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Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide



Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

Internal links are to backlinks what Robin is to Batman—they’re crucial to SEO success yet receive little to none of the credit.

In this guide, I’ll explain what internal links are, how to set up an internal linking structure, and how to strategically use them in SEO. 

Internal links take visitors from one page to another on your website. Their main purpose is to help visitors easily navigate your website, but they can also help boost SEO.

Here’s a simplified view of what an internal link looks like:

Illustration showing how internal linking works

And here’s what an internal link looks like in HTML code:

<a href="">Internal Linking</a>

Internal links are “super critical” for SEO (according to Google)

Internal links serve a practical purpose of getting your website’s visitors from A to B, but they have an important role when utilized for SEO.

When asked in a “Google SEO office-hours” video whether internal linking was still important for SEO, John Mueller said:

Yes, absolutely… Internal linking is super critical for SEO. It’s one of the biggest things you can do on a website to guide Google and visitors to the pages that you think are important… What you think is important is totally up to you.

John Mueller

So if internal links are used strategically in SEO, they can help boost the performance of the pages you’re linking to.

Internal links do this by directing the flow of PageRank around your site. Even though the PageRank toolbar disappeared in 2016, PageRank is still a signal that Google uses.


You can use URL Rating as a replacement metric, as it has a lot in common with Google PageRank.

Example of UR Rating, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Generally speaking, the more internal links a page has, the higher its PageRank. However, it’s not all about quantity—the quality of the link also plays a vital role. 

As well as passing authority, internal links allow visitors to jump straight to the content you want to show them, allowing you to control the user experience.

For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you may want to link to your best-selling or seasonal products directly from your homepage. This is helpful for visitors who want to jump straight to the products and purchase them, and also creates a good user experience.

You should look at it in a strategic way and think about what do you care about the most, and how can you highlight that with your internal links.

John Mueller

Google and other search engines also use internal links as signposts to help discover new pages on your website. 

For example, let’s say that you publish a new webpage and forget to link to it from elsewhere on your site. Assuming the page isn’t in your XML sitemap and doesn’t have any backlinks, Google will find this page hard to discover.

Here’s what Google has to say about this:

Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.

Internal links also can provide context for search engines like Google. They do this through anchor text.

In other words, if you have a page about red dresses and have multiple internal links pointing to that page using anchor text like “dresses,” “red dresses, and “red maxi dresses, those help Google to understand the context of the linked page.

Here are the main types of links you’ll see on the web.

Navigational links

Most visitors to your website find their way around using your site navigation. These are some of the most important links on your website.

Here’s what they look like on the Ahrefs website.

Navigation menu on

Contextual links

Contextual links appear in the main body of the content on a webpage. They’re typically used to expand on ideas, refer to resources, define terms, or direct readers to other relevant content.

Here’s an example of a contextual link to our keyword research tool:

Contextual link example on Ahrefs' blog

Breadcrumb links

Internal links can also be used to indicate relationships between pages. One of the best examples of this is breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs allow users to trace their journey back to the homepage.

Breadcrumbs example

They’re typically placed at the top of internal pages like product pages or blog posts. 

Google has also indicated that it treats them as normal links (as part of PageRank computation).

Footer links

These appear at the bottom of the page. Here’s an example of the footer links in Ahrefs’ blog.

Footer links typically include links to your contact page, privacy policy, and other important pages on your website.

Footer links on Ahrefs' blog

While footer links are useful for extra detail, they’re not the primary method of navigation on most websites.

How to set up an internal link structure for SEO success

Setting up a solid internal linking structure helps your website rise through the ranks by directing authority to the right places on your website.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Plan your internal linking structure 

If you’re starting a new site or even restructuring an old one, the first step is to plan your internal linking structure. 

The pyramid structure is one of the most popular structures for internal linking, as it naturally creates a top-down internal linking structure. 

Here’s an example of what it looks like. The arrows show the internal links from page to page.

Flowchart showing how a pyramid structure creates a logical site hierarchy

Creating a basic internal link structure is the first stage in starting a successful internal linking strategy. This approach has also been recommended by John:

The top-down approach or pyramid structure helps us a lot more to understand the context of individual pages within the site.

