Orphaned content is a website's worst nightmare. It can mean lower rankings in search engines, and a loss of potential customers. Fortunately, there are ways to fix orphaned content, and prevent it from happening in the first place.
Learn what orphaned content is, how to find it and how to fix it.
What is orphaned content in SEO?
Orphaned content is defined as pages on a website that can't be reached by links from other pages on the same website.
In other words, there is no way to get to these pages except by typing the URL into the search bar or following an external link.
Orphaned pages can still be indexed by search engines as they can be found in the XML sitemap or by external links from another website, but if there are no internal links pointing to them, they will be much harder for users (and search engines) to find.
They also provide a poor user experience because users can't navigate to them from other parts of the site.
Are orphan pages bad for SEO?
Yes, orphaned pages are bad for SEO, since these pages are very hard to find for your users and for the search engines as well.
If there are a lot of these pages on your website with very few internal links, it might mean that your website is not well-structured, and this can lead to lower rankings in the search engines.
This can also mean, that you are writing blog posts and pages that are not connected, so people who are finished reading the article or want to read about something related, can't do so or it becomes quite annoying to find the page.
Search engines follow links and so do people, so make sure you put a few meaningful internal links pointing to another related blog post.
How to Find Orphaned Pages?
Find Orphaned Pages Using Screaming Frog
The easiest way to find orphan pages is to use a tool like Screaming Frog. This will give you a list of all the pages on your website, as well as the number of inbound contextual links to each page. Orphaned pages will have a 0 in the "inlinks" column.
You can also look at the Analytics tab and check Orphaned URLs sections and find them there.
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What Do I Do With Orphaned Content?
Once you have found all of the orphaned content on your website, you can decide if you would like to fix them or just delete them.
When should I Delete Orphaned Pages?
There are orphaned pages that you probably shouldn't keep on your website. These are pages that:
- Have no value to your users
- Are outdated and no longer relevant
- Serve no purpose
- Are duplicate content
If you have any of these orphaned pages on your website, it is probably best to just delete them.
When should I Fix Orphaned Content?
If you find an orphaned page that is still relevant and up to date and you would like to keep it on your website, you should fix it.
How do I fix orphaned content?
Fixing orphaned pages is actually a pretty easy task. First, analyze your website to see which pages are orphaned, and then to add links to these pages from other parts of your site.
Keep in mind that you should only link out to other relevant pages on your blog. If you have an article about the best screwdrivers, don't link that article to an article about dogs, since you won't be able to fix your dog with a screwdriver, you can't connect the two logically. Except if you are talking about toy robot dogs, lol!
Automate Your Internal Linking Strategy
There are a lot of tools out there that can help you automate internal linking, so you don't have to do it manually and you can avoid having orphan pages in the first place.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Link whisper is a tool that gives you internal linking suggestions as you write your content.
All you need to do is install Link Whisper, and it will give you suggestions for other articles on your website that you can link to.
Link Whisper also has a feature where you can just enter a keyword, a URL and it will automatically build inbound internal links to that URL you specified, from semantically related pages.
Link whisper also offers internal link reporting, so you can see where you need to improve and take action. It can even help you fix broken links.
This is a great way to avoid having orphan pages since you can just add links as you write your content.
Internal Link Juicer
Internal Link Juicer is also a plugin for building internal links automatically. It has a slightly different approach from Link Whisper since it doesn't give you suggestions for articles to link to.
Instead, it automatically links your keywords to other relevant pages on your website. So if you use the keyword "screwdriver" in your article, it will automatically link that keyword to other articles on your website about screwdrivers.
Internal Links Manager
Internal Links Manager is a tool that helps you manage your internal links, and it also has an automatic linking feature.
It works similarly to internal link juicer , in that it automatically links your keywords to other relevant pages, using tags and categories.
But it also has a lot of features for managing your internal links, such as the ability to add, edit and delete links, as well as set "nofollow" tags and anchor text.
Interlinks Manager can be bought on Codecanyon. It has an option to show you which of your pages are orphaned and which ones have too many links going out, as well as other options for managing your inbound internal links.
Unlike the other plugins, this one allows to calculate the flow of the link juice on your website.
This is a great way to keep track of your internal linking and make sure that everything is working the way it should.
How do I prevent orphaned content?
The best way to prevent orphaned content is to carefully plan the structure of your website before you even start writing.
Create a content plan and plan in advance which articles you are going to write and which one you will link together.
Also, adding a "similar articles" section after each article can be useful as well, but it's not necessarily the best choice.
Orphan pages can be a big problem for small business websites, since it can hurt your SEO and make it harder for people to find the information they are looking for.
But if you carefully plan the structure of your website and use one of the tools mentioned above, you can avoid having orphaned content and improve your website's SEO.