A Guide to Using Ahrefs’ Internal Backlinks Tool

Ahrefs has a plethora of useful tools and resources. Since the publishing of that post, a few new features have been added. One of these features in the “Internal Backlinks” tab:

Internal backlinks located under Backlink profile in the side menu

What Does it Do?

Put simply, it shows which pages link to which pages, all within your website. Internal linking is important for site organization, user experience, and crawling ease. The Internal Backlinks tool helps you to understand your linking structure, which pages could use more links, and which pages are only ranking well because of their internal linking. 


Before going into the functions, let’s go into the options.


Setting Up a Search

Group Similar/All

The first option to toggle is whether to look at all backlinks or just the unique ones. When All is selected, it will show you all of the links of every page, including the ones that are on every page. That means it will show the link to your contact page that appears in the upper-right hand corner of the page throughout the website. This doesn’t help if you’re trying to see if you need to link to your contact page more in your blogs. When Group Similar is selected, it filters the links that appear on every page with the exact same anchor text out of the listings. 


Link Type

There’s a pretty wide range of link types to look at. Some of the more important ones to know about are Dofollow and Nofollow.

  • Dofollow – These are links that search engines are allowed to follow when crawling a site. Dofollow links add authority with both internal and external links.
  • Nofollow – Nofollow links do not let search engines follow them while crawling. These should largely be the links you don’t need crawlers to crawl on every single page. This means the links in the navigation bar and the footer are generally safe to be nofollow. It is also a good link type to check to make sure links that can be dofollow are attributed as such.



What’s available to toggle in this section depends on how your website is set up, but chances are you have the options of “All” and “Blogs.” As you’ve probably guessed, it means you can filter what types of pages you’re seeing.



As with Platform, the languages you can check up on are just the languages that your site has. If you have a multilingual setup then you can see which pages are being linked to in all relevant languages.



In Ahrefs’ own words, traffic “estimates the total monthly search traffic to the referring page from the top 100 organic search results. It is…the sum of traffic from all organic keywords.” This metric is manageable by listing your lower and upper limits for which pages you want to see, with higher numbers being better. You can use this to see which pages are getting low traffic and trying to improve them.


Search Bar

The search bar is useful when looking at specific keywords and/or pages. It allows you to either include or exclude, with include being the default. This means that if you have one page that performs so well it’s an outlier, you can exclude it. 



The final section in the search box is what you’re targeting. You can decide to focus on URLs, titles, anchor text, and/or surrounding text, depending on your needs. 


Examining Functions

Now let’s get into the functionality. As for link structures and seeing where you can build out, there are some pages where it makes sense that it’s easily accessible from just about every page on the website. An example of such a page would be your contact page. 


If I wanted to find how many blog posts linked to the contact page, I might set up my search like this:

This will show me all of the blogs that link to the contact page and the value of those pages. Since there are only 20 blog posts that fit the description, there’s probably room to add a few more, especially to higher-performing posts. 


If you want to know if any of your higher-performing pages owe their rank to internal linking, or if you want to improve the ranking of some of your lower performing pages, you can find those in Internal Backlinks as well. 


Measuring Authority

To do this, sort all the pages in the Internal backlinks section by UR (URL rating, a metric calculated by Ahrefs). When you have found a page with a high UR, search for it in the search bar, narrowing the search to only include URLs of referring pages. This will show all the pages that it already links to. If you think you can add more links with making the page oversaturated, add more. 


On the flip side, if you’re wondering what pages could be improved by being linked to,  sort by lowest to highest UR. Once you find a page that you think could use some more traffic, search for that page or keywords relating to that page. You will find which pages are linking to it, and which pages cover the topics discussed on the page that could serve as anchor text.


Utilizing These Tools

There’s obviously more you can do with Ahrefs and with this tool in particular. Understanding your links and ratings is an important step to understanding your website. To learn about how Ahrefs can help your law firm, contact Mockingbird.

How to Handle Spam Links in Google Search Console

There are countless ways to check your website’s backlink network, from ahrefs.com to Google Search console. Not surprisingly, there tend to be inconsistencies between reporting platforms. It’s a good idea to check in regularly in multiple places to make sure you know what’s going on from all angles. 

