An orphan page is a webpage that is not linked to from other pages. It’s floating in webspace, can be hard to get to, and sometimes hard to navigate from.
Yet, the fact of the matter is, sometimes orphan pages are needed. Landing or unindexed pages can create a valuable user experience when used correctly. But make sure you monitor and clean up orphan pages that no longer serve a purpose. Having useless orphan pages is a big no-no that could negatively affect your SEO efforts as it’s difficult for Google to crawl these pages and decipher what they’re about.
Why Orphan Pages?
A few of the main reasons why orphan pages might exist include: either purposely in an effort to create a private page on the site that is unavailable to the public, or by mistake when there is either a design or development flaw.
Some of these mistakes include:
- Pages incorrectly redirect to your website from links on external sites.
- Pages on a website expire during the crawling time.
- Pages return corrected errors because the search engine is still crawling it.
Orphan pages might seem harmless, but in fact, these directionless components of your website can potentially be hurting your company’s SEO marketing efforts. Among other things, these pages can consume your crawl budget, greatly hinder the user experience and attract bad links.
Luckily, best practices for addressing orphan pages are easy to execute and very effective at boosting your site’s SEO.
Follow these 3 best practices for your site’s orphan pages:
- Avoid syntax errors when building your sitemap and creating canonical tags.
- Expired content should deliver the correct status code (for example, a 404 error page)
- Link all the pages of your website’s structure, such as landing pages or internal search result pages.
The fixes to orphan pages are worth the time and resource investment required. Improve your website’s searchability by addressing orphan pages, or contact us to help you design a strategy for optimizing your SEO marketing.