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Orphan Pages SEO: How to Find and Fix Them To Save Your Website

Orphan Pages

You may come across a situation where finding a specific web page is difficult. Why does that happen? Well, the answer is pretty simple. Maybe there isn’t a link to it for you to find it.

Such lost pages are commonly known as orphan pages. And they can occur for a variety of reasons.

There can be a reason that old pages are unlinked but left as published, 

  • products are out of stock but still exist, 
  • problems with site architecture, 
  • the CMS creating additional unknown URLs as part of their page templates, etc.

Orphan pages can harm your website’s overall search engine rankings, which is why it is important to identify and fix them as soon as possible. 

In this post, you will learn what orphan pages are, why they are harmful to SEO, and how to find and fix them.

So, let’s dive right in!

What is an Orphan Page?

An orphan page is a page on your website that is not linked to any other pages on your site. These pages are often created accidentally or through poor website design.

As a result, these pages are isolated and have no connection to the rest of your website’s content.

Examples of orphan pages include pages that are not included in the main navigation menu, pages that are only accessible through a search engine result, and pages that were once linked to but the link was removed or broken.

Orphan pages are harmful to SEO because they are not accessible by search engines or users, and therefore, they do not contribute to the overall relevance and authority of your website.

Common Characteristics of an Orphan Page

Common Characteristics of an Orphan Page

Explore the common characteristics of orphan pages, which are crucial for understanding and improving website structure and SEO.

  • No inbound links: Orphan pages are like hidden rooms; they don’t have any paths leading to them. This means no other pages on the website link to them.
  • Isolated content: Just like an island, orphan pages stand alone. They’re part of the site but don’t connect with other content, making them hard to find.
  • Lacks navigational structure: These pages are missing from the map of your site. Without clear signs or directions, users and search engines can’t easily find them.
  • Not indexed by search engines: Orphan pages are often invisible to search engines like Google. It’s like they’re playing hide and seek but never get found.
  • Poor visibility: Because they’re so hidden, orphan pages don’t get much attention or traffic, staying unseen by most visitors.

With these insights, empower your website to guide every lost page back home, enhancing visibility and digital harmony.

How to Find Orphan Pages on a Website?

How to Find Orphan Pages

Understanding and finding orphan pages is essential for maintaining an organized and efficient website.

  1. Crawl Audit Tools: Choose an orphan page checker tool like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs. Enter your website’s URL to initiate the crawl. Once completed, review the report for pages that don’t receive internal links.
  2. Sitemap Comparison: First, generate or locate your current website sitemap. Then, use a crawling tool to create a list of all indexed pages. Compare the two lists to find any discrepancies, noting pages that appear in the sitemap but not in the crawl results.
  3. Log File Analysis: Access your server logs via your hosting platform or server administration tools. Analyze the logs with software specifically designed for log file analysis, looking for pages that receive no traffic from users or search engine crawlers check
  4. Google Analytics: style=”font-weight: 400;”> Log into Google Analytics and navigate to the ‘Behavior’ section. Look for pages with low or zero traffic over a significant period. Double-check these pages to confirm if they are orphaned.
  5. Internal Search: Conduct searches on your own website for less common terms or pages. Observe if there are any pages that appear in results but seem disconnected or rarely linked from other site areas.
  6. Backlink Analyzers: Tools like Moz or Majestic provide insights into your website’s backlink profile. Identify pages with few to no backlinks and verify whether they’re internally linked within your site.
  7. Manual Inspection: Regularly review your website, especially after major updates, restructures, or content additions. Manually check for pages that seem isolated or are not part of the main navigation.

Pro Tip: Make sure every link present on your website serves a purpose. You may also invest in natural link building and create a strong backlink profile.

How to Fix Orphan Pages?

Fixing orphan pages enhances website navigation and SEO, ensuring every page serves its purpose. Regularly identifying and integrating these isolated pages maintains a cohesive site structure and improves overall user experience and search engine visibility. But the main question is how we can fix orphan pages. Let’s find the answer.

How to Fix Orphan Pages

Internal Linking

An effective strategy for reinvigorating orphan pages, weaving them back into the website’s fabric. By establishing connections from well-integrated pages to these isolated ones, you enhance user navigation and distribute page authority throughout your site, boosting SEO. Here’s how to effectively utilize internal linking:

  • Content Relevance: Look for relevant content on your site that naturally complements or relates to the orphan page. This ensures that links feel intuitive and useful to users.
  • Strategic Placement: Place links in prominent positions within your content, such as within the body text or near the top of the page, to ensure they are easily found by visitors and search engines.
  • Anchor Text: Use descriptive and relevant anchor text for your links. This not only helps with SEO but also guides users about the content of the linked page.
  • Update Regularly: As you add new content or modify existing pages, revisit your internal links to integrate any orphan pages that may have been created in the process.

