A recent client reached out for help with their WordPress blog. The issue they faced was related to their blog posts. Google wasn’t indexing their blog posts and they weren’t receiving any SEO benefit. The problem was the client didn’t have a site structure plan which resulted in orphaned content. Keep reading to learn how to identify and fix orphaned content.

The main problem was that Google didn’t know the content existed! Google (and other search engines) follow links. If there are no links to your content, then it becomes invisible to search engines and to your website visitors.

If you display recent blog posts on your home page (or another page) and you publish a lot of posts, the content may disappear before search engines get a chance to index it.

How to find orphaned content

There are several methods you can follow to check your WordPress website for orphaned content.

First, you can use the pen and paper method to record each page and post. Then you look for links to each page and post, removing each linked page and post from the list. When finished, you are left with orphaned content.

Second, you can crawl your website with a tool like the Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Export the results to an Excel spreadsheet. Next, use the plugin Export All URLs to export another copy of your links to the spreadsheet. Compare both spreadsheets and remove the matching URLs. The remaining URLs contain your orphaned content.

The third and easiest method is to install the Yoast SEO Premium plugin. With Yoast SEO installed, the plugin lists any orphaned content when you view pages and posts in the dashboard. Also, the plugin provides suggestions for internally linking content by analyzing the text of the page or post as you write it.

How to fix orphaned content

Determining what to do with orphaned content requires some thought.

If you want to keep the orphaned content and the content fits into your site structure plan, then create a link to it from an already indexed page or post. Ensure that the linking makes sense, or you risk confusing visitors.

If you don’t want to keep the content, then delete it. Don’t forget to add a 301 redirect because some visitors may have already bookmarked the content.

If you want to keep the content but don’t want to link to it (such as your privacy policy page), then add a noindex meta tag so that search engines will not crawl the page or post.

When completed, verify that you have fixed each orphaned content item. It is a good idea to conduct a regular orphaned content check so that your website gets correctly indexed by search engines.

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