Fix Orphaned Content on Your Website To Rank Better

Where to Find & Fix Orphaned Content on Your Website

Do you know if you fix orphaned content on your blog or website it can help your site rank better?

A few years ago, I noticed in my WordPress dashboard the orphaned content column when I looked at my posts. I was looking at them to find old blog posts to update.

Therefore, I had to know how to fix the orphaned content that was staring me right in the eyes.

Fix orphaned content

To my surprise, I had over 550 total blog posts that were orphaned! Has it really been that long I’ve been blogging here? (The answer can be found on my about me page.)

But what intrigued me the most was the orphaned content had over 350 blog posts. (The screenshot here shows I since fixed a few). Hmm, I wondered?

The Orphaned Content Blog Posts

orphaned content by YoastNow, if you know me, I had to investigate what that was all about. Looking at the WordPress dashboard under posts and/or pages is where you’ll find your orphaned content.

But, if you don’t have Yoast, you would need an SEO tool like SEM Rush to find out your orphaned pages and fix that orphaned content.

(By the way SEM Rush is a great tool, even the Free version! You can even find your broken links with this SEO tool. I’ve been loving the suggestions that they email me weekly for my site’s SEO here.

Of course, fixing it slow and steady is the best way. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with updating them. And while you are fixing them you can make your content more relevant and up to date with new information.

So, here is how you can fix that orphaned content on your site: (And at the bottom of this post is a YouTube video on how to do it if you prefer to watch and learn.) 

Being An Orphan

Now, I could really relate to those orphaned pages lately as my dad passed away a few years ago and I’m an adult orphan. It started to hit me after I was no longer in the busy stage of emptying the old homestead and such.

(I know how these pages feel being alone in left field without a parent to watch over them. There is a missing link to my family tree.)

Hence, think of your website as a family tree. All the roots need to be interconnected and talk to each other.

Think of your website as a family tree. All the roots need to be interconnected and talking to each other. #SEOtips Click To Tweet

What Does Orphaned Content Mean?

Orphaned content means that a page or post that is NOT linked to any other page on that same website. It’s all by itself. The orphaned page is all alone. No internal links are pointing to it.

The orphaned page is like this dog by himself below waiting for a missing link.

fix your orphaned content

According to Confluence, the technical answer is: “ An orphaned page is a page without any incoming links and is located at what’s called the ‘root of the space’, meaning it sits alongside the space’s homepage. This means that, unless you know the page exists, you’re not likely to come across it during the natural course of navigation.

Navigation of your blog or website is key when doing search engine optimization.

Readers of your content need to be able to find things quickly, otherwise, they will leave and go elsewhere. Therefore, having fewer orphaned pages on your website will lead to a lower bounce rate!

The SEO gods love lower bounce rates as people stay on your website for longer periods of time-devouring content.

The SEO gods love lower bounce rates as people stay on your website for longer periods of time-devouring content. #SEO Click To Tweet

Why Fix Orphaned Content?

  • SEO Benefits – You will see a higher amount of traffic as the SEO of your site gets better with fewer orphaned pages. Your site structure will be better for your readers. The Google bots will LOVE you for interconnecting all your blog posts.
  • Lower Bounce Rate – Readers will stay longer on your site with links pointing to other content that is RELEVANT for them to read. Relevant is the keyword here! Do not point to useless information just for the sake of it.
  • Readers Will Love It – Your readers will appreciate reading more on a topic if you point them to the most relevant content about it. It will be easier for them to find things on your website.

website bounce rate

Now, I’ve always linked new posts to old ones but not the other way around. Yes, now link your old posts to new ones when it makes sense. And don’t forget to link to your pages too. So, I’m in the process of fixing these, a few per day, and of course, updating the older posts and pages along the way!

Now, after doing these (months later) the site Inspire To Thrive’s traffic grew. It’s a great way to grow your website’s traffic organically.

#SEO Benefits – You will see a higher amount of traffic as the SEO of your site gets better with less orphaned pages. Your site structure will be better for your readers. Click To Tweet

Fixing Orphan Blog Posts and Pages Increase Your Ranking

Not only do they increase your website’s traffic but they can increase your ranking when people are searching online for content. These orphan pages of your site may not be crawled thus causing them to rank further down from other sites.

In the old days of blackhat SEO, orphan pages were hidden for no good reasons. The search engines caught on.

Now, the search engines think these orphaned pages are not important since they were not interlinked on a website. Make them appear more important by fixing them for your site.

