Imagine this: you spend hours creating a web page that you hope will attract visitors to your website. You put in the time and effort to write quality content, optimize it for search engines, and add eye-catching visuals.
You eagerly wait for the visitors to arrive, but they never do. You check your analytics, and to your surprise, you find that your page isn’t getting any traffic at all. It’s like your page is lost in cyberspace. What went wrong?
Chances are, your page is an orphan page. Orphan pages are web pages that have no internal or external links pointing to them, making them difficult for search engines to find and index. As a result, they don’t show up in search results, and visitors can’t find them unless they have the exact URL.
Orphan pages can significantly affect your website’s SEO and user experience, and can even harm your business’s reputation.
But don’t worry, in this article, we will guide you through the process of identifying and fixing orphan pages, so you can improve your website’s ranking and get traffic on your website.
What are Orphan Pages?
Orphan pages are web pages that have no internal or external links pointing to them, making them difficult for search engines to find and index. These pages are often left forgotten and can remain hidden from search engines, visitors, and even the website owner. Orphan pages can occur on any website, and they can harm your website’s SEO and user experience.
The problem with orphan pages is that they are isolated from the rest of your website. Since they have no links pointing to them, search engines can’t discover them, and they won’t show up in search results. This means that potential visitors won’t find them either, which can lead to missed opportunities and lower traffic.
Orphan pages can also harm your website’s credibility and user experience. Visitors who stumble upon an orphan page may assume that your website is outdated or not well-maintained, which can damage your brand’s reputation.
It’s important to note that orphan pages can happen to any page on your website, even those that you’ve spent a significant amount of time and effort creating. That’s why it’s essential to regularly check your website for orphan pages and take action to fix them.
In the next sections, we’ll discuss what causes orphan pages, why they’re bad for SEO, and how to find and fix them. By understanding these concepts, you’ll be able to take proactive steps to prevent orphan pages and improve your website’s overall ranking and user experience.
What Causes the Orphan Pages?
Orphan pages can occur for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is a lack of internal linking within your website. Internal linking refers to the practice of linking pages within your website to each other. When you link a page to another page on your website, you’re creating a path for search engines to crawl and index your website.
If a page on your website has no internal links pointing to it, search engines won’t be able to find it. This can happen if you create a new page but forget to link to it from another page on your website.
Another reason for orphan pages is outdated content. If you have pages on your website that are no longer relevant or necessary, it’s best to delete them. However, if you forget to remove the links pointing to those pages, they can become orphan pages.
Orphan pages can also occur due to changes in website structure or URL structure. If you change the URL of a page on your website without redirecting the old URL to the new one, the old URL will become an orphan page.
Similarly, if you delete a page without setting up a redirect, any links pointing to that page will lead to an orphan page.
Why are Orphan Pages Bad for SEO?
Orphan pages are one of the most common issues that can harm your website’s SEO. These pages are not linked to other pages on your website and are often left unnoticed by search engines. This can result in a significant decrease in your website’s visibility in search results, causing lower traffic and missed opportunities.
So, why are orphan pages bad for SEO? Simply put, search engines rely on links to discover new pages and content on your website. When a page has no links pointing to it, search engines have no way of discovering it, which can result in it being left out of search results.
Orphan pages can also lead to a poor user experience, which can impact your website’s credibility and reputation. Visitors who stumble upon an orphan page may be confused and frustrated, leading to a negative impression of your website.
In addition to harming your website’s SEO and user experience, orphan pages can also harm your website’s crawl budget. Crawl budget refers to the number of pages that search engines can crawl on your website. If a significant portion of your crawl budget is wasted on orphan pages, search engines may not have enough resources to crawl and index your important pages effectively.
How to Find Orphan Pages?
It’s essential to fix orphan pages and create a strong internal linking structure as part of a strong SEO strategy and for a better user experience. By ensuring that search engines can discover and index all of your important pages, you can increase your website’s visibility in search results and attract more traffic to your website.
You can do this by either internally linking the orphan pages to other relevant pages on your website, consolidating them with other similar pages or deleting them altogether.
Now that you know what orphan pages are and why they’re bad for SEO, it’s time to learn how to find them. Here are some strategies to help you find orphan pages on your website:
1. Find Crawlable URLs
One of the easiest ways to find orphan pages on your website is to use a crawler tool. A crawler tool can scan your website and identify pages that aren’t linked to other pages on your website. The tool can also tell you which pages are crawlable and which pages are not.
When you find crawlable URLs, you can create internal links to those pages, making them easier to discover for search engines and visitors. Crawlable URLs are also a good indicator of which pages are valuable to your website, and which pages may need to be deleted or consolidated.
2. Find URLs with Hits
Another way to find orphan pages is to look for URLs with hits in your website’s analytics. A URL with hits means that visitors have landed on that page, even though it may not be linked to other pages on your website.
When you find URLs with hits, you can analyze the page and create internal links to other pages on your website. This can help you increase the visibility of your website and ensure that visitors can find all of your important pages.
3. Use Sitemap File
A sitemap file is an XML file that lists all the pages on your website. You can submit your sitemap file to search engines to help them discover all of your website’s pages. A sitemap file can also help you identify orphan pages on your website.
When you submit a sitemap file, search engines can easily find all of your website’s pages, including orphan pages. You can then analyze these pages and create internal links to other pages on your website to improve their visibility.
How to Fix Orphan Pages
Once you’ve located the orphan pages on your site, you can start fixing them to improve your website’s rankings. You can do this by:
1. Internally Link
Once you’ve identified orphan pages on your website, you can fix them by creating internal links to other relevant pages on your website. Internal links are links that point to other pages on your website. By creating internal links to your orphan pages, you can make it easier for search engines and visitors to find them.
When creating internal links, make sure that the anchor text (the clickable text of the link) is relevant and descriptive. Internal linking is important as it can help search engines understand the content of the linked page and improve your website’s SEO.
2. Merge/ Consolidate
In some cases, you may find that some orphan pages on your website are similar to other pages on your website. In this case, you may want to merge or consolidate the pages.
By consolidating pages, you can create a more comprehensive and valuable page for visitors and search engines. This can help improve your website’s SEO and provide a better user experience for your visitors.
In some cases, the best option for orphan pages may be to simply delete them. This is particularly true if the page has little to no value or relevance to your website. Removing these pages can help improve the overall quality of your website and may even free up the crawl budget for more important pages.
Before deleting a page, however, it’s important to ensure that it truly is an orphan page and that it won’t negatively impact your website’s user experience or overall SEO. You can use website analytics tools to see if the page is receiving any traffic or engagement, and check for any external links pointing to the page.
If you do decide to delete an orphan page, it’s important to properly redirect the URL to a relevant and active page on your website using a 301 redirect. This will ensure that any backlinks or referral traffic to the page will be directed to a useful and relevant destination, and will prevent users from encountering a broken link or 404 error.
To sum up, orphan pages can harm your website’s SEO and user experience. It’s important to regularly identify and fix these pages through internal linking, consolidation, or deletion. By doing so, you can improve your website’s overall structure and navigation, improve your rankings, and ultimately attract more traffic to your website.
Remember, a strong SEO strategy includes ensuring that all pages on your website are connected and working together to provide a valuable experience for users.