How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (2023)

In the world of SEO, orphan pages are a big problem. These pages can negatively impact your website’s search engine rankings, as they are essentially isolated pages with no links or connections to other pages on your site.

This makes it difficult for search engines to crawl and index them, and they often end up being ignored altogether. In this guide, we’ll explore what orphan pages are, why they’re bad for SEO, and how to find and fix them to improve your website’s search engine rankings.

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What are Orphan Pages?

How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (1)

Orphan pages are basically those pages on your website that do not have links on them. There will be neither internal nor external. That is why it cannot be accessed by users or search engine crawlers.

These pages are just there sitting orphaned, taking up space, and are effectively useless on your sitemap, and users or web crawlers will not access your domain.

If you think orphaned pages are similar to dead pages, you are wrong! These pages can be navigated from within the website, but it does not link anywhere else, which forces visitors to the website to click the back button or simply exit.

There is a plethora of reasons that Orphan pages can pop up on your website, which include:

  • You can change the internal links during the domain or CMS migration.
  • CMS is used incorrectly.
  • Remove the category pages without redirecting them to the internal links.
  • The website owner has used seasonal pages or landing pages once for some promotion, but no one has ever switched off or taken them down.
  • Variation in the page during the A/B testing was taken down, and the person who executed the campaign left the organization.

Recommended for you: Link Building vs Content Creation: Which is More Important for SEO?

Why are Orphan Pages Bad for SEO?

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When you use Orphan pages on your website, that affects your website’s ranking on SERP. Search Engine Crawlers will not be able to find them unless it is listed on the XML sitemap which means they will not get organic traffic.

If there are too many Orphan pages on your website, then that will increase the risk of getting penalized. The algorithm of Google may suspect that you are hiding your pages from the users deliberately, which is considered a black hat SEO tactic. It affects SEO in many ways and is bad for SEO which you can understand below:

  • Firstly, search engines may be unable to find them, as they have no links. It means that they may not be indexed at all or maybe indexed very slowly, which can harm your website’s search engine rankings.
  • Secondly, even if search engines find orphan pages, they may not know how to categorize them or understand their relevance to your site. It can lead to confusion and poor rankings for your site’s orphan pages and other pages.
  • Finally, orphan pages can also create a poor user experience, as visitors may stumble upon these pages without any context or guidance from other pages on your site. It may cause frustration and lead visitors to leave your site altogether.

How to Find Orphan Pages?

How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (3)

When there are too many orphan pages, then that may cause trouble for you and cause headaches for you. Fortunately, you may come across some ways to find orphan pages and eliminate them before they reduce the ranking of your website.

1. Check URLs Against Sitemap

In your XML sitemap, you will find the URL location of the pages, files, and videos on your website. The orphan pages do not have any links pointing into or out of them, but if there is an XML sitemap, the Orphan page will also be there.

2. Check with the Web Crawling Tool

You can compile a detailed list of orphaned URLs, which includes the web crawling tool, also known as a Screaming Frog. Before you begin these steps, you must connect with the Google Search Console and Google Analytics to the Screaming Frog account. It also provides you with a step-by-step guide to Google Analytics integration.

When you check screaming frog, there will be a “General” tab, and you need to ensure that crawling new URLs discovered are checked in Google Analytics. Once you connect it, you must ensure you have set that to the Google Analytics account, segment, view, and property that you should look at.

When you do so, it will navigate to the Spider and then Crawl these sitemaps, crawl linked XML sitemaps, and then enter the sitemap URL. You need to crawl the website until it reaches 100%; the URL of orphaned will be available in the “Sitemaps” tap, which is in the crawl overview. From there, you can look at Orphan URLs filter and export those filters into the spreadsheet by navigating them to the reports and then the Orphan pages.

3. Cross-check Your Web Crawler with Log Analyzer

The next method to find the orphaned page involves exporting the URL list on your website and then cross-referencing them into the log file server. If any page is showing in your server logs but not in the crawl data, orphaned, and that requires fixing.

Use Screaming Frog to do a web crawl, then export the results from the internal tab and paste them into the imported URL data window. This will import it immediately into the database and Imported URL data tab of the Log File Analyzer.

Switching to the Matched with URL Data view in the Log File Analyzer will display the data from the log files with the data from the SEO web crawl. This will display any URLs on your server that cannot be crawled. Some URLs are probably orphans and require attention.

You may like: What are Toxic Backlinks and what to do with them?

How to Fix Orphan Pages?

How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (4)

You should now have a list of your website’s indexable URLs that aren’t referenced by any internal links. Whether or not the pages are valuable will determine what you should do next.

