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Orphan Pages: What Are They & How to Identify?

orphan pages in seo

Sometimes you have to look hard on the Internet to find something. It could be a service you need, a business you want to start, or a gift for your parents. For you to find something there needs to be a link to it.

Think about a search engine as one part of the answer. You can type in one or two keywords to find a landing page related to the page you want. You could also get a direct link from somewhere else, like an email from a friend. Linking is how we get to where we want to go online.

So, what happens when you need to get to a page without links to it? What happens to a website with these pages, and how does it affect SEO? First, let’s talk about these pages: orphan pages. Let’s discuss what makes a page orphaned and why it matters for your orphan pages in seo and content strategy.

What are orphaned pages?

Thinking what is orphan pages? Orphan pages are pages on a website that don’t have any links to them. This means an orphan page is entirely alone, and the only way to get to it is to type in the direct link. In many cases, there is no search engine result because search crawlers use links to move through websites and make an index of what each website looks like.

If your other web pages don’t link to a specific page, that page can’t talk to the outside world. People can’t get to the page when looking at your site. So, the name “orphan” comes from the fact that these pages don’t link back to their parents.

How to find orphan site pages and fix them?

So, how to identify orphan pages? and how to fix orphan page indexing? You can easily find and fix any orphan pages on your site by following these five steps:

  • Get a complete list of all the pages on your site
  • Do a website crawl to find pages with no internal links.
  • Look at the results of the audit.
  • Fix any orphan pages you find.
  • Rerun the audit frequently to find new pages that aren’t linked.

Let’s go over each of these steps quickly.

1) Make a complete list of all the pages on your site.

If you tell your favorite website audit tool to look at your home page, it won’t find orphan site pages because, by definition, orphan pages aren’t linked to any other domain page. The crawler will never see them. Instead, it would help if you told the crawler the complete list of URLs for the sites it should look at. 

2) Do a website crawl to find pages with no internal links.

Set up the audit rule to find pages that don’t have at least one internal link going to them. This will help you find orphan pages. Set up a recurring crawl while setting up the audit to catch any new pages that don’t have links in the future. Note that if you’re using a URL list, you’ll need to get an updated list from your CMS.

3) Look at the results of the audit.

After the inspection is complete, you can return to ContentIQ to view the results. You need to track down the missing pages and figure out what they’re for. Is there evidence that they are actively bringing in customers using referrals, paid to advertise, or social media campaigns? Do they have decent backlinks? How popular is the site’s search function in bringing in visitors? Use your web analytics tool to look at traffic sources, visits, page views, and how people enter and leave your site. 

4) Fix any “orphan” pages you find

Once you know what the orphan page is for and how it helps your website and marketing goals, you can decide if you want to do anything with it:

  • Link to it from other pages on your site if people need to find it through browsing.
  • Save it if you don’t need it anymore.
  • Don’t change it if it serves a business purpose that doesn’t require linking to the page internally.

5) Run the audit repeatedly to find new orphan pages.

If you add new content and forget to link to it or if you remove links to pages deep in the site structure by accident—important it’s to check the site for new problems regularly. As we already said, you can set up ContentIQ to rerun your audit every so often by planning a crawl.


Pages that have no internal links are called “orphan pages.” There are many reasons why your site might have an orphan page. Sometimes it’s for purposes like using a page for a limited-time marketing campaign or a special offer. But you probably didn’t mean to make an orphan page most of the time. Once you find the orphan pages on your website, you must decide what to do with them. You could keep them, throw them away, or put a link to them. Set aside time to do a regular website audit if you don’t want pages that aren’t being used. It will also help you find and fix other problems. If you do this, you’ll make the most of your SEO efforts. You won’t miss out on leads and customers who might pay.

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