What is an orphaned page?
An orphaned page is a page on your website that has no internal links to it. In a way, it has no parents.
If you were a normal visitor you would have no way of accessing that page. The only you could ever access that page is by typing the URL directly in the browser.
It may or may not contain useful information. What it contains, isn’t really the issue here, it’s the fact that you cannot reach it.
What is the problem with orphaned pages?
The problem arises when they are included in your sitemap.
Brief info on what a sitemap is. Your sitemap tells the search engines what pages you want it to list in the search engine. The search engine then looks at your page and decided if it is good enough to be indexed. Once it is added to the index, it then looks at it when there is a search query relating to your page content, it will then decide if it’s suitable to return in the search results.
Back to the main topic.
If your sitemap contains orphaned pages, search engines will crawl them and use your crawl budget doing so. Crawl budget is the number of pages per month the search engine bot will crawl. If you have more pages than allocated crawl budget then some important pages may be missed and you may find your useful content not being indexed while your useless content may be being indexed.
There are lots of useless types of content that could be being crawled and indexed, you want to get rid of this from the search engine index. You do this by first identifying the useless pages and then deindexing it. See this guide here:
How to identify orphaned pages
I use SemRush (you can get a free trial for this exercise). I do a site audit and one of the areas it looks at is orphaned pages. You will get a list which you can then go and check out. If you would like me to run a detailed site audit for you just email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can have it done in a jiffy.
What should you do with orphaned pages?
Decide if the page is useful. If it is then you need to link to it from within your website.
If it is not useful, then you need to deindex it.
Over to you…
Go and check out your orphaned pages, do you have any? What will you do with them? Let me know in the comments below.