Even without internal links, a page may still receive traffic via being shared on social media or in other places. It may also be featured in your sitemap and picked up certain keyword ranks that could be better suited elsewhere.

Here are some strategies that one should consider that will help fix the Orphan page so it will improve the ranking of your website on Google.

1. Link Internally

If you are using the orphan pages, that will be quite valuable for the visitor of the site, and that should be included in the site’s internal linking. It will make everything so much easier for visitors and search engines.

To internally link a relevant page with Google, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. First visit Site Audit.
  2. Open the recent crawl of your site.
  3. Under the option of tools, you need to open page explorer.
  4. Search the word or phrase in the page text.
  5. Use organic traffic to sort the results.

With this, you can find internal linking opportunities for the pages that will help you get organic traffic, which means Google may recrawl them sooner instead of later and will also check if there are any changes.

2. Noindex

Orphan pages that are not linked internally deliberately, such as landing pages for the advertisement, should be no-indexed, which prevents them from appearing in the results of organic searches.

Most SEO plugins make it easy to find an orphan page, like checking a box. But you need to do that manually by copying and pasting the option into the section of <head> of the page.

3. Merge/Consolidate

Orphan pages are quite similar content to another page that should be merged. It means consolidating the content and then redirecting the URL of some other page.

For instance, if there are two listings of products for the same product, then one will be an Orphan page, and the other is not. That is why you should take the innovative information from the orphan page, which will add to the other page before you redirect the Orphan page.

4. Delete

Orphan pages do not offer any value to the visitors or offer any other purpose, such as the paid campaign for more traffic needs to be deleted.

For instance, when you use an unused CMS theme page, that will be removed and result in a 404 error, which will naturally drop out of the search over time.

How Should You Prevent Orphan Pages?

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Auditing the orphan pages once in a certain period can be time-consuming. That is why preventing it from happening from the start is essential. You can consider the following things which will help you do so.

  • Always have a plan for the migration of the site.
  • Eliminate the discontinued product.
  • Run regular audits.

FAQ for Orphan Pages

How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (6)

What are Orphan Web Pages?

Orphan web pages are web pages that have no connection to a domain hierarchy, such as a blog post or an application. These orphan pages are either completely blank or contain only the metadata that shows their relationship to other pages on the site.

Do Orphaned Pages Affect SEO?

Orphan pages can affect your SEO because they’re not as well-ranked in search engines. The reason that this happens is because of how search engines work – they rank pages based on keywords in the content, not metadata like site title or description. So, if you create an orphan page that has no relevant keywords and zero links pointing to it, it will likely show up as a dead end for users searching for information about your business.

Can Orphan Pages be Indexed?

Ordinary orphan pages are not indexed by Google. Since pages with no content can’t be found, these pages do not contribute to a ranking.

How does Google Find Orphan Pages?

Google finds orphan pages using a variety of methods, including crawling, and analyzing search data. One way that Google finds orphan pages is by analyzing crawl errors and incorrect link structure from your website. Omitting important elements in your site can cause crawlers to find unwanted pages on your site that may not be useful to searchers.

What Tool is Used to Find Orphan Pages?

An orphan page is a page that has been deleted from the site but still exists in the database. This can result in extra costs and maintenance issues that outweigh any potential benefits to be gained by deleting them. In order to find orphan pages, you can use a tool such as GTmetrix or Optimizely.

How do I Find Orphaned Pages in WordPress?

Sometimes, you may want to find orphaned pages in WordPress. This can be very useful when trying to determine why a certain post wasn’t published on your website. The tutorial below will walk you through step-by-step how to find orphaned pages in WordPress, and also help explain some of the reasons for it happening.

How do you Fix an Orphan Page that has no Incoming Internal Links?

When you have an orphan page that has no incoming internal links, such as a 404 or a missing image, there are several ways to fix it. One way is to add links to these pages from the homepage or sitemap so that search engines can locate them.

You may also like: Using UTM Links in Digital Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide!

The Final Words

How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (7)

It’s overwhelming to look at endless rows of orphan page errors and attempt to understand dense technical jargon. But finding and fixing these pages is time-consuming and does not need to be thorough. But with this guide, you will definitely find some help that will help you in fixing things properly.

Author: Jenny Amaya
How to Find and Fix Orphan Pages to Improve SEO? (8)

This article is written by Jenny Amaya. Jenny is a digital marketer and blogger at She helps people improve their websites and blogs through SEO and social media marketing. She also helps to build a better blog whether you are just starting out or want to improve your current revenue stream.


