Improving a website requires careful planning and constant attention. Among many factors you need to consider, creating excellent content is of utmost importance. However, no matter have great your content is, if not many viewers find it, it will be of little if any value to your website. Hence, proper linking to your content is a must. We have previously discussed the importance of external links. In this article, we will focus on the value of internal links, which brings us to the subject of orphan pages.
What is an orphan page?
Simply put, an orphan page is a page on a website that has not received any links from other pages of that website. It practically lives outside the website’s structure and doesn’t receive any attention from the viewers. Such pages are usually not indexed by search engines and remain unknown forever. Having several orphan pages on your website will pose serious issues and negatively affect its organic traffic and ranking. Keeping this in mind, you should always make sure that there are internal links for all pages you have on your website. Yet, if you have too many pages, it is not easy to identify the orphan pages among them. Let’s find out how you can tackle this problem.
Orphan pages vs. Zombie pages vs. dead-end pages
The distinction between an orphan page and a dead-end one is narrow but important. An orphan page, as mentioned above, has not been linked to in other pages of the same website. It still might contain some internal and external links. On the other hand, a dead-end page contains no links. It is literary a dead end where viewers have to turn back and think about taking a new path. Therefore, dead-end pages on your website are far worse than orphan pages. Closely related to these two types of pages is a Zombie page. Zombie pages are pages that receive no human attention due to containing unappealing content. Such pages are generally filled with links and keywords. Such pages might be indexed by search engines and receive bot traffic, but they usually leave a harmful effect on your website’s ranking.
How to identify orphan pages
Ahrefs is the best tool to find all the orphan pages on your website. Of course, other tools can be used for the same purpose, but we leave them for another time. After creating an account and going to the homepage, click on the “site audit section” and create a new project, as shown in the picture below.
Then you will see two options on your screen. Select the one titled “Add manually” on the right hand.
Enter your website’s domain in the first box and click “Continue.”
Then on the next page, go to the bottom of the page and click finish.
Then, you will see your project and its status. Click on “crawling” to proceed.
When the new page loads, in the left column, under the “tools” section, click on “page explorer.”
Here, you should be able to spot the box titled ” links.” If you click on it, several options will appear, among which “orphan pages” is placed third to the end. Click on it to see the URL to all the pages on your website that have not been internally linked to.
Ahrefs is pretty handy when it comes to finding orphan pages. Now that you have found the orphan pages, it is time to fix them.
How to fix orphan pages
Going to other pages on your website and linking them to the orphan pages seems like a plausible solution. However, you should keep in mind that every link you insert in your content should be absolutely related to the target page. Therefore, establishing a meaningful relationship between the orphan pages and the other pages on your website might be a little challenging. The first thing you should do is list all such pages you have found. Then, starting from the first page on the list, you should try to find a page on your website that is or could be related to that page. If the two pages are already related, then you should just link to the intended orphan page in your content.
At other times, you may be unable to find any relation between the content of an orphan page and that of the other pages. In this case, you might want to modify the content of the orphan page so that it bears some relevance to an existing page. Normally, changing or adding one or two paragraphs would suffice. Then, you can link to the modified page. Remember to remove every orphan page on your list as soon as you link to them once or twice. This would help you know many orphan pages you have fixed and how many are left. In the rare case that you cannot establish any relationship between an orphan page and other pages, you should either remove that page or post new content on your website where you can link back to that page.
How you can improve orphan pages
Giving internal links to these kinds of pages is not the only thing you should do. The next step is improving these pages and giving them the life they deserve. As such pages have probably not been visited for long, you want to draw attention to them as much as possible. Hence, it’s a good idea to share their links on different social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. This is important as it results in their being indexed in a shorter time.
If you have a website and want to improve it, you need to pay special attention to each and every page it has. One thing you should never overlook is ensuring that all pages on your website are internally linked. Elaborating on the concept of orphan pages, in this article, we discussed the importance of internal links and provided tips on how to find orphan pages using Ahrefs, and apply necessary changes to improve them.