John Mueller

As well as the top-down linking approach, you can also add breadcrumbs to make it easier to navigate around your website.

Breadcrumbs example

Breadcrumb links enable visitors to understand where they are on the website and to trace their journey back to the homepage.

2. Link to internal pages you care about

Once you’ve planned the basics of your internal linking structure, it’s time to start linking to the internal pages of your website you want to highlight.

For e-commerce businesses, it could mean their key products or services. For publications, it could be their most important content on a particular topic.

At Ahrefs, we usually internally link to our SEO tools from our key pages.

Here’s an example of this from Ahrefs’ homepage, showing our core SEO tools are prominently linked to.

Example of linking to SEO tools, via

This approach helps guide visitors to some of the most important parts of our website.

You can link to whatever you like, but it’s best to link to the things on your website that you care about the most.

3. Link to relevant content 

Internally linking to content that’s contextually relevant on your site helps provide extra information for the readers about the topic you’re writing about.

For example, when writing about SEO, the reader may encounter some technical jargon that they may not necessarily understand—but the internal link helps to provide context.

Here’s a quick example:

Internal link to relevant content, via Ahrefs Blog

This approach enables the reader to click on the link to learn more about that topic.

On our blog, we also link to relevant content through a “Further Reading” box that looks like this:

"Further Reading" box, via Ahrefs Blog

This is another method you can use to help point readers to relevant content on your website.

Another consideration with internal linking is the context of the link. Gael Breton believes that:

In content, as long as it contextually makes sense to link to another page of your site, you should do it.

Gael Breton

Here’s an example of what this can look like on an e-commerce website.

Flowchart on internally linking between relevant pages in different sections of a site

As well as being contextually relevant, it’s worth considering how powerful the pages you’re linking from are.

Let’s say you’ve just written a new post and you want to add some powerful internal links to it. What’s the best way to do it? 

Here’s how I’ll approach it for free using Ahrefs Webmaster Tools:

  • Head over to your most recent Site Audit and click on Page Explorer
  • Enter your keyword into the search bar (e.g., “online advertising”)
  • Change the filter to Page text (page should update once you’ve clicked it)

In this example, there are 21 results. You can then sort the pages by organic traffic. This enables you to see the pages with the most traffic first—likely to be powerful pages.

Results ordered by organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

Once you’ve got your list, it’s just a question of working through it and adding the internal links to your new page to these powerful pages.

How to audit your site’s internal links for issues

To stay on top of your SEO game, you’ll need to audit your internal links on a periodic basis. 

Manually checking your internal links one by one is time consuming and, for bigger sites, almost impossible. 

The best solution is to use a tool like Site Audit, which allows you to schedule the crawls of your website on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

With this tool, you can:

  • Fix broken internal links to 4XX pages.
  • Identify opportunities for new internal links.
  • Fix orphan pages. 

Let’s take a look at how to do these things.

1. Fix broken internal links to reclaim authority

Once you’ve run a Site Audit crawl, head over to the Internal pages report and click on “Issues.”

4XX issues in Internal pages report, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

In the above example, we can see there are some issues. Let’s click on the “4XX page” to look at one issue in more detail.

404 page example, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

We can see this issue has been caused by a blog post that we took down but still has 37 internal links pointing to it.

If the page was permanently removed, you’d need to remove the internal links pointing to this 404 page.


If the 404 page had important external links pointing to it, then you might want to consider 301 redirecting the page. To check this, you can use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer’s Broken backlinks report.

If we plug in the exact URL and then head over to the Broken backlinks report, we can see this page actually has quite a few external links pointing to it.

Broken backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

As a result of this check, we might want to consider 301 redirecting this page to a near equivalent.

2. Fix orphan pages 

Orphan pages are pages with no internal links. 

If you have important pages on your site that are classified as orphan pages in your Site Audit report, then you have an issue.

The good news is that it can be solved by simply adding a new internal link to the orphan page(s) in question. 

