Identify orphaned pages
1. Create a spreadsheet where you will list all your website pages.
Use your sitemap, which you can usually find under, yoursitename.com/sitemap.xml to create a list of all URLs on your site, and paste them into a spreadsheet.
2. Crawl your sitemap, or a list of all your website pages with a tool like Screaming Frog, for pages with no internal links to them.
Once you’re done, use the Crawl Analysis function to filter your results and find orphan URLs.
3. Set up a recurring audit targeting new pages that are missing internal links, so you can catch them as they are built.
4. Check your analytics to see what kind of traffic these pages are getting, and measure visitor interaction on each page to determine the original purpose for the page.
5. Use the spreadsheet to make notes, listing the purpose for the orphan and the relevant action like leave it alone, remove it, or refresh it.
Wait to begin resolving your orphans until you have gone through all of them, to ensure none get overlooked.
6. Follow your spreadsheet notes and begin resolving the orphan pages.
If the page is a piece of content that is important for visitors to see and you would like to help them find it, add some relevant internal links to it. If required, update the content with new information to ensure it is as relevant and current as possible. If the page is no longer needed on your site, archive or delete it.
7. Set up a redirect on the page to the next most relevant one, so that if someone attempts to visit the page you are removing, they will not get an error message.
8. If the page is still serving an important purpose to your business but does not need internal links, leave it as it is.
For example, a Thank You page. Give the page a noindex meta tag if you don’t want it to be indexed.