Orphan pages refer to pages that search engines might have a problem finding because they don’t have internal links from somewhere else on your website. In this article, we will dive deep and find out a way to fix orphan URLs.
Table of contents
- What Causes Orphan Pages?
- Common Characteristics of Orphan Pages
- How to Find Orphan Pages
- How to Fix Orphan Pages?
- Final Thoughts
Orphan pages are incidental and occur for different reasons. The most common cause is not having procedures for site migrations, navigation changes, site redesigns, out-of-stock products, testing, or dev pages.
These pages may also be intended, as with promotional and paid advertising landing pages, or any example where you do not desire the page to be part of the user journey.
Here are some common characteristics to aid you in understanding and discovering orphan pages on your site.
It has no inbound links.
This is the defining feature of an orphan URL; if your webpage has one inbound link, whether from the homepage or an old blog post, your page is not an orphan. You use digital marketing services and tools to find these pages.
It is a live page.
Sandboxing, test pages, and the like might be represented by some of the features of an orphan URL. Still, the significant difference is that an actual orphan page is a page that has value for users and is life, just unavailable. Despite having a 200 server status and the fact that users have no way to navigate, it is a piece of the issue in these pages.
This trait is most challenging to verify as it needs some investigative effort. Some pages that are discovered and categorized as orphan pages turn out to be just that. But some may be classified this way due to the inaccurate methods of some tools.
Internal linking is vital for any website. It’s one of the main ways users navigate your site and discovers related pages. It supports users engaged (rather than exiting the area and elsewhere). It leads users to the next step in the buyer’s journey. No matter you do this yourself or get help from a digital marketing agency, make sure your customer journey is in one piece.
There are a few places where orphan pages may be determined but aren’t essential to seek out. Have you clicked on a link to discover it directs nowhere with a “not found” error? This is standard and can be a source of orphan URLs.
Nevertheless, search engines eventually resolve these as something that’s not considered a permanent orphan URL. So, you don’t require to do anything in a case like this as it won’t harm your ranking ability.
You can always use digital marketing tools to find these URLs but if you want a free method, here it comes.
Utilizing Google Analytics or Google Search Console
It is likely to measure traffic to an orphan webpage, even without being shuffled by search engines.
One way to do it is by turning to Google Analytics to determine all pages on your site that have registered a page view. If Google Analytics tracking code is on your website, you will know when users hit any URL—orphan or not.
So, you’ve found these pages you require to fix. But before you can resolve them, regard addressing why these pages became orphans to start with so the issue doesn’t happen again. For instance, did your content team forget the page still exists instead of setting up a redirect for it?
This solution is a straightforward one. When you desire an orphan page to be found and visited, you need to make an internal link to it from other pages on your website. You can also achieve this by linking to the page from another website, but connecting from within your own is more straightforward and better for search engine crawlers and indexing. What matters is that you create an opportunity for the page. This method is fast and reliable. Almost any SEO company suggests this method to deal with orphan URLs first.
There are numerous ways to resolve the issue of an undesirable orphan URL, meaning you don’t desire the page to exist. One alternative is to archive the page. The page and its information are always viewable. Still, it’s no longer part of the live site.
Finally, while discovering and fixing orphan pages is time-intensive, it doesn’t require to be painstaking. The flowchart will aid in streamlining your process.