What’s orphaned content and what to do with this old content?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes



Once we create content, we will end up with old content. At some point. Sometimes that content is outdated and could use a visual update. Sometimes, it’s okay, but it can be classified as orphaned content.

Either way, it’s an excellent strategy to remember a website’s orphaned content. In this article, I share some easy methods to help content creators and strategists to keep tabs on existing content that still has value.

I discuss:

What is orphaned content?

Orphaned content is content on a website that has no internal links pointing toward it. This type of content is called orphaned because no roads lead to it from other content on a site.

a visualization of orphaned content



New content can also be orphaned and often is. For example, publishing this article has no direct inbound internal links from other articles. That’s because it was just published! But it’s also because I must remember and make it a point to go to a related article and link back to it.

Read next: How much time should content marketers spend on new content vs. older content optimization?

Is old content different?

Old content doesn’t necessarily mean it’s also orphaned on a site. Instead, it means that the content has been around for a while and was published some time ago. But in reality, content posted a while ago also has an increased chance of being forgotten – which means there are no internal links to it.

Read next: 5 Things to Know About Core Web Vitals

How to know what content is orphaned?

The easiest way, in my opinion, in WordPress is to use the Premium Yoast SEO plugin. It tracks content that could use an internal link for me directly in my posts area.

orphaned content in Yoast and WordPress

I can see how many articles are currently abandoned and if I can decrease that number over time.

Strategies to keep orphaned content in the content mix

Of course, it doesn’t make sense to just link from any content to these older articles. It needs to make sense and be within context. To ensure I get the relevance right, I use the Yoast functionality in the posts area and click on that section of content. That gives me just the articles that don’t have any internal links.

From there, I use the search bar to search for related content in that area to the content I’m currently writing about. So, if I’m writing about Instagram Reels, I might search for “Reels” and see if there’s any abandoned content I should be linking to.

Read next: Blogging: Where to write that first draft … and then what to do with it

I link to content directly from sentences when it makes sense. And also, add the “Read next: <insert post title>” blurbs into the article. As you can see above, this paragraph finds proper places for these links to orphaned content.


Keeping up on existing content and its performance makes sense in a holistic content strategy. And sometimes, that existing content might not perform because of missing inbound links, and perhaps it could use an update to begin with.

Either way, it’s easy to automate part of the process to keep track of what content can use some internal links.



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