What Are Orphaned Pages and Why Are They an SEO Mistake?

Search engine optimization is a tricky endeavor. As algorithms change almost daily, it’s impossible to master optimization in a day. One of the most common mistakes in SEO is forgetting about orphaned pages. What are they, and how does minding them help your pages rank better?

What Are Orphaned Pages?

Orphaned pages are any page published on a website without any other pages linking to them. These pages are often difficult to find as search results within the websites do not connect to them.

Through indexation, orphan pages still appear on search engines. However, leaving them unlinked is a mistake and can negatively affect your ranking. It is a clear indicator of a flawed user experience on a website.

How Orphaned Pages Affect SEO

From Google’s standpoint, orphaned pages are grounds for flagging because many people and websites tried to hide pages from Google through orphaned pages as a way to boost their SEO through black hat methods. These methods exploited the loopholes in search protocols to boost rankings, which Google now penalizes.

How to Identify Orphan Pages?

Experts in SEO usually have to look at the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) of Google to compare results. Another method called URL mapping is a common SEO process that allows the website to redirect someone looking at the website to another page within the same website.

Orphaned Pages usually occur when companies decide not to use a page currently published on a website, but end up not discarding them totally. The most common example for this scenario is an old blog category that is no longer within the niche of the website. The category still sits somewhere on the website, but none of the newer posts are linked back to it.

To avoid orphaned pages, all you need to do is find a way to link them to a new post or content. It may be difficult to accomplish, especially if the orphaned post is far from the topics currently running on the website, but it can work.

How to Discard Unused Website Pages?

There are instances when you’ll have to discard old content or discontinue a tag that used to run on your website. However, there is a huge chance that deleting them or hiding them from users may alert Google about them.

This can be a problem, especially if Google tags them as orphaned posts. What you can do is to put non-client-facing pages within the footer, such as the Contact Us, About Us, Privacy Policy, and other pages. This way, these pages will still appear on every page you have, even if they don’t link to anything.

Another way is to maximize the archive function in a website. An archive page should list all the unwanted sections of a website, including links, on a standard HTML sitemap page. The move allows the pages to remain unseen from the public, preventing them from being categorized as orphaned pages.


Search engine optimization keeps evolving, and all we can do is try and keep up. However, orphaned pages are mistakes that we should try and avoid. It is essential to your ranking and the user experience.

Magnitude Marketing is a digital marketing and SEO company in Greenwood. We provide SEO, pay-per-click management, and web design and development. After two decades in the digital marketing industry, we have proven success in all our services. Reach out to us today, and let’s create a better digital space for your business.