Internal and External Linking Best Practices for Travel Blogs

Travel blogging is not just about captivating stories and stunning photographs; it’s also about best web practices, like internal and external linking. These techniques are pivotal for enhancing user engagement, establishing authority, and improving search engine optimization (SEO). 

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Understanding Internal and External Linking

Internal and external linking are two fundamental aspects of website navigation and SEO, yet they often remain underutilized or misunderstood by bloggers. Internal linking involves connecting one website page to another within the same domain, keeping the reader engaged with your content. Conversely, external linking refers to linking to different domains, which can provide additional context or supporting information for your readers.

  • Internal Linking: This is about creating a network within your own site. For example, linking from a post about “Exploring the Ruins of Machu Picchu” to another on “A Guide to Peruvian Cuisine” keeps the reader engaged and circulating within your content.
  • External Linking: This involves connecting your blog to the wider world. When you link to external sites, like a historical article about Machu Picchu or a tour operator, you offer additional resources, enhance credibility, and build connections.

Importance of Linking in Travel Blogging

Linking strategies are not just technical SEO practices but crucial in defining your travel blog’s user experience and credibility. Well-implemented internal and external links can make the difference between a one-time visitor and a regular reader and between a blog that ranks on the tenth page of search results and one that lands on the first.

  • Enhancing User Engagement and Experience: Thoughtfully placed links can lead a reader through a journey on your site, significantly enriching their experience.
  • Building Authority: Linking to well-respected external sources can significantly bolster the authority and trustworthiness of your site.
  • Navigational Ease: Internal links help readers navigate your website more easily, increasing their likelihood of staying longer.

Internal Linking Best Practices

Internal linking requires balancing guiding your readers to relevant content and not overwhelming them. When done right, internal links can improve SEO and enhance the overall user experience on your travel blog.

  • Strategic Placement: Place links where they feel most natural and helpful, ensuring the reader is tempted to click through for more information. Keep it relevant, and don’t overdo it!
  • Anchor Text Best Practices: This is the text you use for your link. Using natural, flowing language, your anchor text should give a clear idea of what the linked page is about.
  • Linking Deep: Avoid just linking to top-level pages like your homepage; instead, guide readers to interesting, deeper content that they might not find otherwise.

Recommended Tool: I highly recommend the WordPress plugin LinkWhisper. It is a powerful internal linking tool that can search your entire site for linking opportunities based on a keyword or phrase. LinkWhisper can also find broken links on your site and remove them in bulk. While this is a paid tool, the cost is quite affordable, and the features are well worth the price. 

External Linking Best Practices

External linking is about extending the reach of your blog beyond your own domain. Being selective and strategic about these links is essential, as they can significantly influence your blog’s perceived value and authority.

  • Linking to Reputable Sources: Always link to reliable and authoritative sites in their respective fields. For example, links to official tourism boards, government sites like the National Park Service, and reputable educational resources are all great resources to link to.
  • Balancing Quantity and Quality: While it’s important to have external links, the focus should be on the quality and relevance of these links. 
  • NoFollow vs. DoFollow: Use “follow” links for external links when directing your readers to reputable, authoritative sites that add value and credibility to your content. These can positively influence your website’s SEO. Opt for “no-follow” links when linking to promotional content, affiliate links, or unverified sources to prevent these links from influencing your site’s search engine rankings and adhere to SEO best practices.

Does Internal and External Linking Affect SEO?

Effective linking strategies are integral to SEO. They help rank your website in search results and ensure your content reaches a broader audience.

  • Boosting Domain Authority: Links, especially from high-authority sites, can increase your blog’s domain authority, leading to better search rankings.
  • Enhancing Crawling and Indexing: Search engines utilize links to discover and index content, making a well-linked site easier to find and rank.
  • Backlink Opportunities: Quality content with relevant external links is more likely to attract backlinks, enhancing your site’s SEO profile.

Advanced Linking Strategies

Beyond the basics, there are advanced linking strategies that can further enhance the reach and effectiveness of your travel blog. These involve a more sophisticated approach to how content is interconnected and presented.

  • Content Clusters: Creating clusters of related content with interlinking can establish your travel blog as an authority on specific topics.
  • Anchor Text Variation: Varying your anchor text for internal links can help avoid penalties from search engines that might see repetitive exact-match anchor text as manipulative.
  • Tracking and Analyzing Links: Using tools to track how users interact with your links can provide valuable insights for optimizing your linking strategy.
    • Free Tool: Microsoft Clarity offers a great free site heatmap and session replay tool. A site heatmap shows which links are clicked most on a page, while a session replay tool records users’ actions. 

Internal and External Linking Best Practices

Mastering internal and external linking is a game-changer for travel bloggers. It enhances user experience, boosts SEO, and establishes your blog as a go-to resource in the travel community. By continuously learning and adapting these strategies, you can ensure that your travel blog reaches a broader audience and provides every reader a valuable and enjoyable experience.

Photo Credit: [@Rawpixel/DepositPhotos]


Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. With 16 years of digital marketing and SEO experience, a business management and information technology degree, and a profitable travel blog, she can help you start a travel blog or accelerate your existing blog with one-on-one coaching.