That’s what we did recently. Here’s what we found on a site we keep an eye on.


Google Search Console

Three spam sites showing thousands of referring links to only a handful of pages

Now, if you don’t see anything suspicious here then you must be extremely new to the business. We’re no stranger to spam attacks, and we’re pretty sure that loveyichangcity.xyz isn’t actually driving any conversions or helping our authority. Neither are any of the three sites below it.


I decided to check it out and see if I could fix it. Google has made it pretty clear that the disavow tool is largely useless at this point, considering the search engine has become advanced enough to be able to recognize whether or not links are spam, i.e Google probably isn’t taking loveyichangcity.xyz very seriously. 


I went to Google’s “Disavow Support” page, in search of support. I noticed one thing first:

Google saying to only disavow if there are a large number of spam sites and a manual action has been taken against the site

Well, since the site neither has a manual action against it, nor a huge influx of spam referrals, I probably don’t need to disavow. Then I noticed the second thing:

Google saying that disavowed links will still show up in link reports on Google Search Console

Even if I did disavow the links, they would still show up on Google Search Console. They aren’t actively causing any damage, and even if I did take action, they would still show up on the report. 


But are they causing an impact?



I decided to hop over to ahrefs.com, just to make sure. And sure enough:

No results showing up in ahrefs.com for the spam sites

It was the same case for the other two spam sites. Not even a trace. 


I even went on Google Analytics and checked where referred traffic was coming from. With a time frame of over 5 years and 1,600 referring URLs, not a single user came from any of those sites. My journey had come to an anticlimactic end. 


What To Do If Your Links Are A Problem

Just because these links weren’t a problem doesn’t mean that negative SEO attacks aren’t a thing. Floods of spam referrals have been the downfall of many a site. So how should you handle an influx of spam?


Follow Google’s Disavow Support page. Disavow as many of those bad links as you can and start rebuilding your authority with reputable sites. It takes time and effort and frustration, but your site is probably salvageable. 


If your law firm has been hit with a negative SEO attack, contact Mockingbird. We have experience helping firms out similar binds.

How to Properly Use Alt-Text

Images are some of the more misunderstood features of web pages. While they are important for conveying messages and often improve content as a whole, they can also lead to trouble when misused. 

Alt-text is your way of staying out of trouble and improving the indexability of your content. 

One of the worst ways images can get you in trouble is with ADA compliance regulations. When a website isn’t set up for accessibility users with any level of visual impairment will struggle. These users often use software that reads the content out to them. This is tough when the content says “Refer to the above image” and the only thing the software can say about the image is that it is 1926374627.jpeg. Alt-text fixes that.

When you insert an informational image onto your page, chances are you’ve seen the box to insert alt-text for the image. You very easily might have ignored it. You don’t want to ignore it.


What to Write in the Alt-Text Box

Ok, let’s look at this chart from Search Engine Land:

Google 2019 ad revenue share pie chart. $98.1 billion from search and other products, 72.7%. $21.61 billion from Google network, 16%. $15.1 billion from Youtube, 15.1%.

What information does it give? It clearly shows that Google earned a majority of its 2019 revenue from Search and other products. You can see that at a glance. What would a computer read? 

Without alt-text, it would read google-ad-revenue-share-property-2019.jpeg.

Let’s fix that.

So it’s Google’s 2019 ad revenue share. We can start with that.


“Google 2019 ad revenue share pie chart…”


Now, what does it actually show? Let’s go through the data.


“Google 2019 ad revenue share pie chart. $98.1 billion from search and other products, 72.7%. $21.61 billion from Google network, 16%. $15.1 billion from Youtube, 15.1%.” 


There you go. That’s an alt-texted informational image.


But what about decorational images?


So not all images are informational. They don’t all have clearly defined data. What if it’s just a random image? What if it’s just a descriptive image to show a picture of your product?

If it’s a random image (like the hero image here) alt-text isn’t 100% necessary. No one is missing out not seeing this stock image of water.

If it’s a product, describe it as you would your product. 

Here is our Definitely Real product, Google Juice:

Google Juice. Green juice in a glass with two straws and kale.

How might we use alt-text to describe this Totally Not Fake Google Juice?


