A Simplistic Guide to Ahrefs Internal Backlinks Report

Internal links are rudimentary, and an essential on-page strategy. Part of that, is also knowing what the current state of affairs is — to make the necessary tweaks and adjustments, and potentially, glean insights into how your competitors are internally linked.

I’ve previously covered what the GSC internal links tell you about your SEO, but if you need more visual explanations and more in-depth insights, Ahrefs is highly recommended.

a snapshot of ahrefs internal links report
Domain Level Ahrefs Internal Backlinks Report snapshot of

Keeping this image in mind, let’s explore the different settings, controls, and filters.

  1. First things first: The report that’s generated is depended on what you put in your site explorer. In my example, I am using the domain. But you can also use it on a subdomain, subfolder, or URL level.
  2. Group Similar: By default, that’s the option that would be selected, and therefore, your number would be reflected based on that selection. For example, you can see that I have 417 groups of similar links. But, what does it mean exactly? To demonstrate, I am going to use one more screen capture below, for something that is based on a URL level.
ahrefs group similar explanation
A snapshot of Ahrefs internal backlinks report, on a URL level. Look at the numbers 120, and 21. Basically, what this means is that I have 120 URLs, linking to my sitemap page, with the same anchor text of “sitemap” as well as the surrounding text. Next, I have 21 URLs, linking to my sitemap, with the anchor text of “All other Topics and Posts” and again, ditto surrounding text.
  1. All Internal Backlinks: Switching to “All” will ungroup similar links, and show you the total count of internal links.
all backlinks in ahrefs
When I switch from group similar to all, look at how Ahrefs is now displaying the total count of internal backlinks. The results reflect the same (ungrouped).
  1. Link Type: Here, you can filter your internal links report by the type of link such as dofollow, nofollow, redirects, etc.
link type filter in ahrefs
Currently, Ahrefs supports 11 link type filters (including all).
  1. Platform: This filter detects what kind of platform you’re getting internal links from. Say, for example, your website has a Wiki or a message board. Given the right circumstances, Ahrefs can figure that out for you! This can be immensely helpful in charting out patterns of internal links from online interactions.
  2. Language: As the name suggests, you can filter by language.
  3. Traffic: With this filter, you can narrow down your results based on a specific traffic threshold. Note that this is based on the referring page traffic.
  4. Word or phrase filter and any target: These two combinations can allow you to either include or exclude a word or a phrase, while checking them against URLs of referring pages, their titles, and on the other side, URL of backlinks, anchor texts or even surrounding texts!
ahrefs internal links word or phrase filter
The Any Target can serve as an OR condition (Any), or an AND condition (ALL).

Use Cases

Hopefully, you now know how to navigate and configure the tool. With that, let’s explore some of the uses cases that come to the top of my mind.

Use Case 1: Tracking Important Anchor Texts (and Whatever Other Idea You Can Derive From It)

If you need to keep track of essential anchor texts as it relates to internal links, using the word or phrase filter can immensely prove to be useful. On the contrary, if you want to exclude a few to look at a much more refined and truer data, you can disregard your brand name as an anchor text.

Not only that, let’s say that you and your competitor are on similar levels in terms of everything you could do externally (all things being equal), for your URL to rank for the target keyword, and yet you’re baffled at how they always beat you in the SERPS. Perhaps, an avenue you might not have considered is internal links. Maybe, just maybe, they have a stronger internal linking game than you? Only one way to find out! Compare anchor texts for your site and theirs.

Use Case 2: International SEO

If you’re a multilingual website, and different languages are important to you, the “language filter” can come in handy. Utilize this filter to gauge how your existing efforts are while also seeing if your competitor is doing anything different or unique?

Use Case 3: Sponsored Opportunities

Albeit for internal links, getting an idea of how many sponsored links your competitor has can open up the doors for ideas on using your organizational influence and partnerships to make additional ROI through sponsored content opportunities.

It’s a less likely scenario for internal links, but you never know what kind of gem you might end up finding, or a creative way your competition is doing something like this.

For the link type filter, there is an option for “content,” — which essentially translates to links from the body of pages or blog posts. While not a big revelation in itself, but it tells you if your competitor is being precise, deliberate, and thoughtful of internally linking to their relevant pages, directly within the body. It indicates the seriousness of their SEO investment.

Use Case 5: If You’re Linking to Important Pages From High Traffic Pages

Saved the best for the last.

High traffic pages are compelling! Not only they bring users, but they can serve as quick avenues for driving these said users to deeper pages, running experiments and getting quick results, and usually, can attract more natural backlinks.

If you aren’t internally linking to your significant pages from URLs that get a lot of hits, it’s a wasted opportunity. I mean, surely, getting them to your site is step 1. But then what? You always have to think ahead!

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If it wasn’t obvious, take note that you can use multiple filters in combination. So, the possibilities of how you use this tool are endless. Typically, I mostly leverage it for anchor texts, but I know I can do a better job of this useful functionality provided by Ahrefs.