Don’t Let Orphan Webpages Ruin Your Search Ranking

Woman Sitting With Laptop and Search Bar

From a site owner’s perspective, orphan pages are “out of sight, out of mind.” But for the search engine crawling your website, those pages could be an easy reason to dock your ranking.

In this guide, we’ll explore what orphan webpages are, how they affect search engine optimization, and how to fix them on your website.

What Are Orphaned Webpages?

Orphan webpages have no internal links pointing to them. The only way to access the page is by directly typing in the URL. Most pages on your site connect to the home page or other pages in some way. That is not the case with orphaned pages.

Note that every webpage on your site should be on your sitemap. This may provide a link to the orphan page, but that is not sufficient to connect it with the rest of the site. You need at least one link from another page on the site to remove the orphan status. 

Why Orphan Pages Impact SEO

Google rewards pages and sites that have authority. The more you can establish your brand as an authority in your industry, the better you’re going to rank.

Much of this authority establishment is rooted in interlinking. A search engine sees that you have a whole web of interconnected pages related to one topic, and it identifies a strong connection between your brand and that topic.

Orphan webpages provide the opposite of authority. They have no ties to your site, even if they could coordinate with other content. They also create a negative user experience, which Google frowns upon. If you have good information on the pages, it’s wasted because they’re hard to find. If they have no information and someone happens to land there, you’ve created a bad experience from the start.

All of these elements have the potential to hurt your search engine optimization (SEO). By identifying and correcting orphan pages, you can ensure you generate optimal results from every marketing strategy.

How to Fix Orphan Webpages on Your Site

There are two ways to address orphan pages: delete the content or make them un-orphaned. It’s important to assess each page’s purpose and merit before taking action. Here’s an overview of how to fix orphaned webpages on a website:

  1. Compile a list of orphan webpages. This is a somewhat complicated process, depending on your skill level. There are multiple programs available to crawl a website and report pages with no inbound links. If that sounds like gibberish to you, it may be best to have a website repair company like Detroit Internet Marketing take on the task.
  2. Evaluate each page’s value. Was the page orphaned because it’s no longer relevant? Does the page generate any traffic from outside sources? Could the page be expanded, enhanced, or reworked to add value?
  3. Create a linking structure for the pages you want to keep. If you identify a page with value, figure out how you can “adopt” it into other content. You could add links on coordinating blogs and webpages, or you could add the page to a section in your navigation bar. The goal is to establish more links pointing to that page to remove the orphan status for good.
  4. Delete or redirect the orphan pages with little to no value. If the page is not bringing you any traffic, you could archive or delete it. If it brings some traffic, you may want to set up a redirection to a similar page on the site. Having too many redirections may trigger a Google penalty, so tread lightly with this plan. You may decide that it’s better to build out the content on the page and incorporate it into your site.
  5. Plan ahead for interlinking to avoid orphaned webpages in the future. You may want to adopt an SEO silo structure that groups similar pages together on your site. Before you upload new content, ask yourself, “Where is this going to go? What does this connect to?” Then create strategic connections so that no page gets left behind.

The initial repair process may take a while, but once you have the right strategies in place, you can avoid a similar hassle in the future. Crawl your site routinely to check for orphan webpages and address them as quickly as possible.

Detroit Internet Marketing takes a proactive approach to content creation and website repair. We routinely check for broken links, faulty navigation, and other issues that may be hurting your search engine ranking. We can get your site set up for success to maximize the results of every digital marketing campaign.

Contact (248) 234-4830 to schedule your no-obligation consultation for orphan webpage repair, digital marketing, or web design.