How do I fix orphan pages in SEO? ›

How To Fix Orphan Pages Found In Your Audit
  1. Delete the webpage and remove it from your sitemap and domain.
  2. Take the existing content on the page and add it to a similar page where it can serve a better purpose before taking it down.
  3. Manually add internal links leading to the orphaned page.
Jun 27, 2022

How do I find orphaned pages in SEO? ›

You can take an easy 5-step process to identify and address any orphan pages on your site:
  1. Get a full list of your current website pages.
  2. Run a website crawl for pages with zero inbound internal links.
  3. Analyze the audit results.
  4. Resolve any orphan page found.
  5. Rerun the audit periodically to catch new unlinked pages.

Do orphaned pages affect SEO? ›

Orphan pages cause two main SEO problems: Low Rankings & Traffic: Even if they contain great content, orphan pages typically don't rank well in SERPs or get much organic search traffic. Crawl Waste: Low-value orphan pages (e.g. duplicate pages) can be stealing crawl budget from your important pages.

How do I fix orphaned content? ›

If so, all you need to do is set up a 301 redirect from the orphaned page to the newer page. A 301 redirect will simply tell search engines that they should not look at this page, and instead, look at the newer one. This will remove it from being an orphaned page.

How does Google find orphan pages? ›

A page without any links to it is called an orphan page. Search engines, like Google, usually find new pages in one of two ways: The crawler follows a link from another page. The crawler finds the URL listed in your XML sitemap.

Can Google crawl orphan pages? ›

Orphan pages do not have any links to them. Visitors and site crawlers will not be able to find them because there are no links to them.

Do hidden pages help SEO? ›

Hidden content, when done correctly, can maximize the amount of content on a small mobile web page and help increase the amount of content that is indexed by search engines. That's a win-win for users and SEO. More Resources: 3 Ways to Find Hidden Spam Links & Text on a Webpage.

How do I find orphan files? ›

By using the 'is' function in the search bar at the top of your screen as shown below, you can use the search term 'is:unorganised' to quickly locate files which may have accidentally become orphaned.

Does rebuilding website affect SEO? ›

Design Changes and SEO

You won't see much impact—if any—from updating your logo throughout the site, fixing some typos, or making other small updates. However, more extensive changes will affect your SEO. With a site rebuild, you can almost certainly expect to lose most, if not all, the SEO benefits you had originally.

Which technique should be avoided in SEO? ›

Keyword Stuffing

Using a high density of keywords in your content can look like you are keyword stuffing, which will likely result in a penalty from Google and a drop in rankings. Instead, choose to use your keywords naturally throughout the article and avoid putting them all together as one massive block of text.

Is deleting pages bad for SEO? ›

Deleting low quality and outdated content can not only enhance the user experience on your site, it can improve SEO keyword rankings. Google would prefer to rank a website that has good content versus bad.

What causes orphan pages? ›

What causes orphan pages? Usually, orphan pages are accidental and occur for various reasons. The most common cause is not having processes for site migrations, navigation changes, site redesigns, out-of-stock products, testing, or dev pages.

What causes orphaned? ›

Within and aside from the aforementioned are: cultural pressures, neglect, abuse, child slavery, religious inequity, child prostitution, indentured servitude and more. These are more closely associated with children without parental care that may not be a child that has lost one or more parents.

Can you edit orphaned works? ›

An orphaned work remains in the Archive attached to the orphan_account, and cannot be edited or deleted.

What is orphan page and how do you fix it? ›

Orphan pages are indexable pages that have no internal links. This means there are no links to this page from anywhere on your site, and as such, orphan pages live outside the site structure. Without internal links, orphan pages can't be accessed from anywhere on your site.

How does Google know what pages to crawl? ›

Crawling: Google downloads text, images, and videos from pages it found on the internet with automated programs called crawlers. Indexing: Google analyzes the text, images, and video files on the page, and stores the information in the Google index, which is a large database.

Can screaming frog find orphan pages? ›

You're now able to browse each tab and respective 'Orphan URLs' filter to view orphan pages found. For example, on the Screaming Frog website, there are some orphan URLs that error and redirect from the XML Sitemap.

