Skip to main content
Warning This document has not been updated for a while now. It may be out of date.
Last updated: 6 Nov 2023

Related links


Related links can be added or removed manually through Content Tagger. To do this, you can click on the Edit a page link at the top and enter the base path of the content item you need to edit. You will then see a section titled Related content items where you can add, edit or remove related links.

Automatically generated related links are contained in the section titled Suggested related content items. Related links in this section can be re-ordered or removed, but no new links can be added here. The links in this section (if any) will only be shown if there are no manually-curated links in the Related content items section.

If a request comes in a from a content designer to edit the related links of a page, you can send them to Content Tagger so they can edit the links themselves. You may also wish to point them to this guidance for managing related links using Content Tagger.


Note that the “automatic related links” pipeline outlined below has been broken since the end of 2022 and the machine learning service is now archived. “Suggested related content items” in Content Tagger will therefore gradually fall out of date.


From July 2019 until late 2022, related links on GOV.UK were supplemented by links generated through an automated machine learning pipeline.

The first job in this pipeline used data on how pages are linked together (the structural network) and analytics from users’ behaviour on the site (the functional network) to create a set of most relevant related links for a subset of pages. Once these links had been created, a second job ingested the links via the Publishing API to be shown to users navigating the site.

The code for the process of generating and ingesting related links can be found in the govuk-related-links-recommender repository on GitHub.

Machine learning generated related links are created exclusively for Whitehall content, with a number of measures in place to ensure that we always show manually curated links set by publishers.

  • Related links are only generated for a number of content types, with exclusions in place for content that should not be linked from, linked to, or both. These exclusions can be found at
  • Generated related links are stored within the suggested_ordered_related_items property of a content item, while all existing and manually curated links continue to be stored within the ordered_related_items property.
  • If links exist with ordered_related_items for a content item, we do not show generated related links.
  • Requests need to have the header Govuk-Use-Recommended-Related-Links header set to True in order to show suggested related links - this is set by the CDN for all requests.

This job runs the process to generate new related links for a subset of pages on GOV.UK, via the provision-generation-machine and run_link_generation scripts, which in turn triggers the Python script

The related links generated from this process are stored in an S3 environment-specific govuk-related-links bucket.

This job runs once every two weeks via a time resource attached to the production run-generation-production step.

This job runs the process of ingesting related links via the Publishing API.

Links are retrieved from the environment-specific S3 bucket mentioned previously and then fed (in batches) to the Publishing API. There is a 20 minute delay between batches. Exclusions are applied during this stage from a related_link_exclusions.json file which is available in S3; for these links, we obtain the respective content ids and use them to remove any suggested links that may exist for the current batch of links being ingested.

This job runs once every two weeks via a time resource attached to the production run-generation-production step, and specifically runs a few days after the generation of new related links takes place.

Should we ever need to roll back any suggested related links, there are a number of ways we can do this, which are described below. If the request to roll back links is coming from a content designer, the process at the top of this document should be applied unless the request is to roll back links for more than a few pages.

To rollback suggested related links for an individual page (to show the original related links), use the following rake task for Publishing API:

content:reset_related_links_for_pages['CONTENT_ID’], where CONTENT_ID is the content id of the page to remove suggested links from.

To exclude a document type or page from having links generated to it, from it, or both, update the exclusions in the GitHub repository. Note: this will take effect from the next time the related links generation process is run, and will not affect current links.

To immediately and temporarily stop showing all suggested related links (for example, if a problem has led to bad links being generated for a large percentage of content / high traffic content), you will need to update the CDN to set the Govuk-Use-Recommended-Related-Links header to False and then deploy the CDN for vhost: www.

The root cause of the problem should be investigated and a new set of related links generated and ingested through the pipeline, if possible. Should the fix not be immediate, we might consider re-ingesting an older batch of related links from S3.

If you need to suspend all suggested related links, please reach out to the Data Labs team first so that we can help you assess the situation and take steps to address the root problem(s).