“Google Juice…”


Well, that was covered in the file name. Let’s go a bit more in-depth.


“Google Juice. Green juice in a glass with two straws and kale.”


That’s better. 


So now you know how to do alt-text. It does take a bit more time when creating a webpage, but it’s cheaper than an ADA lawsuit

7 Features of Highly Effective Content

There’s a lot of debate over the true value of content in the SEO and SEM worlds; whether it’s worth large investments or should simply be outsourced. We won’t solve that debate today.


No matter the true worth of content, it’s obvious that not all pages are created equal. This is made especially clear when looking at URL ratings and page ranks, as available on ahrefs.com. You can also look at conversions for a more solid financial metric of the success of your pages. 


When you look at these pages, their features can sometimes seem a bit random. What are the actual pieces that make them what they are? There are some aspects that are usually present, and following them is the first step towards producing top-ranking content. The following steps are beyond anyone’s control, so don’t beat yourself up if you write the perfect page and it still doesn’t go anywhere.


1. Provide Direct Answers

 Unbranded search queries are often looking for direct answers. If the content is informative, you want to answer the question as directly as possible. You don’t need a lot of fluff or keyword stuffing, just answer the question.


2. Have a Solid Header Structure

Headers tell search engines what’s in your content. We’ve been over this before. Multiple times. Don’t neglect your H2s and H3s. They help both search engines and human audiences read your page and properly categorize it. While we have moved away from the header structure being a ranking factor for Google, they are still vital for an accessible and skimmable page. 


3. Time

As far as this factor goes, it’s one that you can’t really control prior to publishing. As in, you can update old content, you can’t really add years to new content, and proving lasting value is incredibly beneficial to ranking well. The more traffic a page gets, and more specifically the more high-quality traffic a page gets, the better its reputation is with search engines. Evergreen content tends to do well, as it’s proven its worth time and time again.

4. Internal Linking

Building a solid internal linking structure is important for your website no matter what; orphan pages don’t help anyone. When you link to other pages on your website you are showing the search engines that this page relates to these other pages. It also just helps the bots on their crawls, and you want to help them as much as possible. Respect the bots.


5. External Linking

Linking to external sites is like citing sources in an essay; it shows that you know where to find trustworthy information. A healthy amount of external linking gives users the opportunity to find more information.


6. Trustworthy Backlinks

This requires a bit of link building and PR. One of the best ways to prove authority and increase traffic is to get other sites to link to your content. Sometimes, if your content is a really obvious and valuable resource, websites will link to it on their own. Don’t hold your breath. Go out and make connections on your own. Build your own network.


7. Follow Google’s Best Practices

When one company controls 90% of web traffic globally, it’s not a bad idea to listen to their suggestions. Following Google’s best practices when it comes to writing content is not only a good idea for your rankings, it’s a good idea for your content in general. It has such suggestions as “use correct grammar” and “don’t plagiarize.” These might seem like common sense suggestions, but it’s always worth reiterating. 


Now that you have the secrets to highly optimized content, you too can feel the struggle while trying to make it successful. Just remember to keep it unique and keep it interesting.

Top 4 Ways for Law Firms to Stand Out

Being unique in a saturated market is the best way to get attention and build your client base. But it’s hard to know how you’re unique, or at least unique in a way that matters to your business. 

Mockingbird handles a lot of clients, and we see what makes certain firms stand out. Here’s our list of the top 4 characteristics of stand-out firms.


1. Multi-Lingual

This is good for any practice area. Despite America’s melting pot of cultures and being home to millions of people for whom English is not their first language, only a small percentage of firms offer services in another language. Over 10% of American households primarily speak Spanish. If you’re a firm in a rural area, chances are you could own the Spanish language market for hundreds of miles. This is even more the case with languages like Vietnamese, Polish, and Farsi. If you have a second (or even third) language under your belt, use it.


2. Local Roots

Community means a lot to people, and if your firm can boast its local qualities you might just land yourself a reliable client base. If you aren’t originally from the community, you can strengthen your ties by participating in and sponsoring local events, designing scholarships, and being a subject matter expert for local journalists. 

