How to Find, Fix, and Avoid Orphan Pages on Your Website for Better Rankings

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex process that involves a series of steps. You will easily get caught up in the web of keyword research, content creation, and backlink building. Also, you need to optimize various technical aspects, including site speed, mobile responsiveness, and navigation.

Amidst the rigmarole, it’s easy to lose sight of orphan pages. The presence of multiple orphan pages on your website can take a toll on your rankings and even disrupt the user experience.

So, how do you avoid orphan pages from coming in the way of your SEO strategy? The best option is to work with an experienced SEO agency that’ll analyze your website and find orphan pages.

If your company is based in Orlando, you could consider looking for reliable Orlando SEO services that’ll help you with other aspects, including technical and off-page SEO. Also, they’ll help you monitor the performance of your SEO strategy and understand its impact on your company’s bottom line.

In this blog, we’ll outline a few more useful ways to identify and fix orphan pages. We’ll also discuss ways to avoid such pages on your website. Let’s dive right in.

Orphan Pages: A Closer Look

Simply put, orphan pages are web pages that don’t have any internal links from other pages on your website. Search engine spiders can only find them from the sitemap and backlinks that point to the orphan page. Similarly, visitors can land on an orphan page only when they know the precise URL.

So, how do orphan pages crop up on your website? The most common reasons are poor navigation and unplanned site migrations. It could also be the result of expired promotional offers and out-of-stock or discontinued products (particularly in the case of e-commerce websites).

Impact on SEO

To begin with, orphan pages take a toll on your website’s user experience and engagement rates, thus affecting search engine rankings. Also, it’s difficult for search engine spiders to find and index these pages.

That’s because the absence of internal links makes it difficult for search engines to find and index an orphan page. Even if they access the page from a sitemap, they’ll struggle to understand the page’s content and significance. That, in turn, will make it difficult for the orphan page to appear in relevant search results.

Even if it’s a well-written blog post with the right keywords, it may never see the light of the day on search engine results pages (SERPs).

It’s worth noting here that some orphan pages are intentional. The most common example is a landing page for a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. You wouldn’t want organic website visitors to browse such pages anyway.

How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages

Whether you’re using third-party SEO services or managing SEO in-house, identifying and linking orphan pages isn’t rocket science. Here are a few simple ways to get started:

1. Conduct a Site Audit

The easiest way of identifying orphan pages is to compare your website’s crawlable links to the URLs that get hits from actual users. You can use a site audit tool to get the complete list of crawlable links.

Also, you can use website analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, for the list of URLs that receive clicks from users.

Once you export both lists, create an excel sheet to cross-reference both columns and identify all orphan pages on your website.

2. Assess SEO Impact

The next step is to analyze whether these pages will have any noticeable impact on search engine rankings. Start by finding out whether you ignored the page during a migration. If that isn’t the case, check whether it’s a landing page for a PPC campaign. Make sure you add a “noindex” tag for these pages.

If the page isn’t associated with a PPC campaign, look for opportunities to merge it with another page that features similar content.

3. Add Internal Links

If the orphan page was the result of a botched migration, analyze the value it provides to visitors. If it’s an essential page that can impact user experience, add proper internal links from other pages.

4. Don’t Ignore Backlinks

If the orphan page contains information that’s no longer relevant or valuable to visitors, you’ll have to delete it. But what if the page already has backlinks from various high-authority domains?

You’ll need to set up proper 301 redirects to ensure that you continue to derive value from these existing backlinks.

Final Takeaway: How to Avoid Orphan Pages

If you want to avoid orphan pages, start by understanding how they end up on your website. Plan site migrations to the T to ensure that every page has internal links pointing to it. Also, delete pages with expired offers and promotional campaigns. Lastly, implement suitable code to ensure that every new web page automatically gets internally linked.