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<4 Follow In-Links

Less Than 4 Follow In-Links | Canonical Pages

In this guide we look at canonical pages that have less than 4 ‘follow’ in-links pointing to them. This check is performed exclusively on canonical pages (pages with a self-referential canonical tag).


What is a follow link?

Internal links help to inform Google as to the hierarchy and structure of your site as well as enabling users to navigate your site’s content. When it comes to internal links, there are basically two types ‘follow’ and ‘nofollow’. Follow links allow authority to pass through them to the target page while nofollow links do not (or so it used to be).

In 2019 Google updated the way they treat nofollow links, now they see the ‘nofollow’ tag as advisory and not a hard rule.

Page authority is a hugely powerful direct algorithmic ranking factor and can impact the organic visibility of a web page.


What is a Canonical Page?

A canonical page is a webpage that has a self-referential canonical tag present on it. A canonical tag advises Google as to the preferred / original version of content. If a page / piece of content is accessible from multiple URLs or is long across multiple pages, a canonical tag helps to define the ‘canonical’ version.

A canonical tag contains a URL and if that URL matches the URL of the page being accessed, it is defined as a canonical page. Canonical pages are typically the ‘SEO’ pages of a site as they are most likely to appear in the search results. The canonical tag of our homepage looks like this in HTML:

<link rel="canonical" href="">


Why Nofollow links to canonical pages an error?

Any canonical page on a site should have at least 4 follow links pointing to it, ideally many more than this is recommended for important pages. Failing to have at least 3 follow links will impact the ability of users to navigate to the page and it will also massively limit the amount of authority that passes to the page.


What Do We Check & How?

Our web crawler counts all the internal links pointing to pages on the site. Based on our analysis of whether the page is canonical and if the link is ‘follow’ or ‘nofollow’; we can determine the number of follow in-links to each canonical page. Any page determined to be both canonical and receiving less than 4 follow internal links is grouped into this dataset.


What should you do with this data?

Using our software, you can identify all canonical pages that have less than 4 follow in-links, this can be used for any of the following purposes:

  • Improve / optimise internal linking
  • Ensure that canonical pages have authority
  • Provide the list of problem pages to a client
  • Count the SEO errors on a site