Does your website have any dead-ends? What about hidden content? Is each page getting the attention it deserves? How sure are you, really? These things matter: making your content findable for users and crawlable for Google is essential for SEO. So it’s time to give your site some TLC and clean your content up! Just follow four simple steps in our super easy workout to get your old content cleaned up in a jiffy.
When it comes to content, keeping on top of all the loose ends has always been a chore. That changes now! With the release of Yoast SEO 16.9 we’ve added another SEO workout. Our new orphaned content workout will identify your pages and posts that don’t have any links, and walk you through four simple steps to clean up your content. You’ll decide whether to delete, hide or keep these pages and make any necessary improvements, before finally adding those all-important internal links. In the end, you’ll have better, more findable content. And that means improving your chances to get that content ranking in Google!
Want to know more? This blog post will give you a taster of what to expect. Be aware you’ll need Yoast SEO Premium to use this workout:
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What is orphaned content? Why is it bad?
A tidy website has a clear structure, and each page has at least one internal link from another relevant page. In short, internal links are what make it possible for users to navigate to find your content. Besides that, they help make your pages and site crawlable too. So they’re really important for SEO. The links connect the dots, so to say.
Orphaned content are pages or posts that don’t receive any links from other pages on your site. These pages are out there, somewhere, but nobody is ever going to find them. (And that includes Google). However, orphaned content isn’t just bad because it’s hidden away and hard for search engines to find. It can make you feel rubbish about your website, too.
We all start out with the best intentions, making great content to build websites that we love. And that we want everyone else to love, too! But as time goes on, you can’t help losing track of the details (especially if you create a lot of content). Some pages or posts are bound to slip through the net, one way or another. Pages that you cared about, once upon a time.
It’s easy to feel gloomy when you’re looking at all the mess and imperfections. But it’s not as bad as it seems. Once you clean up your content, you can start falling in love with your site all over again! Let’s get started.
Need a hand? If you need any help using the orphaned content SEO workout, you can find more information on our help page.
Get rid of the clutter with our workout
When you open the workout, you’ll see your orphaned posts and pages listed, ready for you to work on. The end goal is to connect these pages to your site structure by adding links to them from other (more well-connected) pages on your website.
But before you start adding all those links, you should check whether each page is something you actually want people to find. And with that, we come to the big question you need be asking yourself…
Love it or leave it?
During the first step, you’ll probably see pages and posts in the workout that are outdated, or that don’t meet your expectations in terms of quality. For each page in the list, think about how it makes you feel. Will you miss this page if you get rid of it? Do you love this page and want to keep working on it? Is the page so old it’s become completely irrelevant for your site and you never want to see it again?
It might be tempting to decide just by looking at the titles of the pages, but it’s important to take a look at the actual content. You might be surprised by what you find! You can look more closely at each content item by clicking on the links provided in the list:
Don’t love all your pages and posts? Then do something about it! These are your options:
➔ Delete (and redirect) pages you don’t want
If you find posts or pages that you don’t have any reason to keep, put them in the trash. Remember that it’s also best practice to redirect the URL of each deleted page, ideally sending users to a similar page. You can delete and redirect your unwanted pages right away in the workout, saving you loads of time and hassle.
➔ Keep a page, but stop people finding it
In some cases, you might want to keep a page unfindable. For instance, you might not want a landing page for your Christmas sale to show up year round, but you plan to re-use it eventually. If the content isn’t suitable for your users to see now, for whatever reason, but you don’t want to delete the page or improve it, then it’s a good idea to hide that page from Google. To do so, simply choose ‘Hide from search engines’ and the workout will automatically noindex it for you. Nice!
Keep reading: Which pages of your website should you noindex? »
➔ Keep a page and make it findable
When you find content you want to keep, take a few moments to check: a) does it need improving, and b) is it still up-to-date? After all, you don’t want to start adding links to half-finished pages or really old articles. You can open your pages and posts directly from the workout to take a closer look. If you aren’t completely in love with the pages you want to keep yet, don’t worry! You have a chance to improve them in the second step of the workout.
Time to add internal links
Once you’ve got the orphaned posts or pages that you want to keep, and you’ve updated or improved the content as necessary, all that’s left is to add internal links pointing to those pages. Note that you’ll need to add your internal links on related pages or posts to get the best results. If you can find related words or phrases on the page, those are a great place to insert your link.
In the last step of the orphaned content workout, you’ll get suggestions of related posts and pages that you could add an internal link to. The links you need to copy and paste are provided right there in the workout, along with links to the suggested articles. And that means you can get your internal links set up in just a few minutes!
Now admire your hard work!
And there you have it! With our workout it’s really that easy to clean up your content. At the end, you’ll see a handy overview of all the pages you’ve finished working on and what you did with them. Take a look and be proud of what you’ve achieved. You rock!
Clean up your content the easy way
If you love your site but hate the mess, it’s time to make a bit less clutter and a lot more joy! Use our orphaned content SEO workout and get the results you want with minimum hassle. It’ll be worth it: once your orphaned posts and pages are findable, users will appreciate the extra content, and Google could start ranking them too! You should do the orphaned content SEO workout regularly, starting now. With our help, you’ll find it easy to clean up your content and feel great about your site again.
Pro tip! Don’t miss our other internal linking SEO workout: the cornerstone content approach. We absolutely recommend doing both workouts. Together, they can help you easily improve your site structure and get you ranking with the content you want to rank with!
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Coming up next!
- Event February 04, 2022 Team Yoast is organizing Yoast Contributor day 2022, click through to see what we're going to do, who will be there and more! See where you can find us next »
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