Once you’ve run your audit, you can see if you have any orphan pages by:

  • Clicking on the Links report. 
  • Then selecting the “Issues” tab.

Site Audit > Links > Issues tab > Orphan page (has no incoming internal links)

In the example below, we can see this site has one orphan page. 

Locating orphan pages that have no incoming internal links, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

No important pages should be orphaned for two reasons:

  1. Google won’t be able to find them (unless you submit your sitemap via Google Search Console or they have backlinks from crawled pages on other sites).
  2. No PageRank will be transferred via internal links—as there are none. 

Skim the list and make sure no important pages appear here.

If you have a lot of pages on your site, try sorting the list by organic traffic from high to low. 

Orphaned pages that still receive organic traffic would likely get even more traffic if internally linked to. 

3. Identify opportunities for new internal links

Finding new internal link opportunities is also another time-consuming process if it’s done manually, but you can identify them in bulk using Site Audit.

To do this, click the Internal link opportunities report in Site Audit.

Internal link opportunities, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You’ll see a bunch of suggestions on how to improve your internal linking using new links. 

The best bit about this report, in my opinion, is that it suggests exactly where to place the internal link.

Ahrefs' Site Audit showing where to add internal link

In the example above, Site Audit is suggesting in this passage of text that we should add a link to our page on faceted navigation.

I’d advise reviewing the recommendations and adding links to the most important pages you want to highlight.

Final thoughts

Internal linking isn’t technically difficult, but it takes time and patience to execute your plan. Also, making changes to your site can cause more issues—which, if left undiagnosed, can impact your site’s performance.

In my opinion, the only sustainable way to monitor your internal links is by using a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI




4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In a significant leap in large language model (LLM) development, Mistral AI announced the release of its newest model, Mixtral-8x7B.

What Is Mixtral-8x7B?

Mixtral-8x7B from Mistral AI is a Mixture of Experts (MoE) model designed to enhance how machines understand and generate text.

Imagine it as a team of specialized experts, each skilled in a different area, working together to handle various types of information and tasks.

A report published in June reportedly shed light on the intricacies of OpenAI’s GPT-4, highlighting that it employs a similar approach to MoE, utilizing 16 experts, each with around 111 billion parameters, and routes two experts per forward pass to optimize costs.

This approach allows the model to manage diverse and complex data efficiently, making it helpful in creating content, engaging in conversations, or translating languages.

Mixtral-8x7B Performance Metrics

Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, represents a significant step forward from its previous model, Mistral-7B-v0.1.

It’s designed to understand better and create text, a key feature for anyone looking to use AI for writing or communication tasks.

This latest addition to the Mistral family promises to revolutionize the AI landscape with its enhanced performance metrics, as shared by OpenCompass.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

What makes Mixtral-8x7B stand out is not just its improvement over Mistral AI’s previous version, but the way it measures up to models like Llama2-70B and Qwen-72B.

mixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai modelsmixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai models

It’s like having an assistant who can understand complex ideas and express them clearly.

One of the key strengths of the Mixtral-8x7B is its ability to handle specialized tasks.

For example, it performed exceptionally well in specific tests designed to evaluate AI models, indicating that it’s good at general text understanding and generation and excels in more niche areas.

This makes it a valuable tool for marketing professionals and SEO experts who need AI that can adapt to different content and technical requirements.

The Mixtral-8x7B’s ability to deal with complex math and coding problems also suggests it can be a helpful ally for those working in more technical aspects of SEO, where understanding and solving algorithmic challenges are crucial.

This new model could become a versatile and intelligent partner for a wide range of digital content and strategy needs.

How To Try Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Demos

You can experiment with Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, to see how it responds to queries and how it performs compared to other open-source models and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Please note that, like all generative AI content, platforms running this new model may produce inaccurate information or otherwise unintended results.

User feedback for new models like this one will help companies like Mistral AI improve future versions and models.

1. Perplexity Labs Playground

In Perplexity Labs, you can try Mixtral-8x7B along with Meta AI’s Llama 2, Mistral-7b, and Perplexity’s new online LLMs.