If you are from the local area, you’re already a step ahead, but don’t get cocky. You will still need to be active in your community and get your name out there; unless you were incredibly social and/or your town is incredibly small, it’s unlikely that everyone knows who you are. Stay involved and tout your roots.


3. Expertise

 We know the Bar is picky about who can call themselves experts, which is why you should show off when you can call yourself an expert. If you have worked hard to be an expert in a specific area of the law, you have a step above your non-expert competitors. You have access to a keyword they don’t. Just make sure you can be called an expert by the Bar or else you might see some penalties.


4. Accessibility

While accessibility can refer to the ADA, it can also refer to just being open and welcoming to all types of clients. Is your content accessible to people who might not be comfortable with the law? Is your website clear and easy to navigate? 

While your website does need to be ADA compliant, accessibility goes beyond that. Make sure you’re putting your clients first, and make sure they can feel it. Legal matters tend to be sensitive, so being the firm that makes your clients feel comfortable is important.

Should I Think About Gender When Considering My Audience?

The most important thing about marketing is knowing your audience. You want to design your content and advertising campaigns built around your clients. But how in-depth should you go in your targeting? Where are the lines between catering and discriminating?


Let’s start by saying I don’t have any solid answers to these philosophical questions. I’m not a gender studies expert, but I do know my way around Google Analytics.


How to Find Gender in Your Audience on Google Analytics

Audience → Demographics → Gender

Gender is located in the demographics section of Google Analytics and provides a selection of data sets including average bounce rate, session duration, and conversion rate for both parties. 


Unless your product is specifically targeted at a certain gender (i.e, child custody lawyers for men, maternity discrimination employment lawyers, you get the idea) narrowing down your market is probably not the best for business. Don’t cut your audience if you don’t have to.


How to Utilize the Gender Data in Google Analytics

So you have bounce rates, conversion rates, and various other datasets. If you add the secondary dimension of “Landing Page” you can see which pages are driving which traffic. Some pages will perform better among men, some will perform better among women. That’s pretty normal. 


What you really want to look for is when your firm isn’t offering a gendered service, but one gender dominates sessions and conversions. Or, alternatively, sessions are roughly even, but one dominates conversions. This indicates that something in your content is more appealing to one gender. 


Bounce rates and session duration are good indicators of this. If both genders have roughly the same number of unique sessions, but one immediately bounces away, you are actively sending away half of your audience. 


If you’re okay with this, you can lean into it. Incorporate gender biases into your content and your marketing. I personally don’t feel like this is your best option, but It’s not my call.


If you’re not okay with this, you can try to adapt the content of your site to be more welcoming to everyone. This might help you build out your audience. You can begin by looking at which pages have the highest bounce rates among your non-dominant audience and trying to understand what’s causing those drop-offs. 


When you actively try to be more open to all clients, it helps more clients come to you. You shouldn’t limit your audience by metrics that aren’t relevant to your business.

Everything to Know About Featured Snippets

There are some terms that are thrown around among SEOs that can be loosely understood through context clues, but are easy to confuse. A good example of one of these is featured snippets and their siblings, knowledge panels. We’re going to be talking about featured snippets today.


What are Featured Snippets?

Featured snippets show up at the top of the organic search results and quickly answer questions while linking to a site. 

This is different from a knowledge panel, which appears on the side of the search results. You’ve seen them if you’ve ever searched for an actor, writer, or city. 


Why are SEOs Obsessed with Featured Snippets?

As with everything SEO, featured snippets provide an opportunity for users to see their site as an authority and will increase organic traffic. When it comes to Google rankings, snippets count as a rank of zero; as good as it gets. As far as things SEOs obsess over, Google rankings are pretty high up there.


SEOs have recently been focused on snippets because Google has been going back and forth about whether to remove the website from the first page of organic search results. Until the recent uncertainty, if a page both ranked highly and got a featured snippet, they would appear twice in the search results. This increases the chances of driving traffic. If Google follows through on the change, the page will only rank once: for the snippet.


Obviously, ranking twice is doubly as great as ranking once, so the idea of Google de-duplicating the results aren’t making people very happy.


