Are Orphan Pages Bad for SEO? - The Importance of Proper Linking

Are orphan pages bad for SEO? Orphan pages can significantly reduce your search engine rankings. Read this article to learn how to find and fix orphan pages.

Are Orphan Pages Bad for SEO? - The Importance of Proper Linking

Are orphan pages bad for SEO? If you're wondering about the impact of orphan pages on your search engine rankings, you've come to the right place.

When it comes to SEO, orphan pages can be a real problem. These pages are isolated from the rest of your website. In other words, they don't receive any internal links.

As a result, search engines may be unable to find and index these pages. This leads to lower rankings and reduced organic traffic.

In this article, we'll explore the negative effects of orphan pages on your SEO. We'll also discuss how to identify and fix them.

📄 What Are Orphan Pages?

Orphan pages are pages that are not linked to by any other pages within the same site. They're basically dead-end pages.

They can have a negative effect on your SEO efforts.

When search engines crawl your website, they rely on links to discover and index your pages. If a page is not linked to by any other page, it becomes isolated and hidden from search engine crawlers.

This means that the page will not be included in search engine results. It can lead to poor visibility and reduced organic traffic.

Some common examples of orphaned pages include:

  1. Thank You Pages - Pages that visitors land on after completing a form or buying something.
  2. Old Content - Outdated blog posts, news articles, or product pages that are no longer linked to.
  3. Draft Pages - Pages that are created but not published and not linked to the rest of the website.
  4. Test Pages - Pages created for testing purposes, which are not meant to be part of the website's main content. These often remain unlinked.
  5. Error Pages - Pages like 404 error pages that users land on when they try to access a non-existent or broken link. While they serve a purpose, they are usually not linked by other parts of the site.
  6. Landing Pages - Special marketing or campaign-specific pages. They're not a part of the site structure.
  7. Event Pages - Unlinked pages created for specific events, conferences, or promotions.

🔦 The Impact of Orphan Pages on SEO

Orphan pages can become a real issue if you don't deal with them on time. They can reduce your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).

They can result in:

  • Poor visibility
  • Less organic traffic
  • A bad user experience
  • Reduced conversion rates
  • Weak site authority

Orphan pages aren't only bad for your search engine rankings. They can also hinder your online visibility. Search engines may never discover orphaned pages on your website. As a result, they won't appear in Google's search results.

Orphan pages can lead to a poor user experience. Not to mention missed opportunities for organic traffic and conversions.

Visitors might land on these pages accidentally. For instance, through old bookmarks or outdated search engine results.

They then won't be able to navigate to other important sections of the website. This poor user experience can lead to high bounce rates and lower user engagement.

When people search for relevant keywords related to the content on these pages, they won't show up. This means that you're risking losing potential customers.

Orphan pages won't contribute to your SEO goals if users can't find them.

These are just some of the reasons orphaned pages are bad for SEO. You have to make sure all your pages are linked to properly within the site's structure.

⚙️ Common Causes of Orphan Pages

Orphan pages can occur due to various reasons. Here are some of the most common causes:

  1. Poor website architecture
  2. Redesigns and restructuring
  3. Content Management System (CMS) issues
  4. Unused templates or themes
  5. Outdated content
  6. Incomplete website development
  7. External links
  8. URL changes
  9. Technical errors

If the site's structure is not well-planned, it's easy for pages to become disconnected. No logical hierarchy and clear linking structure can lead to orphan pages.

Certain categories are sometimes removed from a website. But the internal links aren't updated afterwards.

This often happens when a website goes through a redesign or restructuring. Some of these sections or categories are then deleted. But instead of linking to the pages within those categories, they're simply removed.

Some content management systems might not automatically link to new pages. Human error can also result in orphan pages. For example, someone might forget to add the internal links.

Website owners might remove outdated or irrelevant content. But if the removal process is not managed the right way, these pages can turn into orphan pages.

Web developers might create some pages for testing purposes. They might later forget to connect those pages to the main site structure. These pages end up as orphan pages.

This can also happen to linked pages from external websites or social media profiles. It happens if you don't remove or redirect those external links properly.

🔍 How to Find Orphan Pages?

Most of these dead pages are accidental orphan pages. You might not even know they exist on your site. That's why finding orphan pages should be your priority.

You can find orphan pages on your website in different ways. These include:

  • Using website crawl tools
  • With Google Search Console
  • Using Google Analytics
  • Checking your internal links
  • URL mapping
  • Manually reviewing your site

You can use website crawl tools. For instance, SEMrush or Moz. These tools can crawl your entire website. They will provide you with detailed reports, including a list of all pages.

You can also use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You can identify pages that have recorded page views or search results impressions. This data indicates that there may be orphan pages on your site.