Pro Tip: Keep a balance — too few links will leave orphan pages out in the cold, but too many can overwhelm the user and dilute the value of each link.

Tools: SEO audit tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Screaming Frog can help analyze and optimize your internal linking structure.

By methodically applying internal linking, you can ensure every page on your website is accessible, improving the user experience and your site’s SEO health.

Updating Sitemaps

Updating sitemaps is a fundamental step in ensuring all your website’s pages are recognized and indexed by search engines. A current and comprehensive sitemap acts as a roadmap, guiding search engines to all the valuable content on your site, including those previously orphaned pages. Here’s how to effectively incorporate this strategy:

  • Incorporate Orphan Pages: After identifying orphan pages through an audit, add these URLs to your sitemap. This ensures that search engines are aware of these pages during their next crawl.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your sitemap updated with any new pages or changes to existing pages. A current sitemap helps search engines quickly find and index your orphaned content.
  • Use Sitemap Tools: Tools like Google Search Console or XML Sitemaps Generator can help you create and update your sitemap efficiently. Ensure that your sitemap is formatted correctly and is accessible to search engine crawlers.
  • Submit to Search Engines: Once updated, submit your new sitemap to search engines through their respective webmaster tools. This can expedite the indexing of the newly included orphan pages.
  • Monitor and Maintain: Regularly check the health of your sitemap and its links. Remove any broken links and add new pages as your site grows and evolves.

Pro Tip: Keep your sitemap clean and concise. Overloading it with too many unnecessary URLs can dilute its effectiveness and potentially confuse search engines.

By regularly updating your sitemap and ensuring it accurately reflects your website’s content structure, you significantly improve the chances of search engines finding and indexing every page, including those that were once orphaned. This not only helps with SEO but also improves user navigation and overall site health.

Redirects

This method ensures that no valuable traffic is lost and that the link equity is effectively transferred to bolster the visibility and ranking of active pages. Here’s how you can implement redirects effectively:

  • Choose the Right Type of Redirect: 301 redirects are permanent and pass most of the link equity to the redirected page. Use them for permanently moved content. For temporary changes, consider 302 redirects.
  • Map Orphan Pages to Relevant Content: Identify which pages should be redirected. Typically, an orphan page should redirect to a more relevant, frequently visited page that offers similar or more updated information.
  • Implementing Redirects: Use your website’s server or a plugin if you’re using a CMS like WordPress. Ensure the redirect goes to the most relevant page to provide a smooth user experience.

Pro Tip: Don’t overuse redirects, as too many can slow down your site and complicate the user experience. Ensure each redirect serves a clear, beneficial purpose.

Tools: For setting up and managing redirects, you might use server-side tools provided by your hosting service, plugins for CMS platforms, or comprehensive tools like Screaming Frog for bulk changes.

Redirects, when used correctly, can significantly improve site navigation and consolidate your SEO efforts by directing users and search engines towards the most valuable and relevant content.

Content Revision or Removal

Content Revision or Removal

Revamping or removing outdated or irrelevant content is crucial for a streamlined, efficient website. When you encounter orphan pages, decide whether they add value. If they do, update and relink them; if not, consider removing them. Here’s how you can approach content revision or removal:

  • Evaluate Content: Assess the orphan page for quality, relevance, and accuracy. If the content is outdated or no longer aligns with your site’s goals, it might be time for a revision or removal.
  • Update and Improve: For valuable pages, update the information, improve the layout, and enhance the overall quality. Ensure it aligns with current SEO best practices and user expectations.
  • Relink and Integrate: Once revised, strategically integrate these pages back into your website’s structure with appropriate internal links from and to relevant pages.
  • Redirect or Remove: If the content is redundant or no longer needed, consider redirecting the URL to a more relevant page or, if necessary, removing it altogether. Always ensure to implement proper redirects to maintain link equity and user experience.

Pro Tip: Regular content audits are vital. They help you keep track of all pages, making it easier to decide when to update or remove content.

Tools: Content management systems (CMS) often have built-in analytics and SEO tools to help identify and manage content. Additional tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs can offer insights into content performance and help identify low-performing pages.

By regularly revising or removing content, you ensure that all pages on your site are useful, up-to-date, and effectively contributing to your site’s overall health and user satisfaction.

