“Orphan Page Issue” Causes & How To Fix

An “orphan page” error in a site audit refers to a page on a website that is not linked to by any other pages on the site. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including human error, broken links, or changes to the site’s structure.

Orphan pages can be a problem for a few reasons:

  • Search engines may not be able to discover these pages, which can negatively impact their visibility in search results.
  • Users may not be able to find these pages, which can affect the overall usability of the site.
  • A high number of orphan pages can indicate issues with the site’s organization or information architecture.

How to Find Every Orphan Page on Your Website

There are several ways to find every orphan page on your website:

  1. Use a crawler tool: A crawler tool, such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Screaming Frog, can scan your entire website and identify pages that are not linked to by any other pages. These tools can also provide additional information about the pages, such as their titles, URLs, and status codes.
  2. Check your XML sitemap: If your website has an XML sitemap, you can check it to see if it includes all the pages on your website. Any pages that are not listed in the sitemap may be orphan pages.
  3. Check internal linking: Manually check the internal linking structure of your website by following links from page to page. This can help you identify pages that are not being linked to by other pages.
  4. Check for broken links: Use a broken link checker tool to scan your website for broken links. Any pages that are not being linked to due to broken links may be considered orphan pages.
  5. Analyze the site using a site audit tool: Site audit tool can help to find the orphan pages and give a detailed report of all the orphan pages, broken links and other issues in the website.

It is important to keep in mind that not all orphan pages are necessarily a problem, and it may not be necessary to fix all of them. It’s important to review each orphan page and consider whether or not it needs to be linked to or if it is an intended page, before taking action.

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Several factors that can trigger orphan page errors on a website

  1. Human error: Pages may be accidentally created without any links to them, or links to them may be removed or broken.
  2. Changes to the website’s structure: If the structure of a website is changed and existing links are not updated accordingly, pages can become orphaned.
  3. Migrations: When migrating a website to a new platform, pages may not be properly transferred, resulting in orphan pages.
  4. CMS or template changes: If a website is using a content management system (CMS) or template, and changes are made to it, the pages may no longer be linked properly.
  5. Content updates: If a page is deleted or moved to another location, any links pointing to it will break and result in orphan pages.
  6. Crawling issues: The error can be caused by incorrect crawling of the website, which may result in pages not being picked up by the crawler.
  7. Incorrect redirects : If incorrect redirects are implemented that causes the page to redirect but does not link back to it again.

It is not always easy to determine the specific cause of orphan page errors, but by understanding the factors that can trigger them, you can begin to identify and troubleshoot the issue.

Fixing Orphan Page Errors

To fix orphan page errors, you can try the following:

  • Look for any broken links that may be preventing other pages from linking to the orphan page.
  • Check to see if there are any pages that should be linking to the orphan page but currently aren’t.
  • Review the site’s information architecture to see if the orphan page can be more logically included in the site’s structure.
  • If you don’t want the page to be indexed then you can use robots.txt file to block the page to be indexed.
  • You could also implement a Redirect (301) from the orphan page to an appropriate page.

It’s important to note that not all orphan pages are a problem. Some pages, such as “Thank you” pages after a form submission, may not need to be linked to. In these cases, it might not be necessary to fix the orphan page error.

It’s important to understand the context of your specific case and then troubleshoot accordingly.

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