Definition of an orphan page

Through our SEO Agency Optimize 360

on the theme Technical SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a set of techniques used to optimise the visibility of a website. website on search engines.

One of the aspects of SEO that is often overlooked is the management of orphan pages.

In this article, our SEO Agency explains what these pages are, what causes them and how to avoid them to improve the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.

Orphan page

What is an orphan page in SEO?

orphan page is a page belonging to a website that cannot be accessed directly from other pages on the same site via internal links. In other words, no other page on the site points to this page with a hypertext link, making it difficult or impossible for visitors and search engines to access.

Orphaned pages therefore represent a problem in terms of SEO, as they may contain information that is useful to Internet users, but go unnoticed by search engines such as Google or Bing.

This means that these pages are only partially indexed or not indexed at all in the search results, which has a negative impact on the overall performance of a website in terms of visibility and traffic.

Why are orphan pages created?

There are several reasons why an orphan page may be created on a website, some of which are accidental and others intentional. Here are a few examples:

  • Poor management of internal links : when a site is created or updated, certain links may be forgotten, broken or poorly referenced, leaving one or more pages without a link pointing to them.

  • Deleting content : when a page is removed from a site, the links pointing to it become obsolete and can lead to the creation of orphan pages if no redirection is put in place.

  • Temporary pages : some pages are only intended for temporary use (e.g. a special promotion, a one-off event), and are therefore removed from the main menu once their usefulness has passed. If no other internal link points to them, they become orphan pages.

  • Content breakdown : In some cases, a website may decide to divide a long article into several separate pages, each with its own URL. If these sub-pages are not properly linked to each other or to the rest of the site, they risk becoming orphaned.

How do you detect orphan pages on a site?

In order to identify and possibly correct problems linked to orphan pages, it is essential to carry out a regular audit of your website. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

1. Use of dedicated tools

A number of online tools can be used to analyse the structure and internal links of a website, such as Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, SEMrush or Xenu's Link Sleuth. By crawling your site, these tools will be able to detect orphan pages by identifying those that are not accessible via internal links.

2. Consulting Google Analytics data

Google Analytics is also a valuable source of information about orphan pages. By analysing the traffic generated to each page of your site, you can identify those that receive few or no visitors, even though they are potentially indexed by search engines. This may indicate that they are orphan pages.

3. Manual check

Although more tedious, manually checking your website is still an effective way of spotting orphan pages. By going through your menus, sub-menus, articles and other content elements, you can spot any broken links or absent pointing to certain pages.

How do you solve the problem of orphan pages?

Once orphan pages have been identified, several solutions can be considered to improve their visibility and accessibility:

1. Add internal links

Make sure that each page of your website is linked to at least one other page by an internal link, in menus, articles or other content elements. This will not only make it easier for visitors to navigate, but also easier for search engines to crawl and index.

2. Create a sitemap

The sitemap, generally in XML format, is a file that lists all the pages on your website to help search engines index them. By creating a sitemap and by submitting it to search engines, you are promoting access to orphaned pages by indexing robots.

3. Setting up redirections

When a page has been deleted or modified, it is important to set up redirects (e.g. 301 redirect) to guide visitors and search engines to the new content. This avoids the creation of orphan pages while maintaining the integrity and consistency of your website.

4. Delete unnecessary pages

In some cases, it may be preferable to delete orphan pages permanently if they add no value to your site or if their content is obsolete. However, be sure to analyse the potential usefulness of each page before deleting it to avoid any loss of useful information.

In conclusion, the management of orphan pages is an essential aspect of natural search engine optimisation and must be taken into account to optimise your website's visibility on search engines.

By following these tips, you will be able to detect, correct and prevent problems linked to orphan pages, thus improving the efficiency of your business.user experience and the SEO performance of your site.

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