Google is continuing to implement changes to the search ranking algorithms that focus on improving the quality of returned results and improving the customers experience in search marketing. A key focus of the Google search quality team is reducing the impact of webspam on people using Google search.
In this article the guys at SemLocal attempt to answer two questions, what is a doorway page and can it harm my search ranking results?
What is a doorway page
A Doorway pages is described as a Web pages that is designed and built specifically to draw search engine visitors to a website. They are often standalone webpages containing links to other pages within the website and containing very little content relating to the search term, yet being rich in keywords. Typically a Doorway Page is also used to improve Search Engine Optimization. An example of a doorway page may be a landing page found on any main directory site, (such as Yell, Yelp, Thompson Local etc)
A good example of a doorway page may be (prior to 21st April 2015) if you search Google for a search term such as “Website Development Derby” you will most likely see a returned result from Yell on Page 1 of Google, hitting this link will take you to a list 58 Agencies offering Website Development in Derby, This is a doorway page as the page is optimised for the search term, “web development” and the location “Derby” and you then hit a link (SemLocal) to find the information you want.
You may want to think of doorway pages as large banner advert, only more common on directory sites. You’re searching for ” Web development Derby ” and instead of getting a Web development Derby site, you get a page that says, “click here for Website Development Derby.” You just did that! Now they’re asking you to do it again. Are you going to click?
Typically a doorway page is not listed in a site map and its sole purpose is to rank higher in the search engines and drive traffic into a web site. Generally it is felt that a doorway page is no more than a one-page click through advertisement for a website and offers little to enhance the users experience, Google really values the exercise and feedback left by search users and they feel the onus should be with the website owners to improve the users experience or suffer the consequences of the algorithm changes within Google search.
The fact is that doorway pages don’t do a very good job of generating traffic, to the targeted pages only to the Doorway page even when they are done by “experts.” Many users simply hit their back buttons when presented with a doorway page. Still, many SEO firms count those first visits and report them to their clients as successes.
Can the doorway page harm my search ranking results
In March 2015, Google’s Search Quality team announced “Google To Launch New Doorway Page Penalty Algorithm”
The article went on to say”
“Google will take algorithmic action on more doorway pages in the near future. The new algorithm adjustment will impact these pages trying to increase their search footprint.
If you are using a doorway page to promote search results for your products, services or partners, you should be expected to have a negative impact on your search results sometime very soon.
Best practice for webmasters using Doorway Pages
Google’s Search Quality team has offered the following advice for webmasters using Doorway pages with a view to improving the users experience along with the quality search results Google are requesting. In addition Google’s Search Quality team has also announced that Google will soon be launching a ranking adjustment to better address the issues around doorway pages.
Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.
To help webmasters better understand our guidelines, Google has added clarifying examples and freshened our definition of doorway pages in our Quality Guidelines.
Here are questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorway pages:
Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?
Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?
If you have questions or feedback about doorway pages, please feel free to speak with a specialist Search Marketing Consultant at SemLocal. Visit http://semlocal.co.uk/contact-semlocal/ and speak with an expert online or at your leisure.
If you have a question about Search Engine Marketing we would be happy to help
The Old Courthouse 18 – 20 St Peters Churchyard Derby Derbyshire DE1 1NN
Tel: 01332 497496
Posted by Geoff Kennedy, Customer Search Specialist at SemLocal
Technical Director at www.semlocal.co.uk, Author of The Small Business Marketing Survival Guide, interests in all things Google and proud to use ethical search marketing strategies to help business achieve their search goals.