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Orphan Pages and 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.

Everything happening on your website can drastically impact SEO. Pages that are not linked to any other pages on your site can be one of the major reasons for poor SEO.

Yes, it is about orphan pages.

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 Are Orphan Pages?

Orphan pages are pages on your website that are 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.

Why Fixing Orphan Pages is Important For SEO?

Well, fixing any problem is required. Considering orphan pages can negatively impact search engine rankings.

Search engines value the interconnection and crawlability of a website. When a page is orphaned, it becomes inaccessible to search engines, meaning it won’t be indexed or shown in search results.

As a result, the website loses an opportunity to attract potential visitors and organic traffic, which can harm its overall online visibility and credibility.

Furthermore, having orphan pages on a website can dilute the website’s authority, making it difficult for search engines to determine the site’s relevance and topical expertise.

When search engines crawl a website and discover a high number of orphan pages, they may interpret the website as poorly maintained, abandoned, or irrelevant to the search query, which can negatively impact its rankings.

To ensure all pages are indexed and linked, it is vital to fix orphan pages as soon as possible.

By doing so, you can improve the crawlability of your website, increase the number of indexed pages, and provide a better user experience for your visitors.

How to Find Orphan Pages on Your Website?

There are various tools and techniques for identifying orphan pages on your website. One way is to use Google Search Console’s coverage report, which lists all pages on your site that Google has indexed. If a page is not on this list, it may be an orphan page.

Another technique is to use a website crawler tool, such as Screaming Frog, which can crawl your entire website and identify any pages that are not linked to other pages on your site.

Another method is to use Google Search Console to find pages that have not been indexed or are not appearing in search results.

Common causes of orphan pages include website redesigns or migrations, changes to the site structure or navigation, and content updates that remove or replace links.

Therefore, it is crucial to regularly examine the website to determine any orphan pages. And take appropriate steps to either remove them or link to them from other pages on the website.

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.

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.

Differentiating Between Orphan Vs. Dead End Pages

Moving ahead. Let’s now discuss how you can find orphan pages.

Orphan Pages vs Dead End Pages

How To Fix Orphan Pages

Orphan pages are web pages on your website with no internal or external links pointing to them. These pages may not be discoverable by search engines, which can negatively impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

To fix orphan pages, there are several techniques you can use.

Internal linking – One way to fix orphan pages is by including internal links to them from other relevant pages on your website. This signals to search engines that the orphan page is important and should be indexed.

Redirection – If a page has been removed or renamed, you can redirect any links pointing to that page to a new or relevant page on your website.

This ensures visitors don’t encounter a 404 error and that search engines are directed to the appropriate content.

Sitemaps – Creating a sitemap can help ensure that all pages on your website are discoverable by search engines. A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website and provides information about their importance and the frequency of updates.

However, by submitting a sitemap to search engines, you increase the likelihood that all pages on your site will be indexed and ranked in search results.

Overall, fixing orphan pages is an important aspect of optimizing your website for search engines.

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.

Ways To Identify Your Crawlable Pages

Identifying your crawlable pages is an important aspect of website optimization and search engine optimization (SEO). Crawlable pages are pages on your website that can be discovered and indexed by search engines.

Here are some tips to help you identify your crawlable pages:

Use a crawler tool – A crawler tool, also known as a spider or bot, is a software program that scans your website and identifies all the pages that can be crawled and indexed by search engines. Examples of crawler tools include Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, and Moz Pro.

Google Analytics

Check your sitemap – A sitemap is a file that lists all of the pages on your website and provides information about how they are related to each other. Check your sitemap to ensure that all your pages are included and that there are no orphan pages.

Check your robots.txt file – Robots.txt file tells search engines which pages on your website they can and cannot crawl. Make sure that your robots.txt file is not blocking any important pages from being crawled.

Use Google Search Console – Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to monitor your website’s performance in search results. Use it to identify crawl errors and see which pages are being crawled and indexed by Google.

It is always helpful to figure out what’s working on site and what’s not. However, by identifying your crawlable pages, you can ensure that search engines are able to discover and index all of the important pages on your website.

This can help improve your website’s visibility in search results and drive more traffic to your site.

Use Google Analytics to Get a List of URLs

It can get difficult for crawlers to locate orphaned pages. Hence, utilizing any SEO tool to locate one is inevitably hard.

So, what practice do you need to invest in?

Well, your own Google Analytics data is one of the finest locations to begin searching for orphan pages, for that matter.

Getting a list of URLs from Google Analytics is a useful technique for analyzing website traffic and identifying areas for improvement.

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service provided by Google that tracks and reports website traffic and can provide website owners with valuable insights into user behavior and website performance.

Google Analytics

To get a list of URLs from Google Analytics, website owners can follow these steps:

  1. Log in to their Google Analytics account and select the desired website property.
  2. Click on “Behavior” in the left-hand sidebar, select “Site Content,” and then “All Pages.”
  3. This will show a list of all the pages on the website, along with information such as pageviews, average time on page, and bounce rate.
  4. Website owners can export this data as a CSV file, which can then be analyzed further using a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

With a list of URLs from Google Analytics, website owners can analyze which pages on their website are getting the most traffic, which pages have the highest bounce rate, and which pages have the longest average time on page.

This information can be used to identify areas for improvement, such as optimizing high-traffic pages for conversions, improving the user experience on pages with a high bounce rate, and identifying areas where users may be getting stuck or experiencing difficulties.

Some Bonus Tips For Managing Orphan Pages For SEO

In terms of SEO, orphan pages can be problematic as they make it difficult for search engine crawlers to discover and index the page, which in turn affects the visibility of search results.

Here are some bonus tips to get familiar with orphan pages:

Orphan pages receive no internal link juice – Internal links play a crucial role in distributing link juice throughout a website. Orphan pages, however, receive no internal link juice, which can hurt their search engine rankings.

Orphan pages have a lower chance of being indexed – Search engine crawlers typically find new pages by following links from other pages on the site. When there are no links pointing to a page, it can take much longer for the search engines to discover and index it.

Orphan pages can hurt user experience – Orphan pages are typically difficult for users to find, which can negatively impact the user experience. Visitors may become frustrated and leave the site, resulting in a high bounce rate.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that all pages on a website are linked to other pages to improve their chances of being indexed and ranking well in search results.

Happy Website Optimization!

Wrapping It Up

So this brings us to the end of this comprehensive guide. By now, you must have got 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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