Orphaned content! It sounds so forlorn. Heartbreaking even. But, it’s more of a practical problem that affects your SEO.
As a self-taught website creator, I did not know everything I needed to know when I started composing content for pages and posts on WordPress. The consequence is that many pages and blog posts did not contain links to other pages within my websites. Little did I know that – every time I posted something without an internal link – I created an “orphan.”
Boo Hoo! So, I had to learn how to fix it.
Why It Matters
According to Blue Media,
Orphan Pages also have a negative effect on the entire website from an SEO standpoint, as Google punishes the entire website because of their existence. Orphan Pages are overall, considered negative SEO.
Google does not like it when pages with no relation to others exist on a website. This is because, in the past, people have tried to hide pages from Google this way. This tactic has often been used by so-called Black Hat SEOs – those who use tricks that violate Google’s Guidelines to improve keyword rankings.
Because I learned about orphaned content YEARS after having created my WordPress websites, it was easy to forget about all the things I had made public in the past. I had to figure out how to find those posts, so I got help from YOAST (WordPress SEO). Below, I’ll share what I learned with you (including screenshots I’ve made to assist you).
What to DO About It
Three Ways to Resolve Orphaned Content
If you have a Yoast Premium account, you can access a feature in your WordPress dashboard that allows you to view a list of content having no internal links. First, from your Dashboard (on the top, left of the menu), make sure you have the latest updates for your Yoast plugin.
Then, navigate to your Pages or Posts link in the menu. You will find the “orphaned content” tab near the top.
Finally, when you click on Orphaned Pages, you will see a list of your orphaned pages, and you can click on each to determine whether you want to update it (and, perhaps, post as new), leave it as it is, redirect it, or remove it.
Let’s Do the Easy Part First with Orphaned Content
To Remove it, simply move to trash. Yoast will then ask you if you want to remove it or redirect it. Choose remove. This will create a 410 Redirect that tells the search engines to remove it from their indices.
The trash file actually stores your content in case you want to restore it later. You should remove content when it has become completely obsolete or you know it has absolutely no value to someone searching online.
To Redirect it, move it to the trash and now select Redirect. In the box that appears, type in the NEW page that you want your readers to see. This will now redirect users who would have landed on the old content to a new page.
Have you ever updated content with valuable new information by creating a new page or post? That’s a great time to use the redirect option. The link equity will flow from the old page to the new page and Google will eventually discard the old URL preferring the new one. Be sure your new page content is relevant to the text on your initial page (or post).
To revive it, update the content. When you know your content is valuable and you have not created a different blog post or webpage more recently on your site for that topic, then revive it simply by making changes and updating it. You can add images, videos, links, and text. If you want to, you also can change the publication date to use it as new content.
Before you finish, find other pages on your website that relate to this page and link to the revived page. This will remove it from the abandoned content section.
The link above takes you to a great article by Lori Ballen where you can learn much more about internal links. It’s called, “Internal Links That Visitors and Search Engines Love, Your How-To Guide.”
Orphaned Content ~ Suggestion
I hope this has been helpful. Now, instead of talking to you, I need to get back to fixing my own Orphaned Content! Until I’m so in the habit of linking new content to existing content on my websites, I think I need to add it to a checklist of things to remember and to check off before I publish new pages and posts. Perhaps, you’d like to do that also.
If you want to know more about my writing, editing, training, and consulting services, please feel free to contact me at MyPersuasivePresentations@gmail.com. We can set up a free Sip & Share Session on Zoom to discuss your needs.
Have a wonderful day!
Do It the Write Way! Let My Fingers Do Your Talking!