These search engines can even punish a whole site with the presence of orphaned pages. (Blog posts are considered pages too in SEO speak.)

These orphan pages of your site may not be crawled thus causing them to rank further down from other sites. #SEOtips Click To Tweet

How Else Can You Fix Orphaned Pages?

You can update your old posts and pages. How long since some of these pages have received any attention from you?

Some of my old blog posts made me cringe. How could I have written that? And the creative art was another part that needed a refresh! Recently I did an overhaul of Content Viral Bee.

It was like rewriting the entire post. But things have changed, and the post had to reflect that. What was surprising to me was that some people still haven’t heard of the services from Content Viral Bee. You may have many blog posts like that yourself that can use a refresh.

So not only will you be fixing your links to other pages, but you may update your old content and make it fresh! You know how much Google loves fresh content if you have been a reader here.

For my dog lover blogger friends and clients, Hunter now has a stepbrother and loves being linked to another dog. (I babysit him from time to time, imagine me with 2 dogs when I was once afraid of dogs?) So if you are thinking about links, think about your dogs as part of that family tree.

linking your orphaned content

So not only will you be fixing your links to other pages, but you may update your old content and make it fresh! #seotips Click To Tweet

SEO Changes Frequently and Often

SEO juice by Inspire to ThriveRecently, Google had a major algorithm change. Oh yes, they keep on changing just like the social networks do. The structure of keywords and the way people search has really changed over the years and months. Mobile and devices like Google Home and Alexa have contributed to these more recent algorithm updates.

SEO is not all about keywords and the old keyword stuffing method.

Today, it is more about site structure, website speed, helpfulness to readers, and mobile friendliness. There are still over 200 factors that count towards your website’s SEO score and how your website ranks in search.

As a result, when you fix orphaned content you are increasing the SEO juice of your website by refreshing content and linking pages and posts of your website.

As a matter of fact, you can add some evergreen SEO to your content. This will ensure it is quality content that is everlasting.

The structure of keywords and the way people search has really changed over the years. #SEOTips Click To Tweet

Have You Fixed Your Orphaned Content?

Finally, I’d love to know if you knew about orphan posts and pages or if you have fixed orphaned content on your website already.

Please leave a comment below about it today! I’d love to know if it helped your traffic increase.

 

 

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Lisa loves helping others to thrive online through Social Media, Blogging, and SEO. What good is knowledge if you cannot share it with others? She has 30+ years of experience in marketing/advertising with 10 years of experience in content marketing, social media, blogging, and SEO. You can purchase her eBook about Twitter on Amazon, or take her Instagram class on Udemy.

  • It’s good to read this post, and it’s an important blogging topic. I actually am pretty good at linking my blog posts to each other and think it’s fun to do. Some of my old blog posts do make me cringe, though, so it was good to learn that you also feel that way! I’m currently updating some of my old posts and that makes me feel a lot better about them. Nice post!

    • Hi Sabina, yes, some old blog posts can definitely make me cringe. Either I will update or delete totally. I have over 540 posts so it takes a while to go through them these days. How long have you been blogging there now? Thanks for your input on this topic and have a wonderful day Sabina.

  • We know that you just want to write as many posts as possible to give your readers the information they need. However, you also need to ensure that every piece of content you create is linked to prevent unintentionally creating orphaned content on your site. When orphaned content becomes too much to handle, you’d have to pour in an extra cup of effort just to remove them. So, the best way is to prevent orphaned content from occurring in the first place.

    Once you’ve categorized which orphaned content to delete, redirect, and refresh, you’d need an excellent internal linking tool for the internal links you’ll be using. Check out Internal Link Juicer to see if its features will be the best for your business.

    • Hi Tala, welcome to Inspire To Thrive. I believe I’ve heard of your tool from some other bloggers. I will have to check it out and compare it to my dashboard where Yoast shows me the orphaned content. Does your tool do something in addition to what Yoast offers? Thank you for coming by and have a great day.

  • Hi Lisa,
    I really needed to see this article. I’ve been seeing “orphaned content” in my Yoast dashboard without knowing what it actually meant until after reading your post. I Will work on fixing them ASAP, thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Wilson, Welcome to Inspire To Thrive. I’m so glad this post helped you! Yay. That keeps me going here with sharing information. I know it has made a difference in my blog’s traffic over the past few years. I hope it does the same for you. Thanks for coming by and have a great day!

