Orphan pages are webpages that don’t have internal links connecting to the rest of the website and can only be accessed via direct URLs.
Orphan pages can have a negative influence on a site's SEO since they aren’t internally linked and hence cannot be crawled and indexed. These pages pop up due to reasons like improper site migration, navigation changes or can be intentional like paid ads. Brands must first locate crawlable URLs on their websites to find and eliminate orphan pages.
Use tools to check for backlinks as URL sources for pages and assess the backlink data to find pages with no internal links. Leverage Google Analytics (GA4) and Google Search Console to examine log files and analyse URLs with hits or visits from external sources and combine the data to identify orphan pages.
Fix orphan pages by evaluating the value they add to the website, then link them internally, mark them as noindex or merge and consolidate accordingly. Have a proper plan for site migration, use custom solutions to link pages, and conduct frequent site audits to avoid orphan pages.
[12 minute read]