In this example, I ask about the model itself and notice that new instructions are added after the initial response to extend the generated content about my query.

mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playgroundScreenshot from Perplexity, December 2023mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playground

While the answer looks correct, it begins to repeat itself.

mixtral-8x7b errorsScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023mixtral-8x7b errors

The model did provide an over 600-word answer to the question, “What is SEO?”

Again, additional instructions appear as “headers” to seemingly ensure a comprehensive answer.

what is seo by mixtral-8x7bScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023what is seo by mixtral-8x7b

2. Poe

Poe hosts bots for popular LLMs, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL·E 3, Meta AI’s Llama 2 and Code Llama, Google’s PaLM 2, Anthropic’s Claude-instant and Claude 2, and StableDiffusionXL.

These bots cover a wide spectrum of capabilities, including text, image, and code generation.

The Mixtral-8x7B-Chat bot is operated by Fireworks AI.

poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebaseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebase

It’s worth noting that the Fireworks page specifies it is an “unofficial implementation” that was fine-tuned for chat.

When asked what the best backlinks for SEO are, it provided a valid answer.

mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks responseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks response

Compare this to the response offered by Google Bard.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIMixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Google Bard, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

3. Vercel

Vercel offers a demo of Mixtral-8x7B that allows users to compare responses from popular Anthropic, Cohere, Meta AI, and OpenAI models.

vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4Screenshot from Vercel, December 2023vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4

It offers an interesting perspective on how each model interprets and responds to user questions.

mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seoScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seo

Like many LLMs, it does occasionally hallucinate.

mixtral-8x7b hallucinationsScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b hallucinations

4. Replicate

The mixtral-8x7b-32 demo on Replicate is based on this source code. It is also noted in the README that “Inference is quite inefficient.”

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Replicate, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In the example above, Mixtral-8x7B describes itself as a game.


Mistral AI’s latest release sets a new benchmark in the AI field, offering enhanced performance and versatility. But like many LLMs, it can provide inaccurate and unexpected answers.

As AI continues to evolve, models like the Mixtral-8x7B could become integral in shaping advanced AI tools for marketing and business.

Featured image: T. Schneider/Shutterstock

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OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X




OpenAI Investigates 'Lazy' GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a little over a year ago, has recently taken to social media to address concerns regarding the “lazy” performance of GPT-4 on social media and Google Reviews.

Screenshot from X, December 2023OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

This move comes after growing user feedback online, which even includes a one-star review on the company’s Google Reviews.

OpenAI Gives Insight Into Training Chat Models, Performance Evaluations, And A/B Testing

OpenAI, through its @ChatGPTapp Twitter account, detailed the complexities involved in training chat models.

chatgpt openai a/b testingScreenshot from X, December 2023chatgpt openai a/b testing

The organization highlighted that the process is not a “clean industrial process” and that variations in training runs can lead to noticeable differences in the AI’s personality, creative style, and political bias.

Thorough AI model testing includes offline evaluation metrics and online A/B tests. The final decision to release a new model is based on a data-driven approach to improve the “real” user experience.

OpenAI’s Google Review Score Affected By GPT-4 Performance, Billing Issues

This explanation comes after weeks of user feedback about GPT-4 becoming worse on social media networks like X.

Complaints also appeared in OpenAI’s community forums.

openai community forums gpt-4 user feedbackScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023openai community forums gpt-4 user feedback

The experience led one user to leave a one-star rating for OpenAI via Google Reviews. Other complaints regarded accounts, billing, and the artificial nature of AI.

openai google reviews star rating Screenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023openai google reviews star rating

A recent user on Product Hunt gave OpenAI a rating that also appears to be related to GPT-4 worsening.

openai reviewsScreenshot from Product Hunt, December 2023openai reviews

GPT-4 isn’t the only issue that local reviewers complain about. On Yelp, OpenAI has a one-star rating for ChatGPT 3.5 performance.

