Building a viable and successful website can often be a daunting task that requires a complex mix of knowledge and skill sets. From web page design, to site structure, to content, to search engine optimization (SEO), user interfaces, to databases, to access controls, to payment systems and everything in between there is a lot that can go into a fully functioning and valuable web property. When building such a vast array of web architecture there are often times when single pages get lost in the bustle and shuffle of web design. These entities are known as “orphaned pages”. Orphan website pages are URL locations existing on the internet without any other references linking to them. Visitors can’t locate them through the website navigation as there are no possible links on the entire website pointing to these particular lost page types. Despite having no palpable connection to an individual website “orphan pages” can still be picked up by search engines through sitemap submissions, web crawling, and page indexing. Since an orphaned page provides no substance or relative meaning to a website they can often have a very negative impact on not only resources and business, but also how the search engines view them in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), site ranking, and page ratings. Even though they are hidden from users they can still have a very real effect on the performance of any website both in the eyes of search engines and development teams.
Once a black-hat SEO technique used to manipulate search engine keyword rankings and website relevance, orphan pages or “ghost pages” are now highly frowned upon for their lack of contribution to anything of importance. Now extremely sophisticated technologies, search engines have caught on to these archaic web design tricks and punish violators accordingly. Due to the fact that orphan pages are not highly visible within a website structure they in many cases go unnoticed while also causing permanent damage to one’s SEO and internet marketing efforts. To identify Orphan Pages, it is best to hire an experienced SEO company to review the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) of Google for a specific website and compare the outputs with the internal page crawl information. This strategy is labeled URL mapping and is a common SEO company process. Even if an online business or company does not want a website page found by customers or clients anymore it is still critical to have that page linked appropriately within the site structure or removed entirely from the world wide web. So what are some of the more common ways website administors, web page masters and SEO companies handle orphan pages? Let’s take a look at some of the most effective practices to deal with these buried nuances.