Orphan Pages in SEO: Why Are They Important?

Google and users access your webpages via links – and if you have pages with no links pointing to them, then these pages are categorised as orphan pages.

Here’s how you can locate your orphan pages and why they are a concern to SEO.

What are Orphan Pages?

Orphan pages are web pages without any links pointing to them. As a result, major search engines such as Google are unlikely to find them, leading to their inability to be indexed and ranked in Google’s search results.

Google’s search crawler discovers new pages by following links throughout a website or through a website’s XML sitemap. Without these two, a webpage is inaccessible to Google and your users.

Common Characteristics of Orphan Pages

Let’s break down the typical characteristics of orphan pages so you can understand and identify them on your site.

1. Orphan pages are live pages 

Most websites have test pages, draft pages, private pages, and other types of pages that should be inaccessible by design. These share the qualities of an orphan page but are not live pages and hold no value for SEO and user experience.

A true orphan page is set live yet is unreachable. They were published to present and hold potential value for users and search engines.

2. Orphan pages lack any inbound links

A defining quality of orphan pages is the lack of inbound links, meaning that they have absolutely no links pointing to their URL. Typically, it is recommended that a few internal links and backlinks (through link building) are linked to the target page. 

Depending on the importance of the page, it is generally advised to link to the page as much as possible so that search engines can quickly recognise its significance.

Why Orphan Pages Are Bad For SEO

Orphan pages affect user experience and SEO since Google can’t find them. In other words, they are unable to be crawled and can never rank in the search results.

You’ll lose valuable organic traffic and potential leads from the page because of its inability to rank. If you have valuable content on an orphan page, it’s basically wasted since nobody can reach or even find them.

How to Find Orphan Pages

Finding orphan pages can take time and a good understanding of available tools. But here are proven ways you can discover orphan pages on your site.

  • Identify Crawlable Pages to Find Missing URLs

Before locating any orphan pages, you need to list all reachable URLs with a site crawler.

These URLs include noindexed pages and those listed under robots.txt and are hidden from search engines. We highly suggest seeking a Sydney SEO agency to audit your site and give you a list of crawled URLs and site issues that cause pages to be orphaned.

  • Orphaned Non-Canonical Pages

By design, webpages should use http/https, www/non-www links, and trailing slashes consistently. You can check canonical pages by typing your website’s URL and trying the following variations:

  • https://example.com/
  • https://example.com
  • http://example.com
  • https://www.example.com/
  • https://www.example.com
  • http://www.example.com
  • example.com
  • example.com/
  • Have a Reputable SEO Team Perform Site Audit

You can only go so far in locating orphan pages without a reliable SEO tool and auditing experience. Partnering with an experienced SEO agency can go a long way in finding valuable orphan pages and getting them successfully ranked.

Besides, locating orphan pages is only half the battle, and bringing them to rank could also take a great deal of time and effort.

You can focus on building new content and ranking on Google while keeping your site’s backend in great shape with the help of an experienced SEO partner.


Orphaned pages can put your site’s overall health, ranking power, and sales at risk.

While a few inconsistencies in non-canonical URLs seem negligible, they can affect your page ranking and prevent you from reaching your ideal customers.

At Red Search, we can help fix any technical SEO issues such as orphan pages and have your website ranking at the top of Google in no time. 

Speak to one of our seasoned SEO experts today, and let’s discuss how to develop a tailor-fit SEO strategy to grow your business.

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