The complaint:

yelp openai chatgpt reviewScreenshot from Yelp, December 2023yelp openai chatgpt review

In related OpenAI news, the review with the most likes aligns with recent rumors about a volatile workplace, alleging that OpenAI is a “Cutthroat environment. Not friendly. Toxic workers.”

google review for openai toxic workersScreenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023google review for openai toxic workers

The reviews voted the most helpful on Glassdoor about OpenAI suggested that employee frustration and product development issues stem from the company’s shift in focus on profits.

openai employee review on glassdooropenai employee review on glassdoor

openai employee reviewsScreenshots from Glassdoor, December 2023openai employee reviews

This incident provides a unique outlook on how customer and employee experiences can impact any business through local reviews and business ratings platforms.

openai inc google business profile local serps google reviewsScreenshot from Google, December 2023openai inc google business profile local serps google reviews

Google SGE Highlights Positive Google Reviews

In addition to occasional complaints, Google reviewers acknowledged the revolutionary impact of OpenAI’s technology on various fields.

The most positive review mentions about the company appear in Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Google SGE response on OpenAIScreenshot from Google SGE, December 2023Google SGE response on OpenAI


OpenAI’s recent insights into training chat models and response to public feedback about GPT-4 performance illustrate AI technology’s dynamic and evolving nature and its impact on those who depend on the AI platform.

Especially the people who just received an invitation to join ChatGPT Plus after being waitlisted while OpenAI paused new subscriptions and upgrades. Or those developing GPTs for the upcoming GPT Store launch.

As AI advances, professionals in these fields must remain agile, informed, and responsive to technological developments and the public’s reception of these advancements.

Featured image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites




ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

ChatGPT Plus subscriptions and upgrades remain paused after a surge in demand for new features created outages.

Some users who signed up for the waitlist have received invites to join ChatGPT Plus.

Screenshot from Gmail, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

This has resulted in a few shares of the link that is accessible for everyone. For now.

RELATED: GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

In addition to the invites, signs that more people are getting access to GPTs include an introductory screen popping up on free ChatGPT accounts.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Unfortunately, they still aren’t accessible without a Plus subscription.

chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlistScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlist

You can sign up for the waitlist by clicking on the option to upgrade in the left sidebar of ChatGPT on a desktop browser.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

OpenAI also suggests ChatGPT Enterprise for those who need more capabilities, as outlined in the pricing plans below.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Why Are ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Paused?

According to a post on X by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, the recent surge in usage following the DevDay developers conference has led to capacity challenges, resulting in the decision to pause ChatGPT Plus signups.

The decision to pause new ChatGPT signups follows a week where OpenAI services – including ChatGPT and the API – experienced a series of outages related to high-demand and DDoS attacks.

Demand for ChatGPT Plus resulted in eBay listings supposedly offering one or more months of the premium subscription.

When Will ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Resume?

So far, we don’t have any official word on when ChatGPT Plus subscriptions will resume. We know the GPT Store is set to open early next year after recent boardroom drama led to “unexpected delays.”

Therefore, we hope that OpenAI will onboard waitlisted users in time to try out all of the GPTs created by OpenAI and community builders.

What Are GPTs?

GPTs allow users to create one or more personalized ChatGPT experiences based on a specific set of instructions, knowledge files, and actions.

Search marketers with ChatGPT Plus can try GPTs for helpful content assessment and learning SEO.

There are also GPTs for analyzing Google Search Console data.

And GPTs that will let you chat with analytics data from 20 platforms, including Google Ads, GA4, and Facebook.

Google search has indexed hundreds of public GPTs. According to an alleged list of GPT statistics in a GitHub repository, DALL-E, the top GPT from OpenAI, has received 5,620,981 visits since its launch last month. Included in the top 20 GPTs is Canva, with 291,349 views.


Weighing The Benefits Of The Pause

Ideally, this means that developers working on building GPTs and using the API should encounter fewer issues (like being unable to save GPT drafts).

But it could also mean a temporary decrease in new users of GPTs since they are only available to Plus subscribers – including the ones I tested for learning about ranking factors and gaining insights on E-E-A-T from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

custom gpts for seoScreenshot from ChatGPT, November 2023custom gpts for seo

Featured image: Robert Way/Shutterstock

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