URL Consolidation

To streamline your website and enhance the relevance of its content, consider merging similar or less-trafficked pages. This tactic not only addresses orphan pages by integrating or eliminating them but also simplifies your site’s structure, making it more navigable and authoritative. Here’s a step-by-step approach to effectively consolidate URLs:

  • Identify Duplicate Content: Look for similar or repetitive content across your site using tools like Copyscape or Siteliner. Focus especially on content in orphan pages that might be more effective as part of a primary page.
  • Evaluate Page Performance: Use metrics from tools like Google Analytics to determine which pages are performing well and which aren’t. Assess traffic, engagement, and relevance.
  • Decide on a Primary URL: Select the most comprehensive and high-performing page to act as the main one. Less effective or duplicate pages will be redirected or merged into this primary URL.
  • Implement 301 Redirects: For the pages you’re removing or merging, use 301 redirects to guide users and search engines to the consolidated primary page, helping maintain link equity and a seamless user experience.
  • Update Content: Merge the best elements of the consolidated pages into the primary page. Ensure the final content is cohesive and provides a more enriched user experience.

Pro Tip: Stay vigilant for new duplicate content and periodically reassess your site for consolidation opportunities. A streamlined site enhances loading speeds, user satisfaction, and search engine ranking.

Tools: Utilize content comparison tools for identifying duplicates and employ redirection methods through plugins or manual adjustments in your .htaccess file. Monitoring tools like Google Search Console will be crucial in observing the impact on your site’s performance post-consolidation.

Through thoughtful URL consolidation, you can significantly tidy up your website, leading to a more focused, user-friendly, and efficiently structured digital presence.

Navigation Inclusion

Incorporating orphan pages into your website’s navigation menu is a straightforward approach to reestablish their presence and value. By adding these pages to your primary, footer, or sidebar navigation, you increase their visibility and accessibility, making it easier for users and search engines to find them. Here’s how to approach navigation inclusion:

  • Evaluate Your Navigation Structure: Review your current navigation layout to understand where and how new links can be integrated without cluttering the design.
  • Categorize Orphan Pages: Determine the most logical section or category in your navigation for each orphan page. Placement should be intuitive and align with user expectations.
  • Simplicity is Key: Ensure that adding pages to the navigation keeps it user-friendly. Too many links can be overwhelming, so be selective and focus on incorporating pages that add value.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: As you update the navigation, consider how it will appear on different devices, especially mobiles. The added pages should be easily accessible across all platforms.
  • Regularly Update Navigation: As your site grows and changes, periodically review your navigation to ensure all important pages are included, and outdated links are removed.

Pro Tip: Use breadcrumbs on your pages as well; they not only improve user navigation but also help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your site.

Tools: Utilize website analytics to understand user behavior and navigation patterns, helping you make informed decisions about where to place orphan pages for maximum impact.

Navigation inclusion is not just about fixing orphan pages; it’s about enhancing the overall user journey on your site, making each page a valuable stop in the visitor’s exploration.

SEO Enhancements

SEO Enhancements

Enhancing your website’s SEO is crucial for ensuring that orphan pages gain visibility and contribute to your site’s overall performance. By optimizing these pages for search engines, they not only become more accessible to users but also add value to your site’s SEO. Here’s how you can bolster your orphan pages with SEO enhancements:

  • Optimize Content: Ensure that the orphan page has high-quality, relevant content. Use keywords strategically to improve its relevance and visibility in search engine results.
  • Meta Tags and Descriptions: Update meta titles and descriptions to be descriptive and keyword-rich. This not only helps search engines understand the content but also entices users when the page appears in search results.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Make sure orphan pages are mobile-friendly. With the increasing prevalence of mobile browsing, ensuring your pages are responsive will benefit both user experience and SEO.
  • Page Speed Optimization: Improve load times by compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. Faster pages are favored by users and search engines alike.
  • Utilize Alt Tags: Include alt text for images. This helps search engines understand the content of images and contributes to a more accessible website.

Pro Tip: Regularly monitor your orphan pages’ performance post-SEO enhancements. Use tools like Google Search Console to track improvements in rankings and visibility.

Tools: Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Yoast SEO, and Google Search Console can be invaluable for implementing and tracking these enhancements.

Through these strategic SEO enhancements, your orphan pages can significantly improve their search engine rankings, user engagement, and overall contribution to your site’s health and success.

Orphan Pages and SEO

Orphan pages are like the hidden rooms of your website, unseen by visitors and search engines alike. Their isolation from the rest of your site means they don’t contribute to your SEO efforts as they should. 

Essentially, because they lack internal links, these pages aren’t indexed or ranked by search engines, missing out on potential traffic and weakening your site’s overall SEO performance.