How to Get a Featured Snippet

Ready to go down a spiral? No one can guarantee to rank for a featured snippet. There are clearly ways to improve your chances, and things you can do that will make it incredibly unlikely for you to get the slot, but beyond that, it’s up to Google. If you want to learn more about the nitty-gritty technical side, I recommend Brodie Clark’s article on MozBlog on the featured snippet algorithm


For a reference on what our snippet page looks like, here it is:

If you want to know the basics on how to set up a page to be snippet-ized, here are a few simple steps:

  1. Write informative content that is in demand. If you can answer a common question in an accessible way, that just might be snippet-material.
  2. Format it for Google. Organize your page with bulleted lists and headers. This helps Google know exactly what’s on your page.
  3. Follow Google’s best practices. There are some types of content that are banned from being in Snippets. There are pieces of content that include material that is:
    • Sexually explicit;
    • Hateful;
    • Violent;
    • Dangerous/harmful; and
    • Topics without public consensus
  4. Improve your domain authority. One of the highest factors in Google’s ranking decisions is how trustworthy your site is. This means improving your link building networks and getting some referring sites with some authority.


While none of these things can guarantee a featured snippet, they all help your chances of getting one.

The Ups and Downs of Facebook Marketing

Facebook Ads and the legal industry have had a complicated relationship. Due to the private matters covered by lawyers and the very public venue of Facebook, clients aren’t always jumping out of their seats to click on ads about the more sensitive issue in their lives. Even if they do click on the ad, they often won’t convert immediately.


This can be brutally obvious when you look at where your website traffic is coming from, and what’s turning into conversions. This is a screenshot of the result of traffic from Facebook, both as referrals and as paid advertising. As you can see, it’s not very impressive.

Then there’s the other hand when targeted Facebook ads are more efficient than most PPC. Here’s a different site, from the same period:

Facebook is a necessity for firms to have from a business perspective. Having a business page is incredibly beneficial when it comes to reviews and having an online presence. Facebook advertising is more of a game of give and take. 


What’s important to know is that Facebook ads are rarely used for directly converting clients, but rather for visibility and remarketing. The platform is designed for very specific targeting and practically unlimited visibility. Want to show the same person the same ad 10 times every day for a week? Facebook lets you do that. 


This doesn’t mean that the person is going to click on the ad, rather the ad is meant to make an impression. A person who sees the name of the same law firm 10 times a day is going to remember it. The ad may never get clicked, but the person may turn into a client down the road.

Monitoring Your Internal Linking on Ahrefs

Internal linking is a key aspect of on-page SEO, but can sometimes be hard to keep track of or remember to do. When you’re writing content it’s likely that creating anchor text is the last thing on your mind. If you want to learn more about why internal linking is important, visit one of our old blog posts. TL: DR; internal links help users navigate the site and search engines understand which pages are more important.


Using Ahrefs

Here at Mockingbird, we use a tool called Ahrefs to keep track of our and our clients’ top-performing pages and linking. One of the datasets it provides is the number of referring internal links for each page. 


Finding the Dataset

Image showing screenshot from ahrefs where location for the data set can be seen in the menu and the number of internal dofollow links can be seen for each page
From Ahrefs.com


The information you’re looking for can be found under the Pages → Best by links section, then select the Internal tab on top. 


When you sort by Dofollow links you’ll probably notice that the pages with the highest URL ratings tend to have the most links. This isn’t entirely coincidental, as you’ve probably guessed. 


Why Internal Linking Matters (to Ahrefs and beyond)

When a site has thorough internal linking the user is able to navigate the site easier and is more likely to visit the pages that are being linked to. The more unique visitors a page has, the higher it’s URL rating. This is why homepages often have high URL ratings: the homepage is usually the most visited page.


One of the major benefits of internal linking is that it’s a free way to improve your URL Rating. Unlike link building campaigns, you don’t need to call anyone. It’s a simple way to improve your site.


How to do Internal Linking

Just in case you made it to the end of this blog post without knowing how to do internal linking, this is for you. 


Internal linking simply refers to when one page on your site links to another page on your site. Two pages within a domain, linking to each other. The pages should be relevant, see the links above to previous blog posts on this subject. For law firms, this can be as simple as linking to your car accidents page in your blog post about a local car accident.  


In Conclusion

Now that you know what internal links are, how to create them, why they’re important, and where to check in on them, go out and build your internal linking networks.