Google Search Console provides information about how Googlebot crawls your website. It can show you crawl errors, including pages not found (404 errors).

Google Analytics can identify pages with no traffic. Not all trafficless pages are necessarily orphaned. But if you have pages you expect to receive traffic, and they're not getting any, they might be orphaned. They might also be poorly linked.

Another method is URL mapping. It's a common SEO process for identifying orphan pages. This involves crawling your website and mapping out all the URLs. You'll be able to see which pages aren't linked to any other pages.

In some cases, you might have to review your site manually. Go through your site's navigation, sitemap, and any menus. This way, you'll ensure all pages are properly linked. Compare this with a list of all pages on your site. Any page not linked from these sources might be an orphan page.

🔨 How to Fix Orphan Pages?

There are many strategies you can use to fix an orphaned page. For instance:

  1. Identify the orphaned pages
  2. Create internal links
  3. Delete pages you don't need anymore
  4. Optimise anchor text
  5. Check and update external links
  6. Set Up 301 redirects
  7. Update your XML sitemap

You need to find orphan pages before you can fix them. You can do this with website crawl tools or any other methods we talked about in the previous section.

One way to fix orphan pages is by creating internal links. These internal links should come from other relevant pages on your site.

Doing this provides a pathway for search engines to discover and crawl these pages. This increases their visibility and search results rankings.

You can also merge orphan pages with similar content on your website. This way, you're redirecting the URL of the orphan page to a new page.

This doesn't only eliminate the issue of orphan pages. It also helps improve your website's structure and navigation as well.

Another option is to delete orphan pages that are no longer relevant or useful. You can then redirect the URL to a relevant page on your website. Any traffic the orphan page might have attracted will go to a more valuable page.

If there are external websites linking to the orphan pages, contact the webmasters of those sites. Request them to update the links to the correct URLs.

It's important to focus on creating a seamless user experience. Ensure that visitors can easily navigate from one page to another. They shouldn't come across dead ends.

🙅 Avoiding Orphan Pages

The best thing you can do is avoid orphan pages. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Create a clear site structure
  • Use consistent navigation
  • Use internal linking
  • Run regular site audits
  • Use HTML and XML sitemaps
  • Keep track of changes
  • Plan for a site migration

Make sure that every page has a purpose. All pages on your website should contribute to a cohesive user experience.

Another way to prevent orphan pages is with a site audit. These audits can help identify and fix orphan pages, as well as other technical SEO issues.

Make sure to review the website's structure and content on a regular basis. You can ensure that all pages are properly linked and serve a purpose.

Having clear website architecture is crucial in preventing orphan pages. Organise content into categories and subcategories. This gives each page a logical place within the structure.

This means that you need to organise the website in a logical and hierarchical manner. You will make it easier for search engines to index the content and for users to navigate the site.

One way to avoid orphan pages is by planning for site migrations. When migrating a website, it is important to include 301 redirects from old pages to new pages. That way, you can make sure that no page is left without a link.

This helps maintain the internal link structure. It also prevents the creation of orphan pages.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can orphan pages still receive traffic even if they are not crawled by search engines?

Yes, orphan pages can still receive traffic even if they are not crawled by search engines. This can happen if users access the page directly through a bookmark or by typing the URL.

How can Google Analytics be used to identify orphan pages?

To use Google Analytics to identify orphan pages, go to the "Behaviour" section. Select "Site Content," then "All Pages." Look for pages that have recorded a page view but are not linked from any other pages on your site.

Why is it important to address why orphan pages became orphans?

You need to know the reason why orphan pages appear. They can negatively impact SEO and rankings. You can prevent future instances and improve your SEO and website performance.

How can orphan pages negatively impact SEO and the ability to rank?

Orphan pages can negatively impact SEO. Search engines assume that pages without links are not important. They can waste server space and crawling budget and affect link health. They can even cause you to miss opportunities for rankings, traffic, and conversions.

💡 Hire RankRise to Help You Find Orphan Pages

If your site has too many orphan pages, your SEO could be in trouble. Even one orphan page can lead to low rankings and a poor user experience. It's not only important to find orphan pages but to fix them as well.

RankRise can help you find and fix the orphan pages on your website. We'll use various tools and techniques to identify and deal with these dead-end pages.

RankRise can also help you improve your SEO strategy in other ways. If you have any questions about our SEO services, feel free to reach out to us

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Tijana Abadic
Tijana Abadic

Tijana is a content writer with three years of experience working for digital marketing firms and creating informative and engaging content for diverse industries. As a content strategist at RankRise, she specialises in writing and editing long-form content that reflects the brand and drives results.

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