This article comes about because I was trying an experiment to see which social network, if any, has more of an impact on indexing and ranking of pages. I’m still waiting on results for this experiment but it did lead me to the topic of this article – how orphaned pages are one of the easiest things to fix and can have a great positive ranking impact, yet some site owners overlook them.
What are orphaned pages?
Orphaned pages, as the name suggests, are pages which aren’t linked to from anywhere. They are pages that were created for some purpose yet, because they are not linked to, there is no way for a search engine to find them, therefore they don’t get indexed and their value becomes zero.
As I said, the reason I’m writing this article is because I purposely created orphaned pages for the purpose of testing social media and indexing.
The problem, I have come to find out, is that even with Social Media promotion of orphaned pages, they still don’t get indexed in a timely manner, if at all.
I created 4 different pages sure that at least one would get picked up and indexed. I shared each page on one of 4 sites – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
I was sure at the very least the one page shared on Google+ would get picked up and indexed by Google, but you know what? It’s been 10 days and not one of the pages is yet indexed by Google. Normally new pages on my site get picked up in hours, but it’s been days now without these pages getting picked up anywhere.
Surprisingly, the Google+ page WASN’T the first one to get crawled.
So while social media can be a great way to promote some businesses online, this goes to show that you must follow the most basic of site construction rules – make sure every page on your site is linked to by at least one other page.
In other words – create a sitemap of your site and make sure every page is linked to from your sitemap. Because if you don’t it doesn’t matter what you do to the page, Google will not find it and will therefore not rank it.
When would I NOT want a page on a sitemap?
At this point I should mention that there are in fact times you may not want EVERY page to show up in the Google index.
For example, if you are doing some type of advertising, such as Google AdWords, it may be beneficial to not have the pages linked to or indexed. Having advertising pages indexed can have an impact on your ROI calculations, therefore you don’t want those pages to be indexed and potentially rank in Google.
Aside from that, if you want to use your pages to help promote your website online then you MUST ensure that useful pages are linked to somewhere else on the site.