An orphan page’s detachment from the rest of the site can significantly affect your SEO in various other ways. Here’s how:

  • Lost Traffic: Orphan pages don’t get the love they deserve because they’re hard to find. This means potential visitors might never see some of your content.
  • Wasted Content: You’ve put effort into your pages, but if they’re orphaned, that effort doesn’t contribute to your site’s value or attract visitors.
  • Lowered Authority: Search engines give better rankings to well-structured websites. Orphan pages can signal a poor site structure, affecting overall site credibility.
  • Missed Internal Linking Opportunities: Internal links spread authority and guide visitors through your site. Without links, orphan pages don’t support or benefit from the site’s network.

Understanding and fixing orphan pages not only cleans up your website’s internal structure but also strengthens your SEO strategy, making every page count in attracting and engaging visitors.

Orphan Vs. Dead End Pages

Now, this is important! Before we jump into the orphan pages and techniques to fix them, it makes complete sense to learn about dead end pages.

Orphan pages and dead end pages are related but distinct concepts in website architecture and search engine optimization (SEO).

An orphan page is a page on your website with no internal or external links. This means that the page is isolated from the rest of your website, and search engines may have difficulty discovering and indexing it.

Orphan pages can negatively impact your site’s SEO and user experience. It can stop visitors from finding or accessing certain pages.

On the other hand, a dead-end page is a page on your website with no links pointing away. This means visitors who land on the page have nowhere to go on your site.

When visitors don’t find relevant content on your site, they will surely leave and visit your competitor’s site.

Orphan Pages vs Dead End Pages

Preventing Orphan Pages in the Future

Every website owner wishes to get ranked at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). That’s exactly why it is essential to prevent orphan pages from occurring.

Google Rankings

Of course, you can easily avoid the negative impact on SEO by doing so.

Some best practices for preventing orphan pages include the following:

1. Focus on Website Architecture

Before creating any new pages, plan out the structure of your website to ensure that each page has a clear purpose and a place within the overall hierarchy.

This will help you avoid creating pages that have no clear connection to other pages on your site.

2. Use a Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS can help you keep track of your website’s pages and ensure that each page is linked to other relevant pages on your site.

It can also automatically generate sitemaps, which can help search engines discover all of the pages on your site.

3. Make Use of Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a navigation tool that shows users where they are in the website hierarchy and how to navigate back to the main pages.

This can help prevent orphan pages by providing users with an easy way to navigate to related pages.

4. Prioritize Internal Linking

Internal linking is the process of linking one page of your website to another page on the same website.

By using internal linking, you can ensure that each page on your site is linked to at least one other page, which can prevent orphan pages.

By following these tips, you can prevent orphan pages from occurring on your website and ensure that each page has a clear purpose and connection to other pages on your site.

This can help improve SEO, user experience, and overall performance. Make sure you know how many pages on your site are easily crawlable so that it doesn’t slow or reduce your site performance.

Wrapping It Up

So this brings us to the end of this comprehensive guide. By now, you must have an idea of how orphan pages can harm the SEO performance of a website by reducing its visibility and authority.

Therefore, to prevent orphan pages, make sure you are constantly auditing your website. Moreover, creating a clear and organized website structure and implementing internal linking and redirection techniques can help you manage everything on your site.

By fixing orphan pages and ensuring all pages are linked and indexed, you can improve your website’s crawlability, increase its authority, and attract more organic traffic.

Use the methods outlined in this post to find your orphan pages and get this issue resolved. For any further queries, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Keep reading, and keep growing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are orphan pages on a website?

Orphan pages are website pages that are not linked to from any other pages within the same website, making them difficult for users and search engines to find.

Why are orphan pages a problem for SEO?

Orphan pages are a problem for SEO because they don't receive any traffic or backlinks, which can negatively impact a website's overall search engine ranking. They can also make it harder for users to find important content on the website.

How can I identify orphan pages on my website?

You can identify orphan pages on your website by using tools such as Screaming Frog or Google Search Console, which can crawl your website and identify pages that are not linked to from any other pages.

How can I fix orphan pages on my website?

To fix orphan pages on your website, you can link them to from other pages within the same website, either through the main navigation menu, footer links, or by including them in relevant blog posts or other pages.

Are orphan pages always bad for SEO?

Not necessarily. In some cases, orphan pages may serve a specific purpose, such as providing a landing page for a specific advertising campaign. However, in most cases, orphan pages should be avoided or fixed to improve website usability and search engine ranking.

Sahil Ahuja

Sahil Ahuja

Sahil Ahuja, the founder of Outreach Monks and a digital marketing expert, has over a decade of experience in SEO and quality link-building. He also successfully runs an e-commerce brand by name Nolabels and continually explores new ways to promote online growth. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn profile.

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