Orphan Page

What is an Orphan Page?

Definition

An orphan page is a webpage that is not linked to from any other page within the same website. In essence, it exists in isolation without any internal links pointing to it, making it invisible to website navigators and often to search engines. Orphan pages can occur due to site restructuring, outdated content being forgotten, or errors in link creation. They are problematic for SEO because they’re harder for search engines to discover and index, which can result in valuable content being overlooked and not appearing in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Types

Orphan pages can broadly be categorized based on their origin or function:

  • Accidental Orphan Pages: These are typically the result of site redesigns or navigation updates where links to certain pages were removed or forgotten.
  • Intentional Orphan Pages: Sometimes, pages are deliberately made orphan to keep them unindexed or hidden from the general site navigation. Examples include specific landing pages for campaigns or testing environments.

Examples

  • Accidental Orphan Page: A company blog post from several years ago becomes an orphan after a website update removes the blog archive section, leaving no internal links pointing to the post.
  • Intentional Orphan Page: A promotional landing page designed for a specific online ad campaign that the site owner does not want included in the main site navigation or indexed by search engines.

Impact on SEO and Solutions

Orphan pages can significantly impact a website’s SEO performance by:

  • Reducing Discoverability: Without internal links, search engines and users are less likely to find these pages.
  • Wasting SEO Potential: Valuable content on orphan pages does not contribute to the site’s overall SEO performance.
  • Complicating Site Navigation: A poor internal linking structure can negatively affect user experience and site usability.

To address orphan pages, website owners and SEO professionals can:

  • Conduct Regular Audits: Use tools to crawl the website and identify orphan pages.
  • Improve Internal Linking: Create internal links from relevant pages to include orphan pages in the site’s structure.
  • Remove or Redirect: If orphan pages are outdated or no longer relevant, consider removing them or redirecting to more pertinent content.

Identifying and integrating orphan pages into the website’s internal structure can enhance both user experience and SEO performance by ensuring all content is accessible and has the opportunity to rank in search results.

Nedim Mehic

Nedim is a senior technical SEO specialist, and the co-founder of Beki AI. On the Beki AI blog, we share new and innovative strategies to SEO and content marketing.

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