Best Fast Dropshipping Service & Business India

We already do a great job with internal linking on the Ahrefs blog. But we wondered if adding a related posts section would help us and whether users would use it.

Our marketing team was fairly split on whether we should have a section like this and whether it would help. I’ve had great results with this personally on sites with a lot of content, and I was convinced it would help the Ahrefs blog.

In December 2022, we added the “Keep Learning” section at the bottom of the posts using a popular related posts plugin for WordPress. Here’s what it looks like:

Related posts section on the Ahrefs blog

When I looked back to check what happened, the results were okay, but nothing spectacular. We saw a slight uptick overall, but based on the trend, I couldn’t conclude it had anything to do with the internal linking.

Impact of adding related posts to the Ahrefs blog

Two algorithm updates rolled out during the period we added the related posts: a Helpful Content Update and a Link Spam Update. This made the test data messy, but we decided to leave it for a while anyway.

After a few months, the topic came up to remove the related posts from the site. Some people just didn’t want it, and others didn’t think it had much impact. I didn’t object to it because I was curious to see what would happen.

When we removed it, we saw some traffic losses to a lot of pages. This time, the trend indicated it was related to the internal links that were removed.

Impact of removing related posts from the Ahrefs blog

Even though we waited until after a Core Update to remove the related posts, Google rolled out another Helpful Content Update right after we removed them. Once again, the data for this test was a bit messy.

I waited a few months, and this time, I checked our analytics and noticed that when we had the related posts section, people spent more time on the site and viewed more pages. Users were actually clicking these related posts!

Analytics screenshot from the Ahrefs blog showing people navigated to more pages

We decided to add it back, but only on English pages. We wanted to improve the match quality before adding it back to other languages.

This set up a nice split test because we could now see the difference between how the English pages were impacted vs pages in other languages.

Things looked good. We saw more traffic and it seemed to somewhat correlate to the pages that got more internal links.

Impact of adding related posts to English pages only

This time, we had no update, so we had a real test with a control group. The results for English blog posts were positive.

Impact of adding related posts - english blogs only

The results for the non-English blog posts were kind of mixed, but we had a lot of posts that lost traffic here.

Impact of removing related posts non-english blogs only

I decided to go back further, from when we removed the related posts section until now (about a month and a half after we added the section back to English blogs).

The English blogs showed a strong correlation this time. It definitely seemed that having the internal links helped with their traffic.

Impact of adding related posts to English blogs over a longer time period

The non-English blogs were pretty mixed, but there were a lot of losers and not as strong of a correlation.

Impact of adding related posts to non-English blogs over a longer time period

The results speak for themselves and are exactly what I expected to see. We saw some increase from having these extra internal links in the related posts section, but not a lot of impact since we already link well internally.

My best guess as to why we see some impact is that often, the related links are pieces of content that we wouldn’t naturally link to from within the blog content.

On blogs that aren’t as well optimized as ours for internal linking but have a lot of content, I would expect to see even more impact.

That’s it for now. We’ll probably add the related posts back to the non-English posts at some point this year. I’ll update the article with what happens when we do that, but I would expect a small bump for the content.

For more ideas on getting internal links, read Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide.

If you have questions, message me on X.

Best Fast Dropshipping Service & Business India

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