is low hanging fruit!

You can also use Link Whisper’s Auto-Linking function, which automatically builds links based on specific keywords of your choosing.

Link Whisper link report
Link Whisper link report

Finally, the plugin also has some reporting functions built in to help you analyze the internal linking structure of your site and find any broken internal links.

Do internal links really matter?

Internal links won’t boost your domain authority like an external backlink will, but they’re still very important for SEO.

Internal links help give search engines an idea of how your site is structured and which pages are most important.

According to Moz:

Internal links are most useful for establishing site architecture and spreading link equity…

Moz SEO Learning Center

Think about it: if you have 500 pages on your blog, and one of your best posts doesn’t have any internal links, you’re signaling to Google that that post isn’t very important.

Every post should have at least a few internal links. Even if you don’t really have an overarching plan for site structure and internal linking, you should have some sort of process for building internal links to new posts.

But, if you’re like me, you didn’t even think about this stuff when you first got started, and you have a ton of old content with few (or no) internal links.

This is where Link Whisper comes in.

But the obvious question is: can you really improve rankings and get more traffic just by building internal links?

Let’s find out…

Link Whisper Case Study

I decided to try Link Whisper on my biggest site, The Modest Man. After installing the plugin, I identified four existing blog posts for this trial run.

Link Whisper dashboard
Link Whisper dashboard

If I wasn’t doing a case study, I would have just started with the oldest posts, but for this experiment, I wanted to choose posts that were ranking and getting some traffic, but that weren’t ranking #1 for any major keywords.

The question was: is it possible to improve rankings/traffic without adding any new content to these posts or changing the publish date?

Here are the posts I added internal links to, exactly one month ago from today:

Post #1

  • 3 year old post with 12 internal links
  • Added 7 internal links via Link Whisper

Post #2

  • 1.5 year old post with 7 internal links
  • Sharp drop in rankings 3 months ago
  • Added 7 internal links via Link Whisper

Post #3

  • Less than 1 year old post with 8 internal links
  • Added 12 internal links via Link Whisper

Post #4

  • Less than 1 year old post with 4 internal links
  • #39 in Google for main keyword (6.4k monthly search volume)
  • #34 in Google for alternative keyword (600 monthly search volume)
  • Added 7 “See Also” links*

*For this last post, Link Whisper didn’t find many relevant linking opportunities. I think this is because the topic of this post is sort of tangential to the rest of the site.

I decided to use this as sort of a “control group” by adding non-contextual “See Also” links, instead of your standard paragraph anchor text links. For example:

See Also: Q4 Income Report & 2020 Review

The question for this little side experiment is: are the anchor text links that Link Whisper finds and builds better than generic “See Also” links?

Let’s find out…

Link Whisper Results

It’s been one month since I built new links to each of those four blog posts. Let’s look at how each post has performed since then.

Post #1

  • No change in rankings
  • No change in traffic

This is an old post that’s slowly lost rankings and traffic in the years since it was published.

Post 1 organic keywords
That slight uptick after Dec 11 *might* be due to the internal links, but it’s hard to say…

I was curious to see if adding a few internal links could resurrect this one, but it doesn’t seem to have had muich impact:

Post 1 organic traffic

It seems like freshness is an issue with this article, so it will have to be updated and republished.

Post #2

  • Increase in rankings
  • No change in traffic

This is the one post that saw a dramatic increase in the # of organic keywords it ranks for, right after using Link Whisper.

Post 2 organic keywords
After a random sharp drop off in Oct – likely due to the Google algorithm update – this blog post saw a dramatic increase in # of Organic Keywords after using Link Whisper to add a few internal links.

Could it be a coincidence? Sure. But the timing indicates that these internal links had an impact, especially since this post had seen an abrupt drop in rankings and traffic a few months back.

Now, I haven’t seen a traffic increase with this post yet, but I usually keep an eye on Organic Keywords in Ahrefs, as this is a leading indicator of performance for a given post.

Post 2 organic traffic
Actual traffic doesn’t correlate exactly with Ahrefs’ Organic Keywords metric, but more Organic Keywords should lead to more traffic eventually.

This metric represents how many keywords a post ranks for, regardless of how high it ranks.

So if this number is increasing, that means the post is starting to rank for keywords that it didn’t rank for before. This won’t translate to more traffic until the actual individual rankings make their way onto the first page of the SERPs (search engine results pages).

With all of that in mind, this is very promising and, in my mind, validates the Link Whisper purchase.

Post #3

  • Increase in rankings
  • Increase in traffic

This post has been on a steady upward trajectory since it was published, so I can’t say for sure that adding internal links made a huge impact.

Post 3 organic keywords
This post has been solid since day one, so I can’t say for sure how much of an impact new internal links are having.

It’s definitely not a bad idea to give a strong article an extra boost by adding a few internal links, but it won’t lead to the obvious results we saw in Post #2.

Post 3 organic traffic
That first spike is from an email newsletter; after that, traffic has been on the same upward trajectory as Organic Keywords.

Going forward, I think I’ll use Link whisper to try to resurrect older posts that have either flattened out or started to decline.

Post #4

  • Increase in rankings
  • No change in traffic

This article is targeting a high volume informational topic that has a ton of traffic potential but isn’t directly related to the site’s core audience.

For example, if you have a food blog, this article is like a list of quotes about cooking, rather than a recipe.

Post 4 organic keywords
Like Post #3, this one has continued to gain traction since it was published, BUT I did see a specific keyword jump up in ranking after using Link Whisper.

In the past 30 days, this post’s main target keyword has increased from position 39 to 31 in Google. The alternative keyword (basically a lower volume synonym) has increased from 34 to 19.

Post 4 keyword increase
This chart shows a pretty significant ranking increase for a specific keyword right after adding a few extra internal links pointing toward the post.

This post has also gained organic keywords, in general, but it was already on the up, so it’s hard to say whether or not adding internal links had an impact.

Post 4 organic traffic
This is a relatively new post, so in hindsight, it’s not the most helpful type of page to experiment on.

Similarly, organic traffic to this post has been increasing steadily since it was published, so I’m not sure if the new internal links moved the needle.

So, is Link Whisper worth it?

I added just a handful of internal links to four articles, using Link Whisper for three of them.

One of these articles saw a dramatic increase in # of Organic Keywords just a couple days after using the plugin. That article was 1.5 years old. Another saw a significant ranking improvement in its two biggest keywords after adding seven internal links.

Let’s call that a 50% success rate. My site has at least 200 articles that are 1.5+ years old.

If Link Whisper can improve rankings and traffic to 1/2 of these articles (or 100 articles), it’s totally worth the $77 price tag.

In fact, it’s a no-brainer, especially given how easy it is to outsource this task to an assistant.

Going forward, I’ll be using Link Whisper when I’m updating old articles and when new articles are being formatted before publishing.

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