Finding a Home for Your Orphaned Content

Posted - April 10, 2019

Would you ever write content without a purpose behind it? You obviously want your content to be found by both Google and visitors, but sometimes, content falls through the cracks and becomes ‘orphaned.’ Orphaned content is content that isn’t linked to from other blog posts or pages on your website. It just sits there, all alone—and becomes harder to find during site crawls and visits as your website grows.

Why Does Orphaned Content Matter for SEO?

While it may seem like no big deal to move on from old content, there are still some search engine optimization (SEO) repercussions that stem from orphaned pages. Essentially, Google is unlikely to properly index content that it can’t find. Google ranks your pages individually for:

  • Keywords
  • Trust
  • Authority
  • User Experience
  • Uniqueness

If your content is orphaned, then no matter how important these pages are to your site and industry authority, it does not provide value and nulls the hard work put into your content creation efforts.

Google Searching for Orphaned Content

Finding the Content

Now that you know how orphaned content works against your SEO strategy, you may want to start scouring your site for pages without a home. Fortunately, if you have a WordPress site, you can avoid the pen and paper route that is both time-consuming and easy to get wrong. With the Yoast plugin on WordPress, your site’s dashboard will simply display what content is orphaned. If you aren’t on WordPress, there are always alternative methods with tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider that can help you compare SEO-friendly content with your total URLs on a site. By comparing these results and removing matching URLs, you can quickly discover what content is being ignored by Google.

“Annie Up” Your Orphaned Content!

After you’ve crawled your site and found some lost pages in the corners, get ready to fix them up and get them noticed by Google. Some plugins like Yoast will automatically give you suggestions on what to do with this content, but here are a couple of suggestions from our local SEO experts.  

Check Yoast and Add Links

Even content that is linked to from a sitemap or category can be considered orphaned. The key is to link with contextual linking. Your Yoast plugin will be able to help you find pages that are missing contextual links that Google values. Once you’ve found these pages, simply link them to other relevant pages using keywords that are currently ranking in your business and industry. Like we said before, Yoast will offer suggestions on how to link to these pages, but you know your business better than a plugin. Feel free to link to what you consider a relevant page (preferably one that is ranking well on search engines) and link away!

Make Regular Updates

Not all content is considered “evergreen,” so be prepared to make updates to pages that need it. Take some time out of your schedule every few months to go through and find out what keywords are currently trending and how your relevant pages can keep their head above your industry’s deep waters. Remember, just because you have the content, doesn’t mean you have to keep it. If you discover orphaned content and realize that it doesn’t fit into your site’s plan, then update your site and improve its SEO by deleting unnecessary content.

Little Orphan Annie for Orphaned Content

Not All Orphaned Pages Find Homes

Keep in mind that in the process, you won’t be able to fix every orphaned page that is discovered. Some pages like Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Terms & Conditions may have no need for outbound links and should be left orphaned. The results really all come down to your decisions and, if you feel stumped, reach out to a reliable digital marketing agency for help/support.

Let Dallas SEO Dogs Help You Round Up Your Orphaned Content

Dallas SEO Dogs is one of Texas’ longest-running SEO and digital marketing agencies. We know how to sniff out orphaned content and how to help you find other ways to make your website SEO-friendly. We want to meet you and learn more about your business and how Dallas SEO Dogs can help. Please fill out our contact form below and a representative will be in touch shortly!