How do I find broken links to build backlinks? ›

a) Look for your competitors' broken pages with backlinks
  1. Go to Site Explorer.
  2. Enter a competing domain.
  3. Go to the Best by links report.
  4. Filter for “404 not found” pages.
  5. Sort the report by Referring domains from highest to lowest.
May 23, 2022

How do I fix broken backlinks in SEO? ›

To sum up, once you find the broken backlinks leading to your website, the best ways to fix them are:
  1. Ask the hosting website to change the link.
  2. Set up 301-redirects to Other Pages on Your Website.
  3. Replace or Recreate the Missing Content.
  4. Create a Hard 404 Page.
Apr 7, 2022

Do links still matter for SEO? ›

While backlinks' importance to Google has waned over the years, earning natural links through high-quality content still helps with SEO. Backlinks have long been considered a crucial factor in determining a website's ranking on search.

How do I find orphan pages for free? ›

From the Google Analytics home page, navigate to the Behavior section on the sidebar. Select Site Content and then All Pages. You can pull a similar report from Google Search Console which can help you find orphan URLs through your XML sitemap.

How do I get rid of widows and orphans in Google Docs? ›

Unfortunately, there isn't any way to turn off that feature at this time. You could try making the paragraph that's splitting longer or shorter to avoid the widow/orphan controls.

How often does Google recrawl pages? ›

It's a common question in the SEO community and although crawl rates and index times can vary based on a number of different factors, the average crawl time can be anywhere from 3-days to 4-weeks.

Does fake traffic help SEO? ›

Ad fraud can also result in low-quality links pointing to a website, which can hurt SEO. For example, if fraudulent links are created on low-quality or spammy websites, this can signal to search engines that the site being linked to is also low-quality or spammy. This can result in a decline in organic search rankings.

Is it better for SEO to have multiple pages? ›

If you want to gain some organic traffic beyond the small topic that your single page site targets, for the love of the SEO gods, please create more than one page. If you offer more than one product or service, you should have unique pages for each of those products or services, ideally targeting one keyword per page.

Are posts or pages better for SEO? ›

Do search engines make a difference between WordPress pages vs posts? The answer is very simple: NO, they do not. It is all content to them and the same indexing algorithm applies to both post types.

How do I get rid of orphan process? ›

How can I kill an orphaned process?
  1. Start PVIEW. EXE (Start - Run - PVIEW)
  2. Select the process you wish to kill from the drop down list.
  3. Click the Process button in the Security section.
  4. Grant the Administrators "All Access" to the process. Click OK.
  5. Repeat for Thread and P. ...
  6. Close PLIST.
  7. Use kill.exe to terminate the process.

Where are most orphans found? ›

As a result, many parents have died, rendering their children orphans. Some of the countries that have the highest orphan rates in the world include Russia, Iran, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Peru.

What counts as an orphan? ›

A child meets orphan requirements if: The child's parent(s) are legally deceased; and. The child has not acquired another parent (such as a stepparent or legal adoptive parent) as defined by U.S. immigration law.

What increases SEO? ›

Follow these suggestions to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and watch your website rise the ranks to the top of search-engine results.
  • Publish Relevant, Authoritative Content. ...
  • Update Your Content Regularly. ...
  • Metadata. ...
  • Have a link-worthy site. ...
  • Use alt tags.

Why is my SEO not improving? ›

A major reason why your SEO strategy suffers is if you don't have backlinks from authoritative, relevant websites. Google has a metric called “PageRank” that it uses as a factor to determine the search engine results.

What is the most effective SEO tactic? ›

12 SEO Techniques to Boost Organic Traffic + Rankings
  1. Study Your Competitors' Best Performing Pages. ...
  2. Conduct a Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis. ...
  3. Find (and Steal) Your Competitor's Broken Backlinks. ...
  4. Use Internal Links to Supercharge Page 2 Rankings. ...
  5. Clean Up Toxic Links. ...
  6. Earn Authority Backlinks with Digital PR.
Dec 15, 2022

What are the worst practices to avoid for SEO? ›

Here are some of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid:
  • Not using Google Analytics data. ...
  • Having the Google Analytics tracking code set-up wrong. ...
  • Generic or naked anchor text. ...
  • Little or no content (or duplicate content) ...
  • Keyword stuffed content. ...
  • Keyword stuffed title tags. ...
  • Duplicate or default title tags.

How many pages are good for SEO? ›

Generally speaking, 10-30 pages of well-crafted content that showcase your products and services should be enough for most small to medium businesses. As long as you prioritize the user experience, you will get results.

Can a page be too long for SEO? ›

Large page sizes can affect SEO and performance and cause search engines to rank your website lower. As such, now is the time to start understanding page size because, in the digital world, it matters.

Is it better to delete a page or redirect it? ›

Don't delete pages from your website unless it's absolutely necessary. Instead, update and improve your existing pages to keep these current. That way the page address will not change, and you can completely avoid all the problems that come with a 404 page not found error.

What is the problem with orphan works? ›

An orphan work is a term used to describe a copyrighted work, published or unpublished, whose proper rightsholder is difficult to determine or impossible to contact. This may occur for a number of reasons. The work may have been originally published anonymously.

Do you ever stop being an orphan? ›

In short, yes, an adult can also be an orphan. An orphan is typically defined as a child under the age of 18 who has lost one or both parents. When used in a broader sense, the word orphan applies to anyone who has lost their biological parents.

What is zombie pages? ›

Zombie pages are webpages that generate little or no human traffic. They may be indexed, and they may generate bot traffic from search engine crawlers, but they fail to attract views from real visitors. Zombie pages are essentially lifeless webpages. Most zombie pages suffer from poor search rankings.

What do orphans need the most? ›

Food: Food and clean water are the most basic need for all children.

What are the two types of orphans? ›

Although many recognize an orphan as simply a child with no parents, orphans can actually be quantified into two different categories, biological and social, both of which have their own meanings and implications.

How is an orphan process created? ›

An orphan process is formed when it's parent dies while the process continues to execute, while zombie process is a process which has terminated but it's entry is there in the system.

What can you do with orphan pages? ›

Regardless, you have one of three options:
  1. Delete the webpage and remove it from your sitemap and domain.
  2. Take the existing content on the page and add it to a similar page where it can serve a better purpose before taking it down.
  3. Manually add internal links leading to the orphaned page.
Jun 27, 2022

What is an orphan editing? ›

Orphan: An orphan is the exact opposite of a widow. It's when the first line of a paragraph sits at the bottom of a page by itself. Runt: A runt can occur anywhere throughout a page or column, and it's when the last line found in a paragraph ends with a single word; this often happens with hyphenated words.

What is orphaned software? ›

Orphaned technology refers to computer technologies that have been abandoned by their original developers. As opposed to deprecation, which tends to be a gradual shift away from an older technology to newer technology, orphaned technology is usually abandoned immediately or with no direct replacement.

Can orphan pages be indexed? ›

2.1 Orphan Pages Cannot Be Indexed

These pages cannot generate any organic traffic to your site.

How do you console an orphan? ›

Here are 10 actions you can take today to help them.
  1. 1 – Pray for an Orphan. ...
  2. 2 – Send a Box of Love to Orphans. ...
  3. 3 – Share Their Story. ...
  4. 4 – Become a Host Family. ...
  5. 5 – Help Families Stay Together. ...
  6. 6 – Give Your Financial Support. ...
  7. 7 – Sponsor A Family Ready To Adopt. ...
  8. 8 – Consider Foster Care!

How do you prevent widow and orphan lines? ›

Widow/Orphan control Widows and orphans are single lines of text in a paragraph that print at the top or bottom of a text box or column. To prevent widows and orphans by always having at least two lines of text at the top or bottom of a text box, select the Widow/Orphan control check box.

How do I remove widows and orphans in Google Docs? ›

Unfortunately, there isn't any way to turn off that feature at this time. You could try making the paragraph that's splitting longer or shorter to avoid the widow/orphan controls. That would be the only solution right now. The default should never be something that's not editable by the end user.

How can you find out the orphan records? ›

An orphan record is an imported transaction record that does not specify a site. To create a Maximo® database record from an imported record, you must specify a site on the transaction record. To edit orphan records, select Imported Transactions > Edit Orphan Records from the Select Action menu.

What are the struggles of being an orphan? ›

The orphans are susceptible to long-term psychological problems including depression, anger, anxiety, and feelings of sadness, and are inclined to withdraw and self-isolate.

How do I fix a page that has no outgoing links? ›

“Page Has No Outgoing Links” Error

Ensure that your website has no “dead ends” by checking the reported pages. Then, simply add links to other relevant pages of the website related to the context of the page. If the absence of links is due to technical issues, address the developer to fix it.

Why are some pages crawled but not indexed? ›

The “Crawled —currently not indexed” report is indicating that the content is eligible to appear in Google's index, but Google is electing not to include it. There also could be other low quality pages to which Google is not applying this logic.

How do I get more pages indexed? ›

If you want more pages included in the Google index, use the Google Search Console to submit indexing requests. These requests will change the index for both Google search and your search engine.

How do I fix not indexed pages? ›

If you only see a few pages with the “Discovered - currently not indexed” issue, try requesting indexing via Google Search Console (GSC). To do that, click “URL inspection” on the menu and enter the page's URL. If it's not currently indexed, hit the “Request indexing” button.


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