Orphan pages, or pages that don’t have links to anywhere else within your website hierarchy, might be affecting your SEO. Here’s how:
- They’re not indexed. Orphan pages are inaccessible to search engine crawlers, preventing them from indexing and potentially excluding them from search results. Nevertheless, search engines can sometimes find orphan pages through XML sitemaps, but this doesn’t negate the need to address the issue.
- They don’t rank well. Not having internal links to a page can negatively impact its search engine rankings and organic traffic, even if it’s crawled and indexed. Google’s PageRank algorithm relies on inbound links to assess a page’s quality and authority, with each link acting as a vote. Internal linking helps distribute “link equity” throughout your website, but a page lacking these internal links may struggle to rank well and receive organic traffic.
- They’re just bad UX. Orphan pages, lacking inbound links from menus or other pages, remain hidden from visitors. Users can only access these pages by directly entering the URL, which is impossible if they are unaware of the page’s existence. If valuable information is on an orphan page, it’s essentially inaccessible to your audience, defeating its purpose.
Find out how to fix orphan pages over at Semrush.