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    In order for your website to rank in search results, it must be noticed and indexed by search engine robots. Thanks to site map and well-planned internal and external linking, bots efficiently move from one subpage to another examining their content. 

    But what about pages that are not linked to at all? How to prevent the creation of orphan pages within a site?


    What are orphan pages? 

    Let’s start by explaining what orphan pages are and how they are created. Orphan pages, as we can colloquially call them, are pages with no internal links. Both robots and users have limited access to them, because the links to the subpages in question are placed neither in the menu nor in the content, so you simply can’t see them.

    This does not mean, however, that they cannot be found and visited in any way. It happens that orphan pages are visible in the search engine for some time, if Google has managed to index them before the so-called orphaning. Of course, we can also go to the page by typing the URL directly into the search bar, if the address is known to us.

    How are orphaned pages created?

    They usually appear as a result of technical errors and lack of optimization of the site. It also happens that they arise by accident and inattention. 

    These are the most common situations that result in the creation of orphaned sites:

    • expiration of subpages, such as those that contained a temporary offer,
    • incorrect or broken external link,
    • removal (often accidental) of an internal link leading to the site,
    • improperly implemented internal linking,
    • incorrect redirects,

    Orphan pages can arise as a result of many activities, the above are just examples. However, it is worth bearing in mind that ongoing monitoring and analysis of the website help avoid such situations. 

    How to locate and check orphan pages?

    With the right tools, we are able to locate and repair orphan pages. We can do this both with advanced tools that are well known to SEO specialists and with plugins. 

    Yoast SEO plugin

    If your website is based on CMS WordPress, you can take advantage of the option available in the Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin is used to optimize your pages for SEO. Among other things, you can optimize meta descriptions, URLs and add keywords 

    In the premium version of the plugin, you can also find a ‘Orphaned content‘ tab, which contains a list of sub-pages with no internal links. Even if you forget to monitor this tab for a while, the plugin will display a notification when it detects newly created orphans. 


    You can also get a report of orphaned pages in other tools for analyzing sites for SEO. Among others, by using the Audit option in Semrush, where, in addition to basic information about the health of your site, you can also check if your site has subpages with no links.

    You can learn more about this tool in our article about the other functions and benefits of Semrush 

    Screaming Frog x Google Analytics

    A more advanced option is to use the Screaming Frog tool and combine it with data from Google Analytics By plugging in the Analytics API in the crawler and running the site crawl option, we can get a ready-made list of addresses from orphan pages. Screaming Frog will compare for us the data it obtained from scanning the site with the data from GA, thus avoiding manual analysis of URLs.

    For detailed guidelines on this method of locating orphan pages, see the official SF website at 

    Orphan pages – influence on SEO

    Can pages with no links to them negatively affect SEO? Unfortunately, yes. 

    Let’s start with the problems from the user’s point of view. We know very well that UX and how the audience evaluates the use of websites is a very important issue and also indirectly affects the position of websites in the search engine. 

    Lack of well-implemented internal linking on a website makes it more difficult for users to reach all the pages and find the products or information they are interested in. 

    In addition to the list of URLs found in the site’s sitemap, indexing robots go to individual subpages, thanks in part to links placed in the content and in the main menu and footer. In the case of orphan pages, the chance of a robot hitting a particular subpage is almost impossible. This hinders indexation of the site and causes a drop in traffic and search engine visibility. 

    Beginning with the fact that orphan pages are often pages with valuable content, this is also a wasted opportunity to gain traffic and raise the overall domain rating.

    In addition to the links we may include in the content of a given page, let’s also pay attention to the subject matter and keywords appearing in the content. Thus, by preventing robots from scanning a given page, we lose the chance to exploit the potential of the content it contains and to develop internal linking 

    How to fix orphan pages?

    When looking for an answer to this question, let’s consider what is the main reason for orphan pages. Obviously, the lack of links that lead to them. 

    The solution, therefore, is simple – if you decide that existing orphan pages are valuable enough to remain on the site you should ensure that internal and external links lead to each of them. 

    You can do this by including them in your Link building strategy, acquiring links to them from valuable domains. 

    To expand internal linking, in addition to standard ways such as placing links directly in your content or navigation menus, you can also use alternative linking methods. These include, for example, link modules, placed under articles or products, containing links to recommended sub-pages. By suggesting similar or recommended products and articles to users, you can encourage them to move to other subpages and increase conversion rates.

    Eliminate orphan pages – what can you gain?

    Eliminating orphan pages is necessary for proper indexation of the site. Removing blockers that cause indexing problems is essential to get found in search results and gain more traffic to your site.

    If you need support in optimizing your site or have indexing problems, working with an SEO Agency is a great step to eliminate these problems and achieve the desired results. 

    Let's talk!

    Karolina Jastrzebska
    Karolina Jastrzebska

    The author of the post is Karolina Jastrzebska. She started her adventure with SEO in 2021. She currently works as an SEO Specialist at Up More.