  • Hey, thank you for your explanation.
    All my posts are “orphaned”. I’ve checked internal links, from & to, they are okay. But every post is still orphaned. What can be otherwise than links? Do you have any idea?
    Thanks a lot!

  • Hey Lisa, orphaned pages are a such a waste. They don’t contribute to your site’s SEO, and they WERE a huge waste of time to create.
    But the solution is to “adopt” them by linking to them and you explained that wonderfully in your post.

    I want to add that, even if a webmaster doesn’t want to update the page, but only add an internal link to a new page , they should at least change the wording around that new link.

    It’s because, when Google see the new link and nothing else- they might become suspicious and disregard the change, thus nullifying your work to interconnect your site.

    I won’t link to it here, but there’s a wonderful post from Cyrus Shepard over at Moz, where he explains what Google freshens is all about.

    Thanks Lisa, I enjoyed reading:)

    Nikola Roza

    • Hi Nikola, I still have work to do on mine too. Hopefully around Christmas when things slow down I’ll have some time to work on them. Yes, I would agree. That is sad if Google does nullify your work. That’s a waste of time so getting those orphaned pages turned around is key! Thanks for coming by and for your input Nikola. Welcome to Inspire To Thrive. Have a great rest of the day!

  • Hi Lisa,

    Nice post maim i can learn very much from your this blog post and maim can you tell which hosting can you use in this blog.

  • Hi Lisa,

    One of the beautiful things about using CommentLuv was that it automatically took care of the orphaned content issue (provided content links count).

    Usually, we end up replying to comments on our own blog using recent posts in CommentLuv which would mean they always have internal links to them.

    Any idea whether CommentLuv links prevent orphan content or not?

    • Hi Gail, Wow, I don’t understand how comments could take care of orphan content? I did a little research and could not find anything on it. Who owns it now? Love to ask the new owner about that one. Thanks for the intriguing question here Gail. Have a fabulous Labor Day Weekend! 🙂

  • Interesting idea, Lisa, and I’d love to hear your results! I also have a huge number of posts (623). I discovered that my top 10 posts are bringing 60% of my traffic (!) so I’m focusing my efforts there first: updating, lengthening, more images. Seems to have a quick result on ad income, though I’ve just started.

    • Hi Louise, I will do a follow up once I get through a bunch more of the updates. That is interesting how a small percentage of them bring a lot of traffic. It will be a challenge now to update with all my client work but I will get there one day at a time. Thanks for coming by Louise and for your input on this one. Have a great day and rest of the week! 🙂

  • 550 posts Lisa? I’ve only 500 to go to catch up! 😉
    Linking old posts to new ones – something I have to do more of, you’re right about that being important!

    Justin
    p.s. I’m trying another roundup post, asking bloggers “What are your favorite writing tip/s?” – let me know if you have any you’d like included thanks Lisa 🙂

    • Hi Justin, Yes, imagine that many posts? But it’s been over 8 years worth of work too. I’m working on fixing mine, about 1-3 per day. I did receive your email and YES I would surely like to contribute. Thank you for reaching out Justin. Have a great new day and week ahead.

  • Hi Lisa,
    Always something new to learn! I didn’t know about orphaned content – but I don’t have Yoast Premium, just the free one.
    However, I can completely relate to looking back over old blog posts. I’ve not done many recently, but every so often I do have a session looking back – and cringing!
    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

    • Hi Joy, oh yes, everyday I’m learning new things. I love the YOAST premium version and highly recommend it. It can save you a lot of time with things like this and much more. It really makes it easier for me to do SEO here on Inspire to Thrive. I have cringed many a time over my old posts. I’ve been updating some here daily and wow, what a difference time makes in our writing Joy. Thank you for coming by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead. Nice to see you back here!

  • Thank you so much Lisa for mentioning my post. And what a brilliant inclusion with this very informative and thorough post. Internal linking plays a vital role in generating traffic for the oldest posts. It is an easy way to fix orphaned content. This also helps a reader to jump into your blog like he is jumping into a cave. The more he, the more content he will discover.

    • Hi Amit, you are very welcome 🙂 Welcome to Inspire to Thrive – where I try to keep it simple. I love your analogy of jumping into a cave, I love caves! Do you interlink all of your content for your website? Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend ahead.

  • Thank you so much, Lisa, for a great post about Orphaned Content. Well, I think Orphaned Content feature Available in Yoast Premium.

    For me, I do check out old post and update it regularly, After Google Medic Algo update, I updated my old post and end the resulting Post is ranking on the first page.

    Thanks again, I am really happy to say it’s an interesting post to read

    • Hi Saurabh, you are most welcome. It is – that is how I found it in my Yoast premium. Gotta love YOAST!
      Awesome about ranking on first page! I’ve had more traffic now since I’ve been working on this project. Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful day and rest of the week Saurabh.

  • Hi Lisa,

    I have orphaned posts on NNMB and since they’re blog-related, I’m updating the content, making new images and republishig it on my new blog. It’s hard to do more than one when you have other things to do but I don’t want to rush through a blog post and miss an important detail.

    Sue-Ann Bubcaz gave me the idea to update older blog posts with Lumen5 to turn the content into videos. I’ve done one so far but I plan to use it more often while I get used to getting in front of the camera. 🙂

    I love VCB! I’ve been a member for about 3 years now but just became more active on it this year. There is some awesome content to share and I’ve made a few new connections too. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this Lisa! Have a great rest of the day and week!

    Cori

    • Hi Cori, it sounds like you are doing just like me with them. Yes, I try to do 3 but you know some days it is not meant to be! I am have to try Lumen5. Me too, Friday is my video day.
      I don’t believe I’ve seen you on VCB – I will have to look for you there too 🙂
      You are most welcome Cori and have a great Wednesday ahead. Thanks for your input on this piece!

  • Hi Lisa,
    You did amazingly well with this post. In fact, I found one orphaned content sometime last week, but did have the strength to fix it as I wasn’t feeling well. However, I later updated it and inter-link to it as well, which effectively boost the content SEO and visibility.

    Many bloggers are not aware of the orphaned content, but with this post, it has become obvious.

    • Thank you Moss. I hope you are feeling better?
      Yes, many bloggers are so busy banging out new content they forget to check on the old content. I sometimes find stuff via my related posts and that often makes me want to do an update. But there is only so much time in a day.
      I do hope you are feeling better Moss!

    • Great to hear Edwin, glad to be of help 🙂 Welcome to Inspire to Thrive – where I try to keep it simple for my readers. Have a wonderful day and thanks for coming by to comment on this one.

    • Hi Renard, Yes, for sure we do. How are things going there with your new experiments? Have you updated any of your older posts now? Thanks for coming by and have a great day Renard.

  • Hello Lisa,

    Sorry to hear about your father. My sincere condolences for you. Its really a hard time when you lost someone very special. But This is the Universal truth that nobody here is immortal. We All who take birth must have to go. Orphaned content has many negative effects on SEO and also impact user engagement. You have clearly pointed out them. I am also work on my orphaned content. Thanks for share this helpful tips. Shared on my social networks.

    Have a Great day and keep yourself happy 🙂

    Vishwajeet

    • Thank you Vishwajeet. That is so true though many have a hard time grasping that one. Do you also update your old content often? You are most welcome and I appreciate your coming to comment and share. Have a great rest of the week!

      • Hello Lisa,

        Yes, I do frequently update my old posts to make it more fresh and relevant. It also helps me to rank my older posts. This is really a good practice and every blogger have to do it.

        Regards,
        Vishwajeet

        • Thanks Vishwajeet for answering that question. Yes, that’s another good reason too, to better rank your older posts. Have a great day!

  • Thank you so much Lisa for mentioning my post. And what a brilliant inclusion with this very informative and thorough post.
    You’re so right about orphaned posts and pages. It can be a very daunting task as you mentioned but good for you tackling them a few a day. I need to get back to this task too.
    Thanks again

    • Hi Amanda, you are so welcome. I was planning this post and then saw yours and thought what a great way to link to it. It surely is a daunting task but a few per day will do the job. I’m also cleaning up many any old post at the same time. Thanks for coming by Amanda and I hope you are feeling better this evening!

  • Hi Lisa,

    Internal linking plays a vital role in generating traffic for the oldest posts. It is an easy way to fix orphaned content. This also helps a reader to jump into your blog like he is jumping into a cave. The more he, the more content he will discover.

    Thanks for sharing the valuable tips.

    • Hi Gaurav, it surely does! I didn’t realize I needed to link more until Yoast put that column in the WordPress dashboard. It all makes more sense now. I love your analogy about jumping into a cave as I LOVE caves. You are most welcome and I appreciate your